Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Athame in Wiccan Practice

The athame has been used in ritual and ceremony for many thousands of years, and for many different purposes. In Wicca, it isn't generally used for physical cutting. Instead, its primary purpose is to direct the energies raised during rituals and spells.

The athame is not usually used for invocation, since it is an instrument of command and power, and it is far more prudent to ask that the divine be present, rather than command it.

The Physical Appearance of the Athame

The blade of the athame is usually dulled, and double-edged. Some say that the handle of the athame must be black, and though there may be some small advantage to this; if a Wiccan practitioner doesn't like a blade with a black handle, it's believed that that slight advantage is lost.

Since black does absorb power, some of the energy directed with the blade is absorbed into the handle. However, this amount is so small as to be lost unless there is a strong connection to the athame being used. So, instead of choosing an athame because of the color of the handle, the choice should be based made based upon personal preference. Some traditions do require a blade of a particular color and style, and this should be taken into account when choosing an athame.

The blade itself, as well as the handle, can really be made of any material desired. Recently, pewter athames have become quite popular, but the traditional steel blade with a wooden handle is still the most common.

Some Wiccans like to engrave their athames with magickal symbols, sigils, or runes, but his is hardly necessary. Like all magickal tools, it gains power through usage. Personal engraving kits to add symbols to an athame can be purchased, if so desired, but are not necessary, unless the tradition practiced requires it.

The Symbolism of the Athame

The athame is connected to the element of air for most Wiccans, and so to the east. The blade is often seen as representing intelligence and learning, though some connect it to the warrior of the south instead. Just as with the wand, use the correspondence that works for you. Either way, it is connected to the God, due to its phallic nature.

A sword is sometimes used in Wicca, and it has all the properties of an athame. However, the size of a sword makes using it indoors impractical, and transporting is an issue as well. For this reason, most Wiccans prefer an athame. Covens will usually invest in a sword, but individuals usually opt for an athame.

Commonly used throughout the Wiccan world, the athame is a tool of command and authority. As such, it is often used for many ceremonial purposes. A highly personal item, the athame is an integral part of many Wiccan ritual practices.

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