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Ritual Daggers/Knives

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca,alt.witchcraft,alt.occult.methods,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: lorax666 
Subject: Ritual Daggers/Knives ('Athames')
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 11:37:08 GMT

50031227 vii om 333am

Daven :
#> I don't understand the debate between having a Sharp Athame 
#> and having a Dull Athame.

it is only a debate amongst those who use the same ritual tools.

beyond this, cult requirements for purpose of instruction and
initiation are conducive to conformist temperance (once you are 
through with your instruction, do what the fuck you want, and 
thenceforth know what is considered 'traditional' form). 
some orders or covens are stricter than others.

#> I know that Gardnerism demands a dull one, 

I'm sure Ive known Gardnerians with sharp-edged blades.

#> but what are the essential points on both sides of this problem?

utility and magical symbolism. (Baird Stafford):
# Dull athame: 1) the symbolism is enough to work Magically; 2) dull
# athames stand little chance of cutting other coveners by accident in
# Circle.  Remember that Gardnerian Wicca prefers covens to solitary
# practice.

wonderfully-put. I may have been influenced by Gardnerians toward 
the dull. some nonetheless class the athame with the ceremonial 
dagger or sword, and I've seen Wiccans use single, sometimes 
double-edged athames in their rites. these were often marked in 
a specific and traditional way, sometimes reserved for covenwork, 
as esbats (lunar, feminine, secret, especially personal rites), 
or specific rituals (weddings, some sabbats, etc.). I've heard 
witches claim that an edge *was* necessary since drawn blood 
was always some part of their rite, a blade's sharpness the 
best guard from scars, or as part of the blade's initiation.

Ritual Use

the primary use I recall for Wiccan rites was the Great Rite
and quite often for making and concluding Circles.

magical purposes for my athame I can recall include (combining 
uses of blade and wand): 
	-- causing change at distance (POINTING)
	-- exertion of force at a point (PIERCING)
	-- effecting a lateral slice (SEVERING)
	-- mixing within a narrow jar (STIRRING)
	-- leveraging against a weight (PRYING)
and I've seen blades used by others for most of these in spells.

duller duties have included: stirring or serving incense unto 
the brazier, maneuver of heated metals such as the top of the 
Thurible (whose proximity to the charcoal makes it unhandleable), 
digging wax out of candle-holders, opening paper and plastic 
packaging, and stirring coals or clearing ash. within my worship 
most often I use my athame as a lever within which to prop 
incense (its oval empty handle and angle of bend ideal for 
this use on the Kali's altar).

one of my oldest ceremonial and magical tools, a letter-opener, 
still unnamed, after more than a decade of use within clerical
environs and at least that many more ritual use.

 Dimensions and Levered Use -- Diagram A 

   | < ----------------- my hand span  8" -------------------> |

     .-----------------------------/  ______________________  \
    i <================---------------------< (slot 2" long) > |
     `-----------------------------\  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  /
   |                                |         my             |
   |                                | <-- index finger ----> | 
   |                                |       length  3"       |


       u  s         r
    t   ~      r   ~  o
  o   ~    ~ o  ~     ~ s e     
l  ~          ~          ~ \ 
 ~                           \                      
                                 \ <-- incense stick (The Mother's!)
point                                \
|                                      \
|                                    ------------------------- <-- handle
|  athame resting on altar edge --> /     \   4-----------------h
E> --------------------------------/        \  |                |
______________________________________________\| <-- inner altar|table edge
                ALTAR (SQUARE WOOD TABLE WITH LEDGE)            |

Symbolism and Overall Markings

the symbolism of each seems to hinge on the form of the tool. 
its edge is often associated with discursive thought. compare 
tarot suit of swords. as spades, this is attributed to elemental
qualities of Air, and to Metal, and Earth (even at times to Fire).
its Martial qualities seem in part dependent upon the size and 
use (swords selected for the most aggressive or solemn rites).

an association with Air might thus be given it, though Fire and 
Earth seem as associated by virtue of this ceremonial purpose.
I'm fond of cinquential symbolism after the Taoists, arguably 
more compatably natural as it includes Wood, a value evident 
to the Faere. that these blades are of Metal may predispose 
such an elemental association. my own athame is steel, as 
yet unscribed, I'm considering inscriptions, but its crafted 
markings are already lovely and simple. their oval and arrow 
characteristics resonate to numerically Venusian and Babalonian 
harmonics (septenary and quartononic in character). 

directing intended energies to their destinations is my usual
ritual application, more an implement of ceremonial initiation 
(as part of censing) or delivering a blow (as part of a curse,
for example) or selection (insertion 'tween pages of a tome or
deck of cards).
Satanic Wiccans may use them for blood pacts and sign with stylus
or quill, preferrably both one's own signature and that of the
demon, if it is available. jagged edges, wavy blades, and those
ornamented with skulls and snakes are common in arcane shops,
so I presume these are valued at least as part of solitary rites.
danger and gravity are sometimes conveyed by such blades ritually,
their menace as much an addition to the rite (intensity of emotion
if not active guardianship or inversion-sanctity) as their function.

the most exalted and renowned athames are probably named, famous
within traditions of their implementation, and cherished of use.
a goodly number presume sentience of the ritual weapon, and may
issue it communications; orders; requests; or words of power;
ask for its power, blessing, or essential unity with some god.


always within my Circle, I don't need to cut one out, slicing
out sacred space. the athames I've seen used for such things
were often edged and sharp. their symbolism being incision,
and the severing aspect of reason, self-awareness, rationality.

when using edged ritual blades, I cut my skin for blood, which 
is forbidden by some witches, who must wash, perhaps even 
dispose of their athames if blood is accidentally drawn.

subsuming what could be considered a Martian magical weapon 
to strongly Venusian symbolism and humble ritual purpose with 
infrequent deadly aim (as to thieves), my athame reflects a 
practice of passion placed in service to the least harmful, 
a focus on the mundane (terracentric). its residence within 
the cremation grounds on Kali's altar brings its purpose into 
clearer context. the Mad Mother Kali's martial and geburic 
qualities are known by devotees in their maternal, protective 
modes, and my worship of Her includes a reassuring, appeasing 
quality suitable for ritually serving the Queen of Demons.
blessed beast!

right now my athame has fudge all over it.
I suppose this might imply XI' workings. :>

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