Before we get into the process, let's take some time to look at the magickal theory behind poppet magick, a form of sympathetic magick.
There's a lot of room for creativity in poppet magick, as you'll soon see. If you don't have sewing supplies on hand, use wax or even potatoes. Some have been known to stuff gloves. The possibilities are endless. For some creative examples of poppets, go here.
This is an intriguing poppet. If
you saw the movie "Witches of Eastwick", you saw Cher,
Susan Sarandon, and Michelle whats-her-name make one of these.
Take 7 white candles (new candles, not used) and melt down in a double boiler on low heat. You don't want to melt them down to liquid, just soften them so they can be worked with. (If indeed you do liquidize them, just let them cool until they can be handled.) Remove wicks.
Rub lavender oil on your palms and
fingers before working the wax. When the
wax can be easily shaped (don't burn your hands!), begin to shape your poppet. Oils, herbs, and personal effects (hair, nails) should be kneaded into the wax. Try to incorporate some of the features of the person. Are they thin? Stocky? Any distinguishing features will help.
When the figure is shaped, place a representation of the heart in the chest area. This can be a piece of copal resin, a small piece of tourmaline, or any other stone or item that represents the heart. Take a pin or other pointed object and draw your magickal representations on the figure.
A variation on this process would be to rub an oil that corresponds to your magickal intent on your hands as you shape the poppet. Rose if it's a love poppet. Patchouli for a prosperity poppet. Any oil that you would incorporate into the spell would be appropriate.
My favorite method. Cut two identical
gingerbread shapes from fabric. (See
pattern). Felt, cotton, or muslin is suitable, but so is fabric from the subject's old shirt or any piece of clothing. Embroider, draw, or paint magickal symbols, words, anything meaningful to the spell on the right side of one piece of your pattern. Green eyes? Dark hair? This is where you add those details. Right sides together, sew the shapes together, leaving a good sized hole to stuff it with.
Prepare your herbal mixture. For
those of you into numerology, one method is
to choose a number that corresponds with your magickal intent and add that number of herbs. I use multiples of three in my poppet blends. Using multiples of three, a prosperity blend might include patchouli, honeysuckle, and basil. If I'm adding honeysuckle flowers, I might add 6 or 9. I mix my personal effects with these herbs (hair, fingernails, a cut up picture, whatever I have.) For a money spell, I might shred a dollar or add three silver coins. For a healing spell, I might add a stone that represents the ailing body part and use herbs that would medicinally treat the sickness. This is where you can get entirely creative. I like to place representations of the heart inside cloth poppets. Again, a piece of copal resin or tourmaline would do nicely if stuffing inside. Some sew hearts on the outside in a color corresponding to the purpose of the spell.
You don't have to stuff the poppet entirely with herbs. You can include a small herbal mixture with other kinds of stuffing -- batting, shredded paper, whatever you have on hand. I just love the smell and feel of poppets stuffed entirely with herbs. Once you're satisfied with the stuffing, sew the poppet up and consecrate.
The easiest of all. Cut a gingerbread figure from a piece of clean paper. Write the name of the person for whom you're making your poppet on the paper. Draw your sigils and any other distinguishing signs. This is a very quick, yet surprisingly effective alternative to putting hours into poppet design. Anoint the paper with herbal oils corresponding to your spellwork. For the emergencies or impromptu spells.
Several herbal roots and wood are very well suited for poppet magick. Of course, there is the mystical mandrake. This wo/man-shaped root has been used for centuries in sympathetic magick, especially love magick. To activate a dried mandrake, place it on the altar undisturbed for three days. Then place it in warm water overnight. The root will then be activated and ready for any magickal purpose. A human shaped mandrake root is going to be very expensive. Substitute ash roots, apples, root of the briony, or the American may apple if the cost is prohibitive. Ginseng root has a human shape, and is especially good for protection, love, and healing spells. Ginseng is expensive too, though!
Poppet shapes can be carved from wood. Apple wood is a great choice. This can be labor intensive unless you are a wood carver or just happen to find a nicely shaped branch or stick.
Buy clay or gather from the riverside. When your figure is formed, hollow out a hole in the heart area to place hair, nail clippings, herbs, or other magickal ingredients. Cover the hole with clay and proceed with spell. Clay poppets may crack if dried too quickly. If cracking occurs, wet fingers and smooth clay over cracks. Repeat daily, if needed, until poppet is dry.
Potatoes can be carved into poppets. Apples too. A carrot would make a good fertility poppet. Are you getting the idea that just about anything will work as a poppet? Focus and magickal intent are the keys.
As with all magick, it's best to perform it when the moon and other astrological signs are favorable. (For a list of moon phases, signs, etc and their magickal correspondences, go here.)
Gather your materials. Cast a circle.
Construct a chant to use while making
your poppet. This can be as elaborate as a sigil or as simple as repeating
the name of the poppet's intended or a rhyme stating your magickal purpose.
Visualize your magickal intent as you work.
When the poppet is finished, lay
it on the altar and repeat this or
something like it:
Continue with your spell, visualizing what you intend to accomplish. Close the circle.
After performing your magick, wrap the poppet in a white cloth and store in a safe place. You should keep the poppet safe until the magick has manifested. I've worked magick on the same poppet more than once. I'm one of those witches who sees no harm in repeating spells (as long as you don't obsess over your magick). Some witches are strongly opposed to this.
Take it apart and bury it after the magick has manifested. Be sure to sever the magickal connection between the poppet and the person it represented with this or a similar chant.
Never manipulate another person
through poppet magick.
Never manipulate another person through poppet magick.
Never manipulate another person through poppet magick.
Poppet magick is a very powerful
form of magick. For this reason, it's
important to use it with care. Never make a poppet to represent another person without their permission. This is the psychic equivalent of rape. Never construct a poppet for malicious purposes, that is, to torment or harm another person.