Consumerism and witchcraft?

There once was a brand, like no other.

The brand could double – no triple! – an item’s value!

Flocks of customers searched far and wide for the brand.

Satisfying the need for one item only led to the need for more!

People sought it religiously.

They still search, with unsated appetites, endless need.

And the Brand was Wicca!

I had a random urge to do a search for items relating to witchcraft, first on etsy and then through google.

1St it brought back memories from when I was just a fledgling witch, desperately trying to understand what I ‘needed’ (remember those days when it was necessary to have “that precise wachimicallit”?) and why and where it came from. The things I coveted, like beautifully decorated figurines and ornate witch bottles, everywhere… makes me want them all over again!

2nd (and sort of an irrelevant point) it opened my eyes to what some people try to sell as ‘art’. I am open to expressive designs, nudity, abstract et c… but some people really don’t seem to understand that you need a little bit of talent… just a little… please…? Some people think making money through art is easy (it actually is for some people but letting me go off on that tangent will only open you up to my jealous ramblings); you draw a couple of pictures and sell them, right? Wrong. Some forget that in order to sell it, somebody has to buy it and in order for that to happen they have to want to pay money for it. You may have a talent for drawing pictures, making a nice likeness of someone but something has to be worth going up on somebody’s wall. It has to be extra special… usually. I’ve only ever bought two pieces of art in my life – a Christmas present for my Dad, a painting of some boats that I thought would look lovely next to the paintings of ferries coming in to our local harbour (the colours were really gorgeous as well), and this one picture for my self… I stare at her a lot is all I can say. Well, that’s enough on that little rant-ette.

3rd, and of course the most important, it brought home the power of the brand; WICCA, WICCAN, ALTAR, WITCHCRAFT, PAGANISM, PAGAN, SPELLS, MAGIC… (you get the drift) All in tags attached to the items.

I was alarmed to find a bundle of items lumped in together and labelled as a beginner altar set, that I didn’t feel suited a beginner at all – a lot of the items easily performed the same function (in other words were a bit superfluous and might leave someone puzzled as to how they were supposed to use them) and some items, I felt, were missing (where on Earth was the altar cloth? Why was there a million different shaped bowls but no altar cloth!). It seemed you could put anything in – including a very strange spoon/incense burner/bookmark/(?) – as long as it had a pentacle and swirly whirly patterns on it. It was two things I hate – high price and low quality.

I could go into listing the contents but this set of items was merely a reflection of something greater, in a host of similar examples… In other words, there are so many lots/items like this for sale, including runes, bags, jars, bottles, spells, and even books! (yes, I really am beginning to question the book industry and the habit of having to have every book out there)… Some I thought honest trade and some obviously just taking advantage of the brand.

There is something good sometimes about getting the branded item. Once, I absolutely HAD to have Dr Marten Boots. They looked smart as well as being boots I could wear absolutely anywhere, doing anything. I wore them as my school shoes, as well as my work boots. And I have several ‘Wicca’ brand items, mostly books of course and some jewellery. I never had to buy a Witch bowl, chalice, athame, et c… I found them in charity shops, medieval fares and souvenir shops and they were no different from their Wiccan counterparts. I have a sterling silver dish from a big box of mixed miscellaneous items and my triskellion necklace came from a similar box, picked up in a auction/jumble sale thing… You sell all your unwanted crap and furniture in a large auction in the town hall every couple of months and get a couple of quid for it, and someone else (usually me) gets a card board box full of random crap. Whoo! Everybody’s happy!

Anyway, the conclusion of this rant is not a conclusion but a question (or several)… Are we pagans, wiccans and witches being taken advantage of? Are we taking advantage of each other? Does someone actually believe that the items they sell are valuable?

OK, some items sold are truly things you can’t get anywhere else or under any other name but some of that stuff is just junk! It makes me kinda glad that I didn’t have access to a bank account when I first started! XD I appreciate that though you can make many objects yourself and find them easily, there are some things that are better bought. There are some things, I know, that are just so much better under the brand because you can be sure of high quality or at least suitability to specific purpose. However there seems to be masses and masses of low quality, high cost goods (especially runes. do you know if they were made in the traditional way of making runes? Really?)

I’m sure most of you can sympathise.

I think a lot of us try to model our craft on an imagine of a back to basics kitchen, strewn with herbs, and a house littered with glistening crystals, nooks filled and tables covered in little symbols, paintings on the walls of moon light goddesses and forrest gods… et c. Starter kits and wiccan products can sometimes be take us farthest from that idyllic image than we could imagine, yet they misleadingly place themselves in that category.

But we can’t really give young witchlings very clear guidance on what they need in order to practice because it takes time to make your craft your own.

This is another post I archived for posting a long time ago, but not sure if I ever posted it. Thought it was time it saw the light of day. I finished it off as it wasn’t completed.

Rowan

x~x

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