Pagan Blog Project Week 18: I is for exploring the Iron Pentacle.
In English culture (and as an American, English culture is somewhat the “mother” of American culture) “iron” means many things. There are old sayings like one can have iron in their soul. People can have wills of iron. Iron is associated with the Northern territories of England, with will, power, and rebellion. Iron in this way is the standard for how strong our wills, souls, whatever can be. Iron has a folklore all its own outside of these associations. For me, iron is most useful for magical protection but could be easily used for an offensive attack as well as defensive. The fey cannot touch iron, so if you want to work with fairies it’s best not to wear any iron or have iron around. Finally, I find iron is a common element when working with the dead and preparation of food for the dead. However, in this article I will be working with the “ideal” of Iron.
In pagan and magical communities, the Iron Pentacles expresses the ideal of Iron in the Soul. The Iron Pentacle is a mediation tool which originated in the Feri tradition by the Andersons. I have been initiated into the Feri tradition and have taken many meditation classes to work with these concepts, but I am not an expert. I will say that this tradition has been immensely helpful to me in my path. The Iron Pentacle shows the relationship between the elements that make this “iron” in the soul: this strength of character. The points on the pentacle show practitioners the things that need to be balanced to create iron in the soul, which will strengthen us and help us meet the challenges presented in our lives.
Initially, the Iron Pentacle looks dark and disturbing. The points, or elements to balance, within the Iron Pentacle are Sex, Pride, Self, Power, and Passion. These subjects are sometimes taboo in cultures and usually not elements we are taught to nurture in ourselves, except in the way that if we neglect them, we end up with very poor character. So, while one might recoil at the suggestion that “Selfishness” or “Pride” be a virtue, think of what happens when one is completely selfless or lacks any pride in themselves. Generally, people in these situations are unhappy, lead unhappy lives, aren’t good company, and tend to face many difficulties. Why? Well, because a balanced amount of the Iron Pentacle’s elements are important aspects of a happy, healthy psyche. For me, part of the appeal of Paganism was a spirituality that accepted and supported my own mental and spiritual wellbeing.
Exploring the Iron Pentacle can be scary, but I would recommend anyone interesting or even having a hard time figuring things out in their life take a meditation course on it. Facing these necessary life-forces and regaining your balance will make it easier to accept yourself and others for what they are. Once you can meet things as they are, you can use your will to change things to as you’d like them to be; or if you are truly a saint, simply accept things. Regardless, strengthening the iron in our souls is a much-needed activity. I don’t feel qualified to talk more about meditating with the Iron Pentacle but some excellent sources can be found here: Feri Tradition.org