Poppet Magic for Healthier Holidays

The best target for a spell was, is, and will remain the self. There are many reasons for this. We learn to manipulate ourselves into doing things really early on in life – picking up toys, brushing our teeth, being nice to our siblings when we don’t feel like it, etc. Self-manipulation on multiple levels of consciousness becomes second nature as we learn to navigate our world. We also have the most access to ourselves. Some spells require regular replenishment of energy, targeting adjustments, or different areas of support, and identifying all of those things is much easier when we’re inside the mind and body we’re trying to influence. Lastly, when we’re working on a goal we desire through self-enchantment, there’s less resistance. We want the change we’re weaving. Enchanting a willing target is much easier than trying to influence an outcome where the desires of many people are at play.

So, why am I talking about this now? Well, the holidays are coming up fast.

Irene, explain yourself.

Our families have this weird ability to find our buttons and press on them, to trigger behavior in ourselves we wish we weren’t exhibiting, and to bring out older versions of self that we’re not anymore but that somehow surface when we’re with our parents or extended families. For those of us who have done a ton of work on redefining, growing, and healing the self, the holidays can be tough simply due to hitting a setback on the identity front. When faced with Great Aunt Agatha and her endless retelling of that time we did something embarrassing at a family event, it’s easy to slip back into old patterns.

Enchanting (or hexing the bejeezus out of) Great Aunt Agatha may be tempting, but the more ethical and empowering route is to make ourselves resilient and impervious enough that what she says does not throw us off our center.

I know, I know – I’m no fun at all

My favorite magical form of identity work is the use of poppets or reservoirs. A poppet is a human-shaped doll of varying degrees of detail containing items that connect the poppet to the spell’s target as well as reinforce the goal of the spell. A reservoir is a poppet without the doll shape – a sealed container like a crafting bottle or small canning jar with a photo of the target on it. Reservoirs are good options for those of us who don’t have the time, energy, skill, or resources to create a poppet. In this blog, I’m mostly going to use the word “poppet” going forward, but know that I mean “poppet or reservoir” in each instance.

Good spells require a few things: a connection to your desired outcome, a power source, and a way to convey that energy to the target. Poppet work for self-enchantment fits wonderfully here simply because the first and third sections of this formula are readily available.

To use poppet magic for identity support during the holidays, spend some time contemplating and journaling about the self you wish to be during your family gatherings. For my own part, I want to be calm, centered, non-reactive, and deeply grounded in my identity as it is now. Then, gather supplies that support the traits and qualities you’ve written down. Remember, you probably have some herbs in your spice cabinet or tea collection that you can repurpose for your poppet. Calmness is associated with lavender, chamomile, and the mint family. Grounding is associated with sage, basil, and cinnamon. Protection (doubling up as boundary enforcement here) is associated with strong spices like clove, rosemary, and mace. Correspondences are easy to look up on the internet as well as in various herbal magic books.

Supplies for a poppet can include dried herbs and spices like the ones mentioned above, essential oils (dripped onto the stuffing of a poppet or soaked into cotton pads/balls for a reservoir), small tumbled stones, and little pieces of paper with sigils/symbols written on them.

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, build the base of your poppet or set up your reservoir. Fill the poppet with the materials you’ve gathered, placing them intentionally as you go.

The last ingredient to gather is the most important one: the connection to the desired outcome. In the case of a poppet, that means bits of you. Hair, fingernail clippings, blood, and saliva all work well here. Add your bit of self to your poppet and seal it up. If you’re adding decorations to the outside of the poppet, do that part after you’ve closed up your poppet.

The next step is the power source. Dance, chant, sing, or do breathing exercises to raise energy. Once you feel full – your heart racing, your hands tingling, the air around you crackling, or some variation of all three – visualize the self you want to be during your holiday gatherings. Create as clear and detailed a vision as possible: how will you move, how will you speak, how will your body feel? Then, holding that vision in mind, channel it and the energy you’ve raised into the poppet.

I like to bolster my poppets with additional infusions of energy. In the days leading up to family gatherings, take a moment to consciously shift into the self you wish to be at the next gathering. Holding that identity clearly in mind, push it and a little more energy into your poppet. Each time you do so, you’re further powering up this magical tool.

And now, the last part of the good spell equation: conveying the energy to the target – you. Before your family gathering, pick up your poppet. Open to its energy and allow all that stored power and focus to flow into your body. Let some of the power flow into your aura as well – the space immediately around your body. Once the transfer is complete, or as complete as you have space for, shield yourself to help hold it all in place.

One of the many cool things about poppet magic is that once you have a poppet, you can reuse it. Since many of us are headed into a sequence of several family gatherings, there is an opportunity to test, evaluate, and then tinker with the enchantment. See how your poppet spell performs. If it worked perfectly, redo the energy raising and powering of the poppet exactly the same way to set it up for the next gathering. If the enchantment needed improvement, now’s the chance to make changes. You can add more ingredients based on what areas need them most. Completely closed poppets can have additional items glued or sewn onto their surfaces. Adjust your visualization of self to include the areas that needed more help, and power up the spell again. Lather, rinse, repeat. By the time the holiday season is over, you’ll have a perfectly tuned-up gathering management spell to call on in the future.

Remember to store your poppet safely out of reach of others. This is one magical structure where the “To Keep Silence” part of the Witches Pyramid is totally on point. Keeping your poppet inside, behind, or under something that disguises it is a good practice. Remember, it’s linked to you, so you’ll want to have complete control here. If the time ever comes when your poppet is no longer needed, destroy it completely and scatter the parts.



This is one method for staying centered and grounded during holiday gatherings, but there are many. What’s your favorite technique? Hit me up in the comments – you never know when your ideas are exactly what another witch needs to see.








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