In popular culture, poppets and pins go together like a witch and her cat – not entirely without reason. However, strictly speaking, when a witch pokes pins, thorns or other pointed objects into a poppet they’re using them to focus their energy and magical intent. They can be used as miniature wands or athames (which are ritual knives). It can be done for all sorts of purposes - if no harm is wished, no harm will be done. It can be done for healing – visualising the pins as acupuncture needles or surgical instruments, for example.
Pins are great for joining things. That’s what they are designed for. You can pin flowers, leaves, paper, felt shapes, charms or whatever to your poppet as part of a spell to attach whatever the item symbolises to the person. You could pin a heart shape onto a poppet for a spell to attract love, or a lucky charm for luck, or a piece of paper with writing on for whatever effect you are hoping for. Intention is everything. The magic of a poppet isn’t fully active until you enchant it. While you are making the doll, it is a work in progress. If you pin fabric together before sewing you’re not causing harm.
You can also find out more about the subject in my book Pagan Portals - Poppets and Magical Dolls. Here's the description from the back cover:
Poppets are dolls used for sympathetic magic, and are designed in the likeness of individuals in order to represent them in spells to help, heal or harm. Pagan Portals – Poppets and Magical Dolls explores the history of poppets and offers a practical guide to making and using them in modern witchcraft. It also covers seasonal dolls, from Brigid dolls, used in celebrations for the first stirrings of spring, to fairy dolls enjoyed in tree-dressing at Yuletide.
You can view Pagan Portals - Poppets and Magical Dolls on Moon Books' website, buy copies via Treadwell's and other pagan bookshops, or find it on Amazon. It's available in paperback or ebook.
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