While you braid, concentrate on putting your energy into the braid, so that it becomes a part of you. Tie a knot at each end, so that it doesn’t unravel. Make sure it’s 9 ft long. Consecrate the ‘rope’ when you’re done.
One use for this cord is to store power. The witch sits by her self (or at least some distance away from others) and chants while she holds the cord. As the power starts to build up, the witch will take a break now and then and tie a knot on the cord.
The first knot is tied at one end (it can be a good idea to mark this end in some way, so that you know which end you started with) with the words ‘By knot of one, the spell’s begun’. She will then return to the chant, sometimes swaying from side to side, or back and forth – until she feels it is time to tie another knot. This is tied on the opposite end with the words ‘By knot of two, it cometh true’. Then back to the chanting.
As she chants, she also pictures what she wants … she focuses the power. So it goes on; chanting and picturing, then tying a knot. As the power builds, more knots are tied until there are nine knots in the cord. They are tied in a particular pattern and with appropriate words. Here is the pattern of tying, together with the appropriate words:
|By knot of ONE, the spell’s begun|
|By knot of TWO, it cometh true|
|By knot of THREE, so mote it be|
|By knot of FOUR, this power I store|
|By knot of FIVE, the spell’s alive|
|By knot of SIX, the spell I fix|
|By knot of SEVEN, events I’ll leaven|
|By knot of EIGHT, it will be fate|
|By knot of NINE, what’s done is mine|
At the tying of the last (ninth) knot, all the energy is directed into the cord and its knots, with a final visualization of the object of the work. The power has been raised and is now “stored” in these knots in the cord.
There are old woodcuts, from the Middle Ages, which show Witches selling knotted cords to sailors. They were supposed to have tied-up winds in the cords so that if the sailor needed a wind for his ship he just untied a knot and got it – one knot for a light breeze, two for a strong wind and three for a gale!
Why would you want to store a spell? For some magic, the time for it to happen is important. Suppose, for example, that you want something constructive to happen but the most propitious time for it to do so happens to be close to the New Moon. Do you do your constructive magic during the Waxing Moon? No. You do it early on, at the Full Moon, using a cord. Now the power is there, properly raised, but stored for use.
You have nine knots. Although they are all tied in one ritual, these must be released one at a time-one a day – for nine consecutive days. Release them in the same order in which they were tied, NOT the reverse order. In other words, on the first day untie the knot that was first tied (at one end); on the second day, the second knot tied (at the other end); and so on. In this way, the last knot untied on the ninth day is the ninth knot that was tied at the climax of the tying ritual – the time of greatest power. Each day, before you actually untie, do your concentration on what is to happen, rocking and again building power. Then, as you release the knot, release the power also with a shout. It’s a good idea to mark one end (right or left) and always mark the same end.
You can prepare a cord during each phase of the moon, and thus, have available to you the power of each phase. However, I strongly suggest that you use the cords only when absolutely necessary, and try to work with the phases of the moon in the sky whenever you can.
To prepare a moon cord, use a length of colored wool, or embroidery thread about two feet long. You can have five different colors if you prefer and prepare five cords: new, waxing, full, waning and dark. Or you can simplify matters and use three colors for three cords: new and waxing combined, full (alone), waning and dark combined. It’s sufficient to work with three.
To prepare a cord during the appropriate Moon phase, Light your goddess candle and sit at your altar or work table- or go outside. State alignments, and call on that aspect of the goddess who rules the phase you wish to put into the cord. This is called charging the cord. So for the new and waxing moon call Diana; for the full moon call Selene; for the waning moon call Hecate.
It’s a good idea to use your athame for this, as the process is related to drawing down the moon. In a sense, you are drawing her down for each phase to enter your cord, so you may draw a pentagram over the face of the moon, or over the candle flame which represents her, and trace a line of power from the moon or flame into your cord, stating words of power.
Example: (Fill in appropriate Goddess name for each moon phase) State alignments then add:
‘By the one power.
working for and through me
I hereby call upon you, Diana,
To enter this cord with your power
to charge this cord
enter this cord
for the good of all
and according to free will
for the work of positive magic only
To aid me in my work
at the appropriate times,
According to your will
as these knots are tied.’
Then tie nine knots in the cord, placing them equidistant from one another and use the ninth knot to tie the cord into a circle. Then add:
‘So mote it be’
Place this circle on the altar encircling your Goddess candle, and leave it there for a while, meditating if you wish on the phase of the moon with which you have charged the cord. When you feel your work is complete, wind the cord into a compact little entity and enclose it in a tiny pouch or box.
This is kept on the altar. It is best kept near your own tools. When you work with a moon cord either hold it in your hand or place around your goddess candle, as you do specific magic for which you need its aid.
When you are finished, put it back in its holder. You may take it out and hold it under the moon during its name phase, to recharge it, but this is not absolutely essential. There is no drain on moon power, such as with a battery. The power is in the moon cord to stay.
In addition to moon cords, you can make special cords during the sabbath rituals, for example Samhain. You then choose a color that corresponds with the sabbath.
Begin by placing yourself in a comfortable position, and then clear your mind of thoughts. Now imagine a ball of golden light in your Heart Chakra.
Say to yourself “Behold, I am One with the powers of the Universe,” and imagine that ball of light growing larger and brighter, radiating out in all directions like a sun inside you. Let the ball of light grow to fill your chest, growing stronger and stronger as it does so.
Now take your cord (and any other items you may be using, if you are doing either of the variations given for this spell) and place it before you.
Make three Tuathail, or counter-clockwise, circles above the cord with your hand. Say something to the effect of “Behold, I cleanse and purify you, sending out for you any impurities which may lie within.” Imagine the cord surrounded by a golden light. Imagine it shining brightly, then let the image fade.
Now make three Deosil, or clockwise, circles above the cord and say something like: “Behold, I bless and consecrate you to this purpose!” Imagine the cord surrounded by a blue-white light, shining brightly. Again hold the image for a moment, and then let it fade.
Now take the cord in your two hands, or hold your hands to either side of it (palms facing it). Imagine a ball of white light between your hands, surrounding the cord. Concentrate on the goal you wish to bring about through this spell -focus as hard as you can on the goal for several minutes.
Imagine the goal inside the ball of light, or some image that represents the goal. See the goal as you want it to be when it is already accomplished and complete -if your goal is to gain a skill for example, imagine yourself already proficient in it. As you imagine this, know that this goal is already accomplished and only needs to be drawn into physical manifestation.
Now let the image of the goal and the ball of light fade, and take up your cord. Continue to focus on your goal, seeing it already accomplished.
Still concentrating on the goal, take the cord and tie a knot near one end of it.
“By Knot of One, the spells begun.”
Imagine yourself one step closer to having your goal. Now tie a second knot a short distance from the first, and say:
“By knot of Two, no power undo.”
Focus even more strongly on the goal, knowing that each knot draws it closer. Tie a third knot, and say:
“By knot of Three, so mote it be.”
With each knot know that your goal comes closer to you, imagine it more strongly and know that it is truly yours. Tie the fourth knot, saying:
“By knot of Four, open the door.”
Then the fifth:
“By knot of Five, it comes alive.”
“By knot of Six, the spell is fixed.”
“By knot of Seven, the boon is given.”
“By knot of Eight, decreed by Fate.”
And lastly tie the ninth knot:
“By knot of Nine, now it is mine!”
Now once again imagine white light all around the knotted cord, and place your hands above or beside the cord with palms facing it. Again imagine the image of your goal very strongly. Then release all of your focused energy and concentration directly into the cord -do this just as you do when you clear and release before or after any working: imagine the energy flowing out of you in the form of light or water.
When all of the energy has flowed from you into the knotted cord, take it and seal it in a safe place. It is best to bury it in the Earth, and especially good if you can bury it at the foot of a tree. This symbolizes the physical manifestation of the goal.
In some cases, you may wish to keep the Witches’ Ladder in your house, rather than burying it out of doors. You can do this by placing it in an Earth pot -a pot filled with soil and kept on the altar or a special place. Or you could make a special box or bottle for it. In any of these instances you will fill the receptacle with soil, and then bury the completed Witches’ ladder in it.
Variations on the witches’ ladder
The simple technique used to make the Witches’ Ladder has many variations. These can add to the efficacy of the spell by deepening your connection to it.
Make your Witches’ Ladder using not one but several cords of differing color. For example to do a prosperity spell you might combine a green cord, for fertility and abundance, with a yellow cord, for success. Or for psychic development, you might select a dark blue cord, for psychic ability, a pale blue cord, for communication and learning, and a violet cord, for spiritual guidance.
Instead of simply tying a knot, tie something into the knot. You might use beads, or twigs, or feathers -to give just a few examples. Then tie one into each knot as you work the spell. The use of feathers is a particularly ancient version of this spell, and examples have been found dating back hundreds of years.
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A chant for tying knots
By the knot of one
The spell’s begun.
By the knot of two
It cometh true.
By the knot of three
Thus shall it be.
By the knot of four
‘Tis strengthened more.
By the knot of five
So may it thrive.
By the knot of six
The spell we fix.
By the knot of seven
The Stars of Heaven.
By the knot of eight
The hand of fate.
By the knot of nine
The thing is mine.