Making and Using Poppets in Magic

17-7-24Poppets

Poppets!

I’ve been making dolls since I was just a little freckle-faced kid. I guess it was because I could. I saw faces and personalities in everything.

I made pompom dolls with yarn.
I made corn husk dolls.
I carved faces in apples and let them dry.
I wrapped dried corn cobs in long grass.
I saw people in the shapes of flowers and trees.

I made paper dolls and cloth rag dolls. As an adult I’ve made art dolls, mixed media, beaded, assembled, folk dolls. Most recently, I make Spirit dolls.

So of course I make poppets.

Poppets are awesome little tools with a wide range of uses.

When people see poppets (or any other folk art doll) they think voodoo doll. They’re not wrong…..poppets can be used in voodoo but voodoo has negative connotations. Voodoo Dolls are scary.

For the purpose of this article, let’s just move forward with the assumption that we’re practicing beneficial magic with good intentions.

Magical practice is all about intent! A poppet can be used to harm others or it can be used to heal yourself. (I’m not a big supporter of using magic on others, especially without their permission, I prefer to use magic to adjust the energy around a situation)

A poppet stands in for a person. Usually it’s a cloth rag doll with some basic rudimentary people features; eyes, mouth, heart. It can be as detailed as you want.

It can be stuffed with doll stuffing or herbs or both. You can add gemstones by either stuffing them inside or sewing chips outside. You can add ‘clothes’ by wrapping them with cloth, write words on them on them or decorate them in anyway you see fit.

When you’re happy with your doll you need to add a bit of yourself (or the person the poppet is representing). It’s best to add this inside the doll with the stuffing.

Hair or fingernail clippings are usually the easiest to access. Blood, sweat, spit or other body fluid would work too. If all else fails, a scrap of clothing, an small object that belonged to the person or a picture of the person will work in a pinch.

Once you’ve added the personal touch, sew the opening closed.

Now you need to ‘wake ‘ the doll, give it a name and a purpose. First “breathe” life into it. (I’ve always interpreted this as blowing into its face) Then say something like this:

“ Wake up little poppet. You are complete, I will call you _______. You job is _______.”

So….what kind of ‘jobs’ can you give a poppet? It can be anything you feel is necessary. Healing, love, peace, protection.

Healing Poppets are common and convenient. You can make one to stand in place for a distant loved one who may need healing. (Get permission first) You can perform healing spells or Reiki on the doll, stuff it with healing herbs, anoint it with a healing oil and it will send the energy to its human equivalent.

Do you or a friend needs courage during a trying time? You can stuff it with herbs for courage and instruct it to absorb some of your fears.

Do you need protection from psychic attacks? Add some protective herbs and stones and instruct it to absorb and dissipate any negative energy coming your way.

Do you seek peace? Want more love in your life? Looking for some good luck or more prosperity? You can create a poppet for any of these by adding the right colors, herbs, stones, oils and then giving your poppet a job.

Can’t sew? It’s cool, I can. Check it out.

If you wanted something more personalized, shoot me a line (either here or on Facebook)

Egg Shell Chalk –

17-6-6Eggshell

A quick google search on egg shells + magic will net you a huge list of sites and references to cascarilla powder. The powder is supposedly made from egg shells and is used for protection, purification and cleansing. It’s use is attributed to hoodoo, sanitaria and other Afro-Caribbean religions

I don’t practice hoodoo. I have a limited understanding of it but I won’t claim to be an expert at practicing it. It’s kind of the same way I can explain the concept of taking communion in the Catholic Church although I’ve never done it because I didn’t go through the sacraments necessary for being able to enjoy the privilege.

I’ve come across practitioners of hoodoo who say it isn’t used in Hoodoo, but it is used in Santeria. It claims cascarilla represents sacred white earth of Africa called efun and is used to keep negative energy away. .

I’ve also come across a plant called cascarilla, from Tropical regions, whose bark is powdered and used in similar rituals. The bark has a number of medicinal qualities in and of itself.

I suspect that over the years as white earth of Africa and the bark of the cascarilla plant were not available. Locals substituted what they did have on hand; Egg Shells but didn’t change the name.

Witches, no matter what pantheon you follow, tend to be a resourceful sort.

That being said, egg shells are by no means limited to only Afro- Caribbean versions of the craft. My Western European ancestors and Irish grandmothers were reliant on birds, their eggs, and the shells left behind. And being resourceful witches, they used what they had on hand in whatever manner they deemed fit.

Egg shells, yep, egg shells.

They’re kind of magical, if you think about it. Egg shells act as protection for the growing embryo inside. That’s the concept I consider when using egg shells in magic.

I have used it a lot like black salt by sprinkling it around a space, across thresholds and window sills. But I’ve also made egg shell powder into chalk and used it to make sigils for a variety of reasons.

Egg shells have other practical uses in general but the magic part is more fun.

How do you use egg shells in everyday magic?

So if you’re like most people, you crack an egg and toss the shell in the garbage. If you had a grandma like mine, you wash your hands right away.

Maybe you throw those shells in the compost bin instead of the garbage and I applaud you! In the compost the crumbled shells act to keep the heap from getting too compacted as they very slowly break down releasing their calcium into the earth. The calcium is necessary for helping plants grow strong roots.

Perhaps you already know that and as an avid and thrifty gardener you help Mother Nature out by grinding down your spend egg shells into a powder and adding it to the garden soil. Or maybe you just use the crumble egg shells to keep slugs and snails away from your precious vegetables.

But let’s talk about making chalk? The calcium that benefits your plants is the same thing that leaves the chalky mark. All chalk is made from some sort of calcium combination. {insert fancy chemical compound names I can never remember}

The first thing to do once you’ve crack the eggs is to rinse them out and remove the membrane. Collecting egg shells is more of an after thought for me. I’m using the eggs in cooking and baking so I don’t really have time to peel the membrane off right away. I’ll soak them in a bowl of soapy water until I’m done cooking.

When I am ready to process the shells, I’ll rinse them again and gently peel the thin film from the inside of the shell. It’s kind of pinkish in the right light. Just be careful because that membrane is what gives the shell it’s real strength. Once you start pulling it off the shell will start to crumble. I know that’s the point of this craft but it’s a pain in the ass to collect the tiny shell pieces.

Once the shell is relatively membrane free you can leave them to air dry, *which is what I usually do* or put them on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at 250 for a half an hour or so. You want them really dry and brittle.

So now comes the fun part!

I’ve dabbled and played with a number of different ratios and have come up with a mix that works well with making egg shell chalk. I know a lot of recipes start off with the number of egg shells you need. But seriously folks, eggs come in different sizes; medium, large, extra-large. And then there are duck eggs and pheasant eggs and ostrich eggs. The number of egg shells means nothing to me.

I tend to collect egg shells for a week or so before I grind them in the coffee grinder and store the powder in a glass jar. I have it when I need it, whether to make chalk, add to a garden or to provide a magic barrier.

Some people prefer grinding egg shells in a mortar and pestle. I’m not knocking it. The time and energy it takes to grind up an egg shell into a fine powder gives you a chance to put your energy and intention into it. It’s just more convenient for me to use the coffee/herb grinder. I’d rather add my intentions when I’m ready to use it.

  • 1 tablespoon of powdered egg shells
  • 2 teaspoons of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of hot water.

Mix the flour and hot water in a small bowl. This is going to active the gluten in the wheat flour. The gluten is what keeps the chalk together. Think of gluten as glue….ya, I know, I’m lame.

Once you have a gooey paste add the Tablespoon of Egg shell powder. Mix and press until most of the powder has been incorporated into the paste. It’ll be a bit doughy now. Kneed the mix together, collecting all the crumbs until it forms a ball in your hand without crumbling apart. This kneading and forming part is where I add my intentions to the chalk.

If it’s too crumbly add water a drop at a time until it forms. If it’s too wet and sticks to your hand sprinkle more egg shell powder until it’s pretty solid.

When it is well mixed and forms a ball that doesn’t crumble apart, you can mold it into a cylinder or whatever shape you want and wrap it in paper towel. Let it dry for about 3 days depending on how dense your shape is. Alternatively, you could pop it in the dehydrator for a couple hours.

Here’s a neat little trick also, you can add other powdered herbs to enhance or specify your intention.

Add about a teaspoon of the powdered herb when you add the egg shell powder and slowly add more warm water to accommodate.

For example you could powder basil or mint for prosperity, rose petals or jasmine for love spells, sage for protection…the possibilities are endless.

You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the paste to give your chalk an enchanted aura. I personally love patchouli for the magical feel but add the magically appropriate essential oil of your choice. It’s good to layer your intentions.

Now that you have your magical egg shell chalk you can use it in ritual or draw protection sigils around your property. It works really well on sidewalk concrete and bricks. It didn’t do much more than scratch the aluminum siding of my house although the magic is in the intention more so than the chalk Also I wouldn’t use it on windows. I would opt to make blessing oil and anoint the windows with that.

Not keen on making your own? I made extra. You can find patchouli infused Egg Shell chalk here.