The Athame is mentioned in the writings of Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Gerald claimed to have been
initiated into a surviving tradition of the witchcraft called Wicca. The athame was their most important ritual
tool, which had many uses, but was not to be used for actual physical cutting. There has been much
speculation that Gerald's interest and expertise in antique swords and knives may have contributed to the
tool's central importance in modern Wicca.
The Athame's primary use is to direct energy; if things such as herbs or cords need to be cut, another knife
called a boline (a white-handled knife) is used. An Athame is also employed to in the demarcation of the Magic
As a masculine principle, it is used in combination with the chalice (feminine principle), evoking the act of
procreation, as a symbol of universal creativity. This is a symbol of the Great Rite in Wiccan rituals. Some
Wiccan traditions do not use ferrous blades, instead preferring alternatives such as copper, bronze or wood.
This is most common amongst traditions that have a particular fondness of the Sidhe, to whom iron is
There are various rituals of consecration for a newly acquired Athame, be it new, or acquired from another
person. Each Wiccan tradition has its own ritual for consecration. It is considered important to never haggle
over the price of any ritual or craft tool. Also, touching another person's Athame without permission is
considered an intrusion of the owner's personal space.
An Athame (ATH-aah-may) is a double-edged dagger, one of
several magical tools used in Witchcraft and other pagan beliefs
and religions such as Wicca for ceremonial or ritual use.
The Athame is double-edged blade made of ferrous metal with a
black handle. Modern tradition dictates that the blade must never
touch blood, however, in olden times a Witches Athame would be
an everyday knife, so as to not draw attention. The Key of
Solomon, a grimoire from the Middle Ages, references a
black-handle knife called an arthame.