All Tied Up, Part 4: The Ties That Bind

Handfasting.  Everybody wants to get handfasted, but few people seem to take it seriously.  While some folks go the extra distance to find some one who is legally ordained, most Pagans jump the gun on jumping the broom and decide to get handfasted “well because we love each other!!!”.  Then, when the relationship breaks up, they seem to forget all about the very religiously binding vows that they made before the Lord and Lady.  Seldom is there ever a handparting to tidy things up.

I could give you a history of handfasting, about how it use to mean one thing but then the Pagans made it mean something else. That would be very boring.  Go look it up for yourself!

Despite the vast array of cool cords on the market and all the wonderful things that can be done with those cords, most clergy (Pagan and non-Pagan) just tie boring old (and very often sloppy) Granny knots–if they tie any knot at all.  I’m really appalled by this!  A couple is tying the knot and making sacred vows!  The least that an officiant could do is up the anty on the cord magic and tie a meaningful and beautiful knot!

According to Nikki Nefarious, who is a world renowned Sharbari artist and ordained minister who performs handfastings through her service The Ties That Bind, “Traditional hand fastings have no real knots though, the whole thing is meant to come off before or just after the ceremony ends. Actually, I do mine after the ring exchange; it’s a series of wraps that goes with the vows/speech I say, then they stand there entwined and say their vows, at that point the ribbon/cloth/rope comes off and they kiss and the ceremony is over. If there were knots to untie it would awkward-up the whole process.”  Well, we wouldn’t want to untie the knots anyway and lose the magic that we’ve tied up!

With a little planning and forethought, a really meaningful and awesome knot can be tied for the couple.  Two Knotty Boys (, Ms. Nefarious’ colleagues in the knot business, have some great ideas.

Kinky_Lovers_Knot     Good_Luck_Knot

Both of these can be tied during the ritual and then wrapped around the couple’s hands and tied so the cord can be slipped off before the ceremony.

If you are looking for a handfasting book that has a wide variety of different types of handfasting ceremonies and lots of charts and ideas, get this book. It even has an example of the elusive handparting ceremony.

These folks are looking forward to the honeymoon:

Mystic Artisans

Passion And Soul

Tonia Brown:

No Hide Floggers:

All Tied Up, Part 3: Tie me up, Mr. Buckland!

Most of you reading this post have probably seen this picture in Raymond Buckland’s “Big Blue Book” (not the book’s real title).  This picture is why the book cannot be placed in prison libraries for Wiccan prisoners.  In case you’re seeing this picture out of context, it is showing how to tie an initiate during initiations.

Knots have a long, but sometimes neglected, history in magic.  Good can be tied to you or less than good can be bound up.  Numerology can come into play with the number of loops and twists in a magic knot, as well as color magic for the cord being used.  If the knot magic is being used in bondage, consider corresponding some scents to your intentions.  Simply anoint your rope with a few drops of essential oil(s).  Knot magic is very easy.  As you tie the knot, visualize what ever you want tied to you or what you want bound up and tied up away.  You can also say a power word, charm, or chant as you tie the knots.

Not Your Granny’s Knots

Two Knotty Boys (also known as Dan and JD) have some of the best and easy to follow tutorial videos on the Internet for tying knots ( The videos discussed in this post can be found for free download at The first two videos that I recommend that you check out is the video on how to make your own rope and the video on how to dye your rope.  While it’s not necessary for you to make your own rope, your magic will have more power behind it if you twist your intent into your rope and then tie it in as well.  Likewise, colored rope is readily available for purchase, but your spell will have more power if you are able to meditate while you dye your rope and charge it with your intent.

The next video that you should look at is the rope web video.  The rope web has many magical possibilities.  It can be used most obviously in weaving and spider magic.  It could also be erected in a bedroom as a dream catcher.  The creation of the web could be used as a meditative exercise.  I’m excited to create some spider rituals using this web.  You could be the spider lying in wait or the helpless fly bound up in a rope corselet harness.

The double coin knot can be used in a magic spell using a green rope.  The knot work and remaining rope can be turned into a witch’s ladder or money amulet for the home or business utilizing coins and “money” gemstone beads, such as aventurine or jade.  The prosperity knot can also be done in conjunction with the double coin knot.

The pentagram harness has a multitude of possibilities.  It can be used to ground and center a person for ritual.  It’s a wonderful new twist on the traditional Gardnerian bondage for initiations.  It can also be as a way to bound yourself to a deity for channeling or other practices.  Plus, best of all, it’s just plain witchy!

The last video that I would suggest looking at for knot magic is the rope panties video.  It combines the trinity knot, which can be seen as representative of the feminine or as the triple aspect of deity, and the snake weave, which can be seen as the masculine.  The panties are perfect for sex magic, true heiros gamos, or fertility magic.

Have fun with your knots, and remember that bondage should not cut off circulation or abraid skin.  While natural fiber ropes can be fun, soft nylon or cotton ropes are safest.

These folks are all tied up with knot magic:

Mystic Artisans

House of Oddities Movie Kickstarter Project:

Passion And Soul

Tonia Brown:

The Barbed Pentacle’s Second Birthday Bash:

Blessed Be Thy Feet, Supplement A: My sole is bound to you

Shibari (and all its bastardize, alternate spellings) is Japanese rope bondage.  It is more properly know as kinbaku.  The art form is a true discipline, every bit as much as karate, and people who master it are true masters, not just in the S&M sense.  It can be done to any part of the body, including hair, and the designs range from simple to a level of complexity that takes hours to create.  Most shibari designs appear to be knotted but really are not.  That’s the beauty of it.

I love having shibari ropes on me.  It puts me in a most delicious head space, perfect for play or ritual.  Shibari makes me feel special and cherished–one of the nicest feelings you can convey to a partner.   While I love having the ropes on me, I, however, make a mess when I try to put the ropes on other people.  At the end of this blog, I’ve included two simple tutorials for foot shibari.  Also, if you decide to really get serious about the discipline, check out anything by Two Knotty Boys or try to see Nikki Nefarious.

Foot shibari is ideal in ritual situations because not only does it lend itself to several different uses, but it can be done in solitary, partner, or group ritual.  It can be done to help you reach a meditative state.  It can also be done to help with prayers in much the same way prayer beads are used.  For every knot or special loop, a line from a prayer can be said or a specific deity remembered.  The knots and loops can also be used in conjunction with number magic and knot magic.  If using knot magic, you may want to cut the ropes off instead of untying them so that the magic is not undone (unless, of course, that’s part of the ritual).

Probably the most intimate and meaningful way foot shibari can be used in circle is in binding rituals.  Usually when folks say “binding rituals”, they mean a ritual to bind someone, thing, or tendency up so that it/they can’t do any harm.  This isn’t that type of ritual.  What I mean by binding here is becoming bound to someone, a deity, or a group.  Think of it this way, whoever controls your feet controls you. Feet are your mobility and free will.  That’s why it’s worse to have a foot cut off than to have a hand cut off.  However, many of us would gladly give up our freewill to a god or goddess, which is why foot shibari makes a good addition to group or self dedication ceremonies.  If your deity has a sacred number, make sure to have that many knots or twists in your design.  If your deity has a sacred color, get the right color of rope.

As with any bondage, make sure all participants are of age and do consent.  Make sure that your bondage is not so tight that you lose blood flow.  Numbness isn’t really ideal.  Also, make sure that safety scissors are handy in case the bondage needs to be cut quickly.  Test cutting your rope with your scissors before you start.  Have fun being all tied up!