3003 – Pazazu Athame: Silver gilt athame

Physical description:
Athame with various symbols, including a pommel with the figure of Pazazu, a wind-spirit or demon from Mesopotamia.
Museum classification:
Modern Witchcraft
27 cm
This object was displayed in the Museum of Witchcraft in the 1970s alongside mostly Wiccan artefacts (see black and white photographs in MWM Archive, Photograph Box 1). Although unprovenanced, its origins are probably Wiccan. Pazazu was a wind spirit, specifically of the west wind, the son of Hanpu, King of the Evil Wind Demons. It has been argued that Pazazu developed out of Bronze Age texts that denoted a spiritual presence in the Western Mountains, but the iconography used here is probably derived from Neo-Babylonian and Middle-Assyrian cylinder carvings. In some strains of Wicca, the magical agent of the element of Air is symbolized by the tool of the knife or ritual blade, making Pazazu an apt adornment for an athame. See Franz Wiggerman, 'The Four Winds and the Origins of Pazazu' in Claus Wicke et al (ed.), Das geistige Erfassen der Welt im Alten Orient, (Wiesbaden, 2007), pp. 125-150.
Metal alloy, silver (possibly)