I’ve been asked by many people about using magical tools and have always recommended making your own where it’s possible to do so. This always provokes the question “How?” so this page is here to help answer those questions. You don’t have to be hugely practical when it comes to making things, sometimes being inventive is better!
I made mine by taking a fairly thick stick, one that fitted the grip of my hand and peeling off all the bark. Once the bark was peeled and the wood nicely dry, I whittled it down to the right shape using a sharp knife – always make sure that you move the blade away from you as you’re whittling, so that there are no accidental cuts and wounds!
Once you’ve whittled the handle to the right shape and size smooth it off with sandpaper so that it feels good to hold. To make the housing for the blade I carved out the centre of the stick to make a concave hole at one end of the stick. This takes time and patience, and it’s wise to have the blade you plan to use so that you can make sure that everything will fit together. The blade will need to fit in the hole you made with a little bit of space around it for fixing, depending on how you plan to attach the blade.
When I made my Athame, I didn’t want to use anything sharp as it’s not used for cutting – in my case I was lucky and found a wonderful kunzite crystal in the shape of a blade and used that. I used putty to attach the blade into the handle and left it to set for a week. It may be more appropriate to use glue like superglue or araldite, depending on the wood, shape of the hole and the blade you are using.
Once the blade had set firmly, I stained the handle black – the thing that worked wonderfully well was Scuff-Kote – the stuff you put on the toes of scuffed shoes to re-coat them – it worked brilliantly on the wood of the handle! There are all sorts of wood stains in DIY shops, so you can do it properly, but I was improvising at the time and was delighted with the result!
Other options: you can carve decorations on to the handle before you set the blade in – and if you don’t have a crystal shop locally or aren’t able to get one for other reasons, then you can improvise. I know people who have used letter openers as an Athame and someone else who found a beautiful hunting knife (that hadn’t been used for that purpose) that they used. Sometimes, using a temporary Athame, till you feel ready to make your own works best for beginners. Once you have made your Athame, it’s not for other people to handle.
Here is an Athame blessing that Ladyfox wrote to bless her Athame and she has kindly shared it with us in case anyone needs inspiration:
This sacred knife shall always be
The tool to open doors for me;
Doors to below, around, above-
To other realms and magick love;
To draw the circle, hold me fast
Where only warmth and love can pass.
This athame I dedicate
To use with love and for Your sake;
For goodness only ‘twill be used,
And ne’er by evil be confused.
By waxing Moon I cast this spell-
Please bless this knife; I’ll use it well.
For the Pentacle, you could take a small round breadboard or even a cheeseboard and paint and decorate it – lots of people do that. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you could try making one from black wax, but that can get messy and is more complicated!
Another way of making a pentacle, and I like this best personally as the correspondences are right, is to use clay – if you don’t do pottery at school then you can always find modelling clay that can be baked off in an oven at home from craft shops – and make your own – then you are making the representation of earth from….earth.
Those are just a couple of suggestions – all you have to remember is that if you make it yourself and put care and thought into it, it will serve you well – also, tools are just tools, so you can work without them – it’s just an easier way to focus your mind in the early days.