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September 5, 2008

The Sacred Scourge

This post is sort of a, "what now?" response to the rest of the cord from last week's feature.  So, you have a bunch of cord.  Let's make something fun.

Gardner doesn't specify what material the scourge used in his rituals should be made of.  But heavy nylon rope means no cuts - bruises, perhaps, but no blood.  As the scourge is not necessarily meant to be painful - just, noticeable - I think that the nylon cord choice is appropriate.

Traditionally, the Gardnerian scourge has 8 tails with five knots, each.  Knots take up a whole lot more room than you think!  So, before you start, figure out ho long you want your tails to be - tie the knots, and then, adjust the length according.  Also figure out just how long you want the handle to be, and whether or not you want to reinforce it internall or externally.

Nylon rope frays easily, and so I'd suggest immediately tying a knot wherever you cut, even if the knot is only temporary.

  1. Make four loops of rope.  The loops should be the combined length of the handle and the adjusted tail length, plus a little bit extra for mistakes.
  2. Mark with a permanent marker or something similar where you want the handle to end across the entire loop - that way, if it becomes tangled or messed up before you secure it, you don't have to start all over - just match up the line!
  3. Cut and tie the end of the rope to prevent fraying while you're working with it.
  4. Cut another length of rope and tie a tight knot around where the handle should end - this will hold it temporarily.
  5. Cut through the loops where the tails will be, making sure to tie knots to prevent fraying while you're working on other pieces.
  6. Tie your five knots in each tail - that took the longest time for me.
  7. Wrap your handle with more rop, or different rope, or twine, or leather - a simple wrapping around will do.  I did run into some problems with this as my nylon rope was slipping against itself.  When I've fixed it - I'll let you know.

My project took maybe two hours at most.  And, when I was done, I had a relatively useful scourge, made to traditional specifications.  If nothing else, its a good thing to do for historical reasons.

And let's face it: making your own whip is kinda cool 😉

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