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What is a Poppet: Commonly Known as the Voodoo Doll

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

More commonly (but less correctly) known as the Voodoo Doll, poppets are images that represent individuals for use in sympathetic magic spells.

A poppet may also be fashioned to represent an idea or a situation and be used as a sort of amulet to attract that which it represents.


A poppet in witchcraft is a small doll or figurine made of various materials, representing a person. It is used for magical purposes, typically in rituals and spells.

The poppet is believed to symbolically connect to the person it represents, allowing practitioners to influence or affect them through sympathetic magic.

Its uses include healing, protection, or other intentions, depending on the practitioner’s goals.

It’s a symbolic tool in witchcraft, not meant for physical harm or control.

Are poppets good or evil? The general misconception about them

No form of magic is inherently good or bad; the intended purpose behind the magical ritual determines its nature. The color symbolism often associated with magic reflects this dichotomy: black is commonly associated with “dark” or malevolent magic, while white symbolizes “light” or benevolent magic.

The concept of black magic traces its roots to Hỳbris, a recurring theme in Greek tragedy and literature, denoting arrogance or pride. It represents a past transgression with significant consequences in the present. Characters committing Hỳbris violate divine laws out of pride, seeking knowledge beyond mortal limitations.

What is a Poppet in witchcraft
Copyright: Magickal Spot

Magic and voodoo rituals, in their original form, possess positive attributes. However, the pursuit of power inherent in such rituals can easily corrupt practitioners.

White magic is typically associated with benevolence, protection, and healing, serving as a refuge transcending religious boundaries. In contrast, black magic aims to cause discomfort, psychological harm, fear, and damage to others and oneself.

A common misconception portrays voodoo dolls and associated practices solely as instruments of black magic. However, the origins of voodoo remind us that it initially served benevolent purposes. Over three centuries, voodoo has endured persecution and misrepresentation, often depicted inaccurately in cinema, contributing to a distorted perception.

Today, approximately sixty million people worldwide practice voodoo, recognized as an official religion in Benin and Haiti, often alongside Catholicism.

How it’s Made?

Poppets can be made out of wax, cloth, plant material, clay, paper mache or any other material on hand. It’s often preferred to make them out of something flammable so they can be destroyed when you are done with them, but this isn’t necessary. Clay can be crumbled and returned to the Earth or tossed into moving water to dispose of a poppet.

A poppet made of an individual may be made to resemble that person or bound to them with a taglock or both. Once complete, it is ceremonially named for the person and then actions performed on the poppet are said to affect the person for whom the poppet has been named.

How it’s Used?

Voodoo rituals involve meticulous steps to imbue a doll with purpose and energy. The process starts with preparing the doll, often using a photo or personal items of the target, to establish a connection.

Poppets can be used for curses and spells to harm or control the will of another and in binding spells and love spells as well as healing spells.

A poppet fashioned to represent an idea or intention is created much like a sachet or mojo bag, decorated with colors, stones, buttons and other items that represent the intention and stuffed with corresponding herbs and carried or hung up as an amulet. Such a poppet may also be awakened and interacted with like a servitor if a witch wishes to take it that far.

The doll is then purified to clear any lingering energies.

An integral part of the ritual is invoking Papa Legba, the intermediary between spiritual and human realms, which allows for the flow of energies.

Practitioners channel their intentions into the doll during the ritual, and it’s crucial to stay focused as the energies are potent.

The ritual concludes with thanking the invoked spirits and sealing the energies within the doll. Misuse of voodoo dolls can lead to serious consequences, so practitioners must approach with caution and understanding.

In essence, voodoo is a powerful magic form that can influence others’ actions and thoughts, but it must be used responsibly and ethically due to potential severe consequences.


Whether you have a fascination for poppets or wish to incorporate them into your craft, understanding their origins and uses is undeniably valuable.

Now that you know, poppets are not inherently evil tools; it’s the intentions behind their use that determine their nature.

Therefore, you can enhance your practice by incorporating them into your magic in a safe and respectful manner, benefiting both your magical pursuits and those around you.

See Also

The historic use of Poppets in Europe is discussed in The Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hutton, Ronald (Author)

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About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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