Witch Cords: By Knot and Feather or Whatever

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Witch’s ladder found in England in 1878

Other than candle magick, Witch cords are my favorite type of sympathetic magick to use. Cord magick also known as knot magick, or a Witch’s ladder is a very old form of folk magick. Traditionally the ladder is made from knotted cord or hair, natural items and charms are knotted or braided with a specific magickal intention in mind. The number of knots and types of woven items can vary as well as the color and number of cords.

The first recorded evidence of a witch ladder was found in an old house in Somerset, England in 1878. A “rope” with feathers and other items woven into it was found in the attic space. However, this is not the only account of such cords used for magickal intentions. The Gospel of The Witches Author, Charles Godfrey Leland discovered that the Witches in Italy used a similar form of the Witch’s ladder, called a “Witches garland”; Which was made of a cord, and contained black hen feathers. It was said that a spell was uttered as each knot was tied and that the cord was placed under the victim’s bed, to cause the ill fortune. Another was mentioned in an article found In Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould’s “Curgenven”; published in 1893. In his account the ladder was made of wool, and white and brown thread, and at every two inches was tied cock’s feathers. It’s maker then would weave into it; ill intentions intended for the victim. The ladder was then thrown to the bottom of a pond.

This type of folk-magick can also be found in its simplest form, also known as “knot magick”. Knot magick was traditionally been used by sailors to bind winds and then untying the knot to stir up a wind. The “Old-wives tale” of using a square knot on a bandage would make a wound heal faster.

marksamcord.jpgDespite it being overlooked by modern Witches, cord magick is very effective and can be done anywhere, at any time, and with any items you have on hand. I often recommend it for those who live and work in non-accepting places. They can be simple or lavish in design, all depends on the Witch. One of the more attractive cords I carry on my online store, The Hierophant, was created by “The Staten Island Witch” Mark Eadicicco for Samhain. Whereas my cords tend to be more traditional in style. Whether of “knot” you choose to cast a more traditional one or a modern one, it’s all about the intention weaved within.

Typically, the more modern “traditional” knot spells use nine knots. While constructing the cord; concentrate and focus your energy on your intent and repeated for each knot that you tie. Thus, your magick will continue to work as long as the knots are tied. Once your goal has manifested or is no longer needed, depending on the intent you should untie, cut and/or dispose of the cord. Tied with in the knots can vary depending on your intent, as would the color of the cords.

To make a basic modern Witch’s ladder, you will need yarn, ribbon, or cord in a color that matches your intent. Some Witches like to use three different colors, one or two for intent (i. e.: money and success), one to represent the knotter (or two in cases of love), and a third to bind (usually red) and nine items that are similar in correspondence (beads, shells, bones, buttons, feathers, stones or whatever you have on hand).

Cut the yarn in a workable length. Tie the ends of the three pieces of yarn together into your first knot. Begin braiding the yarn together, tying and knotting the feathers or beads into the yarn, while adding your energy and envisioning your intent. If you wish, you can say this variation of the traditionally used chant as the items are tied into the knots (not sure where the traditional one evolved from, but this is the one I have used in the past):

By knot of one, this has spell’s begun.
By knot of two, the magick comes true.
By knot of three, so it shall be.
By knot of four, my power is stored.
By knot of five, my will shall it drive.
By knot of six, this spell I fix.
By knot of seven, the future I leaven.
By knot of eight, my will be fate.
By knot of nine, what is done is mine.

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Be sure to stop by E. Massey’s online store, The Hierophant.

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Teenagers and Witchcraft: Exploring a Magickal Path On Their Own

woman wearing blue jacket sitting on chair near table reading books

Photo by George Dolgikh on Pexels.com

I was recently asked to contribute to a project for Denofgeek.com relating to teenagers and teaching them in the magickal arts. As an educator in both the mundane and the spiritual, this topic has been something I have written and talked about for years. I just never really touched it on my blog, however I thought it would make a perfect follow up to my last post and all the hype over the Sephora bullshit.

One of the concerns that a few had with this “Witch Kit” was that it was easily accessible to teens and that it wasn’t teaching them anything. Despite, how much I could write on that whole topic, the kit is a dead issue.

When I was about eleven years old I began my training in the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca and at thirteen years old I found myself standing naked among my coven mates being initiated. Although, this experience was uncomfortable as a teenager, it allowed me to understand its meaning of birthing into a new way of life. Although, I have walked on from my initial Wiccan teachings, I am grateful of their beginnings and having the privilege of being raised in a magickal environment. However, many children and teenagers do not have this same luxury. Even the ones that do, many of their teachers are their parents or a family member, who only follow one tradition. This was the case with me as well. It was my Aunt who had helped me begin my magickal journey. Unfortunately, I was forced to learn only her tradition and was given no room to explore in fear of being removed from the coven. It was this experience that later resulted in writing “The Little Witch’s Curriculum” (Hopefully to be released in 2019). Although, the book is mainly geared toward the parents of young children, the concepts would also work for teenagers. This is all fine and dandy for those already in a magickal household. But, what about those who are not, where do they go to learn, who do they turn to?

colorful books on shelf

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To the surprise of many there is no “Hogwarts” or “Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies”. So, where is a budding teenage Witch go to learn? The truth is “NO WHERE!” well not in the sense of a traditional school or place of learning, Sadly, many teens have to turn to books, and dare I say it …the Internet. Many of the Witchcraft and magickal traditions only offer courses and training that is geared toward adults and in some cases young adults, leaving teens to the hopes that there is a local metaphysical store or center in their neighborhood that they can sneak too now and then. These learners are left with no real hands-on experiences with other like minded Witches and mentors. They have to explore and dabble on their own. Not that that is all bad, many have us had to do it that way. But, that doesn’t mean it’s right and fair. This vital spiritual exploratory age is left out. I feel that one reason that this is, is because this can be an area that many teachers and organizations are afraid of the backlash of consent. Teenagers are still minors, where many of them have to hide their interest from their parents and will have to forgo the idea of a commitment to a curriculum. Then there are also funds, many places that offer spiritual education charge a fee, which leave these magickal explorers on their own. Having to save up birthday money to secretly purchase Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch or Ellen Dugan’s Elements of Witchcraft: Natural Magick for Teens on the families next outing to the mall’s bookstore. Although, these are great books they are missing the element of hands-on learning when not in the presence of a real teacher or group setting.

The only ones who have this opportunity are the children who are being raised in a magickal or open-minded household. Where they are able to participate in home or group rituals and gatherings. However, even in these circumstances, I have found that the children are only taught what the parent knows and follows. They are often not given the means to explore on their own. It’s at no fault of the parent, they can only teach in their own state of knowledge. I have discussed before, here and in my classes, the importance of allowing children to explore their own path of spirituality rather than dictating to them one’s beliefs and paths. Which is why in my “Little Witch” classes I give parents the means to give children opportunities to explore spirituality on their own, while laying down general Pagan and Witchcraft foundations. This of course this has nothing to do with one’s family cultural and traditional “ways of knowning” or belief structure, in these cases I feel it is important to extend that knowledge and linage to child’s education.

So, to any of the well-known schools of magick I employ you to rethink your courses to include teenagers, young adults and even the “Little Witches”. FYI, I have a great curriculum already written. LOL.

christening the dew the priest

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Many children who find themselves in Pagan settings often are not given the opportunity to choose their spiritual upbringing. Just like in many Christian homes, they are predestined to receive a Wiccaning and other rites of tradition. In many cases, these seem to be more for the parents rather than the child and might do more harm than good for one’s personal path of exploration. This is one reason I myself will never perform such rites. I will, however, gladly perform a child blessing or an introduction to the elements and universal energies. These initial ceremonies help the child’s own spirit or higher-self open up to the various energies found in spirituality. They also allow the child to choose their own path of spirituality in the future. In many traditions, earth-based and not, what tends to follow next is certain rites of passage and then later, a type of initiation into the parent’s coven or group. Usually, by then these children have already made up their mind if they are going to follow their parents’ tradition or not. They just don’t voice their choice against their parents’ wishes.

Going back to our teenagers of non-magickal households, these children are left to only self-initiate into a tradition out of a book, seemly one written for adults. The only options out there are for those who have been “fortunate” enough to be born into a Pagan spirituality or are able to get their hands on a book to follow, despite the prying eyes and ears of a concerned parent. We as a community need to be a little more willing to extend ourselves in teaching to those who are exploring a spirituality or magickal tradition. Who are we to question whether or not a teenager’s gateway opened up from watching a movie or a beauty store, we should accept with open arms that no matter how they got there, that it was the universe that has placed these children on their current path.

Event:Book Signing and Keynote Speaker at The Iron Garden/QXTS 3/30/18

Join me March 30th at The Iron Garden for the last event of my North-East tour. Honored as keynote speaker I will be discussing “The Art of a Magickal Life” and signing books. Come for the event and Stay and celebrate the end of my tour with me at the one and only QXTS.
Event Info:
KEY NOTE SPEAKER:
E. Massey, Artist, Author & Teacher
CONCLAVE:
Chamber of Reflection
ART EXHIBITOR:
Martyr Graff of Wendigo Graphics
MERCHANTS:
. Brujo Creations w/ Magia De Luna Shoppe
. Pagan Goods w/ Olde Thyme Witch
. Psychic Readings w/ Malanie Villari
CEREMONY:
La Commedia Del Sangue – Let us Prey
w/ House Sahjaza Elder Tony Sokol
9:00PM – Doors Open
9:15PM – Conclave (Thematic discussion group)
10:00PM – Presentations / Performances
10:30PM – Announcements
10:45PM – Ceremony (Spell, Meditation or Working)
11PM – DJs, dancing & fun!
The Iron Garden is a New Jersey based organization providing a safe haven for gathering, socialization, education, promotion of the arts, charity-work and fun for the New Jersey Nightkind Community. The Iron Garden is comprised of mature, discrete, intelligent, like-minded folk. The Iron Garden welcomes Houses, Covens, Dens and Ronin Independents who are Pagan, Vampires, Witches, Therians, Otherkin, Black Swans, Life-stylers, Poets and Scholars alike. We ask that our members be over the age of 21, dress appropriately and maintain proper conduct.
​The Iron Garden is a safe haven and neutral ground for fun, pleasure, entertainment, socialization, creative expression, interpersonal growth and networking. Please leave your negativity and hostility outside.
Attendees are required to dress semi-formally or creatively (no jeans, t-shirts, or sneakers). The Iron Garden attendees are required to demonstrate respect and fraternity toward all others in attendance.
The Iron Garden monthly gatherings are held at a private room Downstairs at QXT’s Night Club at 428 Mulberry Street in Newark, NJ.

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