Paktol: a form of sympathetic curse from Cebu

The following is an excerpt from Cebuano Sorcery: Malign Magic in the Philippines by Richard Warren Lieban:

What do you guys think?


It looks like a rather overcomplicated way of making a poppet.

I would expect that the Christianised aspects of it are a later addition to an older technique.

I’m not sure why you’d baptise a doll and give it the protection of a JCI entity: that seems counterproductive, but in any case baptising the thing before enchanting it to be the person is backwards and I don’t think makes sense. I could see baptising with the name attached.

The other issue with this is the practitioner isn’tbaptising himself: which means he’s giving away his power to a religious structure that he sees himself as having suthority that he doesn’t. That’s weak.

Poppet, or dolls, are “sympatheric magick”. The one premise is that the doll IS the target. The practitioner must feel this in his heart and hind to be true. Then what happens to the poppet happens to the target.

You can make a poppet out of string, paper, fancy ones are sewn, this one is out of wood. I prefer tissue bound with yarn. Most of these materials you can push pins in without the effort of drilling holes, so I wouldn’t think of wood as a great material. But it’s not as bad as say, paperclay: tried that, it doesn’t burn :slight_smile:

If the poppet is of an entity then you have an idol aka effigy, and that’s a different use of the same idea.


Agree. I think some modifications are in order, and that you should baptize the poppet yourself, even if you need to have the guarantee of a deity. Baptize the doll to link it to the targetv → enchant it with whatever.

Personally, tho, I kinda like that the doll is made of wood and that one has to use nails. Wood is porous and nailing it just resonates more to the prayer than sticking pins and needles into it.

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And yes, the Christianized aspects are indeed a product of syncretism.