The pentacle is the elemental weapon of earth, and is also known as the coin or disc. It’s one of the four suits of the Tarot and represents material matters, protection, stability, earthly awareness, and concrete nourishment. It’s the most dense of the four elements and the only one that cannot transmute into another element; everything that physically exists must have earth in order for it to exist physically. For a while, I was going to use a “large” 1.5″ commemorative silver coin as my pentacle, but I wanted to use something a little more fancy and bigger. Besides, if I get a chance to make something pretty and fanciful, why not? It’d give the spirits I work with something to smile about, maybe.
Although earth pentacles might more properly be made with clay and paint, especially given clay’s earthy nature, I find wood easier to work with. Thus, I used a small 5″ wooden circular plaque with a beveled edge from Michaels. The design I planned to use is based on the Golden Dawn-style earth pentacle, which has the four colors of Malkuth representing the elements (black for earth, citrine for air, olive for water, russet for fire) with a white hexagram imposed on top and lots of Hebrew things written around the side. There’s also room to write your name or motto on the pentacle, which was a standard GD practice for all of the elemental weapons.
The Hebrew words written around the side of the pentacle are:
- Adonai haAretz אאדני הארץ, the name of God of the sephirah of Malkuth, “Lord of the Earth”
- Auriel אוריאל, the elemental archangel of Earth
- Phorlakh פורלאך, the elemental angel of Earth (not to be confused with Auriel)
- Kerub כרוב, the GD name for the elemental ruler of Earth (Agrippa has Ariel for Earth, while Cherub is for Air)
- Phrat פרת, Hebrew for the Euphrates River, one of the four rivers running through Eden
- Tzaphon אצפון, Hebrew for “north” (the microcosmic direction of earth, not the macrocosmic direction which is south)
- Aretz ארץ, Hebrew for “earth”
Along with each Hebrew word is the Rosy Cross sigil of the same word. These sigils are derived from the Hebrew “flower” on the lamen used by initiates in the Golden Dawn by tracing the letters across the rose and using the resulting symbol.
This was fairly easy to draw using a compass, straightedge, and protractor: mark the center of the circle, draw the boundary circle, mark off the points of the stars, and connect the dots. I drew the design onto the plaque, then used a woodburner to inscribe the design. I went over the design several times, first with a fine point tip and then with a blunt rounded tip, since I wanted bold noticeable markings on this thing.
I also decided to etch on a pentagram inside of the hexagram, since I’ve seen examples before where there’s either a hexagram or pentagram superimposed on the colors of Malkuth, and thus combine the symbols of cosmological unity (hexagram) with the elements of our mundane world (pentagram). The addition of the pentagram was entirely a personal touch, but I may have taken the subliminal suggestion of another entity; I was afterward looking over my notes from past conjurations, and at one point I chatted with Auriel, the archangel of earth, and asked him what kind of pentacle design he’d suggest. He gave me the image of a pentagram superimposed on a cross similar to this. So, in the end, I was able to include the direct suggestion of an archangel into a traditional design. How fortuitous!
Coloring the design was a little annoying. I don’t have any colored wood stain on hand, so I resorted to using paint markers and colored pencils. Black and russet were easy enough to do using paint markers, with russet being made from black and brown. Citrine was done using an orange colored pencil and applying yellow, and the olive was done from a dark green pencil with yellow applied on top of that. The only color I had a problem with was olive, since I didn’t find a suitable colored pencil and the green paint marker was far too vibrant. A white colored pencil was used to brighten the hexagram. Overall, the effect turned out pretty nice, and didn’t smudge or smear as much as I thought it would. The wood finish, when applied, also darkened the design slightly to give it a more earthy feel.
The lettering around the side was the scary part, due to the size and that I only had one shot at getting this right. I had no pattern to work from nor a way to evenly space the letters, so I did my best and wrote away. The sigils were difficult since I tried to get as close as I could according to the Rose Cross, but I think I did well enough. Happily, I didn’t make any errors and had plenty of space for writing my name in Greek capitals in the leftover space. The letters are upside-down from the original design since it made more sense to have them written like that on the beveled sides of the plaque. After that, it was a matter of applying wood stain to the sides and bottom of the pentacle (not the colored part!), and then a few layers of finish on the top and bottom.
I’m pretty pleased with the result, and it’s the first time I’ve used any color besides “burnt” in my projects. All in all, the project took two days: one to do the drawing, coloring, woodburning, and staining, and a second to apply the finish. The total cost may have been $30 for the supplies, not including the woodburning tool.
If I were to go back and redo this project, I’d probably substitute the name of Kerub with Ariel, or just do away with all the Hebrew and sigils entirely. I could paint both sides of the pentacle, one with a hexagram and the other with a pentagram, instead of combining the two into one figure. One suggestion I’ve read is that the surface shouldn’t be flat but slightly concave, to have the pentacle act as a kind of reflective shield that bounces energy in the same direction it came from. This would have the effect of “sending back” any force that would come my way to its origin. That’d be hard to do with wood, so the next pentacle might be made of stone or clay.