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Ch.7 A Real Witches' Weapon (WMB 7.g)

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @


The markings given for the knife in this manuscript are completely different from those seen in the Mathers Key of Solomon and subsequently on the athame. They are:

(Sloane MS 3847)

Thus the symbols seen on the handle of the athame in Wicca, derived from the version of the Key of Solomon published by Mathers (which draws on seven manuscripts of which five are French), once again indicate a French connection to a practice found in the Wiccan tradition.

Many authors and researchers have suggested that due to the lack of perceived evidence for the use of such a knife in witchcraft practices prior to the twentieth century, this was a late addition to the practices of witchcraft and that as such it should be dismissed. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that a dagger with a black handle has a long history in use within the folk magick traditions of Europe prior to the time of Gerald Gardner, which supports the claims by Gardner that it was a traditional practice. The knife was rarely called by the name athame however, but that doesn’t make it a different tool as it is still described in the same manner, and often used for similar purposes as one would expect from the athame.

We have already explained that the Key of Solomon was a text which was widely available to practitioners of magick, both ‘high’ and ‘low’ varieties, including the practitioners of folk magick such as the English and Welsh cunning folk. There is no reason why, considering that they were inspired by other practices found in the Key of Solomon, that they may not also have gleamed the use (or indeed additional uses) for the black-handled knife found in this text.

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.



My name is Sorita d'Este

and this is my website and blog!  Thanks for visiting - I hope you are finding what you are looking for!


Many years ago I dedicated myself to the pursuit of both esoteric knowledge, and an understanding of polytheism, the Gods and Nature.  I have been a full-time writer, author and publisher, specialising subjects linked to the occult, witchcraft, Paganism, mythology, ancient religions and magic - and all kinds of things in between since 2003. 


I live on a hill in Glastonbury, overlooking the marshes of Somerset,  a place of myth and legend, and a crossroad for many different religions. Here I am frequently found digging and growing, serving my fluffy rescue cat and navigating the unknown with my teenage son.  

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