The knot is a symbol of linking, bonding, or the connection to protective powers. The Egyptians used the knot to symbolize life and immortality. The Isis knot, which resembles an ankh with its arms at its sides, was widely used as an amulet of binding and release. It represented the ability to hold the power of magick until it was ready to be released.
In magick and Witchcraft, the knot is used in conjunction with the Law of Mimicry and the Law of Similarity sometimes referred to as homoeopathic or imitative magick. These laws basically state that like produces like, or that an effect may resemble its cause. Simply put, whatever you do to the symbolic representation of a person, place or thing (such as a Voodoo doll), will directly affect that same person, place, or thing.
It is believed that to conjure up a good etheric intelligence during a healing or protection ritual, and then to knot a cord around the image of the subject being treated, will keep the etheric world helper close to the subject for protection.
This same principle is used in knot magick to bind an energy or force to an individual in need, or when untied to release the individual from an affliction or situation.