Although both the athame and wand are often used interchangeably for casting a circle, in reality the two ritual tools have quite separate and very different purposes. The wand is used for moving and directing energy while the athame actually invokes and and banishes it.
It is also used to deal with unseen entities and forces. In other words it holds negative spirits at bay and prevents interference with spell casting. At the same time the athame attracts positive energies and spirits which can be extremely beneficial to the work in hand.
The athame traditionally has a steel double-edged blade and usually a black or silver handle although this is not sacrosanct. It must never under any circumstances be used to draw blood. If it is its power will be gone forever and the tool should be destroyed so that it can never be used again.
Most witches buy an athame and there are some nice ones available. One thing to bear in mind if you wish to purchase online though, is to make sure that you only attempt to purchase from a web site within your own country. Almost every country has postal regulations prohibiting the importation of weapons, which an athame technically is even though its intended use is as a ritual tool.
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