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Thread: athames on the altar

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Gnosis View Post
    Whichever works best for you is what's best. If I used two athames I'd choose a white one and a black one for the God and Goddess respectively.

    Many people use an athame and chalice or cauldron to represent them instead. What's important is how it makes sense to you.
    The white handled knife isn't called an Athame, that's your Kerfane. The Kerfane is used for physical cutting and carving whereas the Athame works on the astral.
    sometimes a white-handled Boline is used instead, especially when working with herbs, or reaping while you sow.

    Traditionally, the blade is a masculine tool, therefore associated with the god and thus in most traditions would not make sense as a representation of a goddess unless she is depicted in a role usually considered masculine, such as a huntress.
    so it is really going to depend on what you consider feminine and masculine as you try to balance the two.

    That said, even though the blade is traditionally a masculine tool, there are many traditions that see the color of the blade as indicative of the work of the god-figure, defined by the season which arises out of the courtship with the goddess figure.

    Athame - dark half of the year, working on the inner level when the goddess is primarily in the underworld. He is with the dark/black goddess. Life and death serve her now.

    Kerfane - light half of the year when there is work to be done. He is with the white goddess. Life and death serve her now.

    and then there is a special blade called the Shelg representing the red god, the lame step, his journey back and forth... the blade of tradition.

    So what the blade is a a symbol of the gods honor and his service to the goddess.
    how he gives his life every year to be with her, and how he tends to her during the light halve.

    http://afwcraft.blogspot.com/2011/06/three-knives.html

    and yes, the blade is usually kept on ones person. and that blade is the Athame. The Kerfane isn't used for circle work normally and the Shelg is only used for things such as blood oaths and rites.
    keep in mind however that is typical of group settings, where everyone has their own Athame and not everyone is tending to the altar.
    in personal praxis it is fine to have your athame on the altar if it is not in your way, and i do like to keep mine there along with the other three elemental tools.

    Technically an Athame is a very specific tool that is to be made a certain way. that does not mean you can not use something different, just that it would not be considered an athame.
    to many today it would be, however when you go back further, when one said athame they meant the black-handled knife, double edged with the blade containing iron (steal has Iron in it).
    There are certain characters to be engraved on it as well, though they weren't always shared. Today that information is readily available.

    Personally I'd just keep the one athame because upsetting your elemental balance will through off your gender-balance.
    This has long been taken into account with the elemental tools, having the four of them you are good to go.
    There are many other ways to represent a balance that will serve you better.
    Do you have a chalice for instance?
    if not, if you can not find one a blue glass-bottle may do.
    That comes from Appalachian tradition. i use that instead of a chalice unless doing a symbolic great rite or having a libation.
    The bottle is used for the water of the running river, however it goes nicely with things such as Florida Water (see Hoodoo) as well.

    To balance the athame, look for something that corresponds to water and which you consider feminine.
    Sea-shells are nice.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

  2. #12
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    DracoJesi, that was interesting. Thanks for sharing. I don't know anything about Appalachian traditions. In some ways it's similar to Wiccan, but there are some things I'm not familiar with. I'm looking forward to learning more from you.

    The idea of balance is what drew me most strongly to Wicca over a quarter of a century ago. On my personal altar the moment I have a wooden wand for fire and God, a black cauldron for water and Goddess, a 3-inch globe my daughter gifted me with for earth, and a black feather I found at work one day for air ... the weekend of the fall equinox. Maybe I'll find a white one at the spring equinox? Also a pentagram (or three) and a clay dish with the Tree of Life painted on it, and some of favorite pieces of jewelry. Just to absorb the energies.
    Home is not a place, it's a feeling.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verily View Post
    DracoJesi, that was interesting. Thanks for sharing. I don't know anything about Appalachian traditions. In some ways it's similar to Wiccan, but there are some things I'm not familiar with. I'm looking forward to learning more from you.

    The idea of balance is what drew me most strongly to Wicca over a quarter of a century ago. On my personal altar the moment I have a wooden wand for fire and God, a black cauldron for water and Goddess, a 3-inch globe my daughter gifted me with for earth, and a black feather I found at work one day for air ... the weekend of the fall equinox. Maybe I'll find a white one at the spring equinox? Also a pentagram (or three) and a clay dish with the Tree of Life painted on it, and some of favorite pieces of jewelry. Just to absorb the energies.
    *nods*

    Well i suppose that depends on how you perceive Wicca. there are some big differences between Wicca and Appalachian craft in general.
    Firstly, Appalachian craft is not typical ceremonial, it is practical. mine is also ceremonial but that is because I'm native and thusly inclined.
    most Appalachian practitioners are not ceremonial in any way. Their craft consists mostly of omens, manipulating the weather, living off the land, planting by the
    signs and the moon, a bit of hoodoo perhaps.Things of practical application, everything is done with meaning and proper intent, there's spirituality in the every-day and in "roughing it", living a 'simple' life- tending to your roots.
    They don't tend to have a tool for each element per se and certainly not the four most think of.
    The blue bottle is traditional though as is "haint blue" a color one paints their front door to keep the bad things at bay.

    It is not in itself theistic either, there is no god or goddess they work with. Now I certainly have figures of the masculine and feminine divine I work with, both from my heritage and my experience with traditions outside of that, which have become part of my path.
    There is a strong ethos of doing things yourself, of relying on your own means and ability, especially if you are going to do something with many consequences, Gathering with other practitioners happens, when it is mutually beneficial but there's a strong ethos
    of not making your problems theirs. That's just how mountain people tend to be, but we aslo look after our own as well.

    I have very much retained this value. I don't call on the gods when doing practical work, only theurgy or when there is dire consequences for many.
    I especially do not call on them to do any dirty work, that is on me.
    Now in some of the formula I use, certain personifications of the four-fold way of things may be called to, to witness and ordain the working.
    These are working through my will, it is a microcosm-macrocosm thing and that gets complicated.
    They are the forces that weave my story, and the story of the gods, and what I do to my story and how it affects others must resolve through me, for good or bad.
    This is very much like the Eastern notion of Karma but not the Western appropriation.
    There is no universal morality or ethos implied here.

    Honor is very much a part of my tradition. We have this word, "Duyugodv" which translates as "the way of things", "truth" and "justice".
    and that when we do something to upset the natural flow of things, when we are the source of that it must resolve with us, we are that agent.
    There's a question people sometimes ask, a lesser evil question, an example would be:
    "if you could kill Hitler"...

    Now this question is double jeopardy because we are talking about changing history, however let's say it is guaranteed you don't have to worry about that. It just comes down to, would you kill him to save those he killed.
    I would, however i know that if I am to cross a line even if it is the right thing to do there are consequence to that. Now in this case we can cite self-defense of the species but to get the point across.
    Let's say it isn't hitler, it is someone who is innocent but whose life means others will die- and it is up to you to make a judgment call.

    Even if we agree that you did the right thing by killing them there's still consequences to you, and that may include your life.

    you may not only have to kill, your death may be the only thing that prevents further conflict. It may not bring inner peace to others, it might, but it may break the cycle.
    people often say that is "eye for an eye" but they don't understand the value system and ethos, it isn't strictly a matter of vengeance, it is accepting yourself as part of the process of maintaining Tohi. (balance)
    The road to which isn't sugar-coated, unlike the ideal.

    We didn't have "death penalties" or " institutionalized killing" because of the belief that it shouldn't come down to a bureaucratic process.
    That if you were going to take a life it had better be worth your life to do so. That who lives and who dies shouldn't come down to regulation but what you are willing to live or die with.
    That how we respond to life is entwined to how we respond to death. If you aren't willing to sacrifice yourself for what you perceive to be the greater good what business do you have deciding for someone else.
    Only when that right to decide for one self has been violated, when they have made the statement that it does not exist and the line has been crossed, when they have denied the sovereignty of the fire within them by denying the fire of another,
    is killing them not ro dishonor the fire, to let them extinguish that in others is dishonoring the fire. You are still extinguishing that which remains in them however, so when you go to make that better world,
    it had better be something you must do, where failure is not an option, you will exceed or die trying, like the hummingbird.

    Water is the fires empathy, its reflection and it tempers what has been said above. it immersed the fire into the world, so that it knows and feels what it does to others.
    keeps it from being wayward, radical... which is easy to do when all you feel is your own will and reason for being. Feeling only that reason, it is easy to forget the reason, and it leads one to become consumed, unreasonable.
    The water is a necessity, to cool heavens fire for we walk on a mortal plane, of wear and tare and rigidity, and thankfully we have the intelligence to understand our predicament.
    We keep our fire close, hidden inside because properly used it can destroy all we love, properly use it can liberate all we love, like extracting an essential oil.

    What is it that represents to you your passion, will what you are here for?
    What is is that keeps you in touch with your emotions, your feelings and allows you to course-correct so that you do not jeopardize all you are and all you are here for?
    that allows you fuel that fire, like an oil but only just enough to illuminate those things which could not withstand a full burn.

    The fire loves the water, but they can bring much pain and harm to one another, they must be gentle with one another, bringing out their more desired qualities, and lessening their more volatile qualities.

    what things have such a relationship? I'd consider those.
    Last edited by Humming Bird; October 9th, 2015 at 05:58 AM.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

  4. #14
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    DracoJesi, thanks for sharing more about your traditional ways. It's interesting to see what we have in common and what is different.

    I rarely call on the dieties for help, but sometimes ask the four elementals for their help. I forged a strong bond with them when it was time for me to receive my first degree initiation.

    My family is my passion.
    Home is not a place, it's a feeling.

  5. #15
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    This is me too. I have assigned masculine or feminine aspects to tools but I haven't dedicated anything directly to any specific deity. Working tools, things I use to cut or crush or what have you, live on or in my work bench which sits next to my altar and anything energy related lives in or on my altar. If I need energy work and practical work to mix I move things to the workbench, then move things back to the altar as needed.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amberhawk View Post
    This is me too. I have assigned masculine or feminine aspects to tools but I haven't dedicated anything directly to any specific deity. Working tools, things I use to cut or crush or what have you, live on or in my work bench which sits next to my altar and anything energy related lives in or on my altar. If I need energy work and practical work to mix I move things to the workbench, then move things back to the altar as needed.
    Could you give me examples of practical work and energy work, and combined work? I put energy into nearly everything I do.
    Home is not a place, it's a feeling.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verily View Post
    DracoJesi, thanks for sharing more about your traditional ways. It's interesting to see what we have in common and what is different.

    I rarely call on the dieties for help, but sometimes ask the four elementals for their help. I forged a strong bond with them when it was time for me to receive my first degree initiation.

    My family is my passion.
    Throughout my experiences with various traditions it has always been my understanding that the quarters, the four-familiar forces are always crucial to that first degree.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verily View Post
    Could you give me examples of practical work and energy work, and combined work? I put energy into nearly everything I do.
    Sure, any spell I might do would move energy around. Directing energy for a circle or charging something is moving energy. Practical work would include something like chopping any herbs that I might use if I'm doing it as part of a spell which I wouldn't need to do if I had some left over from something else. If I decide to use a poppet then the practical part would be the physical construction of the doll which would be done at the bench while charging it might be done at the altar. I wouldn't exactly be using a blade for that though. Usually I would use my hands alone to charge it.

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