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Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:54 pm
by Dark Waters
I was flipping through some of my reference books and came across a statement that I had an issue with when I first started practicing and still do. So I thought I would throw it open for discussion here and see what came of it.

The books say in most cases the Athame is never supposed to draw blood. It is a spirit knife meant to "cut" energy lines or as a focus to project. As such most wiccans will deliberately dull the edges and point of the blade to prevent it from being able to physically cut and thereby be desecrated.

To me, that is just wrong. I believe that it is an insult to the spirit of the blade to purposely dull it. I like paganism and wicca because they are faiths of responsibility. The practicioner responsible for actions and intents with no spiritual "get out of jail free" card. Therefore it is also our responsibility to keep the blades well maintained, and our responsibility to keep them from cutting. Anyway that is my little rant for now.

Just FYI, my athame is named "Jester's Wit" with I thought is appropriate as I always look for the humor, no matter how crude, in every day. And the Jesters of old used that humorous wit to figuratively cut into everyone from king to peasant. I'll see if I can find a pic of a similar blade to post.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:41 am
by Kystar
As I do not use an altar setup, and therefore do not have an athame as such, I don't really have an opinion. I don't do rituals that follow the procedure of most books.

However, I do have a dagger in my tools was my dress up dagger for my old LARP, so it's the prettiest knife I own...but it was dubbed a "Working knife" in my youth, so I instinctively keep it sharp. I use it for things that would need scissors in my workings, as I feel a knife is a little more traditional.

Here's a bit of a counter, though. From my LARP days, I learned that not everyone knows the proper way to handle swords and daggers. Wouldn't it be the responsibility of the person who owns the Athame to make sure that someone ELSE doesn't get a hold of it and accidentally cut themselves? If they don't have a place to keep it locked up, that responsibility would translate to making it a representation of its purpose without making it something - blunt the blade so it retains its metaphysical purpose but looses its physical purpose.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:57 am
by Kitsune
I can understand assuming responsibility for it, but honestly, if an idiot is looking for a knife to stab somebody with "dulling" the blades isn't going to stop them from using it.

Personally, I have an athame, but I don't use it the same way Wiccans do in ritual. For me, my blade is my life and I carry it with me everywhere. I use it for everything I need to cut, whether it be meat at lunch time, or ritual herbs that I've wildcrafted, or the lines of energy in a spell. To me, keeping it dull is disrespectful to it's purpose. To me, my athame is a tool, an extension of me. And I believe that a dull knife can not be used for defense, anymore than it can for attack.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:36 pm
by Kystar
I didn't mean looking to stab someone, I meant the idiot who thinks b/c he watched a YouTube video he now knows how to juggle daggers and wants to show off for someone!

I don't think an athame works dulled, personally, but I understand how "display" and "theatre" blades should be dulled. I have some swords that were never given an edge b/c they're "acting" blades or "showpiece" blades. I have other blades that are "active" blades, and those are maintained at their proper edge point. After all, a dull blade doesn't cut, it tears; so it's actually safer to have sharp knives. At least that's a clean cut that can be stitched together.

A ritual knife should be properly honed, if possible. I've seen wooden "spirit" athames that can't hold much of an edge...but still. If it's metal, it should be sharp.

I was just saying I can see how some people would think it's part of their responsibility to keep it dull to "avoid unintentional blood from being drawn".

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:22 pm
by Dark Waters
The books I've read talk about two knives for most tools. One being the black handled Athame or Spirit knife, the other a white handled (though actual white color not required) working knife used for cutting cords, herbs, whatever. My working knife is a triple bladed Buck pocket knife I bought and blessed for the express purpose of rituals.

I know it seems odd for me to be the one talking about this as I am a big one for taking all reference books with a grain of salt, still I've seen the same reference in three books, so I thought I throw open the discussion here.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:22 pm
by Kystar
I was always of the opinion that having an Athame and a Boline is overkill. One good knife is a enough, especially as I don't give it "association". It's a knife. Yes, it could represent a lot of things...but really, why is something that is made out of Earth and created by Fire usually given the classification as a symbol of Air? Honestly, how does that come about? Yes, yes, I know you need Air to burn the Fire, but you also need Water to quench the blade once it's forged. Though, I have read that the association is a personal thing that is best decided by the person using the tool. But the majority of books I've read said it's Air. :-k :-k :-k

Did you know that there are some paths that say you also NEED a sword? Why would I need a "Ceremonial" knife, a "working" knife, and a "Ceremonial" sword? B/c we like the "ohh, SHINY" aspect? Overkill, once again.

Then again, I don't normally do "Ritual Magick", so I don't have an clear understanding of the why of some props. It never spoke to me.

As for my pretty blade (one of these days, I'm going to photograph my tools to post here!), it's a working knife that happens to have a REALLY pretty handle and sheath. It looks good on display. And to me, it represents independence. Probably b/c that was the first thing I bought as an adult that my mother didn't approve of in any way. LOL. But, the only reason I use it is because it feels more traditional to use a knife for some things. And since you have to pay more attention to what you're doing, you tend to put more intent into what you're doing. Just my thoughts.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:46 pm
by Kitsune
Mine is a gorgeous pocketknife I bought at "The edge of the world"... a supermarket at the farthest point of BC. :lol:

It's a little folding hunting knife, with a gorgeous hilt... not even a proper sheath for it.

The way I see it, If you pick up somebody's knife and don't expect it to be sharp, you're an idiot. And in Canada it's much harder to put those sorts of cases through our law system... But I suppose in the States, you guys have a much more lienient set of laws about that. I could see them saying it for that reason as well.

Oh, and I completely agree, Kystar. To me the blade has always been fire... Because like the blade, fire can be good or bad, it's all about the intent and respect you give it that makes the difference. Although you are right, most give it to Air from what I can tell, simply because the Rider-Waite Tarot did so. ](*,)

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:03 pm
by forgotten oceans
Knives that don't cut are like flashlights with dead batteries. Annoying.

I never understood why you would NEED 3 different knives to do the exact same thing. Or how some 'experts' say you have to have a separate broom for witchy stuff, but if it ever touches dirt, you need a brand new one!! It's a broom!!! ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)

Why would a wand be associated with fire? WHY!!! It's made from TREES!!!! Wood burns!! The only connection swords have with air is the *whoosh* noise you hear before it lobs off your head. ARGH!!!! Stupid Rider-Waite junk!! :rock: :director: :smt021

Rant over. And the above is just a small part in the big scheme of things as to why I chose to be eclectic. :-D

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:46 pm
by Dark Waters
Yes three is a bit excessive. I can see having one blade for energy and one for workings but it is obvious that one will do.

As far as the elemental association, I think it was just what was left. The Pentacle coin made from Earth's Metal, The Cup holding Water, The wooden Rod/Staff when you use wood to make Fire leaving only Air for the Sword. When you really look at them, all for items take multiple elements to make.

However there is another aspect through which it could be tied. The Sword, to be effective, has always been considered to a weapon of skill and training, ie knowledge. Also the Athame blade has been a symbol for us, the knowledge of the Craft. Knowledge is generally considered the pervue of Air.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:27 am
by Kystar
As an Elemental Witch, I don't usually make those jumps in logic, DW. Something's element is it's primary source of energy...or the primary Element used to give it its shape.

I agree with Cups being Water and Coins being Earth. Swords are Fire in my tarot mainly because my mind associates blades with rage, or with strife. And the fire that's necessary to truly form a good sword. Staff is Air only because Trees give us air to breathe. That whole CO2 to O2 thing...ya'know?

That's why I don't usually try and do rituals I get from books, they confuse me!

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:20 pm
by Hytegia
No matter what happens, it comes down to your personal beliefs on the subject.
I have my Athame. It's Sharp. I've used it to cut cheese and enjoy after my ceremonies. I ritually cleansed it afterwards.
It never sleighted on me at all, because it is my tool. I respect it, but I am also it's master and take knowledge in that fact - it's my tool aswell as friend.

So, I don't really care. Sharp or not, the essence of most tools are that THEY choose YOU as much as YOU choose THEM. Fate, Destiney, whatever you call it, it was bound to be with you. Respect it, and it shouldn't have a problem.
A few drops of blood? Depends on the intent. Konstantinos has a spacific ritual that calls for blood on a rag that you shash with your Athame to destroy bad habits. It's not the Ingredients, per se, but what you have in mind for the outcome of the Spell and how you came about these ingredients.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:51 pm
by lacielonestar
Okay, I haven't been here in a while, but thought I would jump in on this one. FYI I didn't own a ritual blade until recently, and so I don't really work with one at all. I associate the blade with fire.

To me, dulling a blade takes away the opportunity for strong personal connections. I believe that as Kitsune uses it, that the blade should be a part of your life as much as possible. I would think that it would help strengthen associations of it being a life-preserving, and also energy-giving tool (such as when cutting healing herbs, or food). Even if you never intend to harm anyone with it, or have to protect yourself with it, keeping the blade "sharp" allows you to hold it in your hand and know that it holds energy which could (were your intent to be changed) take a life, or protect yourself/loved ones. It is powerful for me to think that this tool would allow me to do that, not that I'm looking for tools to make me powerful...

I may be a bit off topic here, sorry! I'm going to stop now.

Re: Getting to the "point"

Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:02 am
by Hytegia
I'm thinking about getting a Ritual Sword and sheath for working my Higher Magick without going through my normally long, and drawn-out ritual of physically painting each tree in my Circle area with white, Non-toxic ink for each direction, Element, and meaning. I do this in order to amplify the Lesser Banishing of the Pentagram.

If I have the sword, I wish to do the Greater Banishing of the Pentagram and make it just as strong (if not stronger) for the same volume of area (if not GREATER)!


Ritual things are VERY special to me, especially since I have to drive 2 hours down there to buy it and 2 hours back to enjoy it!