Hedge Witch: Into the Wilds…

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Witches' Ladders

Witches' Ladders

The first recorded find of a witches’ ladder was in 1886 during the repairs of an old house in Somerset, England.  Within the roof space they found a pile of broomsticks, an old chair and a length of braided cord, with a loop at one end and lots of cockerel feathers threaded through the braid.

Over the years there have been many theories as to the purpose of the braid but the most popular seems to be that the ladder was for cursing.  With ideas ranging from curdling the milk from a neighbour’s cow through to wishing someone dead.  Other ideas suggest that it was used for healing or casting wishes.  The fact is that nobody really knows…

The witch ladder is one of my favourite magical tools and they are seen nowadays in many forms but all usually with the basic braid of three cords together with feathers in between often nine of them.  I also like to add sprigs of herbs to mine and a bit of colour magic in the form of ribbons.

Making a witch ladder

Cut nine pieces of natural twine or ribbon (or a mixture of both), about 1 metre in length. 

If you are going to use ribbon then think about colour too.  Pick the colour to match the intent of your witch’s ladder.

Gather together three strands and tie a knot in one end, then begin to plait together tying a knot at the other end when you have finished.  

Repeat with the other strands until you have three sets of three plaited lengths. 

Then you are going to plait these together. 

While you are working focus on your intent, maybe even chant as you go.

If you are really crafty you can add in beads, charms or other embellishments.  Or if you are like me, sew them on afterwards.

Once you have your completed plait, make sure it is secure at both ends.  Then at regular intervals poke in a feather or piece of herb between the braiding.    As you do this focus on the intent.

Place your finished witches’ ladder on your altar or put it someone where you will see it every day until your purpose has come to fruition.

The intent can be whatever you want or need it to be – love, healing, protection, prosperity…the choices are limitless.

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Rachel is a witch...has been for a very long time, not the green skinned warty kind obviously...the real sort - but she is also a working wife and mother living in Hampshire, England who has also been lucky enough to write and have published a growing stack of books on the Craft. She loves to learn she loves to study and continues to do so each and every day but has learned the most from actually getting outside and doing it. She regularly gives talks and workshops at pagan events. Rachel is also founder and an Elder at the Kitchen Witch online school of witchcraft. She likes to laugh...and eat cake...


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