Your Witch Knife - Basic Tools, Equipment& Furniture

Wicca: Book of Spells and Witchcraft for Beginners. The Guide of Shadows for Wiccans, Solitary Witches, and Other Practitioners of Magic Rituals - Arin Chamberlains 2018

Your Witch Knife
Basic Tools, Equipment& Furniture

The tools that you will require to perform Witchcraft are dependent on the denomination of Witchcraft you choose to follow. In Gardnerian Witchcraft, eight working tools are used, including the Wand, Sword, Scourge, Cords, Pentacle, Athame and White-Handle Knife. The Saxon denomination simply requires the Spear, Seax (knife) and the Sword. It is also possible to have a denomination all your own, in which case you will decide what tools you prefer to use. What is of utmost importance is that whatever tools you do use are cleansed and purified ritually, before they are used to perform any magick or Witchcraft. This is performed so as to eliminate low vibrations from your Witchcraft tools and to charge them with your own energy and consecrate them. Store any uncleansed tools in clean white linen safely, until you are ready to consecrate them.

A Witch must have a personal knife, commonly referred to as an ’athame’. It may be known by different names in different traditions, like ’yag-dirk’ in Saxon and ’seax’ in Saxon, but essentially, it is a double-edged steel blade. In the Frosts’ tradition, the knife is a single-edged brass blade.

Steel or iron is the preferred blade material choice as the process of iron extrusion and steel making was considered a ’magic’ skill in itself, as it was rare and not fully understood or commonly known.

Of course, when choosing the size of the blade, it is a matter of personal preference. The knife should be easy to handle and comfortable in your hand. It must be functional as well. You will be using this knife as a magickal personal tool, and thus it is very special. It is important to give the tool plenty of thought. It may be easier and rather convenient to go out and purchase a knife already made, but it will not be as special as creating one yourself, with your power of intent and creativity, and completely tailored to your preferences.

How to Make Your Knife

Making a knife from scratch is not as intimidating as it seems. First, you will need a piece of steel. For this, you could use any steel that can be worked into the form you are looking for. Look for a piece as close as possible to the size you desire your blade to be. A steel file or chisel could be worked into a suitable blade, for example. The first step will be to soften the steel enough so that you can change its shape. You will need to heat the steel until a dull red color is obtained. Do this over a fire or a gas burner or stovetop. This may take several hours, depending on how hot the heat source used is. Once it reaches the dull red color, switch off the heat source or remove from the heat source and allow to cool off naturally. The steel is now softened and you will be able to work it.

Use a pencil or similar tool to mark on the metal, an outline of the desired shape of the blade. Using a hacksaw or a powered bandsaw, cut along the outline you have drawn and then file off the rough edges as smoothly as possible. Now, you need to create an edge by sharpening the edges. Use a grinding wheel here, but if preferred you may use files of varying coarseness to achieve the sharp edge on your blade.

Once you have achieved the desired blade shape as well as the sharpness of the edges, it is time to harden and temper the blade. This time, you will heat up the blade in the same fashion as when softening the steel, but this time you will allow the color to change from dull red to a red-hot color. Very carefully take hold of the blade and plunge it in lukewarm water. It is important that the water that the red-hot blade is plunged into is not cold, else the steel will become brittle and crack. Instead of water, oil may also be used. Allow the blade to cool naturally and then clean it. This is the hardening step completed.

For the tempering, the blade is to reheat once again, but this time to a dull red as it was heated the first time. Now, plunge the bade into lukewarm water again, point downwards, moving it in the liquid in an up and down motion. Clean it and heat it up again. When heating this time, the color change is critical. Keep a close watch as the blade heats up as it will change rapidly, going to a light bright straw color and then to medium straw. After straw, it changes to blue, proceeding to purple, then green, but you are required to plunge the blade before it turns blue. Watch the point of the blade, and keep it farthest from the heat source, taking the blade and plunging it at the first sign of a blue tinge.

Now, take the cooled blade outside and plunge the blade into the soil a few times. In so doing, you have now moved the blade through air, fire, water and finally, earth.

Now, to craft a handle, take two pieces of strong wood, and onto the wood, you draw an outline to cut out for your blade to sit in. Chisel out the wood using the outline as a guideline, and continue chiselling out the wood until your blade sits perfectly sandwiched between the two pieces of wood. Once they fit satisfactorily, roughen the inside surfaces of the two pieces of wood and spread a strong epoxy resin glue across the surface to which the blade will adhere, as well as the rest, to which the other piece of wood will adhere. Clamp the wood together and allow to set for 3 days.

Once the blade has been dried completely, remove from the clamp and begin outlining the profile of the handle onto the wood, as per your preference. Begin carving the wood along the outline to your desired shape. You may use different files to smooth out the surface, and you may get creative with engraving the wood with mottos, or your Witch name or even decoration. Personalize your knife as far as possible, as it is your personal tool and should be as special as possible.

Etching or Engraving Your Knife

It is a good idea to etch your blade with your Witch name or design as well. This can be easily done. Simply coat your blade in wax to protect the blade, and then use a tool to scrape off the wax in the desired pattern or word, ensuring to expose the metal. Then pour sulfuric acid or an etching agent onto the blade, allowing it to go into the grooves you have made and etch the blade. Leave the acid on for a few minutes to etch well, then wash under running water. Clean off the wax and your blade is etched.

It may be helpful to use a piece of steel as similar as possible to your bade to practice on first, to get an idea of how long to allow the acid to etch the metal etc. Also, a far easier option is to use an etching pen, available at most hardware stores, if you prefer.

Engraving the blade is an effective alternative, though it is not as solid as etching. This simply requires an engraving tool or even a nail or object with a sharp metal point. The challenge with engraving is that the point has to be applied to the blade with considerable pressure to scrape a marking into the blade, and control can be very difficult, especially with the nail or object slipping and scratching your blade.

Using Your Knife

There are some Witchcraft traditions that use the knife only within the Circle, solely for ritual use, like the Gardnerian tradition. However, there are also the Scottish traditions, which recommend and encourage the use of the knife as often as possible, on the belief that with more use, there is more power injected into the tool.