When I first started “practicing” witchcraft I used an athame because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I thought I needed to have all the tools and arrange them and then read the rituals word for word. I realized later in life that I didn’t have to do any of that. I didn’t need tools or special items at all.
When I got back to being more organic in my witchcraft I guess you would say I also changed to using a wand. In my coven I wasn’t the one who used the athame to begin with but I did some changing and didn’t have the interest in using the athame. I think it’s the scariest tool to outsiders as well because it is a dagger or knife and they don’t understand. My sister found my athame and freaked out when I was 16 and she was 12. She went and told my mom, “Amy has a knife in her room!” This makes us laugh years later and she knows it wasn’t an actual knife but a way to direct energy.
The athame is made of steel or metal and usually I avoid wearing a lot of jewelry in the circle anyways because it doesn’t feel natural to me. The athame is supposed to represent fire and direct energy into the circle casting. The wand is to represent air and to me seems like a natural item to use in casting the circle and calling or inviting the presence of the elements.
When I was forming my second circle/coven several years ago the four of us found that we all favor the wand over the athame. None of us have used an athame to cast the circle for years. I like the feeling of the wand in your hand especially if it’s one I made. The end is a crystal and the energy works out just fine. The natural element of the wand is wonderful I think and the use of natural items within the circle is also something I favor.