Pentacles are disc or circular shaped symbols, talismans or designs, which include protective symbols within, such as the Star of David, really the Seal of Solomon, triskelions or tetrakelions, criss-cross or mesh designs, some formed with central flowers, five and eight pointed stars, or crosses such as the Auseklis Cross, square geometric shapes, and hexfoils. Also in some pentacles Religious iconography is utilised, such as grapes being exhibited, which are symbolic of the Christ, for He is the vine and we are the branches, and as such we are united as brothers.
As protective devices they are usually made up of interlocking and endless lines, and therefore act as demon traps or protection for what lay within. In religious buildings they often appear on rood screens, or in wall paintings, which is also the case in Ethiopia, protecting different holy parts of the building, and the passage to and from those.
Some of the pentacle designs below with crosses, also adorn the priests religious robes.
The following example of pentacles upon panels upon a Rood Screen or similar installation, show a number of pentacles with a knotwork of endless lines, as well as crosses either easily apparent or hidden in plain sight.
Pentacle Panels to a Rood Screen or similar at Mikael Imba Rock-Hewn Church, 8th Century AD, Tigray
Painted Pentacles with Crosses to an Arch at Yimrahanna Kristos Cave Church, Early 11th Century, Lalibela
The above examples of pentacles depict the Christian cross but in the form known as a ‘Cross Cercelee’, which is a form of an expanded ‘Moline Cross’, and obviously protect the inner sanctum or the more holy areas of the church from any evil carried by humans into it.
These are similar in design to window tracery in Europe and Britain where cross shapes are sometimes separated by a heart shape between, a feature of many medieval churches, as well as those of a Knights Templar origin, where it is thought the heart shape represents the Holy Grail.
The example to the top looks like it is made up of four interconnected Fleur de Lis, which we have studied on another page on this website, where we stated that the symbol represented back in time, Christ, and then became more symbolic of The Virgin Mary, and her purity and chastity.
A Painted Pentacle with Cross on an Arch at Debra Selam Mikael Timber Cave Church, 8th Century AD, Tigray
This example of a cross within a pentacle is formed from a ‘Cross Moline’, which is made up of three straight strands on each arm, and is indicative of Christ as well as the Holy Trinity, and therefore serves as a spiritual device to protect the holier areas of the church from demonic attack.
Two Painted Pentacle with Seals of Solomon on Arches at Yimrahanna Kristos Cave Church, Early 11th Century Lalibela
The above painted pentacles depict inside them Seals of Solomon (Stars of David), or two triangles, one pointing to that which is above, and one pointing to that which is below, with a never-ending demon trapping knotwork circle surrounding, and again form protective devices. One also contains a floral pattern.
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