This week I continue the Witchcraft A to Z with Bling. It’s a non judgemental mini rant about the current drive for **stuff**. We see it in all aspects of life. But as witches the constant need for the shiniest objects, biggest crystals, perfectly carved statues, all the perfect little jars of herbs and the blingy-ist jewellery not only costs us a huge amount of money –it costs a lot magically too.
B is for Bling……. and C is for Consumerism.
The reason why this matters so much to me is because I have seen first hand the need for pagan bling putting off new witches. People drawn to the craft too afraid to begin until they have all the ‘essential’ stuff and the ‘perfect’ set ups.
I’ve seen the focus being placed on setting up the perfect altar rather than getting outside and saying hello to the spirits in their garden.
I dislike the trend for the fanciest poshest magical stuff generally, but I hate it getting in the way of witches getting on with getting started.
So this week I have a simple message for new witches – you don’t need the bling.
You don’t need ANYTHING to be a witch and to start doing Witchcraft.
Witchcraft is Free.
Everything else is frosting.
What exactly is Pagan Bling?
Now I promised this would be non judgemental – I am as guilty of collecting magical bling as the next witch! But I’m making a conscious effort to reduce it.
Bling can take many shapes – it might be the perfect witch tool. A silver chalice, a beautiful athame, a crystal toped carved wand….. It might be decorations for the house….. it might be endless herbs and resins for spells and incenses you just know you will need…one day!
It might be robes and dresses with long floaty sleeves that you will inevitably set on fire during your first serious ritual. With the current popularity of “traditional” witchcraft it might well be shop bought bones and skulls. It might be pre-made spell bags or a monthly spell subscription box.
For me its books. Yes. Books are bling too!
Sorry to burst that particular virtuous bubble.
Mostly my problem with bling is fuelled by the Instagram hashtag generation of witchcraft (which is not necessarily the younger witches amongst us) and the pinterest perfect guides to beginning witchcraft. Recently I’ve been confronted by endless lists of ‘new witch essentials’ and the pages and pages of things you absolutely have to have before you can start magic or call yourself a witch.
So What Exactly is the Problem with Bling?
In and of itself nothing!
If you know what you are doing magically and you have the cash to spare I have no problems with people supporting other pagan businesses who are making beautiful products and providing great services to the community.
If your heart is set on a beautiful semi-precious necklace or your head is turned at a festival by a stunning plate that would be **perfect** for ritual cake and you can afford it, and you love it, then there is seriously zero judgement from me.
But when our focus is on amassing the perfect accessories, for the sake of perfect accessories, it is not on developing our personal magic. It is not on being a better, stronger, more magical witch.
Its on what everyone else thinks of you. On worrying how you look. Its on doubting that you are good enough.
And all that actually matters is what you think of you and what results you are getting.
Have you seen the latest trend – witchcraft aesthetic?
Seriously it’s a thing. Google it.
Its all about LOOKING like a witch, and looking like you are doing it all proper and authentic.
And by looking like a witch I mean looking like the media has decided what a witch looks like.
I mean – how many of us actually look like this during our rituals?
The levels of bling crime range from the innocent posting a photo of your spell on Instagram because you are excited about what you just did.
Through to a whole altar designed, concocted and specially lit with professional lighting in order to share it on Instagram and gain yourself 100 new followers, proving you are the realest most authentic witch out there.
Of course there is a place for posting your photos online – education for one. I post photos myself to help raise awareness of what I do.
But too often I feel like the pictures shared on social media are to show off. Or because you are worried you are not doing it right and are desperately seeking validation. It’s the start of ‘a keeping up with the witches’ slippery slope.
And I promise you. If you are actually doing it. You are probably doing it right.
So seriously witches. Spells and rituals are private. Stop posting them on Instagram.
This is good advice even if you are only sharing because you are excited. When the spell is done FORGET it. Let it go to the universe – everything on this plane keeps it anchored in the physical and doesn’t allow space for it to bring about change on the spiritual levels. Do you want your spell anchored in the slightly toxic world of Instagram or Facebook?
And don’t try and copy the altars you see on those same hashtag feeds.
I guarantee you those spells altars and rituals are completely impractical.
Or stuffed full of contradictory symbolism just because it looks pretty. 14 different crystals scatted in a random pattern wherever there is a bit of space which might have been useful for putting your glasses after they got steamed up during the dancing.
And its SO expensive. Google Money Altar Spells and let your mind bogle at how much you are supposed to spend to attract a bit of money into your life. Do yourself a favour and spend that money on what you actually need. Put it towards your gas bill instead.
(Or you know. Learn to do magic without bling. And don’t do money spells anyway. You NEVER actually want money….but that’s a subject of an entirely different blog about cutting out the magical middle man.)
When we buy everything we value nothing.
When we think a mass produced pewter chalice with a pentagram electronically etched on the side of it will make our spells work better than a mug which we have drunk out of every day for a decade then we entirely miss the point.
You don’t NEED the bling. You can find everything you need to do witchcraft inside yourself. If you want a few tools you will find almost everything you could need already in your home.
And as you learn and become a bit more confident you can invest in a few really good quality tools.
In this blog post I name 10 non essential tools, but then I go on to talk about 5 things I really do believe can be worth the investment.
I wouldn’t be without my knife, my stick, my bag and my field guide.
My knife cuts everything. Sacred space. Herbs. Cake.
My stick I use to balance. To tread a compass. To store and direct energy. To hook things I cant reach.
My bag carries stuff I find like herbs for spells, roadkill and litter. And my house keys.
And my field guide means I properly identify plants I might eat. But its getting replaced more and more with excellent free apps on the mobile phone.
Oh and my books. Please let me keep my books.
So the Moral of this mini rant – and the serious takeaway point?
Please don’t allow the desire to own everything you can find related to witchcraft and paganism stand in the way of getting on with your witchcraft. Don’t allow yourself the excuse that you’ll start meditating when you find the perfect cystal to balance your chakras. And don’t allow ANYONE to convince you that their magic is better than your magic because they have all these cool trappings and props.
Because thats what they are – PROPS. In a stage show called witchcraft.
On the other side of the coin don’t allow yourself to feel any guilt if you love all the bling. That’s your call! I urge you to understand the purpose and correspondences of every single item you use, to have a reason for it being in your ritual or spell. But beyond that do what works for you. As long as you know you don’t NEED it I’ll keep my noise out of your magic!
(Next Time: C is for Covens)