An athame or athamé is a ceremonial blade, generally with a black handle. It is the main ritual implement or magical tool among several used in ceremonial magick traditions, and by other neopagans, witchcraft, as well as satanic traditions. A black-handled knife called an athame appears in certain versions of the Key of Solomon, a grimoire originating in the Middle Ages.
The proper use of the tool was started by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in the early 20th century, for the use of banishing rituals. The tool was later adopted by Wiccans, Thelemites and Satanists.
The athame is also mentioned in the writings of Gerald Gardner in the 1950s, who claimed to have been initiated into a surviving tradition of Witchcraft, the New Forest Coven. The athame was their most important ritual tool, with many uses, but was not to be used for actual physical cutting.
There has been speculation that Gardner's interest and expertise in antique swords and knives, and in particular the kris knives of Malaysia and Indonesia, may have contributed to the tool's central importance in modern Wicca.
On the other hand, the athame stands as one of the four elemental tools in modern occultism, traditionally standing for fire, for witches, and air, for ceremonial magicians. (From the known origins of Wicca, with Gardner's own Book of Shadows, the athame represents fire; where the wand corresponds to air. Other varieties of Wiccan practice may switch those two around.) The other three elemental tools are the wand, the pentacle, and the cup or chalice. These four magical tools correspond to four "weapons" of significance in Celtic myth—the sword, the spear, the shield, and the cauldron (and/or grail). The same four ritual tools also appear in the magical practices of the western hermetic tradition, derived from The Golden Dawn, who pioneered the modern occult tradition and new age spirituality; and they appear in tarot decks as the four card suits: swords, cups, wands, and pentacles. The athame is an elemental tool, while the sword is often a tool representing power, used to keep Spirits in check during goetic Evocation. Wiccans sometimes use the sword as a substitute for the athame, as neopagan traditions do not believe in evocation.
|This article uses material from the Wikipedia article [Athame], which is released under the [Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0].|