The original cutting implements used by humans consisted of pieces of flint or other stone that had been chipped to form an edge. Such bits of stone evolved into the knife, among the first tools to be developed by humankind. Eventually, the stone blade became longer; the handle was wrapped with leather to avoid accidentally cutting the hand; and the knife was carried everywhere its owner went.

In the martial encounters between tribes, the spear, which is a knife with a long handle, and the club were favored in order to keep some distance between combatants. But when things got up close and personal, the knife came into play. Thus when the arts of warfare evolved and bronze weapons were used, the sword—a large and long knife—together with the spear and club were considered honorable implements of war. The knife was deemed the last resort of the gentleman or the sole weapon of the brigand and the assassin. In the days of chivalry, the knights bore swords and lances for self-defense while peasants and out-laws carried knives to protect themselves. The knife was a kind of secret weapon, and therefore considered base by those who faced one another with swords or lances. Men and women of any means whatsoever used knives

"The Hand of Glory" from Albertus Parvus Grimoire. (FORTEAN PICTURE LIBRARY)
"The Hand of Glory" from Albertus Parvus Grimoire. (
primarily for cutting their food before they ate their meals with their fingers. Forks were unknown as table utensils until well into the eighteenth century, and table knives were a rarity until about the same time. People carried their own serviceable knives so they were always prepared to dine.

In various systems of magic, from the times of human and animal sacrifice to ceremonial rituals, the knife has played an extremely important role. The magic circles of protection

Chinese jade knife, c.2500–2000 B.C.E. (CORBIS CORPORATION)
Chinese jade knife, c.2500–2000 B.C.E. (
that surround the magus and the sorcerer must be drawn with the magician's special knife, blessed by an invocation to a deity. In witchcraft, the ceremonial knife is referred to as the athame.

Knives are used in various divination practices simply by spinning them and seeing toward which object, number, person, and so forth, the blade points. Other traditions believe it is bad luck to spin a knife on the table, fearing that it symbolizes death for the one to whom it points.

While magicians use their magic knife to stir their potions, many individuals believe that those who use a knife to stir their tea, coffee, or food will summon strife. To drop a knife while eating, some people believe, is a sign that unexpected company will soon arrive. Others fear that to drop a knife will bring illness to the household. With the knife having played such an important and integral role in the societal and spiritual development of humankind, it is little wonder that there should be many superstitions regarding its use and misuse.

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Oct 24, 2017 @ 7:19 pm
A knife just landed on the it's tip then spun around. What does that mean? Thanks Darlene

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