Creating & Working With Poppets / Witchcraft Dolls

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The word poppet is an older spelling of puppet, from the Middle English ‘popet’, meaning a small child or doll. In British English it was also used as a term of love or endearment to a younger person, it continues to hold this meaning to this day in some English counties.

In the realms of magic, especially traditional witchcraft, a poppet, also known as Poppits, Moppets, Mommets and Pippies, is a doll made to represent a person (a target), for casting spells on that person or to aid that person through their own magic. They are often found in old buildings when renovations are being made or they are being pulled down, usually found lodged in chimneys, under stairways, under the floor boards or under the hearth stone in the main family living room.  The poppets themselves were also called ‘Kitchen Witches’ and often they were hung up in a kitchen to oversee the cooking and magical preparations. These dolls used to be made using paper, wax, a potato, clay, branches, or cloth stuffed with herbs with the intent that any actions performed upon the effigy will be transferred to the subject based on sympathetic magic. Even corn dollies and other plants, vegetables and cereals have been used.  Anything that can be carved, moulded, shaped or formed can be used to make a poppet doll. You can even use an existing pre-made doll and add items into/onto it. Just make it your own and fill it with purpose and intent.

Poppets work on the magical practise of sympathetic magic. This means something represents something else and whatever you do to one thing happens to the other. The poppet can be made into figures of people, animals or even body parts.  They are worked if they contain ‘tags’ of the target. This could be hair, teeth, finger nails, clothing, things they have used or touched, photos, named paper or even curios that represent the target. You can add herbs, crystals, petals, roots, barks, bone and even flesh or animal body parts to the poppet. The more you add the more potent your poppet will be.

Poppets can be used for both positive and negative reasons. They can be used to heal and to curse depending on how they are made and how they are used. However, historically, they were used for more positive reasons than detrimental in the beginning.  Hollywood has now since had it’s way and has made them only for negative work, but back in days gone by, they were used for both good and bad.  The intent always sways the final result and this means that the creator and the caster (usually one and the same person) has to be very clear on what the doll represents and what it is being used for.

These days most shop bought poppet dolls are made in the traditional ‘gingerbread man’ shape and are created using felt or cotton. They are stuffed with cotton wool and have a ‘cute’ face upon them. These dolls have no soul, no heart and no feeling behind them as most of them have been mass produced in a factory.  It is always to make your own poppet by hand at the time of need. However you can use these as a template for your own.

Making A Felt Poppet

Below I have added a template that you can photocopy and blow up (however big you like) and use for your shaping.

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Simply cut out the above shape onto 2 pieces of felt and sew them together leaving a little gap before you sew it up completely to add your ingredients.

To add the main stuffing you can use cotton wool, straw, shredded paper or anything to fill out the doll. Then you can add your herbs, crystals, roots, barks, flowers etc.  Making sure that each ingredient reflects part of the situation.  Next you can add your targets tags whether these be items of clothing, bodily fluids, skin, hair or nails or even just a photo of them or their name on a piece of paper.

Once all of the ingredients are inside, then sew up the final gap to seal in everything you need to be inside the doll.  Adding facial decoration or markers for the heart, stomach, hands, feet or even clothes are optional. But the more time you spend on it, the more focus and intent you add to it. However you create your doll, make sure your intent is at the forefront of your mind at all times. Charge it up by holding it in your hands and push all your focus and intent into it.

When I make my poppets for myself and for my clients, I do not use cloth or felt poppets, I make mine out of clay. I like the fact that I can mould and shape the clay into any form I desire (plus I cannot sew!), including bodily appearances that tie directly in with the targeted person such as hair style, body type, whether they are short or tall and that I can add the ingredients and tags directly to the wet clay and then fire it in a kiln for it to set or if using air drying clay, leaving it under the moon outside to gather even more power. Air drying clay can be found at Hobbycraft or on Amazon, however, it is so simple to make yourself!

Air Drying Clay Recipe

115g PVA craft glue
115g cornflour (you may have to add a little less or more depending on the brand of glue you use)
2 tablespoons baby oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pop everything in a bowl and mix until you get a ‘dough like’ consistency. Form your poppet, add anything you wish to it such as herbs, nails, photos etc, and then leave to dry for 4-7 days turning after every 2 days so you get an even dry.

Poppets For The Family

Poppets make excellent tools for parents with children too, making a poppet of your child to place under their bed filled with wood betony, cinnamon, lavender and cloves makes an excellent ‘safe sleep’ pouch that s to prevent nightmares and aid restful sleep.

You should only use one poppet for one target and for one situation, then once the poppet has served it’s purpose and the desired outcome has been achieved the poppet should then be burnt or buried away from your home if it has been used for a negative reason. However, burning and burying can also be part of the spell and intent itself and this should always be considered. Air dry clay poppets can also be ‘smashed’. If it is for a positive reason such as healing, keep it tucked away for future use.

However you use your poppets, create them with intent, with focus and with reason and they will always serve you well.

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