An athame is a double-edged ritual dagger with a black handle. The blade is made out of steel or iron, usually the length of 12-15cm. The athame’s handle is usually made out of wood, but sometimes other components are used such as animal horns, gold, silver or metal. The athame is used by witches and sorcerers for ceremonial purposes, such as drawing a circle, to control magical energies during rituals, to bless cakes and wine, to control entities within a circle and so on. It is said that the power of an athame grows each time it is used. Practically all traditions associate athames with fire and sometimes with air. Some traditions use a sword instead of an athame.
Magical symbols and characters can be applied on the athame’s blade and handle. Many witches make their own athames or personalize bought athames with runes, carvings and other symbols, all of which help connect the power of the instrument with the practitioner’s own magical intentions. The athame must be cleaned before using, as with other magical instruments. It must never be used to cut anything, and must be used only for your own ceremonies and rituals.
Many witches have one or more ritual athames at their disposal. It is a personal instrument, and as such should be carefully picked. The athame needs to easily and comfortably sit in the user’s hand. The handle itself stores some energy from the rituals you perform with the athame. The handle of the athame should be big enough so that your hand won’t touch the blade.