There are several symbols of importance to Wiccans, and the specific role of each symbol varies by tradition and sometimes gender. Two symbols, the pentacle and the triple moon, are common to almost all traditions and to both sexes.
Pentacle, the Five-Pointed Star
The pentacle is universally associated with witchcraft in Western society, and it is the most misunderstood of all the Pagan symbols, with the possible exception of the Norse swastika, to be discussed in Chapter 9. A pentacle, quite simply, is a five-pointed star with a circle around it. Often, you will see pentacles with the arms interwoven at the cross-points.
It is most common for Wiccans to use pentacles with the point at the top as a symbol of protection. It also serves as a symbol of Wiccan faith, much like a Christian cross may represent Christian faith. An inverted pentacle is used by some darker paths, but it is also used by some Wiccan traditions, such as Gardnerian, to imply that an initiate has achieved the second degree (or level) in their training.
A pentagram is defined as a five-pointed star. Its geometric shape has no magical significance until you consecrate it as a piece of jewelry or for magical work.
Wiccans do not use the pentacle to symbolize Satan. The five points of the pentacle symbolize the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. The circle symbolizes the cycle of life. In another interpretation, the five points symbolize the five stages of life: birth, childhood, adulthood, old age, death.
Pentacles are commonly worn as jewelry, or tattooed on the body. They are also drawn in the air or carved onto candles during rituals and spellwork. Flat disk versions of the pentacle suitable for setting on an altar are available. Some practitioners set their spell materials on top of the pentacle during magic. A pentacle can be made out of any material, but if it's intended to support a hot object like a cauldron, a ceramic one would work best.
The triple moon is a circle with opposing crescent moons on either side. It is a goddess symbol, as well as a lunar symbol. When used to represent the goddess, it is a depiction of her three phases: mother, maiden, and crone. It is also a symbol of the phases of the moon: waxing, full, waning, and new (dark). Women more commonly use the triple moon, but men wishing to establish a deeper connection with the goddess find this symbol useful as well.