Click on the image to view the dolls in my Etsy store
Poppet definition: Late Middle English: based on Latin pup(p)a girl, doll. Compare with puppet. A term of endearment (Oxford Dictionary online)
These little poppets are made with clothes pegs and special scraps of tweed and linen dressed in headscarves and shawls sometimes wearing pendants and symbols. I see them as representing the traditional wise woman that populated myths and stories throughout time. They are a symbolic representation of those who carried the stories, the herbal knowledge of working with plants, those women who midwifed not just new souls into this world midwifes of hopes, dreams and souls.
Cailleach an Dùdain, Isle of Eigg (The Old Woman of the Mill-Dust).
My Wise Women foremothers followed the wheel of the year observing each stage in the cycle as it related to themselves.
I grew up with the term poppet which in Britain is still used as a term of endearment said to a child. My poppets are tools and it is up to the practitioner on how they work with a poppet – it was Hollywood ran with the ideas of the poppet and the Vodou doll as a practice of dark arts. The doll, after all, is simply a tool which helps focus our intentions.
Being Scottish I see the poppet as a traditional Scottish doll that can be placed on the timeline which traces dolls as tools of intention, magic and ritual back to the stone figurines of the Paleolithic and Neolithic.
My poppets represent the rich layered traditions of women’s mysteries, the ones who carried the stories – acknowledging that often those stories had to go underground in times of persecution. These poppets are a focus, a tool in our connection to She Who is Everything, they are reminders of ourselves, our lineage, the person we are, the person we are becoming and an acknowledgment that we have much work to do in these dark times. We live in thresholds times, like the wise women themselves who walked between the physical and spiritual boundaries some of us work in the threshold and rebirthing of a vision that once flourished in a time before patriarchy.
Women in Galway, Ireland
The women in these photos were good Christian folks but Christianity in Scotland and Ireland existed side by side with the indigenous pagan beliefs for hundreds of years. Even good Catholic women like my Grandmother, born In Ireland in 1900 always had a saying or advice that harked backed to a far older time. She once gave me a written prayer to be said at a dumb supper at Samhain (Halloween) which invited the recent dead to a meal, with a place set for them in a ritual of sorts that enacted their place with the ancestors and the need to move onto the otherworld. We are the wise women of today, those who carry the old stories, sing the old songs sit in circle as we sing and dance between the worlds and share stories with each other that nourish the soul and fortitude the heart – for we so need each other in these dark times and to know we are not alone.
Poppet dolls can be incorporated into simple rituals and ceremonies for healing, intention or gratitudes. How you work with them is up to you. Little vials can hold whatever is needed to be held, scrolls of paper rolled up and tied onto them. Talismans pinned and secret symbols stitched onto the fabric.
With our use they become alive in a sense imbued with our deep intentions fulfilling their use as tools aiding us as spiritual helpers.
Click on the doll photos to go to my ETSY store and use code freeshippoppet at checkout for free shipping.
Click on the book image above to read my essay Radical Doll Making From Willendorf to Today: The Relevance of an Ancient Tradition.