What is Knot Magic?
The magic of tying and untying knots goes back thousands of years. Knots are sometimes tied when seeking to compel devotion, favor, good weather, love, trust, & bountiful hunting. Untying a knot can be a way in which to get rid of something negative, like people, energies, or problems.
One Assyrian knot spell describes how to tie knots in your shawl so that the king will show favor upon you.1 Egyptian fisherman tied fish skin into rope knots to promote favorable weather. 2 Knot magic has so many aspects to it that we can not address all of them in this article, so let’s just look at a few.
Did you tie the Knot?
I’m gonna’ tie the Knot!
We tied the Knot!
All of us know what the above statements mean, but do we know where the meaning comes from? Tying the Knot is synonymous with marriage for a variety of reasons. Quite literally, your heart and soul are tied to another. Magically, the belief that love knots can win or keep a lover was a prevalent belief in ancient societies.3 Charmed knots, uttered through a spell were sure to remedy a lovesick heart. The below spell is a Roman Love Knot Spell meant for a Roman maiden to tie-up her Roman man.
Roman Love Knot Spell
Around his waxen image first I wind
Three wooden fillets, of three colors join’d;
Thrice bind about his thrice-devoted head,
Which round the sacred altar thrice is led.
Unequal numbers please the gods,-My charms,
Restore my lovely Daphnis to my longing arms.
Knit with three knots the fillets; knit ‘em straight;
And say, These knots to love I consecrate.4
Not only can knot spells bring love and affection, some knots can promote pregnancy while others can promote infertility. Some cultures tie knots on wedding nights, while others untie and unbutton on wedding nights. In matters of love, knots were significant. It is easy to see that at some point in time, the expression Tie the Knot, was much more than a figure of speech.
That’s Not a Knot!
Much like Tie the Knot, there are many references to knots in our present day to day life, and some of them have witchy origins. For example, Tied Up – A witch might want to prevent a person from doing something. So yes, tied up has witchy origins. A person might be Tied Up or maybe your money is Tied Up. As in, “I would love to loan you some money, but my money is all tied up right now”.
We have a knot spell for the Greek God of wealth, Plutus:
With the knot of 1 my spell has begun
With the knot of 2, my will holds true,
With the knot of 3, keep cash close to me,
With the knot of 4, Plutus I implore.
Knot magic might be the most common kind of magic, practiced by the ancient Egyptians, Celtics, Romans and so many other cultures across so many areas of life. From the “Sea Witch” believed to tie magic into ropes and knots which controlled the elements, to the fertility witch tying knots for fertility (and sometimes to Not be fertile!) knot magic is truly part of human history and worthy of study by witches and non-witches alike
1 Bartlett, Sarah. (2020). Knot Magic A Handbook of Powerful Spells Using Witches’ Ladders
and other Magical Knots, pp. 6.
2 Id., 7.
3 Day, Cyrus Lawrence. (1967). Quipus and Witches’ Knots – The Role of The Knot in
Primitive and Ancient Cultures, pp. 74-76.
4 Hjalmar, Ohrvall. (1916). Om Knutar, p. 200.