THE INVERSE PENTAGRAM: SYMBOL OF EVIL AND DESTRUCTION OR MISUNDERSTOOD POWER FOR RADICAL HEALING?
Michael Freedman (Senior Guardian)
The usual way to draw a Pentagram is with three upper points and two lower points. This is an Upright Pentagram. A Pentagram can also be drawn with two upper points and three lower points. This is an Inverse Pentagram.
THE INVERSE PENTAGRAM EXECRATED
Many old-fashioned books on occultism warn against drawing the Inverse Pentagram. Franz Hartmann, in Magic, White and Black (c.1895), says : "Let us keep the figure of the Five-pointed Star always upright, with the topmost triangle pointing to heaven, for it is the seat of wisdom, and if the figure is reversed, perversion and evil will be the result."
Eliphas Levi (c.1855) is quoted in "Man, Myth and Magic" as saying: "A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates."
These quotes sum up much of old-fashioned Piscean Age occultism, with its tendency towards a Dualist approach to the universe which contrasted matter and spirit, venerating spirit as good, while it execrated matter as evil.
Do not confuse Duality with Polarity: Duality divides the universe into two separate and equal parts, one of which is spiritual and good, and the other material and evil. Polarity means balancing the contrasting but complementary energies of the universe, such as active/receptive or masculine/feminine energies.
"AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY"
Richard Cavendish, the editor of "Man, Myth and Magic" states: "The rituals of the Golden Dawn allowed the inverse pentagram to be used `if there arises an absolute necessity.' "
In this article, the various uses of the Inverse Pentagram will be set out in detail. Why the Inverse Pentagram is only rarely used will be discussed and its occasional use justified, `if there arises an absolute necessity.'
The central of the three lower points of the Inverse Pentagram is known as the Nadir of the Pentagram. In an Inverse Pentagram, the Nadir is the focal point of the forces released through the Pentagram. The magical number of the Inverse Pentagram is 23, which relates it to the katabolic forces of the universe, through its connections with the Triumph XIII among the Tarocchi (Tarot) and the zodiac sign Scorpio, which is ruled by the planetary energy known as Pluto, whose true, usually unspoken, name is Hades or Sheol.
VARIOUS USES OF THE INVERSE PENTAGRAM
1. The petty use - just to be naughty. 2. As a symbol of Pan, the God of Nature. 3. As a symbol of all Horned Gods - Cernunnos etc. 4. As a symbol of the Devil or Satan, Lord of Evil. 5. In certain powerful healing rites.
1. THE PETTY USE - JUST TO BE NAUGHTY
Some immature adults and teenagers believe that white magicians use only the Upright Pentagram, so they deliberately always wear or use an Inverse Pentagram. This is something like the Satanists in occult novels or films who wear an upside-down cross to mock Christianity. Just as the upside-down cross, known as St Peter's Cross, has an honoured place in Christianity, so does the Inverse Pentagram have its proper place in the Rituals of High Magic.
The kind of person who engages in petty giving-the-finger to the goodies generally has not yet gained any real knowledge of the Secret Wisdom. What they are doing is harmless enough. Rebellion plays a significant role in the process of maturing, as long as the process continues, and what have been seen as opposites are integrated into a cohesive and fruitful whole.
2. PAN, THE GOD OF NATURE
It is easy to see the Inverse Pentagram as a diagrammatic representation of a Goat - the points making its horns, ears and beard. This has led to it becoming the symbol of Pan, the Goat-god or Nature God of Greek mythology. In Greek gematria, the number of Pan is 131, which represents in numbers, 1 - 3 -1, the Verse of the Elements of Nature.
The Verse of the Elements [Spirit, Air, Water, Fire, Earth] forms part of the Hymn of Light, preserved in the Rituals of the Guardians. Its number is 131. Its image is a Double Tetrahedron.
One in Three and Three from One;
In one Earth dwell three Forms,
One from Three and Three in One."
Like the Inverse Pentagram, 131 is of the 23rd and 5th degrees.
PAN, HORNED GOAT-GOD OF THE GREEKS
The Goat-god Pan, also known as Aegipan ("Goat-Pan"), in popular lore was said to be the child of Hermes and the nymph Oineis ("Wine"). He was so ugly at birth, with his horns, beard, tail and goat-legs, that his mother fled in fear, the first instance of Panic, the fear induced by Pan.
His name was derived from pa-ein, to pasture flocks. He was an easy-going, merry, rather lazy god. He dwelt in Arcadia, where he guarded flocks, herds and beehives. He joined with the mountain-nymphs in their revels and helped hunters find their quarry. He seduced many nymphs and pursued the chaste Syrinx, who changed herself into a reed. When he could not find her, he cut a handful of the reeds and made the first Pan-pipes. Hermes stole the Pan-pipes from him, copied them and, claiming them as his own invention, sold them to Apollo. Apollo was said to have talked Pan into also giving him the gift of prophecy. The shout of Pan was enough to induce panic in anyone who heard it.
PAN THE ALL - GOD OF THE NATURE MYSTERIES
There was a deeper meaning to the god Pan, beyond legends of Arcadian revelry and Olympian double-dealing. In the deeper Mysteries, Pan was said to be the son of Cronus (Time) and Amaltheia (Goat-nurse), who nursed Zeus, Ruler of the Gods. Pan was thus the foster-brother of Zeus. Amaltheia was rewarded by being placed in heaven as the constellation Capricorn. In the Mysteries, Pan's name is derived from PAN, meaning `The All.' In the myths of the Mysteries, by inducing panic in the Uranus-sired Titans, the monsters of the primeval chaos, Pan gained victory for the Gods of Olympus.
In the language of the Qabalah, "The All" (ha-Kol) has the measure 61, which is the measure of the Name of the Unmanifest Source of All, Ain, which means Nothing. Thus is the Unmanifest Nothing seen to be the equal of All the Manifested Universe. As it is said: "All and Nothing are twin pillars, standing one at each end of the circle." The number 61 is of the 25th degree, which is referred to the Letter "Ayin, Laughter, the zodiac sign Capricorn and Triumph XV of the Tarocchi, usually called The Devil. As so often with the Tarocchi, behind the conventional Christian imagery of the renaissance, lies deep understanding of the true nature of the ancient classical Gods and their mysteries. It is clear that the image of Triumph XV, partly at least, refers to the God Pan.
3. ALL HORNED GODS - CERNUNNOS
Horned gods were common in the ancient world, for example, the god Amon and the goddess Hathor in Egypt. The horned God was called Pasupati in ancient pre-Aryan India. Among the Wise, the best known name other than Pan is Cernunnos, the Horned God worshipped by the Celtic peoples. Cernunnos is not a Celtic name, but a Graeco-Roman word meaning The Horned One. Those who walk the way called Wicca will find the Inverse Pentagram meaningful in their worship of the Horned God. But, they should remember that, in the Mysteries of the Great Sacrifice, it is the Upright Pentagram which is the symbol of the Awakened or Upright Man and the Inverse Pentagram which is the symbol of the Hanging Man. Most Satanists, de facto, worship the god Pan, but, because of their personal anti-Christian concerns, use the name Satan.
FAUNUS, HORNED GOD OF THE ROMANS
In the ancient Roman republic, the equivalent of Pan was the ancient nature god Faunus, worshipped in Pagus (the countryside) by the Pagani (country folk). Faunus guarded the flocks and farms, protecting them especially from wolves. He had prophetic powers conveyed by mysterious voices from the hills or forests, sometimes sent in visions during sleep. The measure of Faunus is 1221, which is of the 33rd degree, referred to Final Meyim, the Hanging Man of the Tarocchi, the Archangel 'Uri'El and the element of Earth. In the days of the later Roman Empire, Faunus and Pan were virtually merged into one god, and Faunus has been almost forgotten.
4. THE DEVIL OR SATAN, THE LORD OF EVIL
After the victory of ascetic Christianity over the ancient religions, many of the attributes of Pan, the Goat-god of Nature, were transferred to the mythical rebel Angel whom the Christians regarded as the Adversary or Enemy of God and of everything that is good, the one whom they called Satan or the Devil. For example, Pan's horns, hooves and tail, his lustiness, his fondness for revelry, his ability to inspire fear, were all assigned to the Evil One.
In classical Hebrew, the term Satan literally means `the adversary,' the one who takes the opposing side in a dispute or contest. It is never used as a proper name in the Jewish scriptures, and is usually in the form `the Satan'. There is no indication that the Satan is anything other than the Crown Prosecutor in God's judgement court.
Jewish scriptures in Greek usually either use the term Satanas or translate it as `ho diabolos," which means a prosecutor. Various legends and myths about a rebellious angelic being called Satan arose during the period between the completion of the Jewish scriptures and the rise of Christianity. Christians have generally adopted the popular folk legends concerning Satan which were circulating in the era when the Christian scriptures were written.
This was as much a misunderstanding of the true role of Satan, as it was a slander against Pan. It is a curious irony that the origin of the word Devil is the Greek word Diabolos, which means anyone who brings an accusation against someone in a law court. In later Greek, it meant especially anyone who brings a false accusation against someone, such as the Christians brought against both Pan and Satan.
By and large, Christianity was a city religion, in its earliest days at least, drawing its adherents from the populations of the major cities of the Roman Empire, Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, Alexandria and Rome. Christianity has never had a great deal of respect for Nature, teaching that humanity has been given dominion over Nature by God, to do with as it likes. Like most city people, Christians despised the simple pagan (country) religions, of which the worship of Pan was one of the most important.
PAN, THE ENEMY OF ASCETICISM
The libidinous revels of the easy-going Goat-god of classical Greece and Rome symbolised too clearly that enjoyment of the world and of life which was increasingly condemned, as puritans and ascetics gained ascendancy within the Church. There is every indication that neither Jesus nor the early Church was particularly ascetic in its way of life. Among the Pharisees (= "the pure ones") who were the "moral majority" of their day, Jesus had a bad reputation for going to parties. The Pharisees called Jesus a wine-bibber and a gluttonous man. There are frequent references to "Love-feasts" in the earliest Christian writings, which were quite separate from the Lord's Supper or ritual eating of bread and wine that commemorated the death and resurrection of Christ. The Love-feasts were later abandoned because they acquired a reputation for licentiousness among ascetically inclined Christians. Pleasure, even ordinary pleasures such as laughter, became increasingly associated with sin.
PAN BECOMES SATAN
The tragedy is that, as the centuries have gone by, many of those who were worshippers of Pan, the God of Nature, have come to believe the Christian view of the Goat-God as the Devil Satan, the embodiment of Evil and Destruction. It is this muddle of Pan and Satan which is associated in the popular mind with what is called Satanism. So, the symbol of Goat-god Pan, the Inverse Pentagram with the Goat-head drawn within it, has becomes the symbol of Satan.
It is most unfortunate that the founders and leaders of the Church of Satan have been so anxious to give the finger to the Christian Church, that they call the god they worship Satan, rather than Pan. Their publications indicate that it is the God of Life in Nature whom they worship, rather than a God of Destructive Evil. Satan is indeed one aspect of Pan, but Satan is not the whole of Pan.
A WISE VIEW OF SATAN
Those of us who respect the ancient religions and their Gods, can accept all Nature, with its cycles of both life and death, construction and destruction, as an organic whole. It is the view of the Wise, those who watch over the Mysteries, that both death and destruction are part of Nature, yet they are not the whole of Nature. Death is necessary, if new growth and evolution is to take place. The decay and destruction of that which has died is necessary to make way for new life. The metabolism of every organism functions in two ways: anabolic (building up) and katabolic (breaking down). The archetypal image of the God of Nature, Pan, The All, incorporates both these aspects. The archetype of Satan, the Adversary or Enemy, incorporates only the destructive forces of Nature.
However, it is a mistake to see the destructive forces as evil in themselves, or opposed to the will of the One Most High. It is only when humankind involves itself in wanton destruction that evil enters into the picture.
The sanest view of the Adversary, Satan, is as a kind of government inspector, who will test our work to destruction, if he can. He is the building inspector who puts his finger through rotting boards; the traffic cop who kicks your tyres; the council officer who tugs at the wires in your electrical installations and orders you to rip them out and replace them. He is indeed the Enemy. It is best to have nothing to do with him, if you can avoid him.
It is said by the Wise: "Satan is the Servant of the Most High, but his work is not our work. His work is to destroy if he can. Our work is to build and to build so well that nothing can overthrow it."
5. THE INVERSE PENTAGRAM AS HEALING INSTRUMENT
In the case of certain severe mental or physical disorders, it is possible to use Inverse Pentagrams during certain forms of Healing Rites. In such cases, the Inverse Pentagrams are used to consecrate the sacred elements used in the rite, focusing the energies into the healing elements of oil, water and salt. When doing the healing rite, it may be appropriate to inscribe Inverse Pentagrams on appropriate parts of the person's body or in their energy field at appropriate places in order to restore balance in their being.
THE MAGICIAN DIRECTS; THE FORCES ACT
The Intention always must be to allow the Guardians of the Elemental Forces to do the actual work. Our part is merely to direct the forces. In these cases, it might be helpful to visualise the Pentagrams as containers into which the elemental energies are poured, while the Nadir of the Inverse Pentagram becomes metaphorically the point of a hypodermic syringe, perhaps, channelling the force into the being of the sick person for whom the rite is done; or it might seem appropriate in certain cases to think of the Inverse Pentagram as a scalpel used by the Guardians of the Pentagram to perform a kind of spiritual surgery. Even when you feel you have an idea what needs to be cut out, it is vital to hand the situation over to those higher beings who have a wider viewpoint than ours.
The less you make of all this for your "patient" the better. If they are so physically or mentally ill, that you feel such extreme forms of spiritual healing as the Inverse Pentagram Rites are warranted, there will be probably be little or no meaningful communication between you. There are other simpler, healing rite which will be much more effective in most cases. You do not call in specialists in spiritual surgery unless all else has failed. This is not the place to discuss those psychic sicknesses which might best be handled by Inverse Pentagram Rites. Enough to say that they exist. In my own experience, they are exceedingly rare nowadays. Most illnesses whether physical, mental or psychic, yield readily to standard methods of medical, psychological and spiritual healing.
If it does seem to you or an Adept whom you have consulted that someone is so ill that only an Inverse Pentagram rite can help, do not tell the sick person. These kinds of severe psychic illnesses are very subject to auto-suggestion. The easier and simpler it seems to be, the more likely it will be that your client will respond positively. If they believe that you think that they are a special case and difficult to handle, you can be sure that their subconscious will oblige by making it as difficult as possible for the spiritual healers.
It is not easy to use the Inverse Pentagram ritually. It is less stable than the Upright Pentagram. As a result, it does have a tendency to stabilise inwardly to become an upright Pentagram focusing a different elemental energy than that intended. It takes considerable exercise of Will and Intention to maintain an Inverse Pentagram throughout an entire Ritual. The use of the Inverse Pentagram as a Healing Rite is best left to Adepts with considerable expertise in this particular field., holding at least the Sixth Inner Grade of the Mysteries.
EXORCISM IS NOT BANISHING, BUT HEALING
It should not be, but it probably is necessary to state firmly and clearly that there is no place for what fundamentalist religionists and superstitious occultists call exorcism of devils in the Rituals of High Magic. Even where a person is so mentally disturbed that they believe that they are "possessed" and it seems necessary for you to go along with their illusions, until they are freed from them, never act out some kind of battle. The sick mind of your patient will glory in making the battle a long and difficult one. It will be your Will pitted against theirs. Under such circumstances, you might actually lose.
Compare the wording of the Exorcism Rites of the Roman Catholic Church with that of the 6th Degree of High Magic. The exorcism Rite of the Catholic Church says at the climax of the rite:
"I exorcise all influences and seeds of evil.
I lay upon them the spell of Christ's Holy Church,
that they might be bound as with chains and cast into outer
This is war against the devil, and only the strongest will win. This is the viewpoint of trash movies like "The Exorcist" and "The Omen."
The equivalent words in the Society of Guardians' 6th Degree Healing Rite of High Magic reads:
"I exorcise all seeds and influences of evil.
I lay upon them the spell of the Holy Love of Adonai
Pentagrammaton, that they might be freed from this place
and taken to another place, where they might be healed."
Here is the surgeon, with compassion for all, even those who choose to be evil, gently invoking the Lord of Compassion to receive them into the Sanctuary of Healing, that they might once again be whole and at one with the universe. This is not a battleground, but a healing ground.
THE WORSHIP OF PAN
Those magicians and wiccans who choose to work with the God-form of the Goat-god of Nature, Pan, will almost certainly prefer to use the Inverse Pentagram. It is my personal opinion that it is probably better not to get too involved with the God Pan. Nature can be both generous and cruel. Pan comprises both the constructive and the destructive aspects of Nature, whereas the work of humankind is predominantly on the constructive side of things.
The work of the Lords of other worlds is none of our business, we do nothing about such things unless they are under our noses stinking.
The God Pan does not need nor seek human worshippers, for all the living beings of Nature worship Pan in their every act. If we do come across Pan, asleep in the forest, we should pay him the courtesy of not disturbing him, lest his angry cry as he awakes put panic in our souls. Pan does not expect us to seek him out. Pan does expect, even demands, respect from those who do come into contact with him. If we have respect for Nature, we will come to little harm from it.
THE TWO PRINCIPAL USES OF THE INVERSE PENTAGRAM
The Inverse Pentagram has no evil intrinsic in itself, whatever some of the old-fashioned or the superstitious among occultists might say. Human beings can put evil ideas into an Inverse Pentagram, as they can into anything.
The Inverse Pentagram has two principal legitimate uses, one as a healing instrument in the hands of an adept in certain rare cases of severe physical or mental illness; the other as a symbol of the Horned God, the All-embracing God of Nature.
Be blessed, Michael Freedman, S.G.,