According to legends witches were believed to be able to control the wind. One method was with the use of three knots tied into a rope, or sometimes into a handkerchief. When the three knots were tied in the proper magical way, the wind was bound up in them. Witches gave, or sometimes sold, these magic knots to sailors to help them experience safe voyages (see *Ligature). The release of one knot brought a gentle, southwesterly wind; two knots, a strong north wind; and three knots, a tempest. In the folklore of the Shetland Islands and Scandinavia, some fishermen were said to have commanded the wind this way. The belief in controlling the wind by tying it goes back to the legends of ancient Greece; Odysseus received a bag of wind from Aeolus to help him on his journey.
*Ligature is a magical working by tying in a string, thread, or
cord one to three knots, usually. Traditionally, for obvious reasons, it
is used in binding spells. In ancient Greek times as well as in more recent
English times knots were used by sorcerers and sea
witches to harness winds and give sailors fair weather for sailing.
In many Wiccan traditions knots are tied
in the ritual cord belt of the initiation candidate. The number of knots,
one, two or three, in the belt signifies the degree of initiation, first,
second or third, which the person is receiving. The knots also magically
bind the initiate in place and prevent his/her energies from being dispersed