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The Witch's Ladder

Creating a physical magickal spell.

This is an introduction to the arts of:
- Divination (sensing the future)

- Carromancy (Divination using wax)

- Scrying (opening our intuition whilst looking into an object)

- Manifestation (summoning something we require or desire)

- Energy Magick (connecting to the energies in various objects)

- Knot Magic (turning intentions into physical binds)

You will need:

- A bowl of cold water
- A wax candle

- Paper and a Pen/Pencil
- Small meaningful objects from nature

- A length of Twine / String / Rope


Step One: Candle Wax Reading

The flowing of an entity between a liquid and solid has always fascinated us, from watching the wax drip from a candle and haden again, to being hypnotised by patterns created by oil floating on water, or soothed by the flow of a lava lamp. You can use a wax candle and a bowl of cold water to unlock your intuition about a question that has been on your mind. (Throughout this and all rituals, be careful with fire, with water if near electronics, and smoke or fumes. Safety's important)

Prepare a quiet space where you can be alone with your thoughts. You might want to put on some relaxing instrumental music to set the mood. Place a bowl of cold water in front of you. The colder the better - perhaps stir some ice into it. Light a wax candle - ideally a pillar candle or a jar candle - one which will allow a pool of melting wax to form. Whilst you are sat with the hot candle and the cold water, allow your brain to empty of all thoughts. Bring to mind the subject you'd like more clarity on. Work out what questions you would like to know more about. When you are ready for some mystical answers, carefully pick up the candle and pour the molten wax into the water. Some traditions like to pour the wax through the handle of a key to help focus the process and add symbolism. As the wax lands in the water it hardens watch as this happens. Look closely for shapes that emerge as the wax goes from its usually quite clear liquid form to the cloudier harder form. After a short while, the wax will have formed into a curious shape. The interpretation of this shape is a form of scrying. If you've ever looked up at the clouds and used your imagination to see shapes or figures or stories, you have already dabbled in scrying.

Observe the cool wax shape floating in the water. What shapes can you see. What does it look like? How could you describe it to someone who hasn't seen it. How could these shapes be connected to your questions? Don't edit yourself too much- allow the ideas to flow. There are no wrong answers at the ideation stage.

Once it's cool, pick up the wax. What do you see now that you hadn't seen before? How does this new perspective show you different ideas that might connect to the answers you are seeking? Can you see letters? Or numbers? Or faces? Or objects?

Write down as many of the ideas that came to you whilst you were meditation, and whilst you were observing the wax. Note down emotions you felt during it. All of these are possible clues to help you access your intuition and see your questions from new angles. If the answer is already inside you, it might help to tease it out. If the situation remains unknowable, perhaps it will give you some inspiration for first steps you can take towards finding some progress. The more of yourself you invest in this reflective and meditative process, the more powerful the insights it can offer you. 

Step Two: Manifesting

Using your ideas from your wax reading session, write yourself some ideas for what you could do next. Write some things you could benefit from. Write ideas of ways you could help others. Write some ways you could look after yourself better. Put these intentions down on the page. Don't use any negative language (eg don't write "less of x", instead say "more of y"). Summarise these as best you can in words, and read them aloud to yourself. Write a little piece of paper which condenses all of these thoughts and roll it up into a little scroll.

​Step Three: Witch's Ladder

Witch ladders are a form of knot magic and there is evidence of them going back as far as records go. It is a way to put our ideas and intentions into a physical form. A piece of string or rope is rich in symbolism. It is several strands which when spun together become very strong. This can represent people and their relationships and how we are stronger together than apart. A string can also represent a timeline, a journey, a story, a life. If we tie knots in a rope, it can allow that rope to connect to something - we can tie the rope to something. This could represent wishing to bring something into our life, or our relationships. If we want more freedom, we might represent that by knotting a feather into our rope. If we want to represent a harmonious coming-together of two families or two companies, we might braid two ropes together. Knots themselves can represent a moment of reflection - a time when things turn in on themselves. Or it can represent a hurdle to overcome. You can use the knots to represent whatever you like.

For this experiment, why not knot your wax shape into the rope? Don't worry if you're not an expert at tying knots - as long as you patiently experiment and find a way to combine your length of yarn and your wax, you will succeed. You can also experiment with untwisting a section of yarn to create a little window through the rope. You might like to roll up your paper scroll and insert it into your rope. Perhaps the match which lit a candle on an important day is precious to you. Perhaps shells or pebbles or crystals which bring you positive vibes can also be included.

Build a witch's ladder to tell the story that you want to tell. You could tie a loop in one end and hang it in a prominent or meaningful place in your home. Allow your imagination to carry your craft in the directions that feel useful to you.

Final Notes:


Adapt this ritual to suit you. Your creativity and intuition are closely connected.

Remember to be safe with fire, and sharp objects, and water near electronics, and fumes etc. Be mindful that small objects are also choking hazards, so keep your spells away from young children, or animals. And be generally kind to your environment. Don't litter or damage nature. Just generally be a nice thoughtful mindful person and good vibes will come your way :)

Everyone's path is different, but when we share and work together it's all the more rich and fun. Please feel welcome to connect with me, if you would like to, via instagram and the other links you will find on this website.

If you are enjoying your adventure in the magickal arts, please also consider supporting the Oracolarium project here: 

Kindest wishes to you, from Neil

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