In Reclaiming, we have classes on Iron and Pearl Pentacles, gifts from Feri Witchcraft.
These pentacles act as tools for meditation, diagnosis, and interrogation. Each with points that call out and call in the practitioner.
- What do you know?
- What do you want to know?
- What have you been told?
- What do you want to heal?
I ask these questions as student and teacher, as facilitator and human. I wonder into the pentacles with curiosity and courage. There are always new things to uncover, nuance and knowing hand in hand.
The Points are Not the Point (and They are)
I first took classes in the pentacles in 2009 (?). I learned all the points, walked them many (many) times, and found myself a little blown open by what I uncovered. It was a lot. Like, a lot a lot.
- Iron: Sex, Pride, Self, Power, Passion
- Pearl: Love, Law, Knowledge, Liberty, Wisdom (sometimes in another order. This is how I learned.)
At first, I wanted to define the words. I wanted to know what these points meant and how they were influenced by the overculture. I wanted to know where I was limiting my definition, where I was not living into the possibility of more. Where I could expand my lifeforce to support both myself and community.
But words are words. And words have limits. They do not hold the context of a life’s experiences. They are seen through lenses. They are held through self knowing. They start and stop with what can be believed and understood.
At some point, I leaned into the idea that the pentacles were more than the words and the motions of moving the energies from hand to foot to hand to hand to foot to hand and around. I leaned into the idea that the pentacles were telling me less about what and more about how.
Maybe the pentacle points were the point and not the point.
Building a Relationship to Experience with Pentacles
My current thinking (subject to change, of course) is that these tools of exploration are introductions. I might meet the points and get first impressions, but they are powerful when I look at how I relate to each word. How I feel I am in an effective or an ineffective relationship with sex or power or pride. With love or law or wisdom.
What is my relationship to each point? What can be shifted? What can be healed? What have I hidden? What has been repressed and oppressed and smushed down?
To work with the pentacles, I think of how I can drop into the experience of pride, for example. How does my body feel when I hear that word? What images arrive when I hear that word? What memories and embarrassing stories come into my brain?
All of this is without judgment or internal jury. This is a welcoming of what is real.
When I feel into the stories I still carry in pride, I can expand into the way the overculture tells me to feel. The complexity and frustration of a society that says I can’t be too full of myself (whatever that means) and I also can’t be too humble or quiet (whatever that means).
I lean into how I relate to those stories and messages and genetic codes, installed by society, parents, and -isms. I lean back into the arms of the way I want to relate to pride: right-sized for me, louder than I am comfortable with, but more than I have granted myself permission to have.
The more I learn to relate with pride in a healthy way, the more it becomes clear what I need and what I already know. What my birthright is as a human being. What my lifeforce needs to reignite.
Of course, there is more to this work. Always and ever.
But I’d love to hear how you work with the pentacles, if you do. Or what is calling to you if you have just stumbled into this.
(And for folks in the Seattle area, I’m co-facilitating a class on Iron Pentacle in January 2023.)