A popular practice in Tibetan magick is to make a substitute, which is by no stretch just a Tibetan or Buddhist practice, pretty much every culture has something similar. Though you don’t tend to see it in ceremonial magick, I suspect because of the disconnect that happened between living culture and practice. I’m going to share a variation on the Tibetan substitute, I say variation because every teacher probably has it done a little differently, and every practitioner has their own twist I’m sure. Making substitutes is one of the most common suggestions that come up in a mo dice reading. It’s used to uncross (in Western parlance), to make peace between you and a spirit you’ve offended, to misdirect magickal attacks, or to release stubborn connections.
One thing I like about Tibetan substitutes is that they’re fairly impermanent (shocking I know). I remember years ago making a doll substitute with a friend to help with some rough shit going on, and while it worked I was stuck with this little doll until I learned how to safely release it.
For making the substitute base you need flour, butter, salt, and water.
I don’t know if anyone ever actually has a recipe or proportion my advice is basically what I’ve been offered and what I tell people “mix the stuff together until you get a stiff dough that isn’t sticky.” Obviously it’s more flour than anything, butter and water are the next main ingredients, and barely any salt is needed. Make a fist-sized ball, you won’t need too much.
When you have the dough ready there are a few steps to align it with you, first make it into a ball and hold it in your non-dominant hand, then with your dominant thumb press firmly down on the dough to leave a thumbprint and a hole most of the way through the dough. The thumbprint is the first step of aligning it to you. Now that you have this cave in the dough ball you can fill it with something else to connect to you. Depending on the severity of the issue, what you’re comfortable with, and whatever considerations you have, you can either breathe into the hole (probably the “weakest” of connections), spit into it, put in some blood/semen, or work in some nail or hair clippings that were taken off just to put into this.
With all of these feel free to put more work behind it. For instance when breathing or spitting into the dough I usually very consciously breathe in slowly and let the energy I breathe in fill my body and mix with it, then from my core I breathe out slowly of my own energy. If I’m going to spit, as I breathe out I try to “filter” the energy and my breathe apart forming a ball in my mouth, which I then mix with the saliva to spit. When producing blood/semen or taking hair/nail clippings you can see your essence gathering into the appropriate spot and then leaving your body with it.
Mix the dough again, and then make a human-shape from it. This can be very loosely human, mine often look a bit like deformed starfish, but you can see the sense of arms, legs, and head.
Now you connect to the substitute. Visualize a white spot of light in your forehead (an Om if you know the Tibetan alphabet and care to be that traditional) and from that little pearl of light see a ray of light stream into the dough-person and hit the same spot leaving behind a smaller white spot. This is your physical energy and sensation. Then from your throat a red spot does the same to their throat. (It’s a red Ah if you want to be traditional) This is your energy in the sense we generally use the term in magickal circles. Then from the heart a dark blue spot to their heart. (A Hum to be traditional) This is your mental energy, or awareness.
Take a moment to reconnect all three, and then one at a time, and just see yourself pour into the substitute. Through these connection points anchor what you feed into the substitute and see it taking on more and more of your essence. Depending on why you’re making a substitute you can focus on grabbing extra connections to you and putting them onto the doughbody, that way certain people or things currently attached to you will be connected to the dough form.
You can breathe on it / into it again, name it your name and address it as such, whatever else you want, but it is essentially done.
Now depending on why you’re making it, it’s time to dispose of it. Make sure it is “sealed,” that the three points are no longer connected to you, you do not want to dispose of a dough form that is actively tied into you. You can toss it into a wild place, a cemetery, offer it to a tree, or submerge it in water.
If you’re using a substitute as a general uncrossing type procedure, then any method of disposal is fine. If you’re making amends to a local spirit, leave it somewhere that is heavily their domain. If trying to throw a specific person off track leave it between your place and theirs (if you know it) or in a cemetery.
As it’s just flour and water it will be more or less gone in a few days due to animals and weather, and hopefully whatever you’re trying to rid yourself of will be gone too.