A fantasy book by Dianna Wynne Jones called Charmed Life has a character named Julia, she uses magic by knotting and untying a handkerchief. In the kid's book series called Magic Tree House, the main character is given an enchanted string with three knots on it. With each knot he unties, the wind blows harder, he can also re-tie the knots to stop the wind.

As far as I am aware, the name of this 'technique' is not mentioned in either book. What is this type of magic called? Specifically, does this every show up in fairytales/stories/old literature and what do they refer to it as there in?

  • 2
    I do not believe that there is a commonly accepted word for "knot magic". A suitable one from latin or greek roots could be invented, if you wanted. Nodomancy, perhaps?
    – John O
    Apr 9, 2013 at 23:38
  • Just want to point out the question doesn't ask if there's a specific word for 'knot magic', asks if there's a name for the technique. I would argue that 'knot magic' or 'cord magic' are names applied to that particular type of magic and are therefore appropriate as names of the technique. Technique - method of performance, way of accomplishing.
    – Stan
    Apr 10, 2013 at 1:39
  • I tend to agree with Stan - similar magic is used by the Traders in the Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic universe, and as I recall they referred to things like "knotted cords" and "tying up the wind" - no special terms used.
    – Izkata
    Apr 10, 2013 at 1:56
  • I vote against the term "knot magic", as you can't pronounce it.
    – Mr Lister
    Apr 10, 2013 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


Interesting, how about something called Cord Magic or Knot Magic. An old form of folk magic often associated with wind or weather magics.

The knotted cord itself can be referred to as a Witch's ladder.

A Google search for 'Knot Magic' returns a plethora of hits.

  • Hmmm, wasn't expecting a real-life reference at all. Fascinating - thanks a bunch!
    – Celesol
    Apr 13, 2013 at 15:49

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