I bet you already know a little knot magic. Some of the most common magic we do has us all tied up in knots and enjoying every minute of it. But what exactly is knot magic and how do we use it in spell work?
The simplest explanation is, well, you tie knots in things. The idea being that the knots represent life situations or people you are working magic with (or on). Knot spells run the gamut, from easy joining spells to powerful binding spells to knots that are meant for a lifetime.
Knot Magic Has Been Around A While
Ever hear of the Knot of Isis? The open looped design is said to have represented the uterus and looks much like the Ankh but with the “arms” pointing down. Often coupled with an amulet, the knot was sewn into the garments of the priesthood and the dead were said to have the knot of Isis woven into their wrappings.
There’s a manuscript called the “Paenitentiale Theodori“. The name translates to the “Penitential of Theodore”. Theodore was the Archbishop of Canterbury in 7th century Britain and the Penitential was a list of offences against the church and the Christian god. Your priest found the sin and next to it what you had to do to expunge that sin from your record. One entry says “It is not allowed for clerics or lay people to take credit or to make phylacteries, which forge chains for their own souls.” The important word here is Phylacteries which basically translated to a charm that was written down and then tied around the neck in a small bag.¹
The folk of that time, our pagan ancestors, were known to make magical symbols or have magical “prayers” hidden in plain site. One of the most obvious places to keep a charm was on a necklace. The necklace was, of course, tied with a knot.
Knots For Joining
Here’s quite possibly the easiest spell you’ll ever do. Well, let me rephrase that and say that this spell doesn’t take much by the way of materials, but one should always recognize that spells are often more complicated than you think.
The magic is easy enough to follow here though. You (or someone you are working magic for) want to join two separate things together. By entwining and knotting them, two disparate situations become connected as one.
Let’s say you want to do magic around a job you just applied for. Grab two pieces of cord, rope, twine, silk, or whatever you have. One cord represents the job, the other represents you. Tie them together. You and the job are now connected.
One of my favourite joining spells comes from Hoodoo folk practices, although I suspect this piece of magic is much older. If you and your partner (or partners, whatever your pleasure) want to stay enjoined for a long time, each grab a sock and knot it together, then throw them under your bed. You can use your sexy chonies too or a couple of shirts or whatever you want. Just tie them up and toss them where you won’t think about them. As long as the knot holds fast, so will your relationship. Of course, it’s been said that one might tie a partner’s sock to the bed frame to keep them from sleeping elsewhere, but then I wouldn’t know about such devious magic, would I.
Knots For Handfasting
So, if you like the idea of tying up your underwear but want to make it a little more permanent, you could think about a handfasting. See, I told you you already know some knot magic! The idea of a handfasting is to join people in marriage or some sort of “binding” agreement. The very term “binding agreement” implies the very magic being done. We often think of binding magic as a way to limit a person’s movement and that is certainly one way to look at it. But a couple or a coven might decide to bind themselves together by handfasting. It’s the same principle as the joining spell above.The handfasting ropes or cords can have knots woven into them to symbolize vows. For instance:
One Knot – My love for you
Two Knots – To each we shall be true
Three Knots – Yours, mine, ours
Okay, so you’ve got the idea that knot magic is pretty easy to do. But what about untying the knots? There’s a particular magic in loosening knots too. Over the past year or so, I’ve had some tricky situations. Although each predicament was of it’s own making, they sort of became conflated in my mind and I was having a hard time seeing one as distinct from the other. What I had on my hands was a big bird’s nest of a mess. And then I remembered knot magic.
Each challenge felt like a knot in my stomach. A place in my life where I was stuck and tight and there wasn’t much room to move around. So I took the magic in my own hands and made a knotted rope. I named each knot – “You are my financial knot”, “You are my depression”, “You are the tricky community situation”, etc, etc. I pulled the knots together in such a way that they were all on top of each other until it looked like one big knot. Then I hung the braid outside to let the weather get at it. The rain, the sun, all of the elements conspired to make the knots even tighter.
Then, ever so painstakingly, I began to pick at this knot or that knot. It’s been a struggle because the knots are really in there, but I’ve been able to pick through one or two and find just a little daylight. And guess what, there’s now just a little room in my life to look at those problems as individual challenges. Each still connected to the other, because that’s how life works I suppose, but now there’s some movement. As the knots loosen, so my problems begin to loosen. Complex conversations that were difficult to have, are just a wee bit easier now.
A Knot Spell For You
Interestingly enough, when I searched through my collection of magical books and notes, I found lots of references to knot magic but very few actual knot spells. Here’s one I do like, shared with me by my good friend and all around amazing witch Laura Tempest Zakroff over at the “A Modern Traditional Witch” blog
By knot of ONE, the spell’s begun
By knot of TWO, i’ll see it through
By knot of THREE, it’ll come to be
By knot of FOUR, it’s out the door
By knot of FIVE, it’s on the ride
By knot of SIX, my will I fix
By knot of SEVEN, ‘tween hell & heaven
By knot of EIGHT, the eyes of fate
By knot of NINE, the power’s mine
By knot of TEN, this spell I send.
Now there are other knots that you can use to enhance your magical practice too but we should probably know each other a little better before we talk about those.