“Next and lastly I present the cords. They are of use to bind the sigils of the art, also the material basis. Also they are necessary in the oath.” –Gardnerian Book of Shadows, 1st degree initiation
The Cingulum, which is Latin for “girdle”, is a piece of clothing/tool that in our present day is rarely seen on Pagans. It is typically a rope of some fiber and color that is worn around the waist. Sure, Gardnerians still proudly wear them, but most Pagans are not even in traditions that bestow them any more. This is a shame, because cingulums, also sometimes called “witch’s cords”, can be a lot of fun and quite useful.
Praecinge me, Domine, cingulo puritatis, et exstingue in lumbis meis humorem libidinis; ut maneat in me virtus continentia et castitatis.
Gird me, O Lord, with the girdle of purity, and extinguish in me all evil desires, that the virtue of chastity may abide in me. –Catholic Vestment Prayer
Wiccans are not the only ones to wear cingulums. Originally the word was used to describe the belt that Roman soldiers wore.
Then it was tied on by the Catholic Church to describe the rope that monks wear around their waists. I called and emailed a variety of different monks at Belmont Abbey, a local monastery, and no one would ever respond to my requests for an interview.
I guess my soul just isn’t worth saving. It’s a pity because I can really rock a Catholic school girl outfit! According to several different Internet sources, the Catholic cingulum is supposed to remind the monks of their vow of chastity and aid them in remaining pure and celibate. Not exactly how a cingulum is used Wicca.
“Learn of the spirit that goeth with burdens that have not honour, for ’tis the spirit that stoopeth the shoulders and not the weight. Armour is heavy, yet it is a proud burden and a man standeth upright in it. Limiting and constraining any of the senses serves to increase the concentration of another. Shutting the eyes aids the hearing. So the binding of the initiate’s hands increases the mental perception, while the scourge increaseth the inner vision. So the initiate goeth through it proudly, like a princess, knowing it but serves to increase her glory. But this can only be done by the aid of another intelligence and in a circle, to prevent the power thus generated being lost. Priests attempt to do the same with their scourgings and mortifications of the flesh. But lacking the aid of bonds and their attention being distracted by their scourging themselves and what little power they do produce being dissipated, as they do not usually work within a circle, it is little wonder that they oft fail. Monks and hermits do better, as they are apt to work in tiny cells and coves, which in some way act as circles. The Knights of the Temple, who used mutually to scourge each other in an octagon, did better still; but they apparently did not know the virtue of bonds and did evil, man to man. But perhaps some did know? What of the Church’s charge that they wore girdles or cords?” –Gardnerian Book of Shadows, Of the Ordeal of the Magical Art
Sometimes the cord is the length of the person’s measure, which is the person’s height. This practice is more symbolic than practical, and it refers to the myth of the Fates who would measure out a person’s life span and then cut it for death. When the cord is a person’s measure, it is usually used in some version of an initiation, and the initiate is usually tied up in some form. Sometimes the cord is 9 feet in length, which serves the practical purpose of aiding a witch in being able to cast a circle in the traditional circumference. Cingulums can also denote a group member’s status or rank, or recognize an achievement or rite of passage.
Cingulums can be a lot of fun. It’s an interesting mind fuck to be tied up with your measure during ritualistic sex or binding magic. If you don’t have a cingulum, or if you want to create a cingulum for you or somebody else for a particular purpose, here’s how:
Yarn of various colors
Unsharpened pencil or stick
Extra set of hands
First decide the number of strands and colors that you want in your cingulum and whether your cingulum will be 9 feet or the length of your measure. For a 9-foot cingulum, cut 19 feet strands of yarn. For a cingulum that is the length of your measure, cut your yarn so that it is your height doubled plus a few extra inches. Tie one end of your yarn strands to something sturdy and stationary, like a chair, and tie the other ends to a pencil or stick. You can also tape the ends instead of tying them. Now slowly back away from the stationary point until your yarn strands are pulled taunt. Twist the strands deosil (clockwise) until the strands are wound tight. If it starts to kink, then it’s time for the next step. Now have your extra set of hands hold your cord in the middle while you bring your end of the cord to the end tied to the stationary point. While the middle is still being held by the extra set of hands, slide the ends off of the pencil and untie the ends from the stationary point. Tie both sets of ends together. Now have the extra set of hands let go of the cord. Your cord should be twisted around itself like a piece of rope and ready to wear.
Have fun, and remember that bondage should be tight but not so tight that it cuts off circulation, and bondage should never be done on anyone under the legal age of consent.
These folks caught the irony of the post:
Mystic Artisans: https://www.facebook.com/mysticartisans
Passion And Soul: http://passionandsoul.com/
Knotjokin Rope Floggers: http://www.knotjokin.etsy.com
Tonia Brown: www.thebackseatwriter.com