Note the knots in the straps of the Goddess' garment as well as the little loop between Her breasts.
Note the knots in the straps of the Goddess’ garment as well as the little loop between Her breasts.

We’ve been discussing the famous Knot of Isis, the Tet, lately, so let’s talk a bit more about Egyptian knot magic in general.

Following that is a ritual from Isis Magic that uses magical knots for protection. The ritual can be used for any protective purpose.

In ancient Egypt, knots were used to bind and release, join opposites, and, since a knot secures things, protect.

Knot magic was well known in Egypt from an early period; an inscription in one of the pyramids states that Isis and Nephthys work magic on Osiris “with knotted cords.”

The Book of Coming Forth by Day also gives several examples of the magical power of the knot. In one, knots are tied around the deceased to help her come into the presence of the Deities: “The four knots are tied about me by the guardian of the sky [. . .] the knot was tied about me by Nuet, when I first saw Ma’et, when the gods and the sacred images had not yet been born. I am heaven born, I am in the presence of the Great Gods.”

A knot amulet found at Hatshepsut's mortuary temple
A knot amulet found at Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple

In addition to these four knots, there were seven knots, or tesut, that were tied about the deceased to protect him or her.

The power of the magical knot is in its ability to both unite and “surround” things. The tied knot is a symbol of the coming together of two things in perfect wholeness, a condition that promotes a positive outcome.

Hapi using a knot to unite the Two Lands
Hapi using a knot to unite the Two Lands


A passage in the Coffin Texts says that when the hair of Isis is knotted to the hair of Nephthys, the Two River Banks (the land of the living and the land of the dead) are united. Tying a knot could also refer to sexuality; the perfect coming together of two people in an act of creation. We still “tie the knot” when we get married.

Furthermore, because the two ends of the cord used in tying a magical knot symbolically go all the way around something, they “surrounded” that thing. Thus knot magic could thus be used to “surround” or “bind” an enemy—or even tie a curse to them.

In the ritual that follows, we are using the knots to surround with protection. We call upon Isis primarily, but also Nephthys, Neith, and Selket as the four Goddesses often found guarding the four corners of a shrine as well as the four Sons of Horus, Who in turn protect the canopic jars.

The Knot of Isis, May She protect!
Isis protects!

The Rite of the Tet (the Knot of Isis)

About the Rite: In this rite, you will magically tie a protective knot around yourself (or around anything you wish to protect). The ritual draws upon sources in the Book of Coming Forth by Day and is, in part, adapted from an ancient rite for consecrating the Tet amulet.

Temple Arrangement: Altar at center; all tools on altar.

Ritual Tools: Nile water in Lotus Cup; petals from lotus, lily or rose flowers; Isis incense in censer; six pieces of fairly substantial red cord, each approximately one foot long (if you can’t find red cord that is thick enough, use white rope); Tet representation in any medium (if desired).


Purify and consecrate the temple and yourself according to the formulae of the House of Isis. Return to the altar, take up the lotus (lily or rose) petals and elevate them.

Priest/ess: O, you Souls of Life, Lotus Dwellers, Breathers, you of the Pure Air from the Wings of Isis, I have come for you. By the Blood, by the Power, by the Magic of Isis, establish yourselves within these petals. (Vibrating onto petals) ISET NEF!

Place some of the petals in the chalice.

Priest/ess: (Addressing petals) I know you, you shining flowers. Your name is “Life Is In It”. Your name is “Protection”. Your name is “Peace Bringer”.

Place the pieces of red cord upon the altar and anoint each of them with the Nile water with flower petals in it.

Priest/ess: (Touching each piece of cord) Isis protects!

Invocation of the Powers of Isis

Next, invoke the Goddess, raising your arms in Adoration.

Priest/ess: I call the power of my Mighty Mother Isis. I call Her strength to me. For I shall knot the cord, the Knot of Isis, and the power and peace of Isis.

O Isis, my Mother, I call Thee!

I call Thee with the breath of my body (breathing out).

I call Thee with the beat of my heart (touching chest).

I call Thee with the pulse of my life (touching wrists).

I call Thee with the words of my mouth (touching mouth).

I call Thee with the thoughts of my mind (touching forehead).

I call Thee Power. I call Thee Life. I call Thee Protection.

I call Thee, Isis!

Tying the Knots

Take up one of the pieces of red cord and move to the southeast corner of the temple. Holding the two ends of the cord in your hands, say:

Priest/ess: Thou hast Thy Blood, O Isis. Thou hast Thy Power, O Isis. Thou hast Thy Magic, O Isis. The Blood of Isis and the Strength of Isis and the Words of Power of Isis shall be mighty to (state what you wish to protect) against all that would cause harm.

With strength and intention, tie a knot in the cord and set it in the southeast corner of the temple.

Priest/ess: By the Power of Isis, I have knotted the cord.

Repeat this same procedure in the southwest, northwest, and northeast of the temple, above your head (leave the cord on the altar), and upon the ground (leave the cord at the foot of the altar).

Stand west of the altar, facing east. Make the Sign of the Wings of Isis.

Priest/ess: O Isis and all the mighty Goddesses of Protection, I call upon Thee to guard (state what you wish to protect) as Thou didst guard Osiris Himself, as Thou didst guard Horus the Child.

Isis, Mighty Magician; Nephthys, Lady of Life; Neith, Primal Mother; Selket, Powerful One—tie the Knot of Isis against all harm. Keep it away! Restrain it! Let it not come near! O, Thou Isis and all the Goddesses of Protection, grant Thy peace and protection.

If you wish to meditate or do other work, this is an excellent time to do so.


If this is a ritual for protection from some outside threat, leave the tied knots in the temple for as long as desired or needed and conclude the rite by making the Sign of the Wings of Isis at the altar and speaking the last line.

If this rite was worked simply to create peace for meditation, you may untie the knots when you are finished by simply going to each knot in the order you tied it and untying it.

Priest/ess: I have untied the knot. Be in peace, O Thou Blood and Power and Magic of Isis. Be in peace.

Take each piece of cord to the altar. [Skip to here if you are leaving the Knots tied.] At the altar, make Sign of the Wings of Isis.

Priest/ess: I thank Thee, Isis, in all Thy names of Protection. Hold me ever near Thee, bound by Thy protective knots.

Quit the temple.

Use a simple, overhand knot in this ritual
Use a simple, overhand knot in this ritual