Also known as a Shield or Tile
As a caster of real spells, an important and sometimes over looked magick tool is the Plate. The Plate also known as the pentacle, shield or tile, is a magickal tool of the element, earth. It is associated with the direction of North. The primary use of the Plate is protection and shielding for tarot reading, scrying and other forms of divination. It is also used for healing and broadcasting certain earth energies into your environment.
Traditionally, the Plate is a flat disk made from earth materials like metal, wood, stone, clay, porcelain or glass. The Plate is usually placed on the altar or hung over the door and windows. Plates may also be used as a place to put other charged or ritually consecrated magickal items.
Depending on the material you use for your plate will determine how you decorate it. The most common decoration for the plate is a pentagram, or 5 pointed star. However, I have seen many other designs as well. It really depends on what earth energy symbol connects best with the spell caster. You can carve it, paint it or even glue other materials to create the design. Be careful with glue if you are using the Plate to burn incense or other herbs on it. It is advisable to trace your design on the Plate first either with a pencil or print the design and use carbon paper.
For those who use wood for their material, you can use paint or a wood-burning pen to make your design. If you have burned your design on the plate, sand the surface. If you use paint, then green, brown or black are primary earth colors. Once you have finished with the design, brush or spray a few coats of polyurethane varnish over the surface to protect it and give it a shine. It is best to use non-flammable, preferably earth friendly polyurethane varnish especially if you plan to burn anything on your Plate. If you are concerned that your Plate could scratch or mark the surface of your altar, you cut a piece of felt and glue to the bottom.
You can also purchase a Plate. There is a large selection available on-line or in metaphysical stores. eRealSpells.com has an aStore with a nice selection ofPlates, pentacles and tiles for you to choose.