Witch Notes: Knot Magick
I really like using knot spells. I prefer soft leather to anything else, otherwise I use hemp cord that’s been braided to create a cord of more substance. The number of cords I use ranges from one for something simple to more if I need to influence something more complex, weaving each together with the other cords. A simple knot can be used or something more complex. I prefer using figure eight knots unless I really need to focus, in which case I tie more complicated knots. The casting can be carried on your person as a talisman or charm. Or it can be burned or buried if the working requires it.
There are many versions of the chant that’s recited while tying the knots. A witch can use any order or pattern she likes as well as the type of knot she uses. Knot spells can be worked at any time but they have special significance and power for me if performed when the Moon is either Dark or Full. As with any spell, correspondences regarding day, hour, and time should be observed whenever possible as well as any other correspondences that are appropriate. Specific colors may be selected to enhance the casting.
The knots used…
Knots represent patterns to me. I like seeing how they’re constructed and the path the cord follows to its completion. The following are some of my favorite knots. The more complicated the knot, the more I use it for more involved intention and focus.
- Single Figure 8 and Figure 8 Tuck — I use the Single Figure 8 the most. The Figure 8 Tuck is more difficult and I need more practice with that one, but it will be useful when a longer, more intense focus is necessary.
- Celtic Button knot — Here is an example of a Celtic Button knot I’ve created. It
- takes a little longer than the Single Figure 8, so I use it when I really need a longer focus.
- Single Figure 8 using three cords — This creates a Witch’s Ladder of sorts and beads can be added as well for magickal intent. If cast for protection as an example, the knot casting can be hung by a door, or placed on the altar, or carried as a talisman.
- Oysterman knot — I like this simple knot. It looks more complicated than it really is.
- Stevedore knot — This one is similar to the figure 8 but can be used at the end of a cord to prevent unraveling.
- Triangle knot — This knot can be tied in succession as shown in the picture or in an alternating fashion. 9 knots are tied in this casting.
- Josephine knot — I love this knot. It can be used as a talisman or altar piece or carried for whatever purpose for which it was cast.
The words spoken…
There are various renditions of the basic knot spell. The idea is, if you borrow another witch’s written spell, modify it to make it your own. This is the one I use.
- With the knot of one, my spell has begun
- With the knot of two, my spell is blessed true
- With the knot of three, my power flows free
- With the knot of four, my intention is stored
- With the knot of five, energy rising and alive
- With the knot of six, my intention fixed
- With the knot of seven, the spell has leavened
- With the knot of eight, coalesce into fate
- With the knot of nine, my desire, mine
Order matters..or not
Some witches use an order when tying knots. But if you don’t want to do that, you don’t have to. Some knot magick uses the typical 9 knots, but I also perform one that uses 13. Really, any number can be used because it’s all about the witch’s magickal will and intention. Knot magick can be used during Dark Moon ritual to set intentions for the Full Moon and untied at that time. That’s the best aspect of knot magick. You can truly make it your own. Adding beads or shells or other objects that have significance can also be part of the casting. It’s really all up to the witch how she uses knot magick in her craft. Below is the typical 9-knot order to use if you like.
— 1 — — –6 — — –4 — — — 7 — — –3 — — — 8 — — –5 — — –9 — — –2 —
When my boys homeschooled, I didn’t teach as much as facilitate their learning. I hesitate telling any witch how she should perform her craft. It’s part of the reason I’ve always been Solitary. I’ve never been part of a coven so becoming an initiate where someone else confers this or that grade or degree seems counterintuitive. And I’m not trying to suggest that choosing to belong to a coven is a bad thing because it surely is not. It just wasn’t for me. I think it’s great to share ideas and receive advice from others but at the end of the day, a witch decides how she expresses herself and should own that. When I was awarded my Black Belt, there was no one that could tell me I wasn’t a Black Belt. I didn’t need anyone giving me the belt, but it’s part of dojo tradition that a student tests for and is then awarded rank by the instructor or by a panel of instructors. I accepted that because it was expected and I figured that I gave tacit approval when I began training. But for someone to tell me how to be a witch? Yeah, right.
So if you haven’t worked knot magick, give it a try! It might become your favorite magickal tool. Witches who are skilled at macrame should have no problem. For the rest of us, I recommend starting with a simple knot or maybe the figure 8. Your focus needs to be on your intention instead of getting the knots right. If you have to refer to a diagram, it breaks your focus, so work the knot until you’re comfortable tying it without thinking about it. And if you don’t happen to have your cords with you when you feel the need for some knot magick, don’t worry. You can visualize the cord(s) as well as the knots as they’re tied.
So have fun with it!
Ogham runes, or staves as they’re also called, are another language from my Druid ancestors used for communication or divination.
BeithBBirchDecember 24 to January 20adaptability, stability, express creativity, explore new directions, good fortune
LuisLRowanJanuary 21 to February 17Value intuition when making decisions. Look beyond the surface. Magickal protection and healing rune.
FearnF/WAlderFebruary 18 to March 17Stand in your own power, have courage of convictions. This rune embodies strength and wisdom.
SailleSWillowMarch 18 to April 14Psychic ability, intuition, and imagination are facilitated by this rune. The rune of Seidhr, of the Volur.
Nuinn/NionNAshApril 15 to May 12Renewal and rebirth; finding your place, spiritual ascent and transformation
Huathe/UathH/YHawthornMay 13 to June 9Growth through trial, balance and breakthrough, stay centered to remain on your path
Duir/DairDOakJune 10 to July 7Strength, power, understanding, liberation and finding new avenues
TinneTHollyJuly 8 to August 4Balance and strength during difficult times, staying the course, rely on internal balance
CollC/KHazelAugust 5 to September 1Express creativity born from inspiration, divination, convey knowledge and widsom
Quert/CeirtQ/KwAppleSeptember 2 to September 29Beauty, love, abundance, difficult choices, new perspective, healing
MuinnMVineSeptember 30 to October 27balanced life, inner purpose and development, protection, trancework
GortGIvyOctober 28 to November 24Tenacity, strength, perseverance in difficult situations, self-transformation, resistance
NgetalNg/GwReed/BroomNovember 25 to December 23Approach change with flexibility, stay centered in chaotic situations, cleansing, healing
StraifZ/Sw/TsBlackthornUnexpected challenge, turning difficulty into advantage, rebirth, awakening
RuisRElderCycles of renewal, the Wheel, moving from one phase to another
AilmASilver/White Fir/PineThe future is clear, new projects, purification, clarity of purpose and self
Ohn/OnnOGorseStay on your path, harmony, share knowledge, stay centered and focused, prosperity and positive results
UrUHeatherLove, wealth, passion, creative expression
EadhadhEPoplarFaith, self-determination, steadfastness through difficulty, self-transformation
IodhadhIYewTransition, renewal, transformation, passage, new beginnings, past life awareness and connection
OrOiSpindle Treeright thinking, fulfilling responsibilities
UilleannUiHoneysuckleLive life to the fullest, honor your needs
IfinIaPineSelf-transformation and personal responsibility, honor and respect for others
EamhanchollAeWitch Hazelunknown as of this printing
I love herbal oils. They’re simple to make. I use the Simpler’s method, by adding about 2/3 herb to a jar and cover up to the top with my oil of choice. If I’m using fresh herb, then I wilt them a little to get some of the water content out of them before pouring oil over them. Water content of fresh plants can dilute the strength of the infused oil. It can do the same with alcohol tinctures so I use Clear Springs when tincturing fresh herbs to offset any water content they might still have. I can always dilute with water or glycerin later to reduce the alcohol to a more manageable level. If I’m using dried herb, I tincture with 100 proof vodka. I should probably put that on the tincture page when I make one.
I made this oil by researching neuralgia. I sort of have it in my feet because of constant swelling over the course of thirteen years from RA. St. John’s Wort and Vervain as nervines, act on the nervous system to control pain. Mullein flower deals with pain and inflammation. So, I put equal parts in a jar and covered them with grapeseed oil. Grapeseed is delicate and light and it absorbs into the skin well. I put the jar out in my sand bucket that I use in the summer for my infusions.
Some folks say to put it in a dark cupboard, but I like the solar infusion method instead. I try to remember to shake the jar every day. I typically have several infusions going at once so with them all in the same sand bucket, there’s a better than average chance that I’ll remember to shake them.
Anyway, the oil should sit there for a month or so, then strain it. Now, for the salve:
Neuralgia Oil Salve
Salves are ridiculously simple to make. Heat a cup of herbal oil. Add 1/4 cup beeswax. I use beeswax pearls instead of the slabs. I don’t like grating the slabs or even trying to cut the smaller ones. Eventually, my bees will let me have some of their beeswax, but we’re not there yet. Until then, I buy and use the pearls. They melt easily and it’s simple to measure them out.
When the beeswax is melted, do a spoon test. Dip a spoon into the mixture, taking out a small amount on the spoon. Put it in the refrigerator and if in 1–2 minutes it’s the consistency you like, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, either add a little oil, or add more beeswax. While you’re waiting, add a few drops of essential oil if you like.
When you’re happy with the consistency of the spoon test, then pour your oil mixture into containers. I like small round tins, but small jars work too. I get some of my jars in the canning section of the grocery store, and my tins and amber dropper bottles from Specialty Bottle. They have really cool stuff and it’s reasonably priced. And, where I live, it’s only a day away with ground shipping.
St. John’s Wort/Arnica Oil
Another oil for my RA..it’s great for pain and inflammation. St. John’s Wort and Arnica are wonderful infused into grapeseed oil. Almond oil is another oil that can be used. Apricot is another light feeling oil which absorbs into the skin well. I don’t like greasy oils that don’t absorb in. It’s one reason I don’t care for olive oil as well as grapeseed, although medicinally, it’s probably the best oil to use.
I blended equal amounts of St. John’s Wort and Arnica and filled 2/3 of the jar, covering it with grapeseed oil up to the top. Again, I shook it daily (okay, not daily) and set it out in the sand bucket for a month. It’s lovely, and the oil seems to help the pain I have in my elbow, but I haven’t made any salve yet, which I should definitely do.
General Herbal Oil for Salve
So this is what happens when I walk around my property. I begin gathering herbs. I can’t help myself. And then I bring them back and I infuse or tincture them into something. One afternoon, this is what I gathered:
- calendula flower — good for rashes, promotes cell repair/growth, and heals wounds
- comfrey leaf — heals tissue
- mullein leaf/flower — bruising and pain
- dandelion leaf/root — joint pain
- plantain — draws toxicity, sooths inflamed tissue
I used almond oil for the menstruum, again fresh wilting the herbs to reduce their water content, then put them in a jar two-thirds full, and then covered the herbs with almond oil up to the top. I put it in the sand bucket with the other oils so that they can all wait together for me to remember to shake them. A month or so later I strained and bottled it. I haven’t made the salve yet.
So that’s enough for now..I’ll post some more later..
The thing about teas..
Some herbs are infused, some are decocted. Roots are decocted. There are several ways to do this, but I put them in a quart of cold water and then bring to boil on low heat. Yes, it takes a while, but you should watch it anyway so it doesn’t get carried away on its way to boiling. When it starts to boil, drop the temp down so that it simmers for typically 20 minutes or so, but don’t worry if it goes longer. Longer is stronger, so there’s that.
Infusions are for more fragile herbs and some roots with high volatile oil content such as valerian and goldenseal. I pour boiling water over the herbs in a mason jar and then put the lid on tight, letting it steep for 15 minutes or so. Again, if it’s longer that’s fine.
Now, some of my teas are a combination of herbs as with the first tea listed. I decoct first, then remove the mixture from heat to infuse the remainder.
Teas can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but mine never last that long.
~Blessings to all!
Menopause Support Tea
Might as well put this one first..I made it into a tincture as well.
- 2 T black cohosh root emmenagogue, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, alterative, nervine
- 2 T licorice root expectorant, demulcent, emollient
- 2 T dong quai root uterine tonic, antispasmodic, alterative
- 2 T St. John’s Wort aromatic, nervine, astringent, resolvent, sedative, diuretic, vulnerary
Roots are decocted, not infused (except for valerian and goldenseal). So, add the root herbs to a quart of cold water in a covered pan on low. Bring to a boil slowly, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and infuse the St. John’s Wort by adding it to the hot decocted mixture. Re-cover the pan, leaving it off the element, and let infuse for 15 minutes or more. Strain and drink.
This helped my hot flashes somewhat. And it tastes wonderful!
Lemon Balm Tea
- 2 T lemon balm diaphoretic, calmative, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenaogue, stomachic
- 1 T chamomile tonic, stomachic. anodyne, antispasmodic, stimulant, bitter, aromatic
- 1 T spearmint stimulant, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, nervine, anti-emetic
- stevia sweetener
Infuse into 1 quart of boiling water, steeping for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink
Crone Tonic Tea
- 1 T oatstraw
- 1 T horsetail
- 1 T nettle leaf
- 1 T red clover
- 1.5 T motherwort
I made this on my 58th birthday..
Infuse into a quart of boiling water, steeping for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink.
- 1 T spearmint healing
- 1 T lemon balm healing, Feminine Divine
- 1 T holy basil Spirit, Fire, purification, Feminine Divine
- 1 T chamomile purification, healing, Water, Feminine Divine
- 1/2 T dandelion leaf divination
- 1/2 T mugwort strength, protection, psychic powers, astral travel, hedgeriding
I love this tea. I make it in bulk, so feel free to adjust the amounts any way you want.
Infuse herbs together into a quart of boiling water, letting steep for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink. If making it ahead, add about a tablespoon of herb to a cup of boiling water. It’s wonderful!
I wanted to create a page for some herbal teas and salves I’ve created. Then I decided to nest some pages beneath this one. That way, it will be easier to organize everything. I’ll have a pages for teas, oils, salves, tinctures, and some cannabis preparations. I’ll add recipes and formulas from time to time. I tend to free-wheel things a bit when I’m creating a tea or an oil. I keep track of what I use, and then if I like it, I write it down for posterity. I’ll include magickal properties if I know or can find them, as well as medicinal properties of the herbs.
I think the best teas are created by walking around my property, gathering various herbs that I see, and bringing them back to brew a cup to sip and enjoy. I might gather a little spearmint, followed by some chamomile, a little holy basil added in, along with a pinch of lemon balm. I might add a stevia leaf for natural sweetness, gathering everything to take back to my kitchen where my favorite cup awaits. I steep the herbs, and when done, I sit back and enjoy a lovely cup of tea. It’s the interaction with the herbs that brings the magick. It’s gathering with love and respect these wonderful life-affirming herbs and drinking in their essence that heals and nourishes our body and our spirit.
So check back from time to time. I’m going to figure out a way to list the pages on the widget side of the blog. I’ll be adding more recipes and formulas as I create them. If I find something I like from another herbalist, I’ll include that too, with a link back to their blog or website, or wherever I find it.
Originally published at www.imsteppingaside.com on March 21, 2016.