Knot Magic

KNOT MAGIC © Anna Franklin One of the first things that we encounter in life is a knot, when the midwife cuts and knots the umbilical cord. In times past, this was a magical act when she could bestow a good or bad fate on the child. 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. Some of the magical implications of knot magic still survive in the English language where people speak of marriage as 'tying the knot', or in other words the couple are bound together. In certain marriage customs of some parts of the world, the couple's hands are actually tied together to symbolise this, just as they are in the Pagan ceremony of handfasting. Then again, when we part from someone, we may speak of 'severing the bond'. The use of knots for magic is very old, known throughout the ancient world. The Egyptians used knots for many magical purposes, symbolising the controlling and releasing of both creative and destructive forces. For example, the seven Hathors [fairy godmother type figures] were invoked to bless a new born child with seven knots tied in a cloth, while incantations were chanted over them. In ancient Egypt, the knot was a symbol of Isis, usually depicted as a knotted cloth between her breasts. This knot was represented in an amulet called a tyet, sometimes referred to as the girdle or buckle of Isis, or sometimes as the blood of Isis. Some scholars have suggested that this knot represented her 'sacred blood' or menstrual blood, or in other words, referring to her role as mother and fertility goddess. According to the 186th chapter of the Book of the Dead: The blood of Isis, the virtue of Isis, the magic power of Isis, the magic power of the Eye, are protecting this the Great One; they prevent any wrong being done to him." The knot was also a sacred emblem of the goddess Inanna, and was the first written form of her name. As a symbol of authority it appeared on the top of a tall pole, a symbol that developed into the later crosier, carried by Christian bishops. When the knot is tied, it is considered to be binding something up, or tying in the magic. When it is untied, it is considered to be releasing something, or releasing the magic. An ancient Mesopotamian magician might curse someone by reciting the curse while tying knots in a cord, which would then be buried to keep the curse in place. A disease might be cured by tying thread around an afflicted person's limbs, while the magician transferred the illness into the thread by a spell. The cord was then cut off and thrown away, taking the disease with it. In many societies, women about to give birth would make sure that all knots in clothing and furnishings were untied so that the baby would slip easily from the womb. Jews forbade the tying of knots on the sabbath in case they should constrict male potency. In a similar vein, Rome's high priest, the Flamen Dialis, was not allowed to wear any knot on his person, for fear 'restricting' his power. Early Muslims offered prayers to Allah to be protected from all those who blow on knots [to imbue them with magical life]. There are several Greek myths that speak of a hero being given a bag in which the winds are bound, and to release them he must untie the string that secures it. As untying something releases it, tying up binds it, so sympathetic magic to stop the flow of blood from wounds might consist of tying knots in a piece of cord. More recently, English witches were believed to be able to tie up the winds by knotting strings, which would then be sold to sailors to provide good weather for sailing. However, they were also suspected of using know magic to also inflict illness and disability by closing eyes, mouths, or throats, or by restricting the movements of limbs with knot magic. Initiation is the time a modern witch consecrates his or her magical cord, which is usually nine feet long and worn about the waist. Sometimes 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 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. The simplest form of knot magic is to tie nine knots in a cord, 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. There are several variations on the accompanying chant: 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. Put the cord somewhere safe and leave it as long as you wish the spell to work. When you wish to undo the spell, undo or cut the knots. One of the best known uses of knot magic is in the witch's ladder. For this a length of cord is tied with a certain number of knots, some say thirteen, others say forty. The ladder is then 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. This is actually a modern version of the original witch's ladder which had a much darker purpose and was used to bind an enemy, tying some of his or her hair into the knots. You don't have to use a heavy cord for magic, but could use a thread or ribbon. It doesn't have to be nine feet long either, but does work best if the measurement is in some multiple of three- three inches, three feet, six inches, six feet, nine inches, nine feet [or nine centimetres for that matter] and so on. You might use different numbers of knots for different purposes, according to the laws of numerology: One: unity and wholeness, healing, sun magic Two: duality, choice, the emotions, moon magic, choice Three: creativity, production, action, Mars magic Four: material matters, foundation, wealth, communication, Mercury magic Five: Expansion, growth, joyfulness, Jupiter magic Six: love, beauty, harmony, Venus magic Seven: limitation, ending, binding, Saturn magic Eight: dissolution, endings and beginnings, balance, Pluto magic Nine: three times three, the number of the Goddess, the number of truth and the meeting of all three planes of existence You can enhance the magic by using a thread or ribbon of the appropriate colour: Red- life, vitality, health Pink-love 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 Use a little imagination, and 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.

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