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.


  1. Julie said,

    February 20, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Beautifully written post Maria xx

    • luckyloom1 said,

      February 23, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you Julie! xxxx

  2. Carl Markham said,

    February 23, 2018 at 1:30 am

    I suppose it depends on one’s tradition/belief etc. when it comes to relationships and the ‘release’ of what ‘binds’ one person to another; and certainly in Wicca the ritual of ‘Handfasting ‘is an important part of this ceremony – so what about when this ‘binding’ is to be broken/untied etc.?
    Your ‘unplaiting’ concept sounds fine (when perhaps past memories can be recalled) – but what about when the ‘break’ is due to some unpleasant – perhaps even violent events, betrayal etc? Then surely a symbolic ‘clean cut’ creates that finality image so one can then move forward and putting the past firmly behind us and looking towards a happier and more productive future? Coping with a bereavement is a similar scenario where mourning for a dearly loved one can lead to both physical and mental consequences if the ‘unplaiting’ is ‘overdone’.(In some cultures it is considered to the ‘obligatory’). I’m wondering if the act of cremation seems to be coming more favourable in Western society than the more ‘drawn out’ internment process for mourners? (I attended a cremation a couple of weeks ago and was amazed to discover how it now resembles a busy day at a supermarket check-out!) Even the time allotted for mourners to read the notes on the floral tributes was strictly enforced in order to prevent ‘gridlock’ – so no ‘unplaiting’ here – we were ushered back to our vehicles as the attendants were swiftly gathering up all our offerings to the departed!

    • luckyloom1 said,

      February 23, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Carl,

      I think that that even with violent acts and betrayal we might make that cut physically (which is a very necessary thing) but find that we have a residue of hurt emotionally and psychologically that takes a little more time to heal. By unravelling, I am not suggesting that we wallow – for me, it is more about not putting too much pressure on ourselves, if despite our best efforts, we are still processing emotions. Releasing can be a process with many stages, or it can be a single act. Either way, we have to judge for ourselves what is best for us in these situations, and be compassionate with ourselves when what we thought we had released suddenly makes a reappearance – this is particular so with the struggles around bereavement I feel – it seems to have it own time span.

      As with all things on the spiritual path, it is finding methods that resonate and these will be different for all of us.

      Yes, modern funerals can feel like a conveyor belt! A woodland burial would be my preferred choice, I think.

      Many thanks for your comment!

      • Carl Markham said,

        February 26, 2018 at 12:40 pm

        Well ‘said’ Maria – and each ‘time span’ is different for every person. (I’m still mourning the departure of my beloved feline Jaffa – three years this Imbolc) People say “For heaven’s sake – just get another one” and don’t understand ’tis not like that – for me. At the ‘right’ time another cat will ‘adopt’ me (as Jaffa did); meanwhile I look after neighbour’s cats whilst they’re away (much better than being cooped up in a cattery!)

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