SLA: Planetary Dolls – Step-by-Step Guide


Copyright © 2014 Ty Laney – Planetary Doll: test doll made in the Hour of Venus on the Day of Venus.

The Shadow Light Apothecary offers the construction of Dolls and Cloth Poppets for various magickal purposes. This post is obviously about the Planetary Dolls which can be easily converted over to an Intention Specific Doll or a Saint Doll.

You might be asking why would you want a Planetary Doll? I decided to offer these dolls as a type of Spirit Doll for clients or just buyers that want a doll made for their planetary purposes. Those purposes could be purely explorative in nature or for planet based magick. They might not be the prettiest looking dolls in the world, but the doll in the picture above was my first real attempt at making one. I will experiment with other looks as time goes on and try my hand at including clay heads etc. I would like to master the art of making statues from clay, but that day is way off in the future and may never come.

Now, if you wish I can make the doll in conjunction with Christian based spirituality such as Hoodoo or more so in alignment with Old School Witchcraft which I personally prefer to make these dolls in accordance with, but as they say, the customer is always right… well, not always, but you get what I mean. The dolls will be made in the form of a Voodoo Doll which is done by tying two sticks together to form a Christian style cross which makes up the frame for the body of the doll to come. This is then wrapped up in Spanish moss and clothed in one manner or another.

What will follow, for the most part, is a step-by-step guide to how I create a Planetary Doll with a few exceptions because I when I work, intuition takes over and I just flow with it.

Planetary Doll Construction Step-by-Step Guide

First off, I prepare the area and invoke the energies of the Planet. In my experience this was most effective with the Planetary Angel. When I made the Venus Doll I invoked Dame Venus and then later on, Anael which seemed to be the only two effective invocations during that time. I set a glass of water on the altar for the spirits which is something that has stuck with me since I learned about doing it for the Saints in Hoodoo and then various ATRs.

I then make the frame of the doll which is the two sticks. I will usually tie them together with twine, but I might use a colored yarn or other string that corresponds to the planet. If at all possible I would prefer to use a wood that corresponds to the planet i.e. in the Venus doll in the picture above, I used stems from a rose-bush that never took root (after I de-thorned it). I like to add as much to the doll as possible, but this isn’t always possible.

Before forming the frame I anoint the sticks, smoke them (run them through incense), and sometimes dust them with an appropriate herbal mixture. I try to infuse as much of the doll with energy as possible which usually results in a long process. Keep in mind that during all of this I try to stay as focused as possible on the goal at hand etc. It would not be out of line to pray over the sticks (Hoodoo) or rather to enchant them (Witchcraft) which can also take the form of prayer. This might not be necessary, but it never hurts to speak to Spirit.

After the frame is made I will move on to the Spanish moss which has also been prayed over or otherwise enchanted. I like to take Florida Water or other spiritual water and put it into a spray bottle so that I can give the moss a few spray downs. Usually three which, if done in a Hoodoo style, would represent the Holy Trinity. I don’t want the moss to be soaking wet or even dripping wet, but for some moisture so that the dusting powder will have a better chance of sticking (not sure if this really helps, but Florida Water never hurts!). Like with the sticks I will take an appropriate herbal mixture (usually a combination of the herbs I will use in the doll) and dust the moss with it which is basically sprinkling the moss with a herb powder usually accompanied with prayer etc. I might even smoke the moss… OK, yeah, that sounded bad lol

After the moss is ready I will, usually in several installments, wrap it around the frame of the doll. Depending on the herbs used, I will either stuff them into the moss after wrapping the frame or wrap them up with the moss. The herbs which can be any number of things will usually be individually prayed over then mixed together and prayed over again. During the wrapping of the doll, if there are extra ingredients to be included in the doll I will add them in with the moss such as stones, shells, curios etc. Some things will be left on the outside of the doll, but others will be internal. The reason for adding the herbs and curios (if any) is so that the doll becomes suitable for the Spirit/Energies of the Planet (which is not specifically meaning the Planetary Spirit in the sense of Agrippa unless the client wishes for the doll to be fitted for that specific spirit) or in other words the doll is a seating place for the Spirit/Energies of the Planet.

I will then take twine or other appropriately colored string and tie the moss in the place. Visualization and Intent of Will is always an utmost goal in making the whole doll. The string can also be used to tie certain plant matter to the doll when necessary. I will once again anoint, smoke, and give a final dusting etc. After this I will then take strips of an appropriately colored fabric such as flannel (keep in mind that flannel is the fabric and plaid is the checkered design. I used to think they were the same thing) and once again I will tie it up again. The doll will once again be anointed, smoked and probably not dusted unless I feel it is necessary.  I will pray over the doll and add the last-minute additions if any at all.

The actual construction of the doll will be separate from the rest of the ceremony unless time permits otherwise. It is very important that the creation of the doll is made in the hour and on the day of the said planet as much as possible. Patience is a virtue and whereas there are more than one planetary hour a day, it might not always be enough. Later that day or at the next appropriate time I will continue the rest of the doll construction/birthing etc.

The doll is practically ready for the rest of its birthing, but it won’t hurt to smudge the area with sage or other cleansing scent then burn a proper planetary incense so as to re-invite the Spirit of the Planet etc. When a circle or compass is cast it is akin to a cosmic womb. Its like creating or rather conjuring a microcosmic representation of the macrocosmic womb in which you are creating an appropriate environment for the doll to be born within.

This part is similar to the manner of creating planetary talismans via Ceremonial Magick. If you wish to go about things in your own tradition even if it is Golden Dawn style Ceremonial Magick then feel free to do so. This isn’t exactly traditional to Hoodoo per se, but has found its way into Traditional Witchcraft. The method to which you call down or rather invite the Planetary Spirit into the Doll is up to you. Experimentation is always good, but as I stated on the Shadow Light Apothecary Facebook page, the who doll process can take up to three weeks to a month because of the timing necessity.

If you are working within a Hoodoo or other Christian or even Jewish based tradition you would most definitely include Angelic forces etc. Prayer is very crucial, asking God to allow this doll to become inhabited by the Spirit of whatever the Planet you are working with is etc. Basically you could see it as the Holy Spirit filling the doll with the Glory of God that inhabits and orbits the selected sphere of the Heavens.

This can easily be adapted to the workings of a Ceremonial Magickian since they often work within a similar environment. Enochian would be an excellent addition to the whole of the process.

Working from a Witches perspective, it would be similar to both, but of course with Witchcraft you will ultimately be reminded of the fact that you are working with Spirits and Planetary Forces. The way you go about it will always be different from each other even if you follow a ritual step-by-step. Everyone is different and that makes the rituals you perform different from those of someone else even if they are the same ritual.

After the ritual of inviting the Spirit to inhabit the doll you will put the doll up somewhere so as to allow the two to mingle etc. As the Witch would say, “it needs to cook.” At this point it is crucial to make sure the doll is surrounded by as much or as little (as sometimes less is better and you don’t need to go bankrupt for this anyways!) of corresponding items, herbs etc. When the ritual is “alive” you will have candles lit and incense burning. Set aside an appropriate time each day or once a week to light candles and incense inviting the Spirit into the doll. Offer Him/Her/Hir a glass of water and maybe an offering of food. Build a relationship with the Doll etc. The client/buyer can do this themselves and is recommended, but if they wish I will do this for a couple of weeks or so then send them the doll. They would then continue doing it, but of course with me I would I would make it known that the doll is being made for so-n-so etc.




Dragons Almighty, Blessed Be Thou…

Growing up it was the majestic and yet terrifying visage of Godzilla and Dragons in general that tickled my fancy. I don’t know exactly when it started or even why. Like most young boys I liked dinosaurs and was interested in archaeology which I can remember swearing that I would never lose interest in, but we all know how that works out! lol Eventually by the time I entered Jr. High my interest in dragons and Godzilla were going down hill and before long it was almost non-existent. There were many reasons for me to lose hope in a lot of things at that time which I believe caused it.

The interesting thing about me being so fascinated with dragons was that I was born under the Chinese sign of the Dragon. Earth Dragon to be exact in compliment to my Western Zodiacal Sun Sign which is Virgo which is an Earth (element) sign. Think about it, Virgo is a virgin representing purity and innocence while the Dragon represents power and ferocity, almost an exact opposite, wouldn’t you say?

Later on in my teens, but mostly when I was an adult I would find numerous things surrounding my birth (star) information and occult correspondences. Last year or late winter of the year before I was reading the book Exu by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold in which there is a short mention of the (albeit mysterious) Dragon Exu and a certain relation to something about me, but I don’t remember if that part was in the book or from Mr. Frisvold himself when I asked about it. Years before in the Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Guilley there was a reference to my birthday (August 24th) and the trickster like spirits roaming the streets which reminds me of tales of how in Scottland and/or Ireland the parents would keep their children in for fear of the ghouls, ghosts and other demons running amuk.

For those of you who don’t know the Exu spirits are a class of male spirits in the Afro-Brazilian cult of Quimbanda. The name Exu (pro. Eshu) is the over all name of the Spirits i.e. Exu Rei or Exu Calunga etc. Their female counterpart is Pomba Gira and is also a title given to the Spirits as in Pomba Gira Padhila or Pomba Gira Rainha das Sete Encruzilhadas. These two classes of Spirits have been identified (not necessarily the most accurate, but is fitting) as the Devil (Exu) as in the classical red skinned man with horns and a pitchfork (I don’t know if there are any Exu depicted with a tail, but some of the Pontos Riscados depict what appear to be devilish tails combined with a pitchfork) while Pomba Gira is the Devil’s Maiden or Mistress. As I said these titles are fitting and I suggest you reading Frisvold’s book Exu and Pomba Gira (haven’t had the blessing of reading the latter yet!). Check out The Starry Cave and The House of Quimbanda.

These spirits reflect ourselves and can take on either an angelic or demonic visage. He references, I believe, Anton LaVey and about how we all have an animal/beast inside of us (from The Satanic Bible). Growing up I have certainly seen my share of people letting the animal out and more often than not I have seen people become overwhelmed and consumed by the animal or other spirits etc. I have also come to the conclusion that it is the animal inside of us that connects us to this world, to the Devil!

Dragons, being demonized as a manifestation of evil in the world if not the Devil Himself, can be seen as being elemental/power manifestations of the world. For example, the Earth Dragon symbolizes the raw untapped energy/power of the same element – untamed! It is the Beast that we find in the Woods, not innocent civilized children! If we are all born of this World and therefore connected to the God of this World (the Devil) then wouldn’t it make sense to assume that we each a beast connected to an according element inside of us? You might say, “What is so beastly about a Virgin?” Just take a look at Artemis who is said to be a virginal huntswoman.

Maybe Dragons are simply seen as being elemental Masters or will progress towards Mastery? Let us not forget that Mastery of an Element is more than just that Element. They represent many different things such as Water representing the emotions (emotional tide) or Fire representing rage.

Crucial Observances In Magickal Workings

Magick is neutral, but it is also natural which means that it exists throughout the Universe.

Neo-Paganism and Wicca has gotten a lot of negative attention for various reasons, but it has re-introduced major aspects of Spellwork to our modern world. I didn’t get involved in these sort of subjects until I was in my teens during the 2000s and at that time you only had two major choices: Wicca (or some form of Neo-Paganism) and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Two very different systems and because the Golden Dawn didn’t disrupt my own personal beliefs too much, I went with it. Chances are that students wouldn’t of one or the other system might not be exposed to certain texts of importance. One thing, however, is the observance of the Planets… Ceremonial Magick made magick into a structured system almost scientific which is interesting and can isn’t all that bad, but kind of takes the point out of magick. Magick is more spiritual, not more scientific. Wicca did a fair job of keeping it more in line with spirituality.

The Planets aren’t just for certain for certain forms of magick, but all forms. Where as the Day and Hour of a certain planet is designated to that specific planet it is also a potent time for certain forms of magick. For example, Mars or Jupiter for Protection. If you do a spell or make a charm on the Day of Mars in the Hour of Mars etc. doesn’t mean that that spell or charm has to be martial per se. That time is still very potent for workings of protection. The same goes for any planetary force or timing.

The same is said for the observance of the Moon Phases.