1. The athame is associated with the element of fire
2. It is associated with masculine energies. Often times you'll see fertility rites such as the ones for Beltane where the athame is dipped into the wine chalice (which represents the feminine energies) to symbolize the union of the male and female in the Sacred Marriage.
3. Often used for casting circle.
4. Usually a double-edged dagger. Some traditions declare the athame to have a black handle, other traditions say that whatever knife draws you will work just fine.
Aaaaaaaaand that's all I can think of off the top of my head.
|My new athame|
|My old athame|
Regarding athames in my own life, my first athame was this little silver knife with a matching sheath. But, due to very personal reasons, I didn't feel the connection with that particular athame so I sold it. I wasn't able to acquire another athame for many months, but when I did, it was well worth the wait for me. My athame isn't anything fancy; just a simple little wood-handled knife with a black leather sheath. And I love it ^_^ Sometimes, it's the simple things that feel the best.