Sage has been a witch for 25 years. She enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the craft of the wise.
Spells for Beltane - Or Any Time
If you look up a “Witches Ladder” in any store that sells Pagan spiritual supplies, you’ll usually find a jewelry-like string of beads with multiple charms attached. They usually offer instructions on using these beads as a sort of Pagan rosary or prayer beads. People use them when chanting to help keep track of how many repetitions they say. It’s a great way to practice meditation.
Witches ladders were used as a spell, though. At least, they were believed to be used in folk magic when first found in the 1800's. I find the Witches ladder perfect for Beltane magic. A traditional Beltane activity is weaving, whether you’re weaving ribbons around a Maypole or braiding flowers into your hair or weaving garland for decorations,
The Witches ladder is a form of magic that’s good for beginners because it doesn't require any special tools, ingredients or elaborate rituals. Just you, a few items found in the house or in nature, and your goal in mind.
Remember -- you can do a Witches ladder spell anytime; it's just particularly suited for Beltane, one of our most sacred annual holidays.
Witches Ladder Spell
Witches Ladder Overview
To cast a spell with a Witches ladder, take three pieces of string, ribbon, yarn, etc.—preferably of colors relevant to your intent. To cast the spell you focus your intent on the ribbons and “weave your desire” into it. As you braid it you can add little tokens – feathers, charms, shells, beads and other such objects. You can weave in as little as 9 or as many as 40.
Once finished you use the charm to draw your desire. You can hang it in your home somewhere, bury it on your property, or use it for meditation.
Remember that store-bought Witches ladders are good for meditations, and you can certainly enchant them if you wish, but they will never give you the power of a home-made product. You imbue it with your energy thoroughly when creating it with your own hands.
The Process for Casting a Witches Ladder
Getting Ready: Prepare yourself by determining your specific intent. If you can’t say it in a brief sentence, you’re probably not specific enough.
Get three ribbons, each 3 to 9 feet long. I prefer working with 3 foot ribbons for smaller Witch ladders but you can make yours as long as you like.
Choose colors for your Witches ladder spell appropriate to your intent. You may wish to think about this for a while—what elements do you need to “come together” for the thing that you desire? If you’re not sure, you can check out brief color guide below for guidance.
You can mix colors—for example, if you want your business to thrive, you may combine orange, green and brown ribbons.
Get at least 9 items appropriate to the intent of your charm: feathers, twigs, charms, etc.; you can use up to 40. If you’re into numerology, choose a number significant to your intent.
Where to Cast: You may do this during your Beltane ritual, but it does not need to be cast within a formal ritual circle. You can just as easily cast it sitting in your favorite chair, or out in the garden. Wherever you can get into the mood. If you’re not having a full ritual, lighting candles and/or burning incense to help facilitate an atmosphere conducive to attaining the right state of consciousness is recommended. You may also wish to cleanse and consecrate all items before beginning.
When to Cast: If you’re doing it for Beltane, the ideal timing is from sunset April 30th to sunset May 1st. Again, this spell is suited for any time and can be adapted for any cause.
Step by Step Spell Casting Instructions
Take some time to meditate on your intent. Visualize yourself having obtained your goal already. If you visualize yourself wanting your goal, then your spell energy is going to put you in a perpetual state of wanting something out of your reach.
Line up your three strands. Tie a knot at the top and make a loop. Envision that this knot ‘binds’ your intent to your charm here, and know that the spell is begun.
Begin weaving the Witches ladder, every so often stopping to add a feather, twig, charm and a knot.
Tip: I usually find the best way to hold it is to hold the looped end between my toes (yes, I’m a bare footer) to pull it taught while I weave with my hand—but you can hook it on something, put a weight on the looped end, or clench it in your teeth.
Illustrated Guide to Witches Ladder
The weaving motion is part of raising energy, but it also helps to chant or sing. Here is one common Witches ladder chant you find listed in many books and websites, but its origins seem to be lost in time:
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, my will be fate.
By knot of nine, what is done is mine.
While that’s a fine chant, it’s not the one I use. I don’t like the counting, I feel like I don’t focus on the intent while I weave, I focus on rushing to the next knot.
I prefer a rhythmic chanting to keep me focused on “pouring” my intent and energy into the weave. For Beltane spells, I like to use a chant that you can hear on the Reclaiming CD, Second Chants:
Wandering in the deep of the night
A thousand birds take flight
And our dreams are born
On the wings of change
We are weaving the world tonight.
Something about it speaks to me—the wings of change tie in with the feathers, and the “weaving the world” line just fits for both Beltane and the Witches ladder spell. Plus, it’s easy and repetitive so I can slip into the right state of consciousness without thinking about it.
Choose a chant that works for you, or make up your own.
Finished Witches Ladder
Finishing the Spell
As you weave, save one single charm to put at the end of your ladder. Add it when you get to the last knot. Some people like to connect the two ends and tie them together with the last charm.
At that point, you’ll want to “seal” the spell by yanking the knot tightly with a shout, such as “So mote it be!” or “So shall it be done!”
Now you can hang your Witches ladder somewhere and let its power work. If you are working on a long-term goal, use it to meditate on your intent periodically.
Quick Color Guide
|Red||love, sex, energy, vitality, defense, anger, good fortune, blood|
platonic attractions, business partnerships, studying/learning, persuasion, authority
intellect, happiness, wisdom, confidence, communication
fertility, wealth, prosperity, material goods, gambling, stability, ambition, success
intuition, peace, healing, loyalty, compassion, cleansing, purification
spirituality, royalty, power, psychic abilities, dreams, visions
(pinkish-purples) romance, affection, love (between friends/family), femininity, innocence
invisibility, forgetting, dulling the senses, neutralizing energy, balancing
work, efforts, domestic issues, friendships
protection, banishing, absorbs negativity, strength, transformation, hexing/destructive magic*
Another Witches Ladder
Items to Add to a Witches Ladder (Suggestions)
- Hair: I like to add my hair (or the hair of the person for whom I’m casting the spell) into the weaving. A few strands will do fine.
- Feathers: the most traditional item to weave into a Witches ladder is feathers. If you are choosing natural feathers, choose feathers from birds that line up with your intent. For example, doves are symbols of peace. Blue jays are associated with higher knowledge. Ravens are a symbol of transformation. You would have to do your research to find out what birds feathers you would want to work with. Craft store feathers are fine for people who don’t have a lot of access to natural bird feathers. In this case, go with the appropriate color in line with your intent.
- Stones: crystals, minerals and rocks are excellent if they’re small but they can be hard to incorporate into the weave. Gluing on a jewelry loop to allow you to pass a string or ribbon through it is a good idea.
- Beads: beads are a lot easier to string on as you go along and more effective. You can even purchase higher quality beads made of polished crystals if you desire. Personally, I like glass beads in the appropriate color—but I’ve also used wood and sometimes plastic.
- Charms: use jewelry charms that depict symbols (hearts, peace signs, pentagrams), or animals that are in line with your intent (for example, a rabbit charm for a pregnancy fertility spell, or a wolf for protection spells).
- Herbs, trees or flowers: just weave a sprig of fresh or dried herbs into your ladder or use a small twig from an appropriate tree. You can also weave in a fresh or dried flower, though they can make your ladder very fragile.
Witches Ladder Put to Use
Tell Us About You?
How To Make A Braid
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 24, 2020:
Depends really. There are people who grow up in families where their parents are Witches and training starts young. If you have no one training you, it can be hard (but not impossible) to learn from books and websites... just go slow and do your homework. There are some younger people who may have poor sources or who may not do their homework well enough and dabble, that's where it can lead to problems.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 24, 2020:
Practicing every day could be as simple as meditation, study, note-taking, reading, or sitting down quietly and trying to sense the energies around you. No need to perform elaborate rituals or spells every day.
cassidy on May 25, 2020:
do you think 14 is too young for witchcraft? some people say yes but one of my best friends is a witch and she is only 3 months older than me
cassidy on May 25, 2020:
hi! i want to start practicing witchcraft but i am not going into the religious aspects. is the one year and a day of devotion necessary. if it is i dont know if i can. my parents dont know i want to do this so i dont know if i could practice every day
J Carol B on February 03, 2020:
I made a witch ladder to draw the 13 powers of The Witch within myself. As the wheel of the year turns, I focus on a specific power to improve on as I take the witch ladder in hand and meditate on that skill. It took me about two weeks to add the knots between new moon and full moon while incorporating the skills into everyday life.
Katie Par on August 18, 2019:
Hi! I just made my first one! It's actually my first anything done dealing with witches and stuff like that. My crush is coming over today and we've known each other for as long as I can remember. My chant was, "His love for me may not be, but answers there shall be." It was emotionally tiring and my heart had this weird not pain but... I don't know. Thank you! I hope it works!
DarcyLupin on March 26, 2019:
Hi! Thank you for the great article! So I wanted to make a Witches Ladder for success (in school), for luck and opportunities and something like that. Can you give me some advice for charms I can add to it? Thanks again, your articles are extremely helpful for a noobie in the craft like me!
Nana on September 12, 2018:
I made a witches ladder last night prior to reading about it on this site. I took tall grass and other greenery from my yard that I felt good about adding. I thanked the plants for their offering. I felt it was the right thing to do to since they wee a large part of a ritual. I’m going through a sudden, traumatic divorce. I’m not sure my two young children and I will be able to keep our beloved home. I didn’t know about the proper number of strands or weaves to do. I used 4 strands of jute. The jute felt earthy and right to me. I spoke my intentions while weaving in the long greenery into a fish braid, which were to bind negative energy and find peace. I sealed the end in wax. I’ve hung it in my kitchen window. I tried my best to let my instinct to guide me in the process. I’m not sure I did it accurately but I feel good about it. Thank you for your article.
Athena Schreck on May 22, 2018:
Awesome, like always!
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 15, 2017:
Yes, absolutely. Orange is a great color for any mental efforts (studying, writing, etc.). Yellow is the color of intellect and red is the color of active efforts, and orange has them both. So any combination of those.
Also try entwining some rosemary and sage sprigs in it (just grab packages from the grocery store produce department, let them dry and weave them in).
Carnelian crystals are good for studying/test taking.
Hope that helps!
Kyali on October 13, 2017:
Hello! so I have a vague idea of what to use but what do you think would help me with my studies and bring luck for quizzes and tests? As in like what color of beads and what kind of feathers? I was thinking of hanging it in my locker.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 12, 2017:
To draw your goal to you (prosperity, protection, love, etc.); it's a charm. :o)
meep 84321 on August 30, 2017:
what are they used for
Ivy on June 02, 2017:
Thank you so much for helping me out , I'll be sure to read that x :)
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on May 26, 2017:
Hi Ivy; you don't actually need a spell for elemental abilities; you're born with all four elements already inside of you. You just have to learn to bring them into balance.
I urge you to read https://exemplore.com/wicca-witchcraft/Wicca-for-B... and https://hubpages.com/wicca-witchcraft/Wicca-Basics... as that should help you with your understandiing of the Elements in Wicca and how to begin working with them.
Ivy on May 25, 2017:
Hi i was this is great and I'm a beginner Wicca and I was wondering if you can give me some advice as I would like to cast elemental spells and natural magick , what colour , charm, feather I should add to my ladder If it is for earth elemental abilities?
Constance D. on April 17, 2017:
I have heard a lot about the witches's ladder. Though I have thought of doing one before, I want to make one now for my son. He is a young man. I want to make one for his future. That he will be able to make a good living and also for him to be able to find a fine woman to marry. He wants to marry and is ready but for some reason he just cannot find the right one who wants him. So I am hoping that witche's ladder will help him suceed in both. Basically, I want him to be healthy, happy, be able to have a good job and finally find happiness with a woman who will love him to death. If anyone has any suggestions in what to use, please let me know. Thank you ever so much in advance.
Eclectic Witch on January 19, 2017:
this has helped me lot! thank you!
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 14, 2016:
Hi 'Believer.' You sound very much like someone I know from the answer boards. Thanks for your comment, I welcome questions and different opinions but you trailed
In my religion, there's nothing dark about spells or magic. Magic is a natural resource-- like fire. They can heat your home or burn it down. Same fire. Doesn't make fire bad, but we do have to use it responsibly and ethically. Same thing with magic.
Where you begin talking about children, you lost me. Are you saying magic does bad things to my children? No, that has not been the case. But thank you for your concern.
Believer on September 14, 2016:
Need to know more about dark magic spells ? For the ones that have done truly bad things to your children ......
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 30, 2014:
Thanks for your comment Aralys, blessed Beltane! Enjoy!
Aralys on October 28, 2014:
I really like this Hub, the step for step is really useful, I'm going to make one this friday (Beltane here). Thanks a lot.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on April 11, 2014:
Thanks Dreamhowl; I can see any kind of weaving project being used for the same purposes. I don't know how effective a dream catcher it would be after that; but using the model of a dream catcher instead of just a straight braid should also work. It sounds like something worth investigating, not something I've ever tried myself. Thanks for commenting!
Jessica Peri from United States on April 10, 2014:
Awesome hub. I am not Wiccan but I like the idea of weaving your intent into something - I've had a similar idea (with a dream catcher I continue to postpone making). If the intent is there, do you think it would have the same spell-like effect?