Sharing Zisa’s Work: A Modern Devotional Practice

A Collaborative Work Between Stevie Miller and Kate Cullifer

On this Zisa’s Day, we would like to present a modern devotional practice we created to help grow Her worship.


goddess_zisaZisa is a Goddess known for taking on the problems of those who pray to Her for help, and untangling them, as She undoes knots in Her ribbon. It is said that She assists anyone whose heart is sincere, just as Her husband Ziu assists anyone whose cause is just. 

There is scant lore on Zisa and how She was worshiped historically. We don’t have any idea how prayers and offerings to Her might have gone in ancient times. But as modern worshipers interested in rekindling devotion to Zisa, we can use what we know of Her and our own spiritual experiences to create rituals and practices to connect us to Her. 

This is one such practice. Inspired by Zisa’s steadfast willingness to help humanity with our troubles, we are going to symbolically participate in Zisa’s work as an offering to Her. As She spends Her time unknotting our troubles, symbolized by the long knotted ribbon she unties, we will join in, entering into trance and taking on the work by undoing knots of our own.

To take part in this practice, you will need your own ribbon, cord, or strip of fabric. You should choose something that you’re able to tie and untie readily, and a material that will hold up to this kind of treatment. You’ll want a decent length of it so that you can tie a number of knots in it. My cord is a piece of purple knit trim about five and a half feet long. It came from my grandmother’s sewing basket, which holds special associations for me with family and the fiber work my ancestors did that I continue.  

If you like you can choose a color that is meaningful for you. The color most commonly associated with Zisa is a vivid red. You can also embroider or write on your ribbon runes or symbols that are meaningful for you and this practice. Zisa’s personal symbols include the pinecone and mountains. 

Finally, before you embark on this work, you may wish to cleanse and bless your cord, and dedicate it to its sacred purpose. It’s entirely appropriate to ask Zisa to bless both the cord and your upcoming work. If you like, you can keep your cord in a special bag or case. I keep mine in a tiny leather case embossed with flowers that my father made. You can periodically cleanse the cord again as you feel it is needed. It might also be nice to rededicate your cord on Zisa’s feast day, which is September 28, each year. 

The Devotional Practice

A good day for this practice is Tuesday, a day of the week that is named for both Zisa and Her husband, Ziu (also known as Tiw or Tyr). 

When you’re ready, take your cord to a quiet place where you will be undisturbed. Ground and center yourself. Use your favorite method to enter a light trance, such as guided meditation, drumming, breathing exercises, etc. If you are unfamiliar with trance practices, “Tranceportation” by Diana Paxson is an excellent and thorough beginner’s course.

Reach out to Zisa and express your desire to help Her in Her work. Offer your efforts to Her. Begin knotting your cord as you focus on the many problems in the world that Zisa takes on. 

Prayer for Tying the Knots
by Kate Cullifer

Goddess Zisa, protector of our community, we come to you with sincere hearts, in service to your work of un-knotting that which troubles our world, our kindred, ourselves.

Tie first knot:
(If outside of a personal nature)
I tie this knot to bind the issue of __
(If for a person known to yourself, or for yourself)
I tie this knot for (name of person or myself) who brings the problem of _ to you, with this knot I bind it.

Repeat until all the knots needed are tied.
Each time you tie a knot imagine the problem/issue is being bound with tight, strong cords and has been arrested from any further movement.

Hold the knotted cord in your hands, and envision Zisa taking up the troubles of the world in this way. Feel the compassion with which She views all the people who have these troubles, yourself and your loved ones included. She looks on all with love and kindness. She is eternally patient, and even the most tangled trouble is no match for Her skilled fingers. 

Sit by Zisa and share in Her work now, patiently untying the troubled knots of the world. Send loving, healing energies towards these troubles. As you work, see if any thoughts come to mind about concrete actions that you can take to help solve your troubles or those of your family, friends, or community. This could be advice and insight from Zisa. If practical, taking such actions also makes excellent service to dedicate to Zisa.

Prayer for Untying the Knots
by Kate Cullifer

Goddess Zisa, let us assist you with your burden, let us join in service to our community. We bring these problems to you and ask that you bless us in our work to untie these knots, let our hands be as your hands, let us release the tangles of these problems that have bound the community from being able fully live in fairness, justness, and peace.

Untie first knot;

I release this knot. The obstacle that it arrested will resolve when the knot is unbound.

Repeat until all knots have been released.
As you release each knot see each burden dissolving, or resolving favorably for the person you are working the service for.

Thank you Goddess Zisa for letting us assist you in your work. May you weigh our work and find it earnest.

When the cord is entirely unknotted, you can re-knot it and begin again, or end your devotional session.