“A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
– Ecclesiastes, IV, 12.
There is all manner of magical tools available to Witches. One of which, a simple cord, people often overlook. Let’s consider how often in everyday life we use cords in a somewhat magical way as a starting point. Do we tie our children’s shoes thinking of their safety? How about tying a ribbon around our finger to remember something? And then too, what about power ties for that corporate meeting? Each of these illustrates the sublime beauty in cord magick – it’s not complex or time consuming.
Cords are flexible. We can make it into various shapes, then put it back into its natural form so it could be an effective poppet. Stringed instruments have cords (Bards often used such instruments in their performances laced with magic energy). Our throat has vocal cords (word magic). And what about braiding hair? The word tress comes from a French term meaning threefold. Hair has been a material used in magic for eons. A lock of hair might can be put into a decorative pendant to lock safety in place for the person to whom it belonged.
Brief History of Cord Magic
In 1959, Gerald Gardner wrote about a Witch’s Cord called a Cingulim. The length of it may be based on measurements of the Witch’s body or 9′ long, depending on who you ask. This cord symbolizes the rank of the practitioner in Witchcraft Traditions with degrees of advancement. Some writings suggests a teacher may hold on to this cord, ritually destroying it upon a person’s death or if they leave the coven.
Outside magical traditions we see cords in use for prayer and meditation. In this case, as with Catholicism, the cord has knots or beads for counting. As one works upward along the cord, the depth of the meditative or prayer state increases. The color of the cord(s) usually holds significance which relates to the tool’s ultimate purpose.
Buddhists have used special cords for many years. A Lama blesses these with a puff of air and a mantra for luck and blessings. Before synthetic fabric, the cords were worn until they literally fell off. Most cords were for important occasions, such as taking vows, or given as a gift from an influential teacher to remember the moment.
Cord & Knot Magick Uses
Cords may be braided together with focused energy, blessed, and carried as amulets and charms, for example. Additionally, you can get cords and ribbons of many colors for greater symbolic value.
There are a lot of goals for which Cord Magic makes sense. One example is protection spells. As you weave the cords together, you bind negative psychic or mystical energies. Once completed, you take it with you when you feel you might need a proverbial shield. Alternatively, you can leave it in one location where the vibes are particularly baneful. Other applications for cord magick include:
Binding: Wrapping a cord around an object that represents something you want to bind. Sometimes this type of cord magic utilizes a poppet symbolizing a troublesome person. The goal of the magick is halting their negative attention.
Cooperation: Braid a symbolic number of cords together. Each should be of equal length for accord. Name each cord after the person(s) or situation(s) in which cooperation is lacking. Focus your energy on working harmoniously with all your skills and ideas blending together like the braid. Keep it where you need it the most.
God or Goddess Symbols: You can use colored, knotted, braided, bundled, or balled cords to represent the Divine element in your sacred space. Some might put a cord around the circle symbolizing a Being’s protective presence. Or you might create an artistic piece out of colored cords that can go on your altar.
Joining and Releasing: Cord magic for joining and releasing goes hand-in-hand with Knot Magic. Let’s take the example of job hunting. Use one cord to represent yourself and another for the job you want. Tie the two together securely. If you do, indeed, get the job and decide after a time to leave, disconnect the knot.
Love & Friendship: Marriage vows sometimes talk of the ties that bind. Pagan handfastings include specially prepared cords or ribbons as part of the ceremony that represents bringing two people into oneness. The cord is kept safely with other mementos of the ritual. In the case of friendship, two people can make bracelets for each other using basic a basic macrame half-hitch. You can use the color and pattern so it reflects your feelings for the other person. Exchange them at the same time, perhaps on a date significant to you both.
Luck: There are several options for making enchanted luck cords. One integrates colored beads. Pick a sturdy piece of string and tie beads into it using an incantation for each one. A green bead could be luck with money, while a pink one would be luck in love. Wear this regularly so it draws those energies into your life just as a charm might.
Self Improvement: Wrap a decorative cord around your wrist while concentrating on a specific area of your life you want to improve. Every time the area comes up in a situation, touch the cord and think of your intent again. This example can be improved by adding a verbal element to activate the energy in your cord when you touch it. Oh, and It doesn’t have to be fancy, by the way. the word “On” works as does the command “Now!”
Weather Magic: Cords, particularly ropes, have been part of Weather Witchery for eons. Usually, the cord has knots placed therein by a Witch, each one of which is a type of weather. A sailor’s cords, for example, might have three knots – one for a gentle breeze, one for a full wind, and one for a gale. A farmer might have knots for rain – a nourishing rain, a shower or a full-out pour.
Cord Magic Materials
There are all kinds of materials that can (by extension) you can consider cords. These include:
- Chain (thin)
- Tie (shirt)
All of these items are readily available at inexpensive prices in craft shops or your local clothing supply store. In the case of anything fabric-related, it’s best to avoid synthetics. While the synthetic product will last longer, it doesn’t seem quite as absorbing for magical energy. Think cotton, wool, angora, cashmere, hemp, and silk instead.
Cord Color Magick
For an all-purpose product, look to neutral tones. Then, when you want to practice colored cord magick you have something that applies to any focus. Otherwise you can use this color association chart for symbolic value:
Black: Wisdom, banishing, protection, grounding, dream work, introspection.
Blue: Joy, peace, forgiveness, honesty, devotion, the Water Element.
Brown: Earth magic, focus, building, providence, the Earth Element.
Copper/Gold: Success particularly with money. The Sacred Masculine, luck, abundance, justice, well-being, persuasion, charm, Sun and God magic.
Green: Creativity, prosperity, growth, physical health, Green Witchery and gardening magic.
Indigo: Spirituality, the Higher Self, divination, psychism, the Crown Chakra.
Lavender: Peacefulness, intuitiveness, learning.
Orange: Self-awareness, the mind, justice, goals, motivation, adaptation, openings, optimism, creativity, the harvest.
Pink: Gentle love, self-love, nurturing, mercy, romance, caring, emotional restoration.
Purple: Higher wisdom, global thinking, mediumship, leadership, improved luck, the Mysteries, freedom and liberation.
Red: Passion, fertility, bravery, health, motivation, sexual fecundity, action, vitality, positivity, the Fire Element.
Silver: The moon, the Sacred Feminine, psychism, dream interpretation, communication, the Astral Realm. Goddess magic.
White: Purity, spirituality, sincerity youth, new beginnings, cleansing, honesty. White can be substituted for any other color.
Yellow: Joy, keen-mindedness, focus, inspiration, memory, Sun Magic, self-trust, adventure, the Air Element.
Braiding in the Magic with Cords
Consider a few tips on making your cords. If you are working with a base material that frays, you can dip the ends in a little wax, twist them and let them cool. That fixes the problem. The tighter you make your braids, the shorter the finish cord will be. So, always leave yourself a little wiggle room when measuring lengths. The rule of thumb is having 1.5 – 2.5 times the finished length of base depending on how tight you weave the braid.
Now for the magical perspective, like any other working you need to settle yourself and focus your mind. Be very clear on your intention. Visualize your goal. Chant, sing, or whatever else helps you maintain concentration. Many practitioners working with cord magic recommend finishing your piece in one session, if at all possible, so you don’t disrupt the energy you create. It means leaving yourself with enough time for bigger projects.
Using Cords for Knot Magic: It’s all Tied Up
Using cords for Knot magic has been their most traditional and popular application because, quite simply, they’re easy to tie! Interestingly enough, the word tie means fastening, restricting, connecting and forming – all active words perfect for spell craft. The Ancients were certainly aware of this connection. Arabs use knots in their clothing as part of their pilgrimage to Mecca. Celtic knots represent eternity. Romans used knots for oaths. In the Middle Ages, a Witch’s Knot appeared over homes for protection. For the knot to be of the utmost effectiveness, it had to be drawn in one continual line. By the way, the word magician in both Hebrew and Russian translates as knot tier.
Generally speaking, for our purposes, when you tie a knot you are placing something specific therein. Some knots, like those for binding, stay fixed for as long as necessary, perhaps forever. Other knots are meant to be opened when you need them, releasing their energy. An example here might be a knot charm for self confidence. Open one knot when you are going into a situation where you need that assurance.
Hint: You can use embroidery, knitting, crocheting, quilting, applique, tatting and weaving as artistic forms of knot magic that have the benefit of creating something useful when completed.
Numbers in Cord Magick Spells
Numerology offers you additional symbolism for your cord magick beyond using color. While numbers have slightly different representative energies depending on culture, here’s a brief reference list to get you started:
One: The Source, creation, wholeness, willpower, the Sacred Masculine, the individual. The Magician Card in the Tarot.
Two: Awakening. The Sacred Feminine, partnership, reconciliation, sensuality, kindness, duality. The High Priestess Card in the Tarot.
Three: Our youth. Dreaming, joy, humor, vision, playfulness, action. The Empress card in the Tarot.
Four: Foundations. Dependability, grounding, ethics and morals, truthfulness, money, caution. The Emperor Card in the Tarot.
Five: Openings. Adventure, adaptability, courage, light-hearted, thinking globally. The Hierophant in the Tarot.
Six: Healing. Responsibility, empathy, dedication, true love, encouragement, support. The Lovers Card in the Tarot.
Seven: Spiritual matters. Wisdom, concentration, perception, civility, grace under pressure. The Chariot Card in the Tarot.
Eight: Authority. Leadership, astuteness, good judgment, power wielded responsibly. The Strength Card in the Tarot.
Nine: Humanitarian efforts. Generosity, nobility, group action, benevolence. The Hermit Card in the Tarot.
A Powerful Knot Charging Incantation
There is a knot incantation that has been around forever. We do not know to whom to attribute this (if you know, please share) but it’s a foundational 9-knot verbal component that pops up with minor differences all over the Internet. It’s a great piece in that you can adapt in many ways. Here is one rendition:
“By the knot of one, the spell is begun.
By the knot of two, the spell comes true.
By the knot of three, so shall it be.
By the knot of four, it is strengthened more.
By the knot of five, the energy thrives.
By the knot of six, this spell is fixed.
By the knot of seven, the spell reaches the heavens.
By the knot of eight, I set its fate.
By the knot of nine, the magic is mine.”
From here, what you do with your cord or knot magick depends wholly on you. You can energize it in moonlight or sunlight. Leave it on your altar to soak up sacred energies. Bless it with a prayer. Really, just find a way to consecrate this tool for its magical purpose. By the way, with knot magic, if you get to the point where you have opened all the knots, you need to re-affix your magic and tie them up again.