It is used as a wand, to direct energy through focus and 'pointing'. Some people prefer to use an athame rather than a wand, some both. As a ritual tool it will be blessed and used only for 'magical' purposes. For example, I sometimes use mine to scribe words or symbols onto candles. It would not be used to cut a sandwich (unless you were using a sandwich in your working lol). It also represents the Male aspect, as most Pagans believe in both the Lady and Lord. A cup or chalice could represent the female, a wand or athame would be male, figures!