A Witches Cord

A Witches Cord February 10, 2023

Knots of Magic

A Witches Ritual Cord has a long history in the craft but I’d like to share with you a personal take. I have always been fascinated with knot magic, braiding charms, and weaving since I was young. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was in kindergarten and I was obsessed with embroidery knot bracelets and lanyard weaving as a child. The creation and the rhythm of winding the string was so soothing to me and put me in a very liminal mindset.

There’s an old charm called the witches knot spell that has made its way through time from secret circles to well known works still being published today. The chant generally goes as such:

“By knot of one, the spell’s begun.
By knot of two, the magic’s true.
By knot of three, so shall it be.
By knot of four, this power is stored.
By knot of five, my will shall drive.
By knot of six, the spell I fix.
By knot of seven, the future I leaven.
By knot of eight, my will be fate.
By knot of nine, what is done is mine.”

This chant has been used in movies and television shows trying to give it certain purpose (and almost never in a way it was originally meant to be used), but it’s use in modernity does feel a bit ambiguous. There never seems to be a very specific target for the magic built in the knots using this well known chant.

I’ve read evidence this was used for the Witches Ladder which has a multitude of claims attached to it such as it was made to cause illness or death to a target, for protection, to steal milk from a neighbor, ect. I’ve also read that it was used to tie up the wind in knots to sell to sailors. But in general, the chant doesn’t really specify it’s intended purpose. It gave me an idea to take inspiration from this famous knot spell and give it some personalized direction.

A Personal Adaption

I started by creating a foundation that could become a regular tool that could be reused over and over again and decided on a ritual cord braided at midnight under the light of the full moon. I wrote this chant to be repeated while braiding:

“By threads of red
I twist and bind
I weave my will
Into fates design”

I then tied up a permanent knot on each end capturing the moon. “Capturing the moon” is the act of looping the knot and pulling it tight while looking at the full moon through the loop. It’s a sympathetic way of capturing its power on each end of the cord.

This cord can now be used for knot spells, trance work (by pulling it between your palms to create tactile rhythm from the ripple in the braid), and protection by tying around your waist during spirit work. The knot spell I created, while not rhyming, uses language that I felt worked the magic more directly with my intent. The set up is still nine knots and each one builds upon the one before it. I start by anointing my hands in what I call “Witches Grease” or a type of flying ointment made from nightshades and waking up the cord up. The following is the spell as it is written in my personal grimoire.

The Spell

Grease palms with Witches Grease and rub the cord each direction three times saying:

I awaken the threads of fate” x3

When ready to start your rite, call
forth the Old Ones, the mighty dead,
the familiars, and any other spirits.
Begin your first knot and say:

1-By knot of one, I step into
the crossroads and open the gates
to the other world. (Tighten knot)

2-By knot of two, hear me spirits of above
and below, spirits of red, spirits of white,
spirits of grey and black. (Tighten knot)

3-By knot of three, I reach through the
light between the horns to grasp the space
between the stars. (Tighten knot)

4-By knot of four, I twist and pull on
the threads of fate. (Tighten knot)

5- By knot of five, I speak my will,
there for it is (say desire through the
loop and tighten when finished)

6-By knot of six, I reweave reality
in accordance with my will and
desire. (Tighten knot)

7-By knot of seven, may this spell
only be broken by this spoken phrase
(say phrase into the loop and tighten
when finished)

8-By knot of eight, may the spirits of
my land and familiars of the cross
courter ways be one with my desire
and aid its fruition (Tighten knot)

9-By knot of nine, I invoke the
power of the Old Ones. I cast
out the threads of this tapestry of
rewoven fate. And command this
destiny be sealed. (Tighten knot)

And so it is!

Once done, leave the cord at
your hearth or altar for the next 9 days.
On the 10th day, you may untie the
knots as it is no longer the cord
which binds the spell together. It is your new reality.

The Spell Analysis 

You’ll notice the verbiage follows my personal cosmology within the craft, but more importantly, you’ll notice two distinct knots that involve some specifics. Knot five involves speaking your direct desire into the loop before tightening and knot seven involves saying a specific set of words that when spoken aloud would break your spell. This phrase or set of words can be uttered at any time to end the magic holding your spell together.

The verbiage takes the idea of the original knot spell and and expands upon it by taking this braided cord and sympathetically connecting it to the fabric of reality. The idea that after 9 days the knots themselves are not holding the spell in place anymore as the fabric of reality itself is now rewoven according to your desire. The spell breaker phrase would be like pulling the thread that holds it all together.

. . .

Now, I love a classic spell and I know new magic can sometimes feel less appealing, but I encourage you to be promiscuous with your craft. Try new things. Tweek them and try them again. Classics are great but the potential in witchcraft for creating something new and personal to you is a kind of magic you can only make on your own.

From the crossroads of Texas,
Marshall WSL

About Marshall WSL
Marshall is a practicing traditional which living in Texas. Be sure to catch them on their podcast, Southern Bramble: a Podcast of Crooked Ways. You can read more about the author here.
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