These Special Dolls Are Vessels of Ancestral Wisdom and Fertility Magic

We’re descended from generations of powerful women, like the Namji. Namji women possessed great beauty and wisdom, especially when it came to their sacred understandings of fertility and birth. But their magic didn’t live in a potion. It lived in a doll.

These Special Dolls Are Vessels of Ancestral Wisdom and Fertility Magic
Via Wikimedia Commons

Carved from rich African rosewood, Namji dolls are adorned with colorful beads, metals and fabrics, and lined with cowrie shells. Each doll possesses unique features. 

Namji women, who originate from a tribe in the north of Cameroon, West Africa, receive dolls in one of two ways. They’re either gifted a doll from a woman in her community, or as a proposal offering. 

Made with love and infused with powerful charms, it’s believed Namji dolls heavily influence fertility.

Specifically the Namji’s magic protects expecting mothers from evil spirits that would bring harm. Wanting to prevent miscarriages and difficult labor, Namji women carried their dolls everywhere.

After birth, Namji women placed their dolls on their altars until it was time to pass it along to their children. Young girls treated Namji dolls as their own babies. 

Namji dolls teach the sacredness of care, especially how we pass on lessons on family, protection, responsibility, and tending to something with love.

These lessons are important for everyone, not just girls transitioning through puberty or pregnant women.

Let’s normalize dolls as sacred objects. It’s ok for an adult to have a doll or stuffed animal that brings comfort and nurtures their inner child. 

Whether or not you have a doll, how can you incorporate the lessons Namji dolls teach us about care?

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