The ritual knife, or athame, is one of the basic Wicca altar tools as well as Wicca symbols - more for insiders than non-Witches, though. Traditionally black-handled, the athame lives in the East, the direction that represents thought, discernment, beginnings, and choice. The knife represents the ability to separate things, to make distinctions. It also symbolises making choices, because for everything you choose, you let go of other options - essentially "killing" them. Joseph Campbell, in The Power of Myth, writes about this kind of cutting edge: "It is the sword of discrimination, separating the merely temporal from the eternal." In other words, it kills what is false, to reveal what is True.
The athame is not generally used in Wicca to cut anything on a physical level, but only to direct magickal energy (attention and intention). Some traditions employ a white-handled knife - a "working knife" - for cutting things. But others Witches see no problem in using the athame for actual as well as symbolic work. Athames hold yang ("male") energy - the power of decision which is necessary for action, that is, the will to create change.
An Aura is an energy field surrounding things, particularly living beings. All beings, animate and inanimate, have energy fields around them. Being formed of energy, it couldn't be otherwise. Dr. Leonard Laskow, in his book Healing with Love: A Breakthrough Mind/Body Medical Program for Healing Yourself and Others, describes seven layers of human energy fields. They range from nearly physical to imperceptible energy. Some of this energy is visible, to those practiced at perceiving it. Some people perceive auras as colours or light like a halo around things. Others interpret it as a sense of near-solidity in an area around a person, like surface tension on water.
Many Witches have developed their ability to sense these energy fields, and so Wicca has some connection with auras. (Starhawk has excellent exercises to help beginner Wiccans develop this skill in The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess: 20th Anniversary Edition.) Still, we hardly have a monopoly on them! Lots of people sense and work with auras, without being Wiccan. This posting has been brought to you by the letter A and the number 13. I wonder if you could change the Sesame Street Theme to something Wiccan?
Books in PDF format to read:Summers Montague - The History Of Witchcraft And Demonology
Anonymous - Witchcraft And Wicca Faq
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