Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Knot Magick

Also called cordmagick. The symbolism of the knot is probably a universally understood one. Knots bind and knots loosen. Things are tied and untied, fastened and unfastened. I could probably stop right there and you would still have the general idea of how knots can be used in the magickal sense. But when you think about it a little bit more, you come to realize that knots are really neither here nor there. A knot can either be in the process of being tied or untied, tightened or loosened. A knot can therefore be simply one moment in an ongoing series of moments. It holds potential as often as it holds finality. Knots can be either a 'done deal' (left tied) or a means in which what is done can be undone (untied).

Knots can also bring two (or more) separate pieces together in unity. Hence the 'handfasting' knot. 'Cutting the ties that bind' denotes freedom and separation from unity again. Weaving also has a relationship with knotwork and many Charmers are also weavers of some sort.

In weaving, the warp is the vertical plane. The warp is static (stationary and tied down) and thus denotes what is and what is 'fixed' in time and space and reality. The weft (woof) is the horizontal plane, the variable and changing element. The warp and the weft form a cross at each thread and symbolize the union of opposites. By alternating colors and tensions, new patterns emerge. In the magickal realm, things change, but it is a planned and orderly change. Such changes can be both very beautiful (gauzy threads) and very practical (strong threads) and given the right materials (such as silk or love) can even be both. The warp can be construed as the foundations of a thing, idea or religion and the weft can denote then the explanations, rituals or interpretations of those things. And you thought knots were just for tying sneakers!

While most Charmers will not divulge just how and why they ply their magicks (and I am one of those) some things are pretty well reported in folklore and occult literature. The number 'three' (and its combinations) really is used in magickal knotwork quite extensively. Television got that right, more's the pity. The Witches or Charmers of the Isle of Lewis (in the Highlands of Scotland) once made themselves quite a good living 'selling the wind' to sailors. Untying the first knot would unleash a fine breeze, the second would bring up a high stiff wind and the third would produce a gale. I doubt many sailors undid that last knot and I'm sure most prayed that no pissed off Charmer on the shore would either. But that is another tale...

Knotted threads were used for cures as well as for curses. Loosening knots were cures for headaches and congestion. Binding knots were used to cure warts (when buried in the ground) or for stopping nosebleeds. One Charmer of my acquaintance braids her hair whenever she has a headache and then slowly unravels the locks with her fingers. She swears that by the time her last braid is undone that her headache is gone. I tend to reach for the ibuprofen myself. But I may try it someday if I find myself in a wasteland with no drug store nearby.

And, of course, while threads and strings and yarns are the traditional tools of the Weaver-Charmer, anything pliable will do in a pinch. Hair, I have mentioned (Don't pluck and run. It's rude and somewhat dangerous. Use your own.), but one can also use long blades of grass, pine needles, flower stalks (Hello, daisy chains!) gum wrappers (Rent the movie '28 Days' for instructions and you'll get to drool over Viggo Mortensen as 'not Aragorn' while you braid.) and -yes, I have actually done this- stray threads from your skirt hem (Always check a Charmer for a hanging skirt hem!) or from the frayed bottom of your jeans. You can use a contemporary color correspondence chart if you wish, but many don't bother and just use whatever is available.

The lowly and simple knot has probably hexed and/or cured more folks over the centuries than any other single magickal device. Think about that the next time that you knot up your Nikes or take a spider to lunch. And watch out for those Charmers with the hanging hems. Although such simple and traditional methods -- and the philosophies behind them - would never make for hefty 'Craft' book sales, there are some who still believe that the weaving of some very serous magick doesn't have to be done via a flashy and complicated production number.

Always choose a color according to your needs and desires of a particular spellwork. For binding or reversing, do them at the Waning or New Moon. For all increase spells, do them at the Waxing or Full Moon. If you wish the spell to work a very long time, such as with Binding Spells, use thread instead of cord. Then bury the thread, throw it into a river or out the car window along a busy highway. For other spells, store the cord in a safe secret place. The knots can be untied when the spellwork manifests, and the cord used again at another time.

Hold the cord or thread in both hands and concentrate on what you want done. Begin at one end of the cord and work towards the other end in tying knots. As you tie each knot, chant:

By knot of one, this spell's begun.

By knot of two, it will come true.

By knot of three, my power shall be.

By knot of four, this power I store.

By knot of five, this spell's alive.

By knot of six, events I'll fix.

By knot of seven, to Asgard's Heaven

I send my spell for the Gods to see,

To give me aid and enlighten me.

This spell goes out on wings of power

To return full-grown in another hour.

Eliminating Bad Habits

One way to eliminate habits or detach yourself from persons or things that may be holding you back is cord cutting. You take a number of cords or strings, each representing an aspect or person involved. One end of you tie to some object: it could be the alter, a tree, a candle stand, whatever. The other ends you hold in one hand. As you visualize these strings as representing the bonds holding you back, you take a knife or a pair of scissors and, one by one, cut the cords. This is a form of initiation. It is a symbolic ceremony that helps your mind separate itself from whatever impedes it.

Knots can also be stitched into clothing for their magickal effects. This way they can make an easy, portable and unobtrusive spell. A good way to do this is to take out a small edge of the lining of a lined garment such as a coat, stitch the knot to the inside, and then restitch the lining closed.

Cord Binding Spell

Source: Taliesinofoz

This spell is adapted from one by DJ Conway in the 1996 Llewellyn Magickal Almanac.

It is intended to be used to prevent someone from causing you harm, and I have also used it to batten down anger(my own and another's). In order to work properly it requires full concentration.

Take a short length of black thread. Tie a knot in one end, saying:

'One to seek him/her/it.'

(choose whichever pronoun is appropriate)

Tie a knot in the middle, saying:

'One to find him/her/it,'

Tie a knot in the other end, saying:

'One to bring him/her/it,'

Tie the two ends together, saying:

'One to bind him/her/it.'

Bury the knotted thread far away from your property or drop it on a road or waste ground far from where you live. And that's right, the rhyme is adapted straight out of Tolkien! However, I do NOT recommend that you finish off this spell with 'In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie'!

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