In sympathetic magic, an object symbolically associated with a person or situation is utilized, in combination with directed thought, to produce a desired result. An example is Puppet (or Poppet) Healing, in which a doll-like figure of a person is used to help heal that person’s affliction. The use of a Voodoo doll in an attempt to cause harm is also sympathetic magic.

Wiccans and other practitioners believe that, whether the intention behind the magic is to help or to harm, that intention returns inevitably to the sender—and returns multiplied.

Other objects used in sympathetic magic include candles, a lock of someone’s hair, a color, a scrap of clothing, or a photograph. Wicca and other alternative religions are not the only ones that embrace the use of sympathetic magic. In conventional religion, the use of holy medals, rosary beads, or candles is a kind of sympathetic magic.

In psychology and anthropology, the belief in sympathetic magic is regarded as a kind of magical thinking—the idea that a “causal relationship” exists between certain actions and events “where scientific consensus says there is none.” But, in the realm of religion/spirituality/the occult, some would argue that sympathetic magic, drawing upon hidden, as-yet-unproven causal relationships, is powerful indeed.