Though its hard to separate the athame from Wiccan traditions in the mind, the tool itself was appropriated from the Golden Dawn, who very likely had appropriated it from ceremonial magical traditions predating their own. As previously mentioned here, the black-handled ritual knife is identified in the Key of Solomon from the Middle Ages, and that's just one body of occultic literature which survives to this day; ritual blades predate the written language, and the binding of the handle in black was just one example of a culture's way about it that became popularized in the modern day.
The word athame itself was a creation of Gerald Gardner, but he didn't completely make it up. The oldest root of the word that is currently known, artavus, is found in a Latin manuscript of the Key of Solomon, but the word itself does not appear to be Latin in origin. Irregardless, another spelling of the word derived from French translations is arthame, and that is one which I have personally heard of in use by practicioners of traditional witchery, and most particularly amongst those of more ritualistic persuasion.
In my work, I do have a knife set aside specifically for craftwork purposes. It's my late grandfather's pocket knife, and his long years of whittling and working with it infused the metal with a wonderfully stable, masculine energy.
I also just really needed to bump something above what was previously the most current thread in this subforum because looking at it made my eye twitch..
Edited by Phaedra, 24 May 2018 - 12:00 PM.