Knot magick is one of the basic tools in the practitioner’s cache of skills. Witch’s Ladders, cord spells, and knot craft are used to bless, curse, or tie up workings for controlled release. Its use in weather witchery and healing is also one of the arts that remain the go to part of training in the beginning worker’s journey to the Craft.
However, little time seems given to the teaching the time-honored skills used by the essential knot worker. It is common to see yarn purchased from the local fabric store. For my particularly powerful workings, I have found that returning to the techniques of the true Earth Witch satisfying. This means making my own cordage, ropes, and strings.
In Michigan we can thank the activism of the Monarch butterfly activists for vigorously sewing milkweed all over the state. It now grows in abundance. It is also one of the more common plants for simple cordage.
The material used for the cord may correspondent to the intention. As an example, Bindweed, though difficult to work with for beginners, is an excellent material to make for binding. It tends toward fragility when you work with it, so I would recommend a loose braiding, not a twist. Or, rose vines, beaten to pliability, for defense. Use gloves if not dethorned
However, a more unknown source of cordage would be that of blackberry. It grows wild all over and is easy to find if you know where to look. Be careful, though, because in Southeastern Michigan it seems good friends with Poison Ivy. In some of my classes for the Black Moon Grove, we spent a little time in my home garden looking at the brambles of my blackberry plants in preparation for harvest.
It can also be used for Traditional Craft to make the whisk. This has gone out of fashion in modern neo Pagan witchcraft for the most part publicly. You might find some traditional information about this at the new store, Artes and Craft. Paul Barbary is an excellent source of information.
Here is some brief information by an exceptionally credible source.
“The Witch’s Whisk is made of dried out blackberry stems and with the end bound to form a handle. Here in the south west when a witch decides to make magic she first selects a spot or place where she will work, be the chosen place inside or out. The next thing to be done is that of cleansing the chosen spot of all evil forces. This is where the bundle of blackberry twigs comes in. She sets a light to the twigs and with them smouldering, burning and making smoke, she dances and weaves her way in and around and around over and over again. So this is one might call it: ‘a witch’s devilscarer’.” – Cecil Williamson
This skill takes a little time to master, but it is certainly fun. But more importantly, it is a fundamental skill that I believe magick workers should at least try once. The energy and force of will, applied with focus, when creating the cords adds an extra layer of potency that cannot be matched by buying a pre-made material. Try it for yourself and give some feedback below in the comment section if you would like.