Earlier today, in a post titled, “Christian Products for Pagan Purposes,” Fire Lyte proposed the following questions:
“Do we really have no other options at this point? In 2013? You’re reading a blog right now from some kind of smart device or computer. Can you not click on to a craft supply website? A giant online warehouse store like Amazon or even find a similar privately owned business website? Etsy is chock full of craft suppliers who make no bones about who they sell to.
I will leave you with the question: is the joke really on them, or are we laughing to make us feel better about giving money to people we know we shouldn’t?”
I, my Luvs, have all kinds of things to say from the point of view of a Witch consumer. But, Eliora, one of our Wicked Darlings, is a Pagan business owner, and she has what I believe is a better response. Still, I’ve added my short reply at the end of the post. Welcome to Pagan Culture, Eliora.
“Pagan Sourcing” by Eliora
I don’t have a blog, so thanks for having me, Magaly. Today, a lot is being discussed about the appropriateness of a Pagan crafter purchasing supplies from sources that support non-Pagan views.
I responded yesterday to one such posting where I wrote that I do shop at businesses of the kind, and that “I only buy, there, what I cannot reasonably get elsewhere, locally.”
I work diligently at my Pagan handCRAFTing, priding myself on offering the Pagan community lovely items, at reasonable prices.
Who isn’t aware of the fact that, in business, “time is money”?
I spend hours on the internet, searching to find and purchase the perfect elements for my projects. I consider quality, quantity, price, and delivery time, all with an eye to providing a good value to my clients. I travel as far as 80 miles from home to personally hand-select gemstones. At some point, I must factor that searching time into my prices, right along with the cost of supplies, shipping, and other overhead expenses.
I always look for trusted (read Pagan) resources first, but occasionally, I can’t find what I need, or what is available does not meet my criteria for quality/value. So I go to one of the big box craft stores. There, I walk around looking for what I need, or just to get inspiration for an alternative. I don’t sneak about so no one knows I am Pagan, but neither do I drag out all of my Witch’s garb and my biggest pentacle for the trip.
Surely no one believes that every Pagan item out there is certified as not having had any handling that has benefited a non-Pagan cause.
Judaism has Kashrut—dietary laws overseen by a board of Rabbis who certify what is acceptable for a Jewish person’s consumption or usage. Can someone point me to a similar Pagan Council who can stamp my supplies as approved? And if such council existed, wouldn’t that mean that we are becoming something else? Since when does our love of diversity and common sense extend only to the people who are just like us?
I would think that smudging my supplies, creating my work in a serene, protected, and sacred space is Pagan enough to overcome the stigma of using elements obtained from non-Pagan sources. I believe in intent and not in legalism, for I left that behind with my mid-calf dresses and crosses.
Many might say that my approach to sourcing could perpetuate something that isn’t all that great for our community. If anyone can tell me how to get all my supplies from Pagan businesses and still stay in business, please go ahead, I’m listening. Do be specific.
So here is my disclaimer: Approximately 5% of the supplies, I purchase, MAY come from or through vendors, or parties that are non-Pagan and that don’t share my Pagan beliefs/ethics. Another 20% of my supplies come from vendors I believe to be Pagan, but have no validation of their human resource activities. The final 75% comes from internet vendors (i.e. Etsy, eBay, and other sites). I purchase from people as close as 2 miles from my home to across the globe in China, India, the U.K. and Turkey. I wish I could grow everything I need for my work right in my backyard—better yet, I wish I could conjure them up—but that would be somewhat unrealistic.
I (Magaly Guerrero, do solemnly that…oh that’s a movie, sorry!) I shared my answer on Fire Lyte’s Facebook wall. Here is what I said: “Ah, the economics of religion… When I was searching for places where to have my little brother’s funeral rites, I spent days looking for a non-denominational funeral home. I found a few. One of them was run by a Pagan individual. I’m a Witch, so as you might be imagining, I was thrilled. Well, as thrilled as one can be after her 26-year-old brother has just died in a car accident. Then I asked them about the price. [They asked for] 37% more [money] than the most expensive local Catholic funeral home. I’m not anywhere near rich, so my little brother was viewed at a Catholic funeral home, around people who looked at me funny because I was having him cremated. I understand that we should do our best to support our own, but when we can’t afford the prices our own provide and still eat decent food, we should do what we must. I’m sure the gods will understand.
Your thoughts, my Wicked darling Luvs?