Sunday, January 5, 2014

Spirit Dolls

Spirit Dolls
A Representation of What Is Needed or Wanted
By Maureen Murdock, LMFT
Presented in “The Heroine’s Journey Workbook”

 "Recently, I began a 10 session Women's Group, based off of Maureen Murdock's workbook "A Heroine's Journey". She uses a great deal of art therapy in her workbook (which I'm thrilled about), and the women in the group have taken it on, completing the directives and coming to group to share about what they have created. This particular activity, the "Spirit Dolls", was incredibly impactful for them. These figures took on a great deal of meaning for each woman that created them, and in some cases the women would make more than one doll. They took all different shapes and forms, each unique and special. It's a very impactful tool to use when embracing a certain aspect about Self, or role created for self in the world."

                               - Deborah R. Davis, ATR-BC, LPC,
                                           "Creativity Matters: Art and Therapy, LLC"


          Define your purpose for the Spirit Doll…what does she represent?

          Gather Materials…

          Once you decide that you’re going to make a spirit doll, the materials will begin to present themselves to you.

          You may wish to make her body out of canvas, fabric, gauze, rusted metal, bones, shells, gourds, or cactus scabs (to name a few).

          Her body can be made from sticks and bones and dressed with symbols and objects from nature or you may choose to make a soft body from canvas or fabric and stuff it with fiberfill.

          You can then paint it with mud, or sew objects on it.



Gather paints, brushes, glitter, sequins, feathers, buttons, glue, scissors, yarn, raffia, needles, thread, and any other desired materials.


Creating Your Spirit Doll

          Once you have all the materials you would like for your doll, begin by establishing a basic structure or frame of your doll.

          Add pieces as you feel they are needed on the doll frame.

          Incorporate objects you find in nature as well as from your personal collection.

          You can sew photographs or poetry or journal entries directly on to the doll, or hide prayers and intentions within the doll.

          The making of the Spirit Doll is a deeply personal ritual to bring to form a part of yourself that is emerging from your unconscious.

          Trust the process; let go of your preconceived notions of how your doll should look and assist the form it wishes to take.



          Work on turning off the inner critic.

          Start the doll only when you feel ready.

          Relax and “allow” it to come.

          Have fun with this process, rather than “make” it happen.

          Let it flow out of you without filtering.



          Bohemian Spirit Art Dolls

          Spirit Doll Wisdom





Before you begin making your spirit doll, take five minutes or more and walk outside. Find a place, preferably in nature, where you can be by yourself and relax your mind and focus inward. Ask yourself the following questions:

            What do I need from my Spirit Doll?

            What color is she?

            What does she feel like?

            What does she smell like?

            What is her sound?

            What is my intention for birthing her at this time?


            Prepare a sacred space in which to make your doll. You may wish to burn sage, light a candle, play inspiring music. Give yourself at least two or three uninterrupted hours to begin your process. Let your doll evolve at her own pace.



  1. Oh I am so thankful to have found this post! I am about to teach a class of art teacher about how art and counseling are tied together, spirit figures are a beautiful way of doing this. I will credit you, of course, and refer them to you for follow up as they desire. Thank you!

  2. I am so grateful for this post. My art therapy masters thesis incorporates doll making and guided conversation for PTSD symptomology.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you... just what I needed :-D

  4. Olá, onde posso comprar os moldes para os rostos das bonecas? grata meu email é