Boline

Boline

In Wicca the boline (also spelled bolline) is a white-handled ritual knife, one of several magical tools used in Wicca. Unlike the athame, which in most traditions is never used for actual physical cutting, the boline is used for cutting cords and herbs, carving candles, etc. It has a small, straight or crescent-shaped blade and a handle which is traditionally white in colour.

The boline has been adopted by several other modern forms of witchcraft including Eclectic Wicca. Among these later traditions opinions vary as to whether the boline is truly a magical tool or is merely of utilitarian purpose. Sometimes a knife called a kirfane (spellings vary) is used, for roughly the same purposes as the boline. This is similar to the name Kirpan traditionally given to the sacred dagger of the Sikh religion.

According to the Kitchen Witchcraft philosophy, the use of magical tools for mundane purposes like cooking is actively encouraged, and as such there is little or no need for a boline as a separate tool from the athame. Some traditions, such as that of Robert Cochrane, also prescribe the use of a single knife for both ritual and practical purposes.

Many of the bolines advertised in on-line 'magick shops' have a characteristic crescent shape, and are described as being for harvesting herbs. This crescent shape is reminiscent of the sickle described in the Key of Solomon, a medieval grimoire which is one of the sources for modern Wicca.. Confusingly, an Italian version of the Key of Solomon has a hook-shaped knife called an artano (a possible root for athame) and a straight, needle-shaped blade called a bolino. When the name 'boline' was first used to describe the crescent-shaped blade is not clear.

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