The Witch’s Ladder

By the knot of one, the spells begun

By the knot of two, my wish come true

By the knot of three, the magic’s free

By the knot of four, my will be law

By the knot of five, the spell will thrive

By the knot of six, the magic fix

By the knot of seven, my words to heaven

By the knot of eight, the magic create

By the knot of nine, this thing be mine.

Throughout history, the tying of the knot is associated with the binding of a spell, while the untying of a knot represents releasing magic or breaking enchantment. Knots were used to contain illness, secure love, confine evil spirits, weave blessings, control the weather, and bind curses. The use of knots for magic was known throughout the ancient world.

The simplest form of knot magic is to tie nine knots in a cord, thread or ribbon, the length of which should be a measurement in some multiple of three- three inches, three feet, six inches, six feet, nine inches, nine feet [or nine centimetres for that matter]. Tie the knots alternating them from each end and working towards the centre, concentrating on what it is you wish to achieve, then releasing it into the knot, using the chant above. Put the cord somewhere safe.

You can enhance the magic by using a thread or ribbon of the appropriate colour:

Red- life, vitality, health


Blue- healing, peace, spirituality

Black- endings, negation of ego

Green- growth, creativity, wealth

Orange- optimism, joy

Yellow- thought, mental activity

Purple- power, assertion, confidence

White- spirituality, protection

For some people, the witch’s ladder is used like a Catholic rosary to keep track of chants, or during meditation, with the knots counted between finger and thumb, and the spell or magical intent being re-affirmed with each knot counted. For this a length of cord is tied with a certain number of knots, some say thirteen, others say forty.

Initiation is the time a modern witch consecrates his or her magical cord, which is traditionally nine feet long and worn about the waist. The neophyte is asked to fashion the cord themselves, plaiting it from new wool over many weeks or months, weaving enchantment into it. This cord is then used to measure the circumference of the magic circle, and used for knot magic, either solo or in company with other members of the coven. Sometimes covens keep a set of cords in various colours for group spells.

With a little imagination, the uses of knot magic are unlimited. For example, to bring two people together, use two threads in different colours to represent them. Loosely knot the two threads together, and then pull them tight. To protect a vulnerable person, you could obtain something that belongs to them, a button or earring perhaps, and tie it in a protective basket of knots. You might use threads of differing colours to weave in various strands of magic; green for growth, orange for joy, pink for new love and so on. Tie in beads to bring in extra elements of colour magic, feathers to represent messages and the element of air, and gemstones according to their correspondences- amethyst for healing, rose quartz for peace, and so on. Do a little research into the tying of knots and use different types of knots for different purposes. Remember that knotting, weaving and braiding symbolises the bringing together of disparate elements and binding them together.


Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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