Day 219: Athame, Lore and Inscriptions

As with the wand, the practice today would have me inscribe these sigils upon my athame.

Athame Sigils

I actually do know some of these sigils.  There’s a description of most of them in the Fararr’s A Witches’ Bible.  The first is that of the Horned God.  I’m not sure what the second is, but the third and fourth are the kiss and the scourge.  The sideways crescents are a goddess symbol, but I’m not sure what the top/bottom crescents are for.  This particular arrow sigil means that power flows from the God, and the star is the symbol of the 8-fold path.  Still, I’m not inscribing sigils on my athame until I’m asked to as part of an initiation.  If I was to do so, though, here’s how Roderick suggests going about the task:

Begin by inscribing two red candles with the athame sigils.  Set the candles in holders on either side of you and light them.  Light some fire incense and then dab yourself with fire oil at the center of your solar plexus.  begin the athame inscribing process.  You can do so with pain, an engraving tool, or by magical infusion.

While inscribing, split the focus of your attention between your work at hand and the energy of your solar plexus region.  Sense the feeling of energy that runs through your body at that chakra point.  If you notice that your mind drifts from the shared focus of inscribing and sensing the energy, discontinue inscribing the athame.  Take three deep breaths and realign your awareness.

If magically inscribing the runes, take a third red candle and inscribe it with the athame sigils.  Light it and pass the blade briefly through the flame, chanting “By the blessed thirteen moons, Sealed are ye by sacred runes!”.  Continue with this until all the sigils on the candle have been melted.  When this is done, write the sigils in black ink on a triangle of red paper.  Set the paper aflame, and drop it into a burning vessel.  Take the cooled ashes in your dominant hand and rub them along the blade.

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4 thoughts on “Day 219: Athame, Lore and Inscriptions

  1. The second symbol is a disguised “K” which is the initial of the name of the god. The top/bottom crescents is actually an “Aleph” (A) the initial of the name of the Goddess. There are also two missing symbols. This was once oathbound info but as it has been openly published I see no harm in helping out.

    • Yeah, the symbols for the God’s and Goddess’s initials can vary an awful lot. For non-oathbound discussions on the variations, I suggest checking out the Farrar’s “A Witches’ Bible” in the part 2, pages 253-261 range. There, they point out that another symbol used for the God initial is very similar to the letter F or C in Theban Script. They also give two options for the two missing symbols Jay alludes to. The first are a pair of squiggles that together represent the sickle and serpent, or death and life/rebirth. The Farrars note that these were found in the Text B version of Gardner’s BOS. The also offer Valiente’s personal suggestions (which she developed later in her Witch career) for athame symbols. There, she uses an Ankh where the God initial is, and she uses it as a symbol of life. She also uses a Scorpio symbol in place of the Goddess initial, and she uses it as a symbol of death. The symbols of life and death on the Text B notes are turned into a pare of mirrored lines ‘bowing to each other’ that are together taken as ‘the perfect couple.’

      My personal thoughts on the matter is that someone somewhere along the line got a bit turned around when copying unfamiliar letters for the God/Goddess initials. The alef (א), for example, doesn’t look much like crescents at all. Basically, I think different people made transcription mistakes that got perpetuated downline.

      I do not have a magical working partner, so I have not yet put my athame through the Gardnerian consecration. However, I think that if I were going to do so, I would choose new letters to represent the God and Goddess. Right now, I’m leaning more towards the Phoenician characters for aleph and kaph, since those shapes have a lot of similarities that I find complementary. I also like the idea of having the play of death and life/rebirth present, so I would likely use those symbols as opposed to the later ‘perfect couple.’

  2. Paul Huson, in Mastering Witchcraft, presents a series of beautifully drawn symbols for decorating the athame and other tools, but he doesn’t identify them or tell what they mean. Just one of several omissions in his otherwise useful book. Does anyone know?

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