In the middle of winter, it can be easy to find yourself longing for the blossoming days of summer when your garden is full of herbs and flowers. While we spend a good bit of time hanging and drying our garden’s magical yield for use in the snowy months, it can feel a bit grim to only use dried herbs or oils for 4 months. I often find myself longing to touch the soft petals of a rose or frilly ends of a fern when I am doing a little magic in February.
My advice at this time of year is to use what is available, and potatoes are always available. If you’ve stored some up in the cellar for the winter or just grab a bag at the grocery, the potato will always provide a bit of life to your spells, even when the earth is buried beneath the snow.
Potatoes are perfect for use as poppets. Poppets are used to represent a person, like a stand-in, when working magic. It’s an older version of the word puppet from Middle English, and its meaning is a small child or doll. Today, the word is used as a term of endearment to mean dear one (you may remember the word being used this way in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire). Many times, people associate poppets with voodoo dolls and think they are used in “curses”, but this is a misnomer. Cottage witches and kitchen witches use poppets for healing spells, protection spells, and spells to draw results toward a particular person. We follow the rule of three and therefore “curses” aren’t a part of our practice.
The potato is ruled by the Moon, feminine in gender and heavy in earth magic qualities. These are useful aspects for timing your spell when you aren’t working off the cuff or in a hurry. In those cases, don’t bother worrying about these things.
Potato poppets can be used for any kind of magic that involves a particular person. In healing, the potato is particularly useful for digestion problems like ulcers and gall stones. It can also be used to help guard against winter colds, particularly if there is someone in your home that has a compromised immune system like the young and the elderly.
The poppet can be carved into an image, but I encourage you to be intuitive and creative in your design. Do what feels the most natural for the person it will represent, paint, cover it in fabric, give it a face or not. Once the spell is worked, let the potato live in a spot in your kitchen until the working is concluded.
I use potato poppets for protection spells when there is a person in my family that needs extra aid. For example, when my daughter experienced bullying in high school, I created a potato poppet and cast protection spells with it as the stand in for her. I designed the spell to work until the potato had shriveled and then buried it at the end of that time period so that earth could absorb any of the residual energy. Currently, I am using one for helping my wife heal some stomach problems that resulted from work stress.
One last recommendation, think about color when you work potato magic, if that has resonance for your imagery. They come in red, purple, blue, white, and yellow. Using a color that corresponds with your spell can help you focus on raising the right energy. Remember that energy raising starts from the moment you begin creating your spell, so have fun with it. Enjoying the process helps you draw positivity to yourself.