Week 3 of our journey through 44 weeks of Witchery turns our attention to the athame. All the cool religions have a ceremonial dagger
I think we all know what an athame is, and the general purpose of it, so I’m not going to go over that again. Instead, I think I’m going to write a bit about making/decorating your own athame.
Handmade tools are believed to have more inherent power than those that are mass-produced. However, not all of us have the skill to forge our own blades or the available funds to pay someone else to forge a one of a kind athame for you.
This can present a bit of a pickle for those of us who seek to have a corporeal tool in our hands during ritual. Many folks will turn to a wooden, earthenware or ceramic blade for their athame. That just doesn’t work for me, though.
There are other tools that have the energy that calls to a material such as wood or ceramic. For me, the blade needs to be metal. Not necessarily steel; many who work with the fay will not use a material that contains iron, and that’s just fine. Copper and bronze are perfectly valid options if you can find them.
The effort required to make your own tools and hunt down the materials is a devotional work in and of itself. And the athame is definitely not the easiest one to create.
I found a couple of useful tutorials online, and a bunch of places that sell many types of double edged blade blanks. The blade doesn’t need to cost a fortune, either. Prices seem to range from roughly $10 up to well over $100 if you’re in the market for a rare piece or a Damascus blade. The $10 – $20 blades may not be master forged, but they look like a quality steel product for our purposes.
Being mindful of the sort of Craft you practise, and your preferred correspondences can help you to create a truly unique athame. Perhaps a specific type of wood treated in a specific manner would serve your magic better than a handle made of bone or antler. Rope, ceramic, glass or any other material that has special meaning to you can be fashioned into an athame handle.
Once the knife is put together, any number of other decorating techniques can be used to further personalize your athame. Add stones, shells, runes, inscriptions or whatever else you think is needed to make it truly one of a kind.
When you finally have your athame completed, cleanse, consecrate and it’s ready to cut the veil between worlds.
*There is some debate within the community on the subjects of sharpening/blooding your athame. I have always believed that you need to do what you feel is the right thing. Consecration methods are highly personal. If your tool demands blood to bind it to you, then so be it.*