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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: athame



A tool used by Witches that combines the functioning of both wand and sword is the athame, or magical knife. It is an all-purpose instrument, used for making the material objects of ritual and also for projecting power. Some Witches even use it in their cooking! They explain that since magic embraces all of life, cooking is an integral part of their Art and this is no profanation.

The magical knife is quite old. In medieval times it was divided into two—a knife with a white hilt, used for all common purposes, and a knife with a black hilt, used for drawing magic circles and compelling spirits. This distinction is still frequently observed by modern Witches. The white and black-hilted knives are in some ways analogous to the wand and sword of high magic.
source: Truth about Ritual Magic, Donald Tyson


Possibly a misspelling of “Arthame” taken from the grimoire known as The Greater Key of Solomon (or perhaps vice versa). The Athame is primarily used by Witches and Wiccans. It is traditionally sharp on both sides and has a black handle. It may have symbols on it.

To many, the Athame is seen as an extension of their ability to direct energy. As such, although sharp, it is not used to cut any physical object. It is only used to direct energy or cut non-physical energy streams. To practitioners who use the Athame in this way, the carving of physical items was done with the knife known as a Boline.Donald Michael Kraig


Beltane Ritual
Setup Items for this ritual include: Two white candles for deities; Four candles for the directions in pastel shades or colors of bright flowers; Chalice; Athame; Sweet juice such as peach nectar; Shelled sunflower seeds on a plate suitable for the ...
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Lughnasadh Ritual
Setup Items needed for this ritual include: Six pieces of fruit, vegetables or a combination placed in a basket near the altar; Chalice; A wand or athame can be used to cast the circle; Honey mead or other honeyed drink such as chamomile tea; ...
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Review of the Wiccan Cards
Summary: The Wiccan Cards invite the user’s intuition and imagination into each quiet image. Each card is a doorway leading to worlds waiting to be explored. By going through these charming and deceptively simple portals, seekers can find answers ...
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Mabon Ritual
Setup Items for this ritual include: Two brown or yellow candles for the altar; Chalice; A basket of apples; enough for the circle boundary (they need not touch each other); Three additional apples; A sharp knife to cut the apples; Several gourds; ...
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Review of The Witches Tarot
Summary: A deck with magnificent art that will specifically appeal to both ceremonial magicians and Witches, Pagans, and Wiccans. It will introduce many people to Kabalistic concepts that are associated with the Tarot. While great for magickal and ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Review of the Wicca Oracle Cards
Summary: The Wicca Oracle Cards invite the user's intuition and imagination into each quiet image. Each card is a doorway leading to worlds waiting to be explored. By going through these charming and deceptively simple portals, seekers can find ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
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