Among the many witchy tools a witch needs in her craft, the athame is perhaps one of the most important after the candles which, in my opinion, are fundamental. It is a simple but very important ritual dagger.
Many practitioners even get one even before a wand or a cauldron. It has an important function in rituals and spells, but despite everything, it is not strictly essential. It is a symbol of fire, although in some traditions it is connected to the air. But how can you find the right one for you?
How to choose an athame? Here are 5 tips that will help you
Feel a connection
If you are looking for your athame, do not choose the first one that comes your way, unless it really fascinates you. Keep your eyes peeled in esoteric, new age shops, hunting and fishing shops, antique dealers, and even stationeries! Once you perceive a particular attraction for a certain knife, take it in your hand and evaluate its weight and handle it.
You don’t have to worry if the blade is not sharp, this dagger will never be used for cutting. if you feel comfortable, it is the one!
Does it fit your practice?
The athame has various uses in magical practices, but in no case, as written above, is it used to cut, an action reserved for the stamp or knife with a white handle that can be replaced by a sickle.
The dagger is used to close and open the circle, invoke the protective deities, represent the God when a symbolic ritual is performed, perform initiation rituals, and above all direct magical energy.
The only exception to using this knife is for the witches of the hearth. Witches of this type are dedicated to magic in the home: some of them prepare special foods with which to perform rituals and spells, others consider each meal as a real part of magical practice. For them, the athame, in most cases, is the kitchen knife with which they cut ingredients in the kitchen.
As for you, what do you want your athame to be great for?
Avoid plastic materials
In reality, each athame is unique and during your search, you will have a wide choice. Although it is also called a black-handled knife, it does not necessarily have to be; the handle can be of any color or material.
It is important that it has a blunt blade in iron or steel, stone or crystals, wavy or straight; a wooden, stone, or steel handle, and an average length of 6 inches (about 15cm).
The knife can also be made entirely of bone. Plastic materials should be avoided as they won’t help connect with the energy and, on the contrary, they will block it.
According to some, the legendary sword Excalibur, King Arthur’s source of power, was the first athame in history. Of indestructible steel, only the chosen one could have extracted it from the rock. Based on this tradition, some witches decide to use a sword instead of a dagger.
But if the search for your first athame proves difficult, these words may guide you:
“Lord of light, illuminate my path to the athame. Lead me to my sacred dagger.”
Use these words during morning meditation and then, go out to shop for your athame! It will be attracted by these words and this open and receptive energy!
Choosing the right material
The athame usually has a black handle and should have a double-edged blade even though it should not be used for cutting. It symbolizes the masculine principle (phallus) associated with the air element. In some cases, it can also be associated with fire. Its function is to direct energy and it is raised as a way of greeting.
As a ritual knife, you can choose any that seems good to its owner. Normally, the ritual knife is made of steel, although there are bronze, copper, silver, tin, and wood. It is normally 10 inches (25 cm long) from the base to the tip of the blade and can be made of any metal, although witches or wizards prefer steel to have a high degree of purity.
Silver blades, for example, have an added value since this metal is associated with the moon and the goddess.
- Silver/Moon: Psychic powers, intuition, flow, mysteries of woman, goddess, and collective will
- Copper/Venus: Peace, tranquility, harmony, happiness, the material world, beauty, and wealth
- Tin/Jupiter: Prosperity, expansion, growth, productivity, success, and development
- Iron/Mars: Energy, movement, change of direction, individual will, strength, power, the male god, and mystery
- Gold/Sun: Success, achievement, ultimate knowledge, unity, divine, and universal mysteries
Traditionally, the hilt is black, but some warlocks believe that the magical symbolism of a deer horn or hoof, in its natural color, is an acceptable alternative. We return to Rule One: whatever seems good to each practitioner. However, the grip can be painted black.
Where to buy an athame?
You can easily find it in a cutlery shop, in thrift shops, or pawn markets. Avoid the internet as you cannot feel the energy. Look well, do not throw yourself down if you do not find it or it is not the right one. It will call you at the appropriate time.
Remember, if the price is not within your reach, it’s not a problem; if it is the right one there will be a way to buy it, such as an exchange of goods, payment in installments, help in the shop, or other solutions.
You know best and you will sense when the one is around you. Don’t forget to use a new athame and that, if you bump into a used item, you should cleanse it before using it as some stagnant energy could be attached to the athame and distort your craft.
That’s the reason why it is very important to buy it in a physical store. Often, online, on websites like eBay, you can find athames sold as new, but they are actually old and used, meaning they belonged to another witch. Each witch should have her own athame so find your own, create a great connection, and live your craft in a positive way!