All About Magical Poppets

The use of poppets is one of the finest and most practical uses of sympathetic magic. Poppets are incredibly versatile, and can be incorporated into workings for just about any purpose you can think of. They've been around for thousands of years, and are still used by practitioners today for healing, protection, prosperity, and other needs. Let's take some time to learn about poppet history and how to make and use your own. This ain't your Granny's voodoo doll!

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Poppets 101: A Brief Introduction

Create a poppet to represent anyone you want. Image by Patti Wigington 2014

Although TV shows and movies typically show poppets as the stereotypical "voodoo doll," poppets have been around for a long time. There are a number of different ways to create a poppet, and you don't necessarily have to stick pins in them to make them be effective.

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Poppet History Around the World

You're the only one who can decide what's ethically acceptable for you. Image by Michelle Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty Images

The use of dolls in sympathetic magic goes back several millennia. Let's take a look at the Egyptian pharaoh who was brought down by poppet magic, the use of kolossoi in ancient Greece, and a well-known princess who used pins in a doll crafted to look like her husband.

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How to Make a Cloth Poppet

Just because things are going badly, doesn't mean you're under a spell or curse. Image by Erik Dreyer/Image Bank/Getty Images

A poppet represents a person, so ideally it should look (sort of) like a person. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you like -- it all depends on how much time and effort you want to put into it. Use your imagination! In some magical traditions, it's believed that the more work you put into it, and the more complex it is, the stronger your link will be to your goal. Because a poppet is a device for sympathetic magic, all of its components will be symbols of what it is you hope to achieve. Here are the instructions for making a simple sewn poppet out of fabric.

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6 Easy Poppets to Make

Make protective poppets for each member of your family with modeling clay. Image by f-64 Photo Office/amanaimagesRF/Getty Images

Want to get started in the basics of poppet magic? Here are a few simple recipes for some of our most successful poppet workings. Use these combinations of material, herbs and gemstones to make magical poppets for assistance with getting a job, silencing a gossip, protecting your family, and more!

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Make a Poppets to Go Kit!

Use pre-cut foam shapes to make magical poppets. Image © Patti Wigington 2010

Ever find yourself without the time to work up a magical poppet? Assemble a kit with "Poppets to Go" and you'll have everything you need on hand for a quick magical working on the fly!

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Magical Gingerbread Poppets

Make a magical gingerbread poppet for yourself or a friend!. Image by PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

When the Yule season rolls around, many of us get into crafting mode – and that is as good a time as any to work a little holiday magic. Why not take the holiday tradition of gingerbread men, and turn it into a practical poppet working? Use this fun poppet craft during the winter solstice, or any other time of year!

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What is Sympathetic Magic?

Is Bronze Age cave art an example of early sympathetic magic? Could be!. Image © Photographer's Choice/Getty Images; Licensed to

You've seen the phrase sympathetic magic, but what does it actually mean? In many traditions of magic, both older and modern, the concept of sympathetic magic plays a crucial role. The idea behind sympathetic magic is, at its core, that a person can be effected magically by actions performed towards something that represents them.

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What is a Magical Link?

A photo makes an excellent magical link. Image by Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

In some traditions of magic, you may see the phrase "magical link" or "taglock" used when it comes to instructions on spellwork. But what exactly is a magical link? It's essentially an item that is linked to the individual who is the focus of the magical working. In some traditions, this is called a "taglock," but most modern Pagans use the "magical link" terminology. Let's take a look at how magical links work, and what makes a good one - and what makes an excellent one.