What is an Athame?

What is an Athame?

For those unfamiliar to the craft, a witches athame might just look like a fancy dagger - others might be annoyed that it can't cut anything, but to people who practice wiccan rituals, it is an important altar essential.

That's not a knife - this is a knife

an image of bart and lisa from the simpsons looking at a crocodile dundee style character. he is holding an athame

(I wonder how long til someone in the Tragic Beautiful team notices I snuck a Simpsons reference in..)

For those unfamiliar to the craft, a witches athame might just look like a fancy dagger - others might be annoyed that it can't cut anything, but to people who practice wiccan rituals, it is an important altar essential.

Read along as we answer everyone's top questions about athames (and yes, the plural for athame is in fact, athames).

What is an athame?

An athame can be defined as a ceremonial double-edged dagger or knife that is commonly used in various pagan and Wiccan rituals. It is a symbolic tool rather than a practical one, often representing the element of air or fire in ritualistic practices (so don't bother trying to cut up your dinner with it). The athame is typically associated with the practitioner's personal power, and its use may vary among different traditions and individuals.

The Wiccan athame is not used for physical cutting or slicing, but rather for directing energy during rituals, casting circles, and other magickal workings. It is considered a sacred tool and is often used in combination with other ritual items and Pagan tools such as wands, chalices, and pentacles.

Four black athames: each has a different crystal in the handle, the crystals are labradorite, smoky quartz, and amethyst. the background is white and has various colourful herbs sprinkled on it

Traditionally, the athame has a black handle and a double-edged blade, though this day and age, an athame can be as simple or as aesthetically pleasing as you want it to be. Some athames feature crystals, such as our range of crystal athames found here which include smoky quartz athames, amethyst amethes, obsidian athames and more. We also have acrylic ceremonial athames for those who desire a more minimalist altar. 

The most important thing is to choose an athame that speaks to you - take your time and let your intuition guide you to your perfect fit.

image of two acrylic ceremonial athames, the background features various herbs and two cleansing wands

It is important to note that the specific symbolism and use of the athame can differ among different pagan and Wiccan traditions.

How do you pronounce athame?

The real reason everyone is at this blog - I think.

Athame is one of those words many avoid saying because they don't want to say it wrong (see also: Samhain) - I know I personally spent a solid chunk of time avoiding saying until I heard someone else say it.

So, *drumroll*

The pronunciation of "athame" can vary, but a common pronunciation is "uh-THAH-may." The emphasis is often placed on the second syllable. However, it's worth noting that different individuals and traditions may have slightly different pronunciations!

an image of an aluminium athame with a pentacle on the blade. the white background features herbs such as rose buds sprinkled on it

How to make an athame

If you're new to witchcraft and don't want to invest in an athame yet, we got you!

You'll need a few elements:

  • A blade (something like a letter opener is optimal)
  • Something to use as a handle or to wrap around the pre-existing handle, such as wood or leather
  • Glue (to affix the blade to the handle)
  • Decorative elements (paint, gemstones, flowers)

Next, blunt the blade and make sure it is safe for ceremonial use. Carve the handle or wrap around the covering and secure it with glue. Add personal touches - if you are a green witch, you could decorate your athame with flowers & leaves, a sea witch could use shells, 

How do I use an athame?

It is super important to recognise that 

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