Some form of corn or grain doll is found in the history of every witchcraft tradition. Like most poppets, corn dolls fall into sympathetic magical practice. The process of creating a doll is symbolic of new life or purpose. Once the doll is named, it becomes a representation of something or someone else. What is done to the doll will happen to what is resembles. Grain dolls differ from many other poppets as they already carry the fertile power of the World Spirit. These dolls have been used by our magical ancestors to symbolize both creative and destructive cycles of nature. Traditionally, the materials used to craft them are available near the end of the growing season. Grain holds the power of all that went into creating it and carries this power forward as the potential for the next season’s harvest. Grain used to create a doll is “sacrificed”, or made sacred. It becomes a symbol of these same ideas and energies on a higher level.
These dolls are commonly included in pagan rituals representing the transition of seasons. The light of summer diminishes and the growth we associate with this season is now harvested by both gods and humanity. The dolls are often burned in a ritual process of death that yields new life.