I present a unique new magickal tool that I invented. It came from a class I teach on the spiritual, magickal and practical aspects of Spirit and Center. This tool is a Cord with which you can draw your choice of three sizes of Circle onto the ground or a floor, find magnet North of your Circle, and inscribe a triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, or nonagon.
In the course of putting together the class, I decided to focus on what is often suggested as a magickal symbol of Spirit (as in, the fifth ineffable Element at the Center of Air, Fire, Water and Earth), the cord, and cord magick. All of the references to cord magick that I could find had to do with the kind of spell form where you tie knots in a string or cord while saying a chant according to your intention. This is a well-known form of spell magick and it has many applications.
However, it was not really what I was looking for in the context. We were doing an Elements of Magick series, and the cord spell magick seemed a bit more materially oriented than the Cord Magick I was seeking to reflect Center and Spirit.
When you can find no reference to the Magick that you are seeking it is time to become the Mage. I did have one very good guide, although more mathematical than magickal in nature. My main reference for this work is A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science by Michael S. Schneider
FINDING THE CENTER OF A SPACE
I began my search in an empty room. I knew that one magickal use of the Cord (other than low magick spells) was as a Compass, to designate a center and draw a Circle. First, I had to know where the Center of the room was. To find this spot, you take your cord (I used a ball of hemp twine) and tape ends of it into the diagonal corners of the room to make an x. The point where the lines cross is the Center of the room.
A PERFECT CIRCLE
Put a thumbtack or pushpin in the Center. Now tie a loop knot in one of the ends of the cord. We will call this end the Origin of the Cord. From the center go to the nearest wall. That is the radius of the biggest Circle that will fit in an empty room. If you are working outdoors, you can use a nail to mark the Center and make the Circle as large as will fit the space, or as small as will fit your purpose.
Next, I wanted a Circle with a magick number for its diameter. 7? 9? 13? As it turned out, since my room was 11 by 12 ft, a 9 foot diameter Circle fit best. So I used a good contractors’ measuring tape and measured out 4 ½ feet of the cord, and made another loop knot at the end.
This IS the magick tool of Center and Spirit. A Circle with a dot in the center is a symbol of a number of sacred concepts: the Monad, considered to be the first spiritual being according to the Pythagoreans; the Greek alchemical symbol for the Sun (also the Center with Planets describing Circles around); the Chinese symbol of Light; the modern representation of the most basic of elements, Hydrogen (one proton in the Center, one electron describing a Sphere around it); the Center and the Circumference of one’s Self, on up to the epicenter (Origin) of the Big Bang with the outer Circle demarking the theoretical edge of the Universe.
When I look at basic physical geometrical shapes like the Monad, and use my Cord and Center to create it, I get the feeling that this is The Really Real, not just “our limited capacity to perceive the world around us.”
Try it. Make your Circle just big enough to fit you sitting cross-legged (lotus position) on the floor. For me, a 3 foot diameter (1 ½ foot radius) Circle is just big enough. If you have to do anything in the Circle, like have an altar, books, spell working or ritual materials, a 7 foot diameter (3 ½ foot radius) will be more accommodating. For a few people, an altar and ritual gear, a 9 foot diameter Circle in a room will be a close fit. A 13 foot diameter Circle, if there is room indoors, or outdoors if desirable, can all be drawn physically, tangibly, and ritually, using just the cord with loops at either end, pivoting from the Center.
A SQUARE WITHIN THE CIRCLE
The next question I pondered was how to designate the Four Directions. Yes, I know generally, from my magnetic compass where magnetic North is, and the other directions extrapolated from that. But now that I have this Cord, can I use it to measure out the sides of a Square, such that each corner is in the cardinal direction of my Circle?
If you know the radius (R) the Circle, the side (S) of a square perfectly inscribed within the circle will be: R × √2 = S.
The square root of 2 (√2 ) is an irrational number (which, like pi, has an infinite number of digits) approximately equal to (≈) 1.4142.
So, if you have used the Magick Cord to draw a 7 foot circumference Circle (R = 3.5ft), the side of square inscribed within this Circle will be
3.5ft × 1.4142 ≈ 4.95ft.
I used my contractor’s measuring tape to mark my Cord at 4.95ft, as accurately as possible. While we might have to round to a reasonable number of decimals of an irrational number for this work, the imperative to work as accurately as possible will henceforth be the necessary standard.
First I moved the Origin of the Cord to the Northernmost point of the Circle (as determined by the magnetic North compass) and then stretch the Cord out towards the East edge of the Circle. Holding the cord taut, where the 4.95ft mark intersects the Circle will be the East point of the Square and the Circle. By whatever means practical or desirable, mark this point.
Proceeding in the same way, you can “walk” the Cord around and mark each of the four corners/directions of the Square in your Circle. You can draw the sides of the Square onto the ground or floor as you go, or you can improvise a straightedge using a board to draw a better straight line. Alternatively, you may just draw two lines, from North to South and East to West, to create a Compass Cross. It is much easier to accomplish with a partner.
IF I CAN MAKE A SQUARE THEN…
Looking at my Square inside my Circle, my mind quickly leapt forward: I can make a Pentagon! (and a Pentagram!) inside my Circle using the same kind of math, and while I’m at it, all of the other polygons.
The design of my Magick Cord evolved quickly from there. I use large stainless steel links to make the Origin of the Cord and three Terminus points to mark the three different Radii for the three sizes of Circles I might want to draw with it. These links are just large enough to hold a nail for the Center/Origin and a wax pencil or nail for the Terminus.
The Cord itself is sturdy stainless steel cord (so it does not stretch) used to string small iridescent beads, the different polygons are marked out using larger, different colored beads.
The grey catseye beads are used to mark the corners of a Triangle (since 3 is the magick number of the planet Saturn and black or grey is the magick color of Saturn).
Correspondingly, the blue beads (magick color of Jupiter) denote the corners of the Square, red beads (magick color of Mars) execute the corners of the Pentagon, gold beads (magick color of Sun) generate the Hexagon (these are actually on either side of the Terminus of the Radius, since a Radius walked around a Circle will make a hexagon, e.g. R=S), green beads will lay out a heptagon, orange beads will describe an octagon and the white beads will produce the nonagon.
Realistically speaking, the octagon and the nonagon are less likely to be used for practical purposes, but by including them, the Powers of the Seven Planets are included in the Magick Cord.
Since there are three sizes of Circles included in the Magick Cord, there are three of each color bead markers for the three different sizes of polygons to be inscribed in each Circle. Therefore, the first blue bead from the Origin will be used to create the Square in the 7 foot diameter Circle, the second blue bead for the 9 foot diameter Circle’s Square, and the third blue bead, the farthest from the Origin, will demark the corners of the Square of the 13 foot Circle.
It is my hope that each of these Magickal Cords of Sacred Geometry will be put to practical purpose. They are constructed of sturdy stainless steel wire to last a lifetime or more of regular, indoor/outdoor use. But really, each of these tools contains, just resident in their possession and being, three magickal Circles, three sets of seven Polygons of Sacred Geometry, the Magnetic North of the Four Directions, the Powers of the Planets, Spirit and Center, and the magick numbers 1 through 13.
By Cedar Stevens