An athame is traditionally a double-bladed knife with a black handle. Very
few people make their own, although it is possible to do so. Most people
obtain one and personalize it in some way. This is most commonly done by
inscribing symbols or runes on it. In some traditions specific symbols are
required and have been handed down through their lineage. In others and among
ecclectic Wicca groups, these can be personal.
How do you do this? You cover the blade with Parrafin. (WAX) Then you let it
cool. Next you take a LONG sharp NAIL and inscribe the symbols in the wax.
Then you use dilute Hydrochloric acid - careful, this stuff is dangerous, and
drop by drop place on the blade where it shows through due to your
inscriptions. When the acid has worked - usually fairly quickly - you rinse
the blade under running water THOROUGHLY and then you use VERY hot water and a
lot of elbow grease to remove the wax.
If ANY ACID FALLS ON THE SKIN RINSE THOROUGHLY UNDER COLD WATER IMMEDIATELY
and if there is a burn of any type, seek immediate medical help. IF it gets
in the eyes, again rinse immediately and completely and CALL THE EMT/PARAMEDIC
UNITS. It is best when doing this if you wear either some type of glasses or
goggles and rubber gloves.
DO NOT INGEST THE ACID OR LEAVE IT WHERE IT COULD BE INGESTED BY A CHILD OR
ANIMAL. Also be careful of how you dispose of the rest of it - do so in an
environmentally SAFE way.
This sounded like a little too much for me, so I tried another method. Koren
made a beautiful athame for me and I personalized it by putting herbs of my
choice in the handle and sealing this with a favorite crystal of mine - again
with his help.
Oh, if you absolutely can't get a double-bladed knife - in Massechusetts, for
example, possesion of such a weapon is a CRIME - get a single-bladed knife and
grind down the other edge as much as you can.
As I said, the Athame is USUALLY black-handled, but there are exceptions - I
saw one Lady use a knife with a deer's hoof for the handle. She was oriented
toward her Native American heritage as much as her Craft, so it had deep
significance for her. I also saw - in fact a friend of mine was selling it -
a BEAUTIFUL homemade athame with copper tubing forming a cross hilt and
crystals in each of the three tips for the handle. (this was almost a small
sword) AS ALWAYS USE WHAT SPEAKS TO YOUR OWN SOUL!!!!!
The athame is usully NOT used in circle for anything other than ritual and
ceremonial purposed. If you need to inscribe a candle for Magick or slice the
bread for the cakes and wine part of the rite, you usually use a BOLINE or
white - handled knife, often a small dagger or even a pen-knife, set aside for