Magick in Mundane: A Twist of Thread

by Erica Sittler

We’ve come to the end of our course here in W1. If I was a good student, I would be studying for our test. You know, the one you have to pass in order to initiate? Pass with a 100%. It’s an open book test, so everyone should pass, right? Yet, I am the student who could easily not do that. I hope there are bonus questions. Or maybe we get extra credit for good behavior….

…instead of studying, I’ve been working with my red cord. Just a simply woven cord, made with intention by my teacher, so cherished by me and my fellow classmates. It will be our little “badge of honor” so to speak and recognizes the time, effort and devotion put toward our magickal practice. So, I’m very fond of this cord even though I haven’t quite earned it yet. W1 is all about the Inner Fire. Hence the color red. Earlier this week, as I was holding my cord, I realized what I needed to do, and I set to work with needle and thread and some little stones then I wove them into the threads of the cord itself. When starting, there was a thought of roughly how I was going to go about it. But that is not at all how it turned out.

Now, you see, handwork, or fine detailed sewing skills is not one of my strengths. Neither is math. Seriously. Do not ask me to do something complicated that involves math. You will really wish you hadn’t. But that was hardly a deterrent to my vision for this cord. So, I gathered and folded and counted and sorted and got busy with my needle and thread. Hours and hours and hours later, my cord looked nothing like I thought it would. It had sprouted a life of its own.

Where I thought a pattern of six was to go, the cord required nine sets, symbolically for the nine of us classmates who made it through the year. Where I thought a line of five was meant to go, a snake appeared, complete with tiny rattles and a pointy head. Where I envisioned a soft gleam of moonstone, a skull face with fiery red hair came forth. Days went by and I gave up on what I thought was happening and just let the cord instruct my fingers which by now had been pierced more times than I could count. Lava rock beads showed up and oils, but only certain oils. Other oils refused to open their caps and add a drop to the collective infusion of lava. After three attempts with three different bottles, it fully dawned on me that I could play along if I wished, but what my cord actually wanted was for me to simply be the conduit for it to become its full self.

Amulets and talismans appeared. Symbols of liminal spaces and reminders of allegiances and allies fused themselves to the cord, stitch after stitch. As it finished itself, I realized I had my math wrong and what I thought was the back was  now somewhere else completely. It did not matter. Obviously, it was exactly where it was supposed to be. I kept quiet while sewing, working hard to not overthink the process, but just let it happen and enjoy it. Coral hag stones gathered with my grown son on a liminal stretch of shoreline one sunset joined the collective. Tiny strings of tiny beads and seeds like feathers added adornment. And then quite firmly the intuition to “set the needle down”. Ummm, we are just going to stop? There are more beads and this stone only has this small bit added? Should there be more? Can I add this tiny bell? I’m mentally bargaining with the cord, knowing full well by now that if it doesn’t want it, there will be no keeping it there, no matter how many knots I tie. I add it. It stays.

Lo and behold, a magickal cord. Where did that come from? How did that happen? Why did that happen? What does it mean? What can it do?

Fairytales are full of ordinary things that hold extraordinary power and can do amazing things at certain times and in certain places with certain people. A doll, a key, a carpet, a bean… the simplest of things, transformed into more. How? Sometimes, it’s just fate or luck. Other times, it’s through little rituals, like feeding the dolly or bathing in the river seven times. What makes my little twist of thread so special? Absolutely nothing. It is made of commonplace materials and you can find much prettier ones…


But, I have a very visceral, tactile relationship with this particular twist of thread and its bits and snips. Utterly unique and not replicable, for did you walk the rough shoreline at sunset with me and my son that day, so that every time you see and feel them you call to memory a day you walked a liminal space where earth water and sky conjoined with such crashing beauty it took your breath away and you wanted to melt into the  coral rocks and be a part of that beauty for eternity. And that tiny yellow shell with its pinprick of a hole? That? Why that was your gift from the merfolk. You had wandered another stretch of ocean. Ocean where salt hung heavy in the stiff breeze. A long, rough wooden pier where men were fishing for sharks and you, completely out of place, were making peace and an offer of friendship to creatures unseen, but felt and acknowledged. That tiny shell has as much value to me as any pirate’s golden trove. And those magnolia seeds. Why who knew when pierced they released a perfume as sweet as the flowers they originated from? And those stones? And that particular arrangement? Do you see me as a young child visiting an esoteric shop much to my father’s chagrin. Do you see me tenderly picking out a tiger’s eye stone like it was the most beloved of friends long out of site? Or there, again as a poor, scraggly, abused kid looking through the Sears catalog and finding rings made of my birthstone, garnets, and thinking they must be the most precious of all stones, to have earned the position of January’s stone. On and on and on in the working.

Herein is the magick. With every stitch there is a memory, an association, a smell, a symbol, a meaning: a something to make it matter. Dearly matter, if to no one else but myself. I have woven and rubbed and snipped and gathered all the best I learned in this W1 course. Certainly we learned fancier words to describe such things in class. Words like correspondences and sympathetic workings. Words I now can say with certainty I know what those words mean, for I have gathered and worked and bled here upon this long and beautiful scrap and now pulsating cord for days. Why? Because my life is far richer when it matters. When the things I surround myself with matter. When the nature of my work matters. That, Beloved, is at the heart of all good magick: it all matters.

Erica Sittler is a Witch practicing her craft in Mississippi where she is a local, active member of the Temple of Witchcraft. Her magick is in the mundane and in bringing honor and attention to those small things that build a sustainable and adventurous life. She is a Temple Mystery School student under the instruction of High Priestess Sellena Dear.
Temple of Witchcraft