The Witches’ Ladder (also known as rope and feathers, witches’ ladder, witches ladder, or witch ladder) uses basic knot magic with elemental correspondences to create a powerful talisman that you can hang in your home or wear for protection or give as a gift to your friends.
The modern witch’s ladder is a string of 40 beads or a cord with 40 knots. Sometimes feathers, bones, and other trinkets are braided into the string as symbols for a desired spell effect. An earlier version of a witch’s ladder consisted of a rope or cord of three, nine, or thirteen knots.
It was believed that witches of old cast a death spell over a person by tying the knots and then hiding the cord, and the only way to undo the spell was to find the secreted cord and untie each knot.
Today, Wiccans and Neo Pagans use witch’s ladders primarily in healing, binding, and wish-granting rituals. They can also be used to “bind the thirteen moons of the year,” purportedly to allow the witch to better work weather and nature magic, and to open the doorway to the Faery realm.
Knot magick spells are numerous and aim to achieve many different outcomes. The current view held by many Wiccans is seen in this poem by Wiccan poet Enadus:
A knot is not a useless thing It keeps in place with rope and string Not all kept is hard or soft Knots can keep wishes, hope and thoughts Held by magick knots we make For life and love not to forsake.
Knot spells have been created for cutting pain, binding love, and travelling safely. The string or cord can be made out of almost any material, but natural fibres such as hair, wool, hemp and cotton are preferred. Although ladders are often created for as part of a specific spell, many wiccan’s keep a personal ladder. In this case, the knots or beads are used to keep track of repetition in a spell or prayer, similar to Rosary beads.
The witch’s ladder can be created a section at a time or all at once. Either way, special chants are spoken during the creation process to empower the talisman to do its creator’s bidding
Before you make your Witches’ Ladder you must first be clear on what it is you wish to accomplish.
You will need:
About a yard of cord or ribbon in three colours – the colour depending on what you want to use the ladder for:
- green for money;
- red for passion;
- white for creativity;
- black to stop bad habits;
- brown for balance;
- yellow for happiness;
- orange for health;
- blue for peace;
- purple for wisdom.
Beads, feathers, Hair or anything to knot into the ladder – the choice is personal and depends on the spell you are casting; You will need one item for each note total nine or multiples of nine of them ( example 9 feathers 9 beads and 9 twigs).
Casting Instructions for ‘ Witches Ladder’
Start the spell by braiding the three cords together, as you go you braid the beads, feathers etc into the ladder so you have nine evenly spaced items.
As you place each item in chant the following:
By knot of one, my spell’s begun.
By knot of two, it will come true.
By knot of three, so mote it be.
By knot of four, this power I store.
By knot of five, my spell is alive.
By knot of six, the spell I fix.
By knot of seven, events I’ll leaven .
By knot of eight, it will be fate.
By knot of nine, what is done is mine.
”The power has been raised and is now ‘stored’ in these knots, beads, feathers and in the cord.”
You can tie the ends of the ladder together and use it as a necklace for protection on your person or hang it somewhere close to where it is needed such as your bed head or chair.
If you want to use it for healing you untie and release the items in the knots like this:
You must release the knots one at a time – one a day – for nine consecutive days. Release them in the same order in which they were tied. As the knots are released the energy that was put into them releases and is used for the purpose that the ladder was made for. You can either bury the beads etc or keep them in a safe place.