Poppet Magic
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Basic Information

This is a type of magic - or more properly a magical technique - used to deliver sendings (usually attacks) against a distant target via a focus in the shape of a doll1. The best known incarnation of poppet magic is the "vodou dolls" of the French Caribbean, but the technique is far older and has probably evolved in every magical tradition in some way or the other.

Poppet magic works primarily with the magical laws of Sympathy (in that the doll is an image of the target) and Contagion (in that most rites for making a poppet require some contagious element from the target). The degree to which each is used depends on the rite in use and the worker using it.

It is also possible to use poppet magic defensively to create a decoy which may adsorb hostile sendings directed at the target that it represents.

If the poppet actually has a spirit bound into it then it becomes a fetish.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Note that, despite its traditional association with hostile sendings, poppet magic can also be used for beneficial work - a poppet can, for example, be made so that it depicts the subject as injured or diseased, mimicking an existing problem, and the symptoms then "cured", imparting a sympathetic healing. Alternatively an injury or disease could be transferred to the poppet in an exact reversal of the "traditional" use.
  • A Poppet might also be used, Dorian Gray style, to store corruption, backlash and other side effects from the subject's own magic as well as as a decoy for other people's.
  • Japanese tradition includes the Wara ningyŨ - "straw doll" - and the Katashiro - "substitute form", both of which can be used offensively or defensively. The Okinawan Ichijama ("living evil spirit") cursing ritual also involves boiling a doll.
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