Of late, I have been weaving traditional Manx cords; a process that allows much time for thought and contemplation in the repetition of the weaving and twisting, and is also a potent vehicle for tactile connection with the Lineage in the materials, the spirit, and the passing on of new cords.

The materials and colours of the weaving and binding of the cords connect us with the old faery heritage of the Isle and reflect the dark and light energies with which we work, and must master in the course of our training. One strand of the cord is left its natural colour, another is dyed by hand with oak and iron, both puissant substances and linked of old to witches and our Craft. Twisted together they embody the ophidian power bequeathed to us, and the dual paths of blessing and bane traversed by the Traditional Manx Witch.

As umbilicus, the cord feeds us with life-giving Land and Lineage; as bond, it ties us to our Oath. In being worn, it defines personal otherworldly space, in being seen it shows a badge of office. Its magick is that of connection, (a magick much needed nowadays), whereas the blade separates and directs.

In the old Manx tradition, there are different cords made and given at different times, and used for different purposes. Some of the uses in magickal workings are widely known: the wheel, the ladder; some are shared by many traditions, for measuring and wearing; and a few have fallen out of popular use and knowledge, for controlling the flow of blood in the body and conjuring liminal states of consciousness.

One Response to “Cingula”

  1. A few Manx folklore comments: Red woolen threads were also died using Crotal lichen, the ‘fairy blood’ which oozes from rocks in the frost. It is the best scarlet dye from the Island’s natural resources, and was extracted by placing the lichen in a bucket of stale urine (ammonia solution). This liquid was once used as an annointing charm against fairies upon leaving a house, and a bucket of it could be found outside many Manx crofts.
    There was also a charm that involved wrapping the recipient in red threads, although this wasn’t specifically Manx. Red was considered a ‘healing’ colour in popular official medical practice during the 16thC and 17thC and this persisted in folk traditions, particularly in the more conservative ‘frontier provinces’ such as Ireland, West Scotland and the Isles. ‘Threading’ became a popular signifier of what in non-Gaelic provinces became known as ‘white witches’, although these were traditional healers rather than part of a ‘witch’ tradition.

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