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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Make Your Own Athame

What is an Athame?


The Athame corresponds to the East*, and the element of Air. Its color is Yellow, its season Fall, and its time Sunset. The Athame is associated with the Witch's mind and it reminds us to balance power with reason. It is used to invoke and banish energy.

Traditionally, the Athame is double sided, its handle is black and its blade is dull. The reason for this is that it is not used to cut things on the material plane, but rather on the spiritual plane.

The Athame is consecrated when the Full Moon is in an Air Sign (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) on the day (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) and in the hour (Mercury, Venus, Saturn) of that sign's planetary ruler.

Metal-smithing being a very specialized skill, you may not be able to make your own Athame. Again, you may have to seek out merchants from whom to purchase your Athame. However there are also other options available to you as well, including.

  • Second Hand Stores
  • Pawn Shops
  • Guns Show vendors often have daggers among their wares.

How to Make Your Own Athame

You will need the following:

Kitchen-Knife
Hammer
Cardboard
Scissors
Yarn
Glue
Tin Foil
Tape 
Card-stock
Ruler
Pencil

1) Begin by removing the blade from your kitchen knife. To do this, I took my knife to my patio with a hammer. I held the knife by the blade against the concrete with the sharp side of the blade touching the cement. I then carefully struck the handle with the hammer along its seam where the two pieces of the handle join around the handle.

2) Using your ruler, draw a basic T-Shape on a sheet of card-stock that is approximately 5 inches long and 3 at its widest part. Cut out the T-Shape and then fold it in half and using your scissors, cut the T-Shape in to a symmetrical design. This will be the pattern for the handle of your athame.
3) Trace your pattern on the cardboard four times and cut each piece out. 

4) Glue the blade you removed from the kitchen knife between two of the cardboard cut-outs. Make sure you use lots of glue. You may want to lay the knife on a flat surface and place something heavy on top of it. 

5)When it is dry, glue the second two pieces just as you did the first two. Allow to dry. 

6) When this is dry, there is bound to be some shifting of pieces so trim the handle so that it has a clean edge and that the both pieces of cardboard are even.

7) Now hold the Athame for a few minutes to get an idea for how it will feel in your hand. Does the handle feel too long? Would you rather then edges be rounded or have corners? Trim and adjust as desired, although I wouldn't attempt to get too detailed and fancy in my design.

8)Wrap tin foil around the handle shaping it as desired. When you are done, wrap the handle with tape to hold it all together. 

9) Finally, wrap the entire handle with yarn (your choice of color). You can wrap the entire handle with one long piece of yarn, getting as close to the tips as possible. When you are done, you can wrap the tips in a spiral pattern to cover the handle completely by smearing the tip with glue first and carefully laying down the yarn.
10) When you have wrapped the entire Athame you can coat it with several coats of glue allowing it to completely dry between coats. When the glue dries it will harden. 

11) Finally, paint the handle with a clear lacquer to seal everything. If you desire you can paint the handle a specific color before sealing with lacquer.


12) If you desire, you can then take a sharpening-stone and sharpen the dull side of the blade so that they are even. However, I like the idea that one side is sharp and the other side is dull, creating a balance of opposites. 

Carolina Dean

*Some traditions assign the Athame to the South and Fire.

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