High John the Conqueror plant spirit golems

How to Make High John the Conqueror Plant Golems (“John Payons”)

These little guys entered the world over a period of weeks during what seems in retrospect to have been some sort of manic phase. They were inspired in large part by the Thai tradition of “hoon payons,” animist golems made out of sacred grasses and herbs and wrapped by monks with blessed thread.


Get seven odd-shaped John the Conqueror roots and use a hot glue gun to fix them together into the shape of a homunculus; drawing additional inspiration from Phra Ngang, I made sure to give all of mine exaggerated fertility features and conical heads.

Knock this figure gently three times on a tabletop, spray it with whiskey and consecrate it in the names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; then pray the 23rd Psalm and breathe into its face to bring it to life.

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” [Genesis 2:7]

Depending on how ambitious you are feeling, you can also give them tools, for example:

  • Raccoon claws
  • Universal handcuff keys
  • Novelty quarters depicting Bill Clinton in flagrante delicto
  • Eyes made out of Turkish evil eye beads
  • Tiny neodynium magnets
  • Miniature pewter charms of dollars bills, lucky horseshoes, etc

I had fun making multiple versions for specialized purposes, wrapping each with a different color of thread, e.g.:

Dr. Octopus

A 20-year practitioner of hoodoo, renowned spiritual worker Dr. Octopus is a Gnostic bishop, Kimbisero, expert on Thai necromantic amulets (so-called "barang") and licensed clinical Hypnotist. He likes rainy days and black coffee.