An Athame is a ceremonial dagger, with a double-edged blade and usually a black handle. It is the main ritual implement or magical tool among several used in the religion of Wicca, and is also used in various other neopagan witchcraft traditions. A black-handled knife called an arthame appears in certain versions of the Key of Solomon, a grimoire originating in the Middle Ages.
On the other hand, the athame stands as one of the four elemental tools in Wicca; traditionally standing for fire, as does the ritual sword. The other three elemental tools are the wand, the pentacle, and the cup or chalice. These four magical tools correspond to four ‘weapons’ of significance in Celtic myth – the sword, the spear, the shield, and the cauldron (and/or grail). The same four ritual tools also appear in the magical practices of the western hermetic tradition, derived from The Golden Dawn; and they appear in tarot decks as the four card suits: swords, cups, wands, and pentacles. The athame is an individual ritual tool, while the sword is more appropriate as a coven tool, or the personal tool of the high priest or high priestess. There are obvious risks associated with an entire group of people all wielding swords, while confined within a small ritual circle space nine feet in diameter; this safety factor, as well as ease of use, may explain why the emphasis within Wicca is more on each witch’s personal athame, rather than the ritual sword.
An athame can take many forms. It usually has a double-edged blade with a sharp point, and a handle which is often black. The athame’s primary use is to channel and direct psychic energy, generally conceived as etheric fire. The ritual drawing of the boundary of the Magic circle – also known as “casting the circle”. In most traditional covens, the athame is associated with the magical element of fire, so the circle is considered to be cast in etheric fire. When the circle is ritually purified after being cast, that is traditionally done with the remaining three elements – air (incense), water (salt-water), and earth (salt) – because the element of fire has already been imbued into the circle during the casting, by the use of the athame.
The Lost Bearded White Brother
Leave a Reply