Cut two identical gingerbread shapes from fabric. 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 magical 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 magical 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.
Root or wood poppets
Several herbal roots and wood are very well suited for poppet magic. Of course, there is the mystical mandrake. This wo/man-shaped root has been used for centuries in sympathetic magic, especially love magic. 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 magical 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 magical 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.
Mr. Potato Head
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 magical intent are the keys.