Knot Magick

A few years back, a member of the circle I was then a part of brought a photocopy of some info on knot magic to our ritual, and we read it, and tried it out.

It was an interesting experience, one that I want to share with you.

A yellow patterned background with a black cord on top with four knots
Knot magic at work. Photo: Janet Callahan

It turns out the copies I was given years ago are a chapter from DJ Conway’s book, Wicca: The Complete Craft.  I don’t own a copy, but Google Books has it in their library.  The internet is an amazing thing….

Knot magic has been used for hundreds (probably thousands) of years. Many of the various Goddesses of Fate are weavers, who tie  and loosen knots all the time. And there are lots of stories of sailors buying knotted cords from witches and wizards, in order to make the wind blow if their ships were stalled.

Looking back to that bit about the ships tells us something important about knot magic: more than anything, it’s something of a battery, storing energy up for when we need it. And frequently, the energy stored is something natural – wind, the full moon, the dark moon….

An organized witch might, then, prep many different cords with knots, each cord representing a specific type of energy they might need later.

Another obvious use of knot magic is to bind.  That is, after all, the definition – to tie something securely.  Equally, the untying of knots can be used to symbolize the dissolving of a problem.

Even our weddings, both Pagan and more mainstream use knot magic and knot imagery – to get married is to “tie the knot” in the mainstream world, and our handfastings typically involve an actual cord being tied around the hands of those being joined.

a person in a gray suit and a person in a wedding dress, with a third person tying their hands
Image via flickr user ms2588a, under creative commons license


So, how would one use knot magic to store and use energy?  The example given in the pages I have give some good examples, and this is basically what we did that night so long ago.

For the full moon, pick a silver or dark purple cord. While the instruction say to use a 2-3 foot cord, I’d suggest 39 inches – 13 x 3 – for best effect. You want cord that is not too slippery (satin cord, for example, does not hold knots well), and not too stiff (we used 1/8″ gross-grain ribbon, which was pretty hard to tie because it was stiff).

On the full moon, cast your circle and perform any other ritual things your tradition recommends before your working.

Use a full moon incense, and cleanse the cord in the incense smoke. Stand somewhere in the moonlight, making sure the moonlight has touched all of the cord.

Now, you will tie nine knots, from one end of the cord to the other, while reciting this chant (or something like it):

Knot of one, this spell’s begun.
Knot of two, the power is true.
Knot of three, my will shall be.
Knot of four, I gather more.
Knot of five, moon power is alive.
Knot of six, the power I fix.
Knot of seven, moon magic leaven.
Knot of eight, this spell is fate.
Knot of nine, the threes are trine.
I gather moonbeams in this cord, according to my magic words.
Moon power is stored here on this night for magic good and strength so bright.
(chant from Wicca: The Complete Craft)

Then finish out your ritual and close your circle.

When you later wish to use that stored energy (for example, you need to do a spell that normally requires a full moon, but the moon is now just a tiny sliver), take your cord and your full moon incense, set up your ritual as you normally would, and during your working, you untie the knots from one end to the other, visualizing the full moon energy flowing into your hands, using the following chant:

I open the door to the power beyond,
The moon gate that has an Otherworld key.
Unending power flows into my hands.
This is my will and so shall it be.
(chant from Wicca: The Complete Craft)

Then do the rest of your working as if there is a full moon, and then close out your ritual as you typically would.


Wicca: The Complete Craft, by DJ Conway, published by Crossing Press, September 9, 2001

Cord Magic Basics

Knot Magic

Knot Spells



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