The Paton or Altar pentacle is usually a disk or plate of metal or wood inscribed with the five pointed star in a circle. It is used on the altar to hold the tools needed for the ceremony, It is also used to consecrate various other tools and as a focal point of concentration for magickal workings. It is associated with the Female North and the element of Earth. Some Pagans use a paton when calling in the elements as well.
Patons (sometimes "peytons" or "patens") today are sometimes made of glass or ceramic materials. In some references, it is stated that patons 'during the witch hunts" were only made from disposable materials so that evidence of your beliefs could be quickly burned should the authorities come knocking at your door! (since there is no actual eveidence to support this theory, and we are no longer luiving during the times of the witch trials, there is no reason you can not make a Paton from anyy material you desire. However wax is a nice material to make one from should you desire)
There are many absolutely beautiful patons available commercially, made of wood, tile, metal, ceramic, and just about every other type of material. If you're operating on a budget, or if you just like the idea of handcrafting your own magical tools, it's not hard to make a paton of your own.
Paton Creation Method 1.
- You'll need a wooden disc in the size of your choice, available at nearly any hardware or craft store. (if you know someone handy with a jigsaw and a router you may be able to get one made from a wood of your choice).
- You'll also need to decide whether you want to paint your pattern, or burn it into the wood. The one in the photo is burned on, using a woodburning pen that I bought for $7.00 at a hardwarestore.
- Finally, you'll need some clear polyeurethane and a brush or I prefer some natural bees wax polish to give the wood a lovely shine.
- Carbon Paper and pencil to trace design onto wood
- First, if your not very creative you may wish to print out an image from the internet. Use a copy machine with resizing capabilities to either enlarge or shrink the image, depending on the size of your wooden disc. Once you have it the size you want, place it on top of the wooden disc.
- Using a pencil, trace over the outline of the pattern, pressing down so that you make an indentation in the wood (or if using a hard wood you can use carbon paper). Once the design is indented, use the pencil to go back over the indents, making a complete pencilled pattern on the wood.
- f you're painting, use your paints to go over the pencil lines. If you're using a woodburning pen, carefully trace over the lines (depending on how experienced you are with woodburning, it may take a couple of hours - and I suggest a lot of practice on spare wood before attempting to burn your image, woodburing pens can be difficult to hold if you don't have experience using them).
- When you're done, you may choose to brush a few coats of polyeurethane over the design to give it some shine and to protect it from wear. (personally I try not to use sealers on my magickal items and much prefer the use of natural bees wax)
- If you choose, you may use a small drill bit to make a hole in the center for incense sticks.
- Finally, if you're concerned that your paton might scratch your altar top, you can cut out a circle of felt the same size as the wooden disc, and glue it to the bottom of the wood.
- Use your paton on your altar or alternately, you could attach a hook to the back and hang it on your wall.
Paton Creation Method 2.
This is a LOT harder than the first method however it is more traditional. You will be making a mould into which you can pour wax, to give you a traditional wax paton.
- Buy some oven bake ploymere clay.
- Make a disc you wish to be the size of your altar pentacle but slightly larger
- Make a raised design in reverse on your clay disc (remember this is the mould and the final product will be reversed) this will created an imprint on your finished paton (or you can choose to make a thicker disc and inscribe onto it, so your paton will have a rasied design). Take your time doing this as the better your mould the better your finished product will be!
- Build up a edge around the disc to the depth you wish your finished paton to be, and then a little higher, this will be to hold the melted wax (you may choose to creat a carboard edge so that removal of the finished paton is easier - sometimes with a clay edge they break, and sometimes with a cardboar edge they leak...try both methods and see which works best for you)
- Bake according to sinstructions on packet.
- Next melt some wax over a double boiler (do not try to melt wax directly over the heat, it will burn and make a huge, hard to clean, mess)
- lightly oil your mould then pour wax into mould you have created
- allow wax to completely cool (dont get over enthusiastic and try to remove before it's completely dry or it will break...trust me I know from experience lol)
- When completely dry carefully remove wax from mould and using a knife smooth out any areas that are rough or deeper incribe your markings.
- Consecrate and charge your paton.
The great part about this is you can always make a few and have them as back ups for different rituals...if you use coloured wax you can make different ones for different purposes (ie a blue one for healing)