Knot magic has been used for centuries from the Romans to the Egyptians and
throughout Europe and Africa. Belief in knot magic even predates this!
It was believed that Isis the Egyptian goddess could control the weather by
braiding or unbraiding her hair, she could also influence mortals lives by
using knot magic.
The Greek goddess Circe was also associated with knot magic, by braiding knots
into her hair she could control the forces of nature, this is probably why she is
known as the goddess of agriculture.
The most common reason for the use of knot magic is to control the weather, sailors
were most adept at this form of use, if they came becalmed while at sea they
would just untie a knot to release the wind. They would purchase these knotted
cords from the local witch before embarking on their journeys
The following was recorded 1350 by Ranulph Higden: ‘In the Isle of Man
witchcraft is exercised much, for women there be wont to sell wind to the shipmen
coming to that country, as included under three knots of thread, so that they
will unloose the knots like as they will have the wind to blow.’
The release of one knot brought a gentle, southwesterly wind; two knots, a strong
north wind; and three knots, a tempest.
In Scotland witches used to raise the wind by dipping a rag in water and beating
it thrice on a stone, saying:
“I knok this rag upone this stane
To raise the wind in the divellis name,
It sall not lye till I please againe.”
Knots can be found in Celtic art, for example the ‘shield knot’ which appears on
shields. The shield shape with knots has continued to be used as a powerful symbol
of protection. It is believed to ward off illness and bad omens. A design with thick
strands with tight intertwining patterns, often with some squared-off edges,
emanates a strong, impenetrable barrier. The thick strands evoke the
image of a strong, unbreakable chain.
Sometimes found on the architecture of ecclesiastical buildings to stop evil
spirits from entering.
One of the most well known use for knot magic is the witches ladder.
A witch's ladder or sometimes known as witches garland is made of rope and feathers.
Charms are knotted or braided with specific magical intention into the cords. The
number of knots and nature of charms varies with the intended spell.
A witches ladder was found by chance in 1878 when workmen broke into a secret
room in an old house in Wellington, Somerset, that was being demolished. Inside
they found a witch’s ladder, an armchair and six well used brooms. The ladder, which
is now in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, is a length of knotted cord with feathers
woven into it and would have been used to cast spells, usually a death spell.
Strangely enough the room, situated in the roof space, was inaccessible from the
main house. According to many, witches were able to fly by anointing themselves with
ointment made of the fat of young babies, hemlock, aconite, poplar leaves and soot.
(obviously the reason for the well used broom-sticks!)
A similar thing called a witches garland is used in Italy, the ladder was made of
cord, and contained black hen feathers. The curse or spell was uttered as each
knot was tied in and the item was placed under the victim's bed, to cause the ill
fortune or death.
There are regional variations as well, in Cornwall for example the ladder is made
from black wool, with white and brown thread, and at every two inches it was tied
around cock's feathers. The witch would weave into it the aches and pains and other
nasties intended for the victim, as part of the incantation the finished ladder would
be taken to Dozmary Pool on Bodmin moor and cast into the water. As the bubbles
rose to the top of the pond the curse would be released.
The only way to break this spell was to find the cord and untie each knot.
The modern day witches ladder is usually made from cord with 40 knots in it or
a string of 40 beads, other items can be knotted in depending on the type of spell.
They can be used for a variety of reasons such as pain relief, love enchantment,
ensuring safe travel when starting on a journey or just bringing a calm and peaceful
atmosphere to a troubled environment.
Certain incantations are spoken as each knot is tied and the witches energy is
stored in the knots. This will enable her to concentrate on the chanting and focusing
her will on the desired effect without having to keep count.
The cord is as a type of "storage cell" for the power. The first knot is tied at one end,
with the words "By knot of one, the spell's begun." At this point, chanting or
meditation is appropriate until you feel it is time to tie another knot.
By this knot of one the spell has begun.
By this knot of two it comes true.
By this knot of three it must be.
By this knot of four it’s empowered more.
By this knot of five the power thrives.
By this knot of six this spell I fix.
By this knot of seven ’tis manna from heaven.
By this knot of eight it is my fate.
By this knot of nine my desire is mine
Once you have finished tying, you can either untie one knot a day for next nine days,
cut each knot, throw the whole cord into moving water, burn or bury it.
Tie the second knot at the opposite end of the cord.
All the energy that you have put into the knots via chanting, meditations and spells
etc will be stored in the knots.
The knots must be released in the order they were tied.
Coloured threads can also be included in the knot magic, different colours have
different meanings so can be used depending on the type of spell you wish to
make or the required
White: Purity, truth, spirituality, peace.
Black: Stealth, banishing, protection from negativity.
Red: Strength, passion, courage.
Blue: Intuition, tranquility, emotion, healing, patience.
Green: Money, prosperity, fertility.
Orange: Stimulation, vitality, energy, adaptability.
Yellow: Mental acuity, intelligence, study, confidence.
Brown: The earth, home, stability.
Gray: Neutrality, cancellation, walking between two worlds.
Knot magic to rid yourself of negative energy.
(You can do this as necessary)
All you need is a cord of any length. When you are having negative emotions or feel
threatened, visualize it in front of you and hold the cord out straight in front of you
I bind all negativity with this cord
I command you to halt
With this cord I hold you and bind you
You can no longer harm or bring me ill.
Then tie the cord into a simple slipknot as you speak, imagining it around the negativity
and holding it tightly. Then let the stress and bad feelings flow out of your body
into the cord.
When you are feeling calmer later that day or even the next, you can untie the knot
and let the energy dissipate.