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W.Cody Goodin
Doll Creator and Artist
Make Your Own Healing Doll
Introduction

Healing dolls are physical manifestations of an intent for aiding someone or something.  Think of these dolls as a prayer in physical form.  Whenever we pray  for someone we are sending out our intent for that persons well being.  The prayer is usually composed of words or thoughts. The idea of the healing doll  is that it is a tangible symbol of a prayer.  Through it's creation it is intended to bring about an awareness of the desire for healing.

I have been  scolded for proclaiming that a doll of all things could actually heal someone.  My answer to that is it is not the doll itself but, the energy it channels through the intent from which it was made.  It is a prayer.  Through out the worlds religions and ancient beliefs in magic all contain the  energy of the universe or God if you wish. Prayers, spells, invocations all  channel this energy in order to achieve some desired result.  There, hopefully I  have explained the essence of what healing dolls are so that you can at least  ponder how you would make one.  Remember it is the intent not the physical  properties that are most important. But, it is good to understand the tools  behind creating these dolls to enhance your creative healing activity.
I encourage you to read and research the use of colors, stones, crystals,  symbols and ritual in your healing doll creations. These are just some of the things I teach in my classes. You however, can gather this knowledge on your own. Libraries and bookstores are great places to explore as well as the internet. Blessings to you on your journey.

In order to actually make a healing doll all you need to do is meditate on the person you wish to aid.  The doll should come to you.  You can also use the meditation exercise included in this section to help inspire you.  You can use  any pattern or design your own.  Color is very important to the over all  effect. Check out your local library for books on the affects of color on the  psyche.  Some new age books are good sources for using color associated with different types of healing.  Use crystals, beads, gem stones, and charms to give your doll more impact.  I like to paint sacred healing symbols on my dolls to  add to there healing energy.  If you need help with these Please feel free to  contact me.  I would be happy to help you.  Some of this information is offered  here to get you started.
 

 

The first thing I highly recommend is to get yourself a blank journal and  use it to write down ideas, sketch out your visions of dolls or whatever comes  to mind when set out to  create.  I am sure many of you have heard artists say  that they do this.  Well I am one of those artists who do.  It is a hidden  resource for information and understanding.  A place where you can speak in doll  language and no one else has to have access to it. Of course that doesnít mean you canít share it with others if you choose to.

Before we begin  I would like to offer a brief history of dolls used as  healing tools.  Throughout history man has used their own images to represent themselves to the Gods in rituals and ceremonies in order to evoke an energy.  Many of these rites were performed for healing.  The ancient Scots used dolls  called poppets filled with herbs of various kinds to aid in healing, banishing  curses or protection against dark forces.  These poppets were simple cloth dolls stuffed with lavender and other herbs.  Usually a blessing or incantation was said over the doll and then it was given to the individual to keep while in  use.  Once the purpose was fulfilled the doll was then buried to stop the spell.

Other cultures such as the Incas and ancient Egyptians placed dolls in their burial chambers and tombs as guardians, guides or companions in the after  life.  American Indians used a type of doll in medicine ceremonies to bring  healing energy to the sick.  Haitians use a type of talisman called Voodoo dolls  to invoke various types of favors from the Gods.  These dolls could be used for healing, fertility, gaining power, luck and placing curses on someone.  Many African tribes use wooden dolls for similar purposes.  The list goes on and on.  Are you ready to begin the journey?  Put on some relaxing music, refresh your cup of tea and read on.

Basic List of Supplies

A blank journal for writing down ideas
Assorted colors of fabrics.
Basic assortment of threads
Basic sewing supplies
Colored pencils
Fabric paints
Pencil for tracing patterns
Assorted yarns for hair
Assortment of  beads, stones and charms
Acrylic paints in a basic palette
Other items as desired

 I have left the supply list vague on purpose. This exploration isnít about designing a specific doll. So you are free to pick and choose you  materials as you need them.  That is part of the imagination this experience  imparts.  Anything can be used as materials for constructing your doll. I am  only providing a foundation, a jumping off point.  The rest is up to you
 

 

Designing Doll and Choosing Colors

How To Begin

The purpose for creating a healing doll is obvious. To promote the healing of someone that is close to you or yourself¬  that is the purpose. My  philosophy and belief stipulates that these be done for the good of the  individual/s in order for them to work.  We are not in the business of causing  harm.  I have made healing dolls for many types of illness and emotional  distress.  The first thing you need to establish is who needs the healing, then what type of healing needs to be encouraged. Once you have those two things in mind then you need to prepare your mind for the creative adventure  ahead.

Step One

You need to obtain some basic information from the recipient of the doll in order to get a clear idea of the person you are trying to help. First, get a  name. This is very important in establishing the energy connection with the  doll‚Ä™s owner.  Next get a date of birth.  The month, day and year will be just fine.  The third thing I always ask for is if they are attracted to certain colors at this time in their life.  Believe it or not you may actually use this  color in the doll at some point. You are now ready to go on to the next  step.

Step Two

The process of preparing the mind for creating anything can be achieved in many ways.  The best process I have discovered is to first place yourself in a meditative state.  This calms the mind and allows you to receive any intuitive information that may help you create your doll.  I have included a creative  visualization that helps me focus my mind.

If you are  having trouble charging up those creative batteries give the following exercise a try.  This always works for me.  Listed here are the steps for a creative visualization exercise.  It is a great way to relax your body and  give your creative self a chance to communicate with you.  Before you begin get  a notebook for writing in and a pen.  Now find a quiet spot in your home where you will not be disturbed for at least 30 minutes.  Do not answer the phone during your exercise.  This time is for you to get to know yourself  better.  Sit in a comfortable chair.  Do not lay down because you may fall asleep.  Now that you have prepared your special quiet place you are ready. It is OK to  listen to soft instrumental music, burn incense or candles if that helps enhance  the mood.  Step one, sit comfortably in your chair and close your eyes.  Breathe  in a regular steady fashion one way to regulate your breathing is to inhale  through your nose on a count of six.  Hold your breath for a count of one and  exhale through your nose on a count of six.  Keep this rhythm going for a few minutes. While you breathe envision a white light filling your body with each  breath.  Notice how it fills every part of your body. As this light enters and  begins to fill you allow it to push out the stress and tension that has built  up.  Feel your muscles relax.  Keep breathing in a rhythmic fashion.

Step Three

 After you have completed step two you are ready to go to a special  place. I would also like to point out that it is OK if your mind chatters  allot.  That is normal.  Donít try and force it to shut up.  Eventually it will slow down on it's own.  Just keep breathing until you notice the noise  subsiding.  Now as you breathe imagine yourself walking to a special place.   This place is your creative center.  This is where all of you creating comes  from.  Your special place can be any place that gives you a feeling of joy and happiness. Some envision a forest or garden. Others see a seashore or mountain  top.  This part is up to you.  Now that you have your place in mind look around  you and take in all that you see. Notice the colors, smells and sounds. You can make it anyway you want.  Take a few moments to survey your creative space.   You are now ready for step three.

When you are ready you can now ask for a doll spirit to come and visit with you.  I usually ask for a new doll spirit to come and introduce itself to  me.  I call them doll spirits because they havenít been born yet. In asking for  a visitor be open to what appears. Donít try and force and idea.  Let it come to you.  Sometimes they can be a little shy.  Be patient.  It may require you to ask again.  When the doll spirit appears  welcome them and notice everything about them that you can. .Take time to look at their body, hair eyes, and  costume.  Pay attention to every detail you can. Remember everything you see.  Take as much time as you need for this meeting. Sometimes I even have  conversations with these doll spirits.  You may have this experience  too.

When you are ready, thank the doll spirit for itís visit and begin your  walk back to your quiet room.  After you have returned takes a few moments  to  wake yourself up. Now in your notebook write down everything you remember about  the doll spirit.  Describe in as much detail as you can colors textures and patterns. Writing down this information right after you return is essential  because it is fresh in your memory. You are now ready to go forth and  create.

Basics

Now that you have established the type of healing , for whom, and  conceptual idea of how the doll should look itís time to began the deign  process. You have basically two choices here.  You can go with a predefined  pattern or you can design your own.  With those two choices in mind it is  important that you keep the doll simple.  :You can certainly embellish to your  hearts content but, I feel it is important to keep the doll itself as simple as you can without compromising the design.  A basic rag doll pattern works well  for most purposes but,  sometimes you may need to create an animal doll or just  need something a little different.  If you donít want to design your own than go with a pattern you feel best conveys your idea.  However, if you would like to  try and design your own doll I am going to offer you some simple ways to start.

Designing your own doll is not an impossible task. Especially if you break down the body into simple shapes.  Many designers do this when they begin  to create a new doll.  You can refer to figure 1 to see what I mean.  The head  can be a circle, oval or egg shape.  The neck is a cylinder or rectangle.  The  body is a square or rectangle depending on how you want the doll to look.  The  arms and legs are just simple tubes or rectangles and the hands and feet can be  ovals.  All you have to do is play around with placement of these basic elements to get the pose and proportions you want.  It is a lot of fun to experiment  using different shapes for the individual body parts.

Once you have the general layout of the body pieces it needs to come together.  Next you draw connecting lines between the separate elements to refine the shape a bit. Another thing to keep in mind.  When you are ready to  draw the final pattern pieces add a quarter of an inch all the way around the shape.  This will compeeeensate for stuffing.  Your flat shape will change  dramatically when it is sewn and stuffed.  So increaseing the dimension of your  pattern by that amount will help maintain the originol look you wanted.

This is a very simplistic way of designing your own doll but, it works.  One doll designer that uses this method is Sally Lampi.  I personally use this method most of the time.  Also, it is a good idea to study different techniques  for designing a doll.  There are several good books out there to help.  It may take a couple of trial runs to get the doll just the way you want it but, remember to have fun with it.  Joy is one of the greatest healing energies to  infuse your doll with.