Esoteric Encyclopedia

Esoteric Encyclopedia Entry of the Week: Athame

An Athame is a ceremonial dagger, which commonly has a double-edged blade and black handle.

According to WitchcraftandWitches.com:

“The athame frequently has a steel double-edged blade with a sharp point (although the point may be dulled so as to prevent unintended physical harm during ritual use), and a handle which is often black and which may be inscribed with particular symbols dictated by the tradition, ranging from astrological glyphs to runes to magical symbols indicative of deities, spirits or the elements.

The term “athame” probably derives, via a series of corruptions, from the late Latin “artavus” (a kind of quill knife), which is found in the oldest manuscripts of the medieval grimoire “The Key of Solomon”. A Latin manuscript version of “The Key of Solomon” has a drawing of a knife that looks like a sickle, labelled “artavo”, although the sickle- or crescent-shaped knife is now usually known as the boline.

The athame’s primary use is for ritual and magical purposes only, todirect energy during a ceremony. If things such as herbs orcords need to be actually cut, a boline is normally used. An exception is in the Kitchen Witchcraft philosophy, which actively encourages the use ofmagical tools for mundane purposes to increase the witch’s familiarity with them.”

The video below explains how the Athame is used in ritual and spell casting. To learn more about this tool, click here.

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