How to make an Athame is a frequently searched topic amongst pagan and Wiccan rituals? This special knife is used to direct the energy in the rituals.
It is also used for the process of casting a circle and is said to be substitute for a magic wand. It is a double-edged dagger and is made by specialists, using machines or even handmade.
This instrument is not used for physical cutting but is only believed to be a symbolic cutting tool.
History of Athame
The special dagger has been used in the Wiccan practice from times immemorial.
It is mentioned in the old texts that the first time this special dagger was mentioned was in the year 1954, in a publication written by Gerald Gardner.
In this particular work, Gerald referred this special dagger as a knife which was used by the witches.
But he did not mention anything about the construction of the particular knife or even the materials which were used in the formation or forging.
He also pointed out the fact that various magical tools that come to the people are second hand because when the tool becomes older, it gains more energy and power.
Jason Mankey said the famous lines:
By the early 1980s information about the special dagger was far more detailed. In 1979’s The Spiral Dance Starhawk links the Athame to the element of Air.
Most Traditional Witches have pretty solid expectations of just how an Athame should look.
In those types of the circle, the Athame is usually a double-sided blade with a black wooden handle.
In some of the traditions or practices, various guidelines are present for the exact length which a blade or dagger should have and also about the material from which it should be forged and so on.
But, as such no standard length of the blade is considered or universally accepted. But people like to keep this particular length shorter if they want to practice a tight circle.
This is because if the length is shorter than the chances of stabbing or hurting the other coven mates who are present during this ritual are reduced to a great extent.
Symbolism and Folklore
Many people associate the special dagger of Athame with principle of masculinity and also with the element of fire. The same comparison was drawn by the great Gerald Gardner, where he associated the magic wand with the air.
Some other traditions draw similarities between this special knife and air where they say that this special knife represents the air and the magic wand represents the fire.
People also believe that these particular knives are symbolism of witches.
It is considered to be the most important ritual tool in the Wiccan and pagan rituals. It is always purified and consecrated to the Gods before it is used for magical spells or rituals.
Techniques for Making Athame
Various techniques are present in the world using which the Wiccan and the pagan religion people can easily make their personal and customized special dagger.
Depending upon the level of skill set which a person possesses with the forging and metalwork, he or she can construct a simple or complex special dagger for themselves.
Various websites are present on the internet which give step by step instructions on how to make an Athame. These websites have various options of choice to make the dagger, which vary in skill level.
The famous author Raymond Buckland, who has written the book complete book of witchcraft, has suggested that the method of getting a piece of pristine and untampered good quality steel.
This is available at various hardware stores and then cutting and forging it into the shape of the desired blade is the best option.
He also suggested another option which is that one can purchase a steel rifle, which has a length longer than the length of the blade, which the individual wants.
Then cutting it down and forging it into the preferred shape with the help of a hacksaw.
When the steel is heated in a fire, it becomes soft so that it can be worked upon or forged into the desired shape.
It should also be kept in the mind by the people who are not sure about working with the fire and tempered steel that the option of purchasing a pre-made blade from the market is always open for them.
These blades can be easily found at various weapons or knife outlets and can also be ordered from online E-Commerce websites.
Some people bypass this particular process and find an existing knife and then just remove the existing handle and replace it with a new handle of their choice.
So the conclusion is that various methods can be chosen by the person for the construction of this special dagger.
Read | Why God Punish the Snake for Telling the Truth to Adam and Eve?
But, the method which a person chooses for the blade is based upon the skill level and different requirements of the tradition.
It should also be remembered by the person that the handle is a matter of personal preference and can be customised according to the tradition.
People who are following the wiccan tradition, prefer a black handle for this special dagger.
They use wooden black pieces, which perfectly matches with the blades and space is chiselled out between them.
For giving the final finishing to the handle, one can paint on it or can even carve a design out of it.
Some people also choose to wrap the handle with leather coating, which gives it a better royal and rustic look. Some people also like to emboss their names on the dagger.
Historical Parallels of Athame
Many parallels are drawn between the special dagger and some other similar instruments present in the world.
The most famous historical parallels are listed below:
- The Zoroastrian priests were known as Magi and were known to have used a traditional knife which is known by the name of Kepler.
- They are also famous for using a spear which is a wooden or metallic stick with a nail fitted on one end.
- All these instruments are used by them to draw ritual which is known as crusher and is used for protecting the sacred ritual space from the evil and ritual pollution of the world.
- The Roman Secespita was considered to be a ritual knife that was used in the earlier times for sacrifice.
- The Javanese Kris was a ritual life that is regarded as having tremendous magical powers. Gerald Gardner was considered to be the recognized authority for this knife before his involvement in the segment of Wicca.
- The Tibetan ceremonial knife, which is a three-sided knife is known as the magical dagger by the people. It is also famous by the name of Phurba.
Uses of Athame
The main use of this special dagger is to provide the right direction to the psychic energy and also to not harm any person or living creature.
Many magical practitioners present nowadays are believed to use this special dagger for cutting the herbs. The main use of this particular knife is for drawing the outer boundary of the magic circle which is also known as casting the circle.
It is done either with the rituals sword or an Athame. This particular tradition is considered to be a coven practice.
When the casting process is completed, this special knife is also used to invoke the elemental guardians of the four directions, which are also known as calling the quarters.
This is done by invoking pentagrams at each quarter. This is considered to be a very important traditional practice which is completed with the help of a double-edged knife or dagger.
The special dagger, black-handled Athame is often used with the combination of Chalice for completing the masculine principle.
It is also used as a symbol of the feminine principle and for evoking the act of procreation. It is also considered to be a universal symbol of creativity and the symbolic representation of the magical element of Fire.
Substitutes of Athame
If the special dagger is not available, then various other substitutes can be used by the Wiccan or pagan people. If a person does not want to make his or her dagger, then they can go for a substitute for the same.
Many people use a simple kitchen knife or even a letter opener as a substitute for this special dagger. People also prefer using a clay modelling tool for the same.
But it should be kept in the mind that whatever substitute the people are using, it should have edges on both sides.
Another thing which should be kept in the mind by the user is that whatever they opt to work with, they should use only for magical purposes and should not put the particular knife back into the original place as it has been used for spell work or rituals.
Points to Remember
Some interesting and key points to remember while talking about the special dagger are listed below:
1. This particular dagger can either be purchased or could also be made, but certain special skills are required for the same. The user can also customize it according to his or her needs if he or she is not able to forge one of its own.
2. This special dagger is used for ceremonial cutting and also for the important ritual of giving the right direction to the energy. It is not used for any sort of physical cutting.
3. A person can make his or her Athame if they have access to the forge and have good quality steel with them. But the individual should always remain careful while forging the hot steel to avoid any accident or burns caused by the hot temperature.
How to make Athame is a basic question searched by the people of Wiccan or pagan religions. This special dagger is used to divert the energy on the right path.
In this article, we have tried to cover the different techniques of making the dagger along with the significance, history, and other uses of this special magical Pagan dagger.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can an Athame be made out of wood?
Normally, the dagger is made out of steel, but the handle of the same can be carved out of wood to give attractive designs and shapes to it.
What is a witches dagger called?
In Wicca the boline (also spelled bolline, pr: bow-leen) is a white-handled ritual knife, one of several magical tools used in Wicca, mainly for the cutting of herbs and inscribing candles.
What are the symbols of Wicca?
Many traditions hold a belief in the five classical elements, although they are seen as symbolic as representations of the phases of matter. These five elements are invoked during many magical rituals, notably when consecrating a magic circle. The five elements are air, fire, water, earth, and aether (or spirit).
What does the horned god symbol mean?
The Horned god represents the male part of the religion’s duotheistic theological system, the consort of the female Triple goddess of the Moon or other Mother goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is associated with nature, wilderness, sexuality, hunting, and the life cycle.
How big is a dagger?
The daggers are traditionally between 6 and 18 inches with the larger one moving towards the short sword category, but they were used as a back up last ditch weapon in medieval combat, piercing ability is important if going through Armour.