And you guys thought I wasn't going to post! There's something unique to the Gardnerian tradition, found in the first degree initiation, which I thought I would touch upon tonight: The cords. They're said to take your measure, to bind you to the art. During my self initiation, I never prepared cords for myself. I made my oath, took my time to meditate, and that was it. But, nevertheless, there is wisdom in the cords.
It is a physical manifestation of your oath. The actual initation text reads:
Take measure: height (tie knot); around head (tie knot); around heart (tie knot); around hips (tie knot). Prick postulant's thumb; catch blood on measure. Place measure on altar.
This cord is then, in essence, charged with your oath. The cords are relatively easy to make - but I knew that when I was looking to make them - among other things, last week - I couldn't quite figure out what material to use. I chose a nylon rope of decent thickness from Lowe's. A 50-foot section came in a package for less than $7.00 . No questions asked about what I needed the rope for(it would be rather odd to explain that I was using the rope to measure myself and create a scourge for a religious ceremony).
For the nylon rope - if that's what you choose - realize that it frays quickly, and so beginning and ending knots should be tied as well to prevent the entire thing from falling apart. Also, in case you were wondering - I did not give my blood as a binding signature to the cord. I feel that I am a woman, and I bleed every month in a covenant to the gods. Anything more or less is unnecessary.
An interesting, quick, and enlightening thing to do when thinking about your own upcoming initiation - especially if it has not been done before or you are self initiating, and want to experience the power in the tradition, but do not have the ability to make the actual ritual happen.