What Is Knot Magick?

Bright Blessings, Witches! In this post we’re going to explore a simple yet powerful form of witchcraft: knot magick. From choosing the material, color, number of knots, and your intention, I feel like this is one of the most satisfying types of spellwork.

When we think of knot magick (also known as cord magick) we should also think about the word ‘spellbound’. After all, knot magick’s purpose is to bind our desires through the use of a magick spell. Through the action of tying knots, we can tie things, people, actions, etc. to whatever we wish. We can even bind ourselves.

Having said that, let’s dive in!


The definition of a knot is a “fastening made by tying a piece of string, rope, or something similar.” The majority of people learn how to tie a knot very young, starting with learning how to tie shoelaces. While the action of tying a knot is simple enough, how does it relate to magick?

The actions involved when you fasten twine, rope, string, etc. is a way of focusing energy. After all, that’s what tools are there for – to help us achieve our end goals. Much like a candle is used for candle magick or a crystal is used for earth magick, you would use string or twine in the same way for knot magick.


If you’re curious as to why you may wish to add knot magick to your practice, here are the benefits:

  • Knot magick is simple to execute
  • You get to customize everything from the material you use to the how intricate you want the knotwork to be
  • This type of magick is relatively fast to perform
  • Knot magick is discreet and can be easily hidden in plain sight
  • It’s easy to get started as you probably already have some string or twine on hand
  • You don’t have to shop for supplies at a specialty or metaphysical shop


This type of spellwork has been around since before the Middle Ages. Ancient cultures like that of Mesopatamia and Greece are teeming with a history full of knot magick. Everything from pregnancy and wedding knots to religious and afterlife knots, this particular magick is anything but new.



  • In the East Indies it was believed that if a pregnant woman were to braid, tie knots, or make anything quickly, the child would be strangled during childbirth or the mother would suffer complications when the baby came.
  • Among the Ibans or Sea Dyaks, neither parent is allowed to tie anything up with string or make anything quickly during the pregnancy.
  • The tribe of North Celebes from Toumbuluh hold ceremonies during the second trimester after which the husband is not allowed to tie any quick knots or cross his legs while sitting.
  • In Bulgaria it is believed that a woman who is pregnant that sits with her legs crossed often will encounter agony during childbirth.
  • Roman mythology presents us with the story of Hercules’ mother who labored intensely with him for seven days and seven nights because the goddess Lucina sat before the house with crossed legs and clasped hands.


  • Handfasting ceremonies feature the act of the couple binding their hands together with cord and then physically tying the knot (my husband and I performed this for our wedding ceremony this year!)
  • It was believed that attendees of weddings through the Dark Ages and the 18th century would tie a knot in hopes of a happy marriage between the couple and also as a way to deflect evil intentions cast by malicious witches.
  • The tradition of wearing a veil is rooted in knot magick as it was originally a net meant to protect the bride from evil spirits.


  • To ward off vengeful ghosts the Mesopotamians would tie knots to deter the spirits from attacking the living.
  • The goddess Isis was revered in an amuletic knot of the Tit (pronounced ‘teet’). This sign was powerfully potent and a great symbol of protection for the afterlife as Egyptians believed knots bound and released magick.
  • Another example of Egyptian knot magick is the Anubis Thread. Named for Anubis, a God of the Dead, performing knot magick in his name was a form of protection. Egyptians thought that knots depicted eternity through the never-ending plaiting, and thus protected the deceased from decay.
  • Untying knots in the home of a person who passed was customary. It was believed that by undoing knots around the house the spirit was kept from being bound to the Earth.


  • The 13th century saw the birth of knot magick performed as Wind Knots. This form of spellwork was done by Wind Witches and used by sailors as a way to turn to the wind as a guide for their ships.
  • Mystics from the Isle of Man, Shetland, and Lapland climbed mountains to collect winds, tying diverse intensities into strands of knots. They would sell these strands to sailors make certain the wind would blow in their favor.
  • Over the course of a sea voyage, the captain would undo one knot to bring about a gentle breeze, two knots to call up a half gale, and three knots to rally a full-on storm.



  • A tablet from the ancient Akkadian-speaking state of Babylonia illustrates a healing spell utilizing cedar bark plaited into a knot.
  • A person’s soul was at risk of being trapped by Babylonian witches through knot magick.


  • During the 6th century, the Early Church regarded knot magick to be dangerous and therefore anyone caught practicing this type of spellwork was either assaulted or executed.
  • History shows that British witches would craft knotted strands using red thread in order to treat headaches and halt nosebleeds.


  • In 1718, the Bordeaux Parliament found a witch guilty of using magick to knot a rope in order to destroy a family. She was burned alive for her transgressions.


  • The Hercules Knot’s healing abilities was heavily emphasized by the author Pliny the Elder.


  • In order to gain power over another, West African mystics only had to speak a person’s name while tying a knot. Their power over said person would remain until the knot was undone.


  • The three goddesses of fate, the Moirai (Greek) or the Norns (Old Norse) spun the Thread of Life. They were charged with the duty of assigning the fates of every person born.
  • Goddess Athena was considered to be the Patroness of Spinning and Weaving and Arts and Crafts.

These patronesses can be called upon to aid you during your knot magick undertakings. Consider an offering and/or ritual dedicated to them before beginning your spellwork.



There is no hard fast rule saying which material you should or shouldn’t use for knot magick. I recommend choosing fibers that will stay knotted as not to undo your spellwork once it’s completed. Some choices include:

  • Ribbon
  • Rope
  • String
  • Yarn
  • Thread
  • Cord
  • Hair
  • Laces
  • Leather
  • Floss
  • Twine

The length of your chosen fiber should be between 1 to 2 feet depending on the complexity of your knot work. With time and experience you will come to know just how much length you will need, so practice!

It is recommended that your chosen medium should not be used for anything else. Keep it separate and keep it sacred. Much like I wouldn’t use my ritual knife to open mail letters, I wouldn’t use my knotting twine for anything but my spellwork.


It’s easy to add another layer of intention by choosing your knotting fiber color strategically. For instance, if I’m using knot magick to braid ribbon into my hair for a confidence boost, I would choose the color orange. For a baby blanket I’m knitting for my nephew, I chose the color blue for peace and protection.

Read this post for magickal color correspondence!


Number symbolism has been around for time immemorial. Just like layering color magick into your knot workings, the same goes for the amount of knots you tie. For example, the number two corresponds to duality. The number 16 resonates with wisdom and family.


The following spell is very common. It’s actually the one that comes to my mind when thinking about knot magick. It goes:

By knot of one, the spell’s begun
By knot of two, it cometh true
By knot of three, so mote it be
By knot of four, this power I store
By knot of five, the spell’s alive
By knot of six, this spell I fix
By knot of seven, events I’ll leaven
By knot of eight, it will be fate
By knot of nine, what’s done is mine

As you can see the intention isn’t stated and it’s very much a blank slate for you to work your desire into.


Do you use knot magick? Let me know in the comments!

Published by Pie

Pie Ankiewicz is the Resident Witch of Printable Witchcraft and sister-site Candle Cross Coven. She is a seasoned Eclectic Witch whose practice spans over three decades. Residing in Massachusetts, Pie designs printable Book of Shadows and grimoire pages, blogs about the Craft, and teaches others how to pursue being a practitioner.

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