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How Horror Movies Show a Misleading Version of Pagan Symbols

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

A few weeks ago my mom and I decided to have a movie night. We ended up choosing The Pope’s Exorcist as it was something we’ve been wanting to see for a while. There was a scene in the movie where starring actor, Russell Crowe, was in the basement of a haunted abbey trying to expel a demon from the property, when two pentagrams were displayed on the pillars on either side of him. The pentagrams presumably represented a kind of evil in the movie as the plot of the movie was to exercise the demon, Asmodeus, that lingered on the property. The use of pentagrams in horror movies to symbolize evil creates a misconception of those who use them in their practice whether it be pagans or practicing witches. I noticed a pattern-that pentagrams are always thought of as inherently evil, but no one explains exactly why. It’s just assumed they are because in horror movies they are seen as anti-Christian or anti-Christ.

History of the Pentagram

 As a practitioner of witchcraft, it is well known in the community that the pentagram is the exact opposite of evil or demonic. The pentagram is meant to shield against evil and each point on the star represents a different element (spirit, earth, air, water, and fire). It is a symbol that is recognized by wiccans and witches as a sign of protection. The pentagram has many different religious and cultural affiliations, and even at one point was the symbol of the Catholic Church. During the Inquisition, anything related to paganism, which includes the pentagram, was considered to be evil and represent the devil. 

Why so Misunderstood?

So, why is it so bad that it is misinterpreted in the media? The demonization of Wiccan symbols ignores the religious and cultural traditions that date back thousands of years. The pentagram only started to be seen as evil when it was adopted by the Church of Satan in the 1960’s. Ever since then, the media has made it out to be a symbol of evil, without presenting the deep history behind it. It’s harmful to anyone who uses the pentagram in their practice whether religiously affiliated or not. It creates a false narrative on paganism and witchcraft and enforces the idea that anything other than the Abrahamic Religions is taboo. 

As a practicing witch I can confirm the pentagram is not evil. It does not represent the devil, satan, or any demonic being. It’s beautiful and should be celebrated the way it was intended to be.

Hi, I'm Aria! I'm a marketing major with a communications & media studies minor at Emmanuel College. My dream career path is to enter product development within the beauty industry. In my free time I enjoy singing, drawing, and reading tarot. I am very passionate about feminism, politics, and social justice issues.