The Ties That Bind

In the New Age community there is often talk about the act of cutting cords. This essentially means the severing of the binds that connect us to negative habits or people, any damaging ties to the past, situations that no longer serve us and things or relationships that drain us in our present. These cords have a very real, physical impact on us and some clairvoyants claim they can see them actually attached to our bodies. Anything that stirs a powerful negative emotion can take up residence not only in our minds and emotions – we all know what it is like to obsess over something and the way that can make us feel – but it can also be held in our bodies manifesting as tension, anxiety or stress.  The cutting of cords is seen as a kind of emotional and psychic housecleaning because carrying unwanted baggage or suffering toxic relationships are not healthy for any of us.

However, I have never felt entirely comfortable with the idea of ‘cutting’ cords. It feels like a very sudden and almost violent severing of something that, although might be holding us back, is nevertheless a part of us and may have been so for many years. It might just be semantics but I much prefer the image of untying a knot, or unravelling a plait as a method of visual releasing. It somehow is a better analogy to the process of letting go, because in truth, it can take time to remove those negative thoughts, relationships, habits and situations that bind us. The cutting of a cord suggests instantaneous results which for most of us, doesn’t really happen. Those things have been woven into our lives over time, and the painful nature of them means that they need some gentle handling and loving patience to let them go. For me, any magical or ritual act must be followed up with ‘acting in accord’; that is following through on our intention with action that supports it. This is the hard work bit, the place where we practice our intention until it becomes a reality.

The image of a knot or plait unravelling resonates with me because the act of weaving a thread and unpicking it, suggest that we have a creative input into the living of our lives. Unravelling the binds gives us time to honour those relationships or the experiences of our lives that have possibly brought us to a bad place.  The energy of those things remains in our hands and we are given the choice to reweave them in ways that are more appropriate for who we are now, or for who we would like to be.

In the past I have used plaiting and knotting of cords in ritual as a way of focusing attention on what I want to bring into my life, so it makes sense to use this technique in reverse for what I wish to remove. When we are struggling with those emotional shackles or with relationships that do us harm, we need to be kind with ourselves and understand that it’s ok if the letting go takes a little time. We are asked to be patience but consistent; to acknowledge any pain, sadness or resistance around the issue – we don’t have time to do that if we cut. Cutting demands an immediate end; unweaving coaxes it gently.

I guess I feel that cutting doesn’t give me the time to integrate the experience. We can’t remove our past, unlive what has happened; those things remain and are a part of us. However,  by unweaving and reweaving, we take what is ours and make it anew; we transform challenging life energy into something more productive for ourselves; we weave a new pattern for our lives.

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