More from the Tools of the Trade series today, a tool often hotly debated in forums and groups, the poppet. The reason that they cause such a stir is that they are often viewed as having a single purpose and use, that to harm. I have already touched on the issues of hexes in my earlier post To Hex and to Heal which I would encourage you to read. Needless to say that this is a limited view of the poppet in sympathetic magic so let’s broaden our horizons.
What is a Poppets?
Poppet are an expression of sympathetic magic, where an object comes to represent something or someone through association and intent. In sympathetic magic related to poppets the object should contain something ‘of’ the target, a personal identify of their being and existence. It could be a lock of hair, nail clippings or something even more personal it doesn’t really matter so long as you are able to obtain it and are willing to handle it. This item is incorporated into the poppet and is the element that ties it to a specific individual. Through this object and the process of naming the poppet will become an effective tool and representation of the person you are casting your spell upon. The can be constructed from a multitude of materials ranging from wood and clay to fabric and plant fibers. The material often reflects the purpose of the poppet, or the intended outcome.
But why would you choose to use a poppet? There are many reasons including healing rituals as well as the supposedly darker aspects of love rituals and curses.
Usually the first thing most people think about when you mention poppet is voodoo dolls and hexes. All the darkest aspects of magic and witchcraft that can be imagined are conjured to mind and as a result poppets are often shunned. We need to get over these Hollywood connections and misunderstanding of cultures not known to us. Poppets are a tool, they can be adapted into into nearly every tradition and path and put to use wherever this form of sympathetic magic is applicable.
So you aren’t comfortable with a hexing how about a binding spell? Wrapping your doll doll in binding cords is a parallel to writing their name on paper and performing the same operation. Bindings and hexing aren’t the only uses for poppets.
You don’t do love spells? How about cutting cords and ties after a relationship breakdown? Create two poppets, connect them with a red or silver thread and ritually sever the connection.
Poppets have a wide variety of uses, the key use being that they allow you to focus your intent upon a specific person. They can be used for spells of healing and protection as well as for love spells, both to create and break bonds and attractions.
The possible uses are only limited by our individual moral standards. Some people would feel that sympathetic magic of this nature wholly subverts the will of the target however I would point out that depends entirely on the situation.
If you have been asked to perform a healing spell, and you have taken the time to explain and plan the process then clearly you are not impinging on someone’s free will. Equally if you end a relationship with someone and decide to use poppets to ensure that your ties are severed you are well within your rights to do so. The other party knows the relationship is over, so long as you don’t expand the ritual beyond your own comfort zone you are not in conflict with the known situation.
On the other hand some people will view a binding ritual as having so much benifit for the people around, even the subject themselves, that they will have no qualms about performing a ritual to ensure no further harm occurs.
Making Your Poppet
Commonly poppets are made out of fabric (the type is not important however colour and/or pattern should match the purpose of your poppet). There are a multitude of possible patters if your haberdashery skills are up to it, one I am particularly going to link to is this one.
My skills are really not up to snuff, or more accurately my pattern cutting isn’t. I lack the space and patience to be honest so it is to crochet I turn. Any doll pattern could be adapted to your needs. Hedge And Herbs Hedge and Herbs recommends this pattern in particular.
I like the pattern buy personally I think the pattern too complex for the purpose. Each to their own but I prefer something smaller, which is easier to store away and doesn’t take up too much time or cost too much in terms of materials.
Personally I crochet my poppets. Making the poppet yourself is useful as it allows you to stitch the intent into the very fabric of the tool. It gives the poppet a greater connection to your purpose and intent that purchasing poppets.
After you have your poppet prepared and read for ritual you need to think about what you want to include in your poppet. In addition to the sympathetic element of the poppet you might want to include herbs, crystals and other items relevant to your purpose as well as additional stuffing. Anything you choose to include as filling to your poppet should serve to strengthen your intent so research your correspondences and limit yourself to dry elements.
Once you have everything in place you can begin the process of naming your poppet and performing your individual ritual. There are many different poppet rituals, or rituals which can be adapted to your purpose and poppet work. I recommend searching the world wide web and any books at your disposal. What I will dwell upon finally is the importance of ‘naming’ your poppet and one method I like to use.
Naming Your Poppet
Sympathetic magic is all well and good but it is necessary to establish a bond between the poppet and its human counterpart magically as well as through the sympathetic element. A naming ritual in which you endow the poppet with a name in they eyes of your gods.
What follows is a variation of a naming ritual for poppets that I like to use. After the poppet has been named your spell/ritual can continue as you planned it.
Simple Naming Ritual
To form a bond between the person and the doll.
‘Little one, I have made you and now I give you life
I name you (persons name)
Of shared body, of shared breath
United by passion, united by blood
Once you were separate but now you are one
Little one, (persons name) now you are living
By my will and the will of the Gods
So mote it be.’