ATHAME - A ritual knife used for magickal operations or rituals preceding devotions and worship. The athame can vary widely in color and design, though commonly its blade is dual edged (representing the duality of nature) with a black handle. The blade itself can be iron, steel or some other strong metal, but some traditions of witchcraft will only use a blade carved from wood or stone to raise energy and summon spirits because metal tends to conduct energy away from the caster rather than towards her. (This is also why an athame is thought to be so useful in banishing and exorcising.) An athame is specifically used for outlining and casting a circle before a ritual, but some people also use it for cutting herbs and preparing other items for ritual work, though these latter tasks are more commonly performed using a boline. Also called an arthame, the athame is associated with the element of fire, the direction of south (For Traditional Craft: East), change, and the Goddess.
AVATAR - A discorporate soul who has the choice to advance to a higher
level of consciousness or remain behind on the physical plane to help other less evolved souls grow spiritually. These souls return to inhabit physical bodies voluntarily.
AURAS - The energy field that surrounds people, animals, plants and even
non-living physical objects. This colored energy is read by people (and some animals) who have learned to see it. While all the energy that makes up an aura is considered "low level" energy, the color and size of an aura around a living being or object is dependent on many things. The strength of the life force within a living being and also whether an object has been in close contact with a living being long enough for the energy to "rub off" on it.