History of The Shrunken Head Good Luck Charm

The Shrunken Head is a traditional good luck charm in Micronesia and whilst the practice of making shrunken heads has been prohibited, the trade in ornamental shrunken heads is still popular and real shrunken heads are sought after in Micronesia. In Micronesia, shrunken heads are a symbol of loved ones that have died, the shrunken heads are used to keep them in the memories of the family and bring them good luck. When a member of a family died, the family would take the head of the person and ‘shrink’ it, then hang it on the entranceway to their home so that their dead loved ones could watch over them and protect them.

Why the Shrunken Head Charm Brings Luck

Believed to represent the spirit of their loved ones, shrunken heads are there to keep the family safe after they pass on to the afterlife. People believe that they bring good luck to them and they ask them to help them achieve things they are finding hard.

How to Use the Shrunken Head Charm

If you have a shrunken head, the traditional way to use them is to hang them at the front of your house and display them for all to see. The idea behind this is that people would know how many of your family are in the afterlife watching over you. The Micronesian people strongly believe that the spirits of the relatives are always with them and that they can ward off any evil spirits.

How the Shrunken Head Charm Is Made

Real Shrunken Heads are made by firstly removing the skull from the neck. Next, the lips are sewn together. A wooden ball is used to help keep the shape of the skull and then the head is boiled in water that contains herbs. When the head is boiled it is then dried out, shaped, decorated and hung.

How to Make the Shrunken Head Charm at Home

Real Shrunken Heads are not something that can be made at home but you can use a piece of foil to create a head shaped oval and then cover it with papier-mache. Build up the facial features when it is wet leaving you with your very own shrunken head by the time it dries! Finally, using a dark brown paint, apply layers of it to build up the color until you are happy with the result.

Interesting and Fun Facts About the Shrunken Head Charm

  • When undertaking the ritual of real shrunken head making, seeds are placed in the nostrils before boiling and the lips are sewn shut to help retain the shape.