Witch’s Ladder History, Uses and Steps To Do It Yourself

The witch’s ladder is a special type of lucky charm which is considered to be the remover of evil forces and obstacles from the lives of the people who are using it in their homes or workplaces.

This particular ladder is made using the differently colored yarns and special 9 colored feathers along with beads, all of which are tied together or woven together using special kind of knots.


The witch’s ladder is considered to be very simple look and an integral part of the history of the Pagans. Many of us in the modern community use this particular ladder as this ladder has been around for quite some time.

History of the Witch's Ladder
History of the Witch’s Ladder

Chris Wingfield of England: The other within has described the discovery of this particular letter in Somerset during the Victorian era. This particular ladder was donated in the year 1911 by the famous Anna Tylor, who was the wife of anthropologist EB Tylor.

It was further accompanied by a note which became very famous in the later part of the history:

“An old woman, said to be a witch, died, this was found in an attic, & sent to my Husband. It was described as made of “stag’s” (cock’s) feathers, & was thought to be used for getting away the milk from the neighbours’ cows–nothing was said about flying or climbing up. There is a novel called “The Witch Ladder” by E. Tylee in which the ladder is coiled up in the roof to cause some one’s death.”

Quick read: Theban Alphabets Script, Facts and History

An article which was published in the year 1887 in the folklore journal has detailed about this particular object very specifically. According to Wingfield, when Tylor presented this particular item at the symposium that year:

“two members of the audience stood up and told him that in their opinion, the object was a sewel, and would have been held in the hand to turn back deer when hunting.”

In other words, the Somerset ladder could have been used for this purpose, rather than for malevolent ones. Tylor later backtracked and said he had:

“never found the necessary corroboration of the statement that such a thing was used for magic.”

In the year 1893, Sabine Baring Gould who was the writer of the famous Novel Mrs Curgenven of Curgenven and also a Hagiographer and an Anglican Priest, goes even further into the depth and has described the folklore of the witch’s ladder.

All these things are based on his fairly extensive search which was done in Cornwall. He has also described beautifully the use of this particular letter which is made from brown wool and then tied with a thread.

After the creation of the creator, he used to weave the wool and then tie it together with the selection of the feathers of a rooster which would add the physical ailments of the intended recipient.

Once this particular letter was complete, it was then thrown into a pond which was located nearby which would also take away the various aches and pains with which the particular person is feeling sick and ailing.

Quick read: What are the Magical Alphabets for Pagans?

Witch’s ladder in Modern Wicca

One of the best examples of the modern witch’s ladder is a string of 40 beads or card which is made up of 40 knots. Sometimes bones and feathers along with other trinkets are graded into the string in the form of a symbol for the desired effect of the spell.

Witch's ladder in Modern Wicca
Witch’s ladder in Modern Wicca

The earlier version of the witch’s ladder consisted of a rope or a chord of either 3 or 9 knots. This ladder can also be created section by section and then joining all the sections at the end.

Special thanks are also spoken during the time of the creation of this particular ladder which is believed to empower the ladder and also binds the creator of the ladder with it.

Quick read: Shirodhara Head Massage Treatment and Benefits

According to an article which was published in many famous Journals, it was mentioned that:

According to the article, “At the tying of the last knot, all the energy is directed into the cord and its knots, with a final visualization of the object of the work. The power has been raised and is now ‘stored’ in these knots in the cord.” This is often referred to as cord magick, knot magic or string magic.

Witch’s ladder Uses

The witch’s ladder has various uses. The use of this particular ladder depends upon the intention of the individual user. It can be either used for various kinds of magical spells or can also be used forecasting the death spells over a person by the tying knots and then hiding the cord.

Witch's ladder uses
Witch’s ladder uses

Another use of this particular ladder is to undo the spell which is cast on someone by finding the secreted cord and untying each knot.

It is also used as a showpiece by many people in their houses and is also used as a traditional decorative symbol by many hotels and restaurants.

Quick read: Curanderismo Beliefs and Healing Levels

The special types of beads and the knots which are used in the making of this particular ladder has been the origin of various kinds of arts and crafts which involve the usage of knots and beads.

Once the formation of the knots is finished, then the beads of the ladder enable a witch to concentrate which is strengthened on repetitive chants for incantation without having to keep the count.

This process enables the focus of the witch and also provides the energy on the desired goal.

Sabine Baring-Gould’s Curgenven

The Reverend Sabine Baring Gould included a very extensive article about the witch’s ladder in his written novel Curgenven.

This particular book was published in the year 1893 in which an account was made of black wool, with white and brown bread and at the distance of 2 inches, it was tied around the feather of a peacock.

Sabine Baring-Gould's Curgenven
Sabine Baring-Gould’s Curgenven

The maker of this particular ladder would weave into the aches and pains and the other ailments intended for the victim.

This particular ladder is then thrown to the bottom of the pond which is located on Bodmin Moor. It is also believed that as the bubbles rise to the top of the surface of the pond, the curse was finally released.

Quick read: “Blessed Be” Wiccan Phrase Meaning and Folklore

The Wellington Ladder

The Wellington witch’s ladder is a special kind of witch’s ladder. The first recorded ladder was found in the house of Wellington which is present in Somerset. It was demolished in the year 1878.

The Wellington Ladder
The Wellington Ladder

Six brooms along with an old armchair and a rope with feathers were woven into it. All this was found in the space which separated the roof from the upper room and was inaccessible from the interior portion of the house.

The brooms had handles attached to them which were so decayed that they broke under the pressure and had to be replaced so that they could be used.

Quick read: Ten of Pentacles: The Magical Tarot Card

The chair and handles were stored in the warehouses. This particular article had many details about the responses of the local enquiries but was further followed by several letters to the journal which were expressed in a range of opinions as to the function of the rope.

Making Your Own

It makes a lot of sense to use the colours of the yarn that have a lot of significance to the individual and also the working in which he or she is involved.

Making Your Own
Making Your Own

It is very important to find the nine differently coloured feathers. This particular process is little tricky because one has to look for them out in the wild and it is not possible to just go out and plug the feathers from the local endangered species of the birds.

Quick read: Norse Runes Meaning, Origin and Symbolism

This also means that one has to plan a trip to the craft store and the oddly coloured feathers. One can also use any other type of feathers if we are not able to find the specific ones and can also you something else like buttons, beads, shells, bits of wood or any other item which is present near the home.

Making a basic witch’s ladder is not very complex. One needs the yarn or cord in three different colours and nine other items that share similar properties but are different in colours like 9 beads, 9 shells, 9 buttons, etc.

We can cut the yarn so that we will get three different pieces of workable length. One should keep in mind that good quality yarn should be used. One can also use the traditional white and black or even red coloured yarn as they are not very hard to find.

Tie the ends of these particular three pieces of the yarn together and form a knot. Now, start the process of braiding the yarn together and also tied the feathers and beads into the yarn by securing each one in the place with the help of a solid knot.

Some of the people like to chant or even count while they are performing this particular process and adding the feathers. If you wish you can also chant similar prayers and traditional chants which are given below:

By knot of one, the spell’s begun.

By knot of two, the magic comes true.

By knot of three, so it shall be.

By knot of four, this power is stored.

By knot of five, my will shall drive.

By knot of six, the spell I fix.

By knot of seven, the future I leaven.

By knot of eight, I will be fate.

By knot of nine, what is done is mine.

When the feathers are tied into knots then the focus should be on the goal and the intent. When one is tying the final and the ninth knot, it should be kept in the mind that all the energy should be directed only on to the cords, the knots and the feathers.

Quick read: Beltane Folklore, History and Celebrations

This energy is stored within these beads and knots of the witch’s ladder. When the string is completed and all the 9 feathers and the beads are added then one can either knot the end and hang the ladder up or even tie-down while forming a circle.


The witch’s ladder or the witch’s knot is a famous lucky charm which is made from the combination of beads, different coloured feathers and ropes which are tied together using special kinds of knots.

This particular arrangement is believed to remove all the evil forces from the vicinity of the property and can also be used for creating a spell work on someone or remove the spell work from yourself or your loved ones.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can normal feathers be used for making the witch’s ladder?

Yes, if one is not able to find the feathers of 9 different colours, then they can use the normal feathers also. They will have the same effect which the 9 feathers would have.

Which type of witch’s ladder is believed to be the most famous?

The Wellington witch ladder is the one which is very famous all around the world for its beautiful shape and colours.