This tool is just that, a tether for your self. It is representative of the Silver Cord you have as part of your soul/body connection. In many works about Out of Body Experiences, people report seeing a cord of some sort leading from their soul to the body. It is theorized that this is because there is a small sliver of your soul and consciousness still in your body, keeping it functioning.
If this sliver is removed from the body, most people who have studied OOBE and Astral Projection theorize that the body will die.
So this tether is representative of that connection between the soul and body. It keeps the two connected, sending messages from one to the other, and giving the soul a “ball of string” to follow back to the body.
Symbolically this tether can represent all kinds of things:
- The Silver cord
- The string Theseus used in the Labyrinth
- A “grounding wire”
- Tree Roots
- The string of fate in many pantheons
- A charging wire for your phone or iPod
When making this tether keep these items in mind so you can imprint the “feel” of what you want into the tether.
As stated in the basic lessons, the easiest form of this tether is simply a bracelet. Because part of our practice it to hedge walk quite often to learn from/interact with the Dragons, having something physical here on your body to bring you back to yourself is a good thing. That is the primary purpose of this tool; a physical reminder of yourself to come home to.
When hedge walking, it’s possible to forget you have a body. Note you will not LOSE your body or die, but when living in a world where everything is vague and gauzy it can be hard to remember to wake up. And it is an act of waking, since OOBE is part of every night’s sleep. So it’s a good idea to have something you can touch to remember your body and home.
Just the physical act of moving your body to touch the tether is usually enough to catapult you back into your body in these cases. The Alexanderians (and some say Gardnerians too) have an admonition that is part of the ritual “To Gain the Sight” that if you want to wake up from this altered state of consciousness that you need to “think of your feet.” Just this remembering your body, remembering you have a body, is usually enough to bring you back home.
This is the stated purpose of the Tether.
However, I have found that there are several additional uses of this particular tool.
1. Grounding tool
Ever get out of a ritual or meditation and feel like you are floaty or about 1 inch past your skin, too big for your body? This is because you are still partially in a state of altered consciousness and have an excess of energy. There are multiple ways to dissipate this extra energy, from taking a bath, to standing on the grass, to eating, or fondling a rock. Each of these take that energy and removes it from you, sending it to another place, usually the Earth.
What if we could keep a grounding tool on us all the time? Like a tether of some sort?
This is one of the additional suggestions for the Tether, is a permanent grounding wire, a way to bleed of extra energies so they don’t hurt us and go safely into the ground where they can be used again. In this same way that it is the green grounding wire in a household electrical system, a tree uses their tap root to do the same thing. It pulls nutrients and water up from the Earth, combines it with energy of the Sun, and sends that energy back down to be stored in the roots to be used later when needed.
So using this tool as a grounding object seems to grow out of this kind of application. As you wear the Tether, you simply dump extra energies into it, and they no longer bother you. You can decide for yourself whether you want the energies to stay there and charge up the Tether (like a rechargeable battery), or if you wan them to flow through, out, and into the Earth (like a lightning rod).
Regardless of which you chose, having those energies go away from you will allow you to come back to yourself faster, and give you the added benefit of having a source of power later for your use.
2. Witches Ladder
One of the original thoughts for a Tether was based on the old design of The Witches Ladder. Essentially this was simply a new rope that had feathers stuck into it at various points. The theory of this items is that it was either a way to store permanent spells, or a rope ladder for witches to climb up to the roof on.
In researching this item, I found the primary source information on the Witches Ladder[THE FOLK-LORE JOURNAL VOL. V. (JANUARY—DECEMBER 1887.) Colles (Dr. A.) A Witch’s Ladder, pp 1-4] and found it fascinating. No one knows what this is or what it was used for. Because it was found in an attic room with a chair and six brooms, it’s assumed that it was used as a means for witches (the persons using brooms as transport) to get to the roof to launch from. I can only assume that they witches didn’t physically climb up the rope and feathers, but instead used it as a spell of some sort to gain the roof (although if they can fly on their brooms, why not launch from the ground instead of having to launch from a height).
Other folklore came out saying that it was some sort of spell casting device, or a spell storage device. Further reading in that same Folklore Journal[Ibid, Frazer (J. G.) A Witch’s Ladder, pp 81-84] reveals that it was also used to cast curses by swinging it back and forth or to steal milk by connecting the udder of a milk-giving animal to your bucket.
Modern usage has made it into a spell storage device, using the feathers as physical representations of a spell cast (as a curse or blessing) and stored in the rope to just have a place to keep it, rather than have several hundred feathers around the house. Because the whole thing is also placed somewhere that isn’t easily accessed or seen on a daily basis, you can cast the spell, put it on the feather, stick the whole in a closet where it stays, just as any good sigil or charm spell is done. Using small paper charms (Japanese Shinto practice), ribbons, meaningful items such as what is below in a following section, can all be incorporated, tied, glued, or otherwise attached to the ladder itself to keep it out of sight, but active for the witch.
In this case, however, the ladder was made from new rope and new feathers that were twisted together as the rope was made. The rope itself was also more than a yard long.
Later in the same journal we find George Leland’s account[Ibid, Leland (C. G.) The Witches’ Ladder, pp 257-259] of the Ladder where it is used as a poppet or the way a Voodoo doll would be, pushing pins or other items into it to cause damage or cure to specific ailments in people who were the target of the intended magic.
3. Witches Cords
While Draig Sidhe uses our Circle of Stones as the “proof of membership” in Draig Sidhe, many other traditions of witchcraft use the Cords as this passport. Typically these cords are used when you must tie things, as in the hands of an initiate who is going through the ritual to be admitted to the working circle of the witch group they wish to belong to, it is also used as a way of storing energy.
We can see this use in some old woodcuts of sailors buying cords with knots in them from wizards. These have been attributed as sailors buying the winds tied into those knots, and modern practices have us casting spells at one point, and releasing those spells in a more auspicious time later.
The basic technique here is to chant in the ritual, pause at points and tie the energy into a knot on the Cord, go back to chanting and raising energies, to repeat it until you have all nine knots tied with energy stored in those knots. Later, at a point where you wish to release the spell, you do the chanting again, and untie the knots in the order you tied them in, adding the current energies you raise to that energy in the knots. This casts the spell with all the extra energy in it at the time you want, in the place you want, while you raised the energy at a time that was more auspicious and convenient to you.
4. Dowsing Pendulum
One other use for this item that came to me while I was composing this chapter is as a pendulum. With the hook end of the resulting tether, you can hang a weight of some sort from it and use it as a means of finding items, people, water and more. It can even be used as your Black Stone if you use this kind of item for divination.
A Witches Tether in practice
When being asked in our practice to make one of these items I really couldn’t see the use. But once I actually made it and tried to understand why, the myriad uses became obvious.
First I simply braided a set of three cords together with nine beads in three groups of three. I believed that I understood the entire scope of use for this tool. The use of it as a grounding object was immediate.
When that one broke through use, I redesigned it from a three corded braid into a three color item, but this time as a Cobra Braid[https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-do-the-cobra-weave/]. With this, I decided that instead of allowing the beads to slide on one of three strands in the standard braid (like one would do their hair), but to put the beads all on the center strands of cord. I also decided to use bamboo cords instead of nylon, and make them of one of three colors as well (again with the triune thought).
My goal in making this tool was to do two things; first to have a tool I could use that had me in it at every level, and second to make a tool that incorporated aspects of all the above tools into one.
To that end I used some of my jewelry crafting knowledge to create an S hook to allow me to attach the cords to it, and to go around my staff and hook on itself. I added a large jump ring to secure the hook on when I was wearing this on myself for any reason, and that is when the idea of using this as a charm bracelet struck me.
From there, the idea grew organically. I made the length of the tool (coming at a final length of 19 inches), made sure that when I wrapped it once around my staff and slid the main length into the hook and snugged it up that the cord did not bind, come out of itself, and that the beads were not in the way.
My idea was this; if I were to use this as standard Witches Cords as well as the Tether, I needed the capability of putting knots into it. But those very knots interfered with the rest of the uses of the Tether, because it would mess with the feathers being placed into the cords length for the Ladder aspect. But, if those knots were replaced by beads that the energy could be put into while doing the raising energies rituals for the Cords aspect, I could simply do the raising, focus on the Tether and let the energy I had been raising drain into the bead I was holding, to be stored until I wished to release it later. Aspect one, accomplished.
The Tether aspect was the easiest with this tool, since this was the primary purpose I was making it for anyhow. As a bracelet or anklet, to allow me to connect to the Earth, and to remind me enough to bring myself back to my body when Walking the Wyrd.
I had thought to use feathers and bones for casting specific spells upon and pushing that through the Tether as a Witches Ladder would be used, to store permanent spells. This went along well with a thought I had some time ago about the use of Poppets and how they could be emptied of the herbaceous contents once the spell using it was done, to store just the cloth shell made as the representative that the spell was being cast upon. The idea went further in this case where a thread or two could be used instead of keeping the whole thing, and even further into a string or ribbon could be made from the poppet itself, preserving the original target and object.
Now, using that ribbon or cord, it could be tied to the Witches Ladder (nee Tether) as a means of keeping the spell around and active. When added to the Witches Cords and the bead-knots, the very energy raising spells which would be channeled into the knots could power the continuation of the spells woven into the Ladder.
I had a thought at that point, what if I simply made the Tether into a bracelet and wore it all the time? I was already going to be wearing it as a Tether during various rituals, so wearing it daily would be no problem. Having it beaded out and with sticks, feathers, bones, and so on sticking out of it would be somewhat problematic however.
Then it occurred to me that I could do everything with charms. Not the charms we think of as spells, but charms that one would wear on a charm bracelet. Now if I cast the spells I wanted to keep powered up on the charm and then kept that Tether on me at all times, letting extra daily energy flow into the Tether, then I had not only a permanent ground, but a battery, an active spell string, and a way of keeping a dowsing pendulum on me at all times. Using my wedding ring or a pendant could act as the weight for the pendulum was the “icing on the cake”.
So, my Tether is shown below.
So doing it this way allows me to wear it on my wrist all the time. When it comes time to use it as a Tether, I move it to my right wrist, where I normally don’t wear anything, or to one of my ankles. This allows the oddness of having something there when there’s normally nothing there to be a trigger for my mental state, to bring me back to myself. When I have extra energy, from nervousness, from fear, from excitement, or whatever, I channel that energy into the Tether.
When I am consciously raising energy I hold the beads when it’s time to dump the energy into the Tether. I use this pattern and this mnemonic to remember which bead I’m working on. I start with the bead nearest to the hook.
o By knot One, the spell is begun
o By knot Two, I Will it true
o By knot Three, so shall it be
o By knot Four, this power I store
o By Knot Five, the spell is alive
o By Knot Six, this power I fix
o By knot Seven, events will leaven
o By knot Eight, it will be fate
o By knot Nine, what’s done is mine
I find this pattern the easiest to remember in the middle of chanting and focusing on my intent.
When doing this as a charm bracelet, you should be able to look at each of the charms and tell exactly what they are without many problems. For example, in my Tether, the Pentacle is my Faith (my religion is Wicca), the Bee is my Industry (representing my desire to have a job), the Leaf is my Deities (Herne and Rhiannon, both nature deities), the wrapped matchstick with the Ogham letters on it is my Health (each letter is associated with good health), the Feather is my Soul’s Wings (I do a lot of work on the Astral as a shaman), the Hummingbird is my Servitors (I have three servitors I have created to bring me information, as Fairies are mistaken for Humming birds all the time), and the Birdhouse is my Home. I added one more that is a Lotus, representing my energies and power. Each of these spells is charged up when I dump energy into it, and in the case of the Servitors, they are fed since they “eat” energies.
I have a large quartz point that is wrapped in copper that is hung from the hook while I hold the cord from the other end when I need a pendulum for some reason. I keep this stored in a pocket of my purse where my Ogham Staves are.
Are you required to make a Witches Tether as complex as this one? Not at all. I like tools that can be used for more than one purpose. I can’t stand having five different bladed items on my altar (The Key of Solomon lists the Poinard, the Sword, the Scribe, the Kerfan, the Athame, and the White Handled Knife) when one will do, the Athame. Having a tool I can wear and use daily, able to be everything it is supposed to be as well as all the other tools is just simply a bonus.
The fact that I can disguise it as a charm bracelet, well, that’s just even better. So far about 2000+ people have seen my Tether, and only one has ever mentioned it, and that was to talk about the Pentagram on it, which I discussed with him as a Pentacle, not a pentagram.
I plan to take it off only when I’m working on computers, then not because the technology will do anything to it, but because the metal charms might short circuit some electronic components, and that’s not good.
Also I decided to use different metals for the jump rings, to set them apart. So with the Lotus charm, since that’s a charm that is supposed to bring energies in and hold them, I used a bronze jump ring, where I used steel jump rings for all the rest, as they are designed to be something that the energies go TO. And the beads are bronze as well, so that just seems to fit given the bronze jump ring and the use of the beads.
One last note, the Ogham Staff: it is literally a square wooden matchstick that has had the Ogham drawn on it, then wrapped with wire. This protects and contains the staff, and allows it to be made into a charm that many won’t know what it is. And since the Ogham is designed to be cut into the edges of stone, using a square wooden stick seems to work best. You can use the sticks on a match (cut the head off) or just buy square toothpicks or square craft wood from a store.
Here’s a list of things that you can use as charms or “inserts” for your Ladder.
- small bones
- plants (flowers, clover)
- thread, braided during the spell casting
- commercial charms
- small wires (twist ties, jump rings)
- small tags of metal with runes
- alligator clip with feather/paper
- bamboo splinter
- coffee stir stick (the wooden ones)
- small tube for paper slip
- little pill bottle (like what Nitro is kept in)
- small jingle bell
- small fabric bags of something
Each of these would be easy to acquire and cast spells on, and then add to the Ladder if you were to store it near or on your alter. Some might be problematic if you were going to use it as a charm bracelet.