Pentagram, Active, Passive, Reconciling

The Pentagram, Active, Passive, Reconciling are one of the most versatile symbols in the Western Mystery Tradition. They are in use in the various Pentagram rituals. Many stem from the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Including those found in Wicca and Thelema.

Elemental, planetary and zodiacal workings may also employ the pentagram or when working with spirits. Their use as amulets of protection can be traced all the way back to Sumeria and Babylon. There are several interpretations of the use and meaning of the pentagram and hopefully the following will add a different perspective.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

Most practitioners of the Western Mystery Tradition are taught one form of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) at a pretty early stage in their magical work. This a wonderful ritual. It is truly a masterpiece of ritual for its ability to balance, protect, expand the aura. This builds a rapport with the Archangels of the Cardinal Directions. At the same time it lays the groundwork for more complex versions of this ritual to work with elemental, planetary and zodiacal energies. But what about the correspondences of the Pentagram symbol? Many say it is the elements ruling over by spirit, as a fifth element. A further question is why are the elements on these points? How does the Pentagram, Active, Passive and Reconciling come about?

In a previous post on the Natural Order of Elements another way of working with the elements was suggested. The order is according to density of the elements. It was used from the renaissance until the late 1800s in magical circles. The order, highest to lowest, fire, air, water, and earth. This order was attributed to the Tetragrammaton by several streams within the tradition. There were many reverberations that rippled out from changing one single correspondence as seen in the order of elements. A slight modification of the pentagram is following one ripple to a small wave.

Pentagram and Elemental Attributions

Pentagram, Active, Passive, and Reconciling in the Western Mystery Tradition are assigned to the elements by following the pattern of the divine name Pentagrammaton, or in Hebrew, Yod, Heh, Shin, Vav, Heh. The Pentagrammaton is not the name of Jesus translated from Hebrew. It is a Qabalistic formula created during the Renaissance. It is a symbolic representation of Jesus. Done so by placing the letter Shin in the middle of the Tetragrammaton. It is, for lack of a better word, a magical formula.

If you are not sympathetic to Christian symbolism please note this isn’t the only interpretation of the pentagram. It is more of a quick origin story of the assignments of the elements. In this way of thinking, Jesus was the sacrificed Son of God, and the one who brought renewal and balance. Some streams of the tradition call him the Divine Repairer. There are many other stories that fit this theme of sacrifice, renewing and balancing creation throughout the world.

The Natural Order of Elements and the Pentagram

Pentagram with Active and Passive Energies
Pentagram with modified elements of Active, Passive and Reconciling energies

When one follows the natural order of elements and then places them on the pentagram a slightly different version emerges. The diagram to the right shows the placement of the elements as they would appear using the natural order of elements arrangement. On the right lower side is fire. The upper right is air. Spirit in the center top point. The upper left is water. Finally the lower left is earth. This places the active elements of fire and air on the right hand side. The more passive elements of water and earth on the left.

In this configuration emphasis is on balancing the two sides of the pentagram by the intercession of spirit. This seems to agree with the meanings of the Pentagrammaton, in regards to balance and reconciliation.

The Pentagram and the Pillars

Qabbalistic diagrams of the tree of life use three pillars to demonstrate which sephiroth are active, passive or reconciling. The main idea is there are two opposing forces and one that reconciles them. You will find this in the different initiation rituals throughout the Western Mystery Tradition. The white pillar is active, the black pillar is passive and the gray pillar is the reconciler between them. The diagram below has two pillars added to the pentagram to use this idea of opposites and a reconciler. The middle pillar was not added for aesthetic reasons only. But it would run right down the center where the top point attributed to spirit is.

Esoteric Anatomy and Reconciling Energies

Pentagram Pillars and Reconciling Energies
The Pentagram with Active, Passive and Reconciling energies with Pillars

Esoteric anatomy generally has the right side of the human body being active. The left being passive. While the center is neutral. This presents itself in alchemical art as well. Where the Sun is on the right and the Moon is on the left. This demonstrates the same idea but in different symbols. The modified elemental order attributed to the pentagram over the human body also aligns with the right being active. The left being passive. As well as the center the reconciler on the human body. It is important to keep the general flow and symbols consistent throughout a system. Harmony isn’t fond of dissonance.

Spirit Pentagrams

One issue that may arise if one uses the modified elemental attributes is the pentagrams for spirit. Start at either the fire or earth points. Then drawing them going to the opposite side of the symbol. An active spirit pentagram with modified attributes is to start at fire, then over to water, air, earth, spirit and back to fire. The passive would be to start at earth and follow a similar pattern from the other side as noted above. This version emphasizes reconciliation of the opposite elements. For example, fire and water. Spirit as the force reconciling them.

Two Exercises

Below are two exercises using the Pentagram, Passive, Active and Reconciling. The pentagram for protection, and active and passive breathing exercises. The fourfold breath, found in many books on the Golden Dawn, would be the reconciling breath.  Both are a combination of exercises from different orders and schools.

Pentagram for Protection

  • Begin by performing a relaxation technique that works for you
  • On an in breath feel and see vital white energy into your body and filling you with light
  • On an out breath see a vibrant white light filling your entire aura in a sphere

Drawing the Pentagram

  • See above you a flaming white pentagram placed as in the diagram below
  • Use your dominant hand’s index finger. Or in your mind. Start at the bottom right. Draw a pentagram following the line to the left side of your head. Do so until you are back at the starting point.
  • Vibrate the divine name Eh-Hay-Yah (I am that I am in Hebrew)
  • Over the first pentagram. Start at the bottom left and draw the pentagram. Follow the line to the right side of your head until you are back at the starting point.
  • Vibrate the name Ah-Geh-Lah (A Qabalistic Acronym for Thou Art forever Great My Lord)
  • Take a moment and reinforce the flaming white pentagram above your head

    Pentagram using Active, Passive and Reconciling energies
    Pentagram for Protection using Active, Passive and Reconciling energies

The above exercise is a good to where there may be harmful energies, entities or people. If you are not comfortable using Qabalistic names then just see the white flaming pentagram by itself.

Active and Passive Breathing

Please follow the counts below as best you can. They should not cause strain. Modify them to your best comfort level.

Active Breathing

  • Stand with the arms outstretched as in the diagram to the right
  • Inhale for a count of 4
  • Hold breath for a count of 8
  • Exhale for a count of 4
  • No pause between exhale and inhale
  • Continue for about 3-5 minutes
Pentagram around the Human Body
Pentagram for protection around the human body

This works great when you need a little extra energy or when waking up. At first your arms and shoulders may tire holding this pose. If this happens then take a break. You will be able to do this longer if you persevere.

Passive Breathing

  • Stand with the hands clasped together as if praying with the fingers pointed straight up
  • Inhale for a count of 4
  • No pause between inhale and exhale
  • Exhale for a count of 4
  • Hold out the breath for a count of 8
  • Continue for about 3-5 minutes

This is a relaxing and calming technique. It can aid you in falling to sleep and calm down in general. It will also give you a strong sense of a maternal secure feeling as well.


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