Every time witchcraft becomes popular (the 70s, the 90s, the 20-teens) there are people and companies who want to sell us something witch-themed. Necklaces, buttons, shoes, and even tube tops emblazoned with the word “witch” suddenly appear, and for the most part, it’s great. However, if you’re actually a witch, sorting out people who are also actually witches from people who never have (and never will) do magick can be rather difficult. I’ll buy my tube tops from anyone (note: I won’t buy tube tops at all for any reason), but magickal supplies I’m picky about. If I’m buying a spell candle, for example, I’d rather buy one from a fellow witch. This is because the energy of a magickal tool is important, I want to support my community, and a witch is going to know what a witch needs.
Additionally, around the same time the tube tops show up, tons of people will crop up to sell classes, pdf files on ‘the divine feminine’, coven memberships, bespoke tarot decks, or a myriad of other magickal (or vaguely magickal) things. Basically, when witchcraft is popular, people who aren’t witches will try to make money off of us, even if that means pretending to be one of us. I thought it would be helpful to post some tips on how to spot phony witches in the wild and, if you choose, refuse to support them. Disclaimer: I’m not saying that non-witches can’t make awesome witchy stuff, but there are a lot of people who are low-key pretending to be witches just to sell to us. That’s worth being skeptical of, in my opinion.
No Experience or Baby Witch Turned Expert
Some people try to sell us witchcraft decor or supplies when they themselves have no experience with witchcraft. The first type will have “Get your witch on!” emblazoning their website, or they may also start posts/social media blasts with “Hey, coven!” or “This goddess/priestess is wearing our new x, y, z,” or something equally pandering. The brand or marketing is ‘witchy’, but the person or people behind is not. The second type are people who may actually be practicing witches … of a year or two. Sharing baby witch opinions/growth/experience? Great. Claiming to be an expert and teacher when you’ve just started out? Nope. If someone is still learning, their advice can be quite bad, and will likely hurt more than it helps. If they’re pretending to be an expert when they have very little experience, you can bet they’re trying to make money, and will almost certainly disappear in a few years when the trend passes.
You can usually spot both of these types by going to the About page of the blog, shop, or website under question. Purportedly, the About page is the second most visited page on a person’s website after the front page, which really says a lot about its importance. If someone mentions being a witch for a few years, or doesn’t give a number of years they’ve practiced, I would take their advice with a grain of salt. If someone doesn’t mention that they are a witch at all, I would assume that they aren’t a witch. Ideally, a person would outline their path and experience, since they’re asking you to give them money or take their magickal advice.
Knowledge is Power, But Also Money
Related to the witch supplies above, some people are out to make a quick buck off witches, and not just through ‘aesthetic’, but through teaching. I’ve found the number of people who propose to teach witchcraft online, but who don’t tell you about their credentials at all, to be alarming. Maybe this is because I’m a licensed teacher in real life, but if a person cannot provide any credentials I would hesitate to give them money. That’s part of the reason why knowing someone’s path is so important; if it’s vastly different than your own, you may not want to spend money on their course. Also, if someone never posts anything on their site, but spams links to ‘buy my witchcraft class/pdf’, I would be wary.
Knowing how people write and teach is really important, and some of the better sites will have a free sample class available in some form. The person may know nothing about witchcraft, nothing about teaching, or may be stealing someone else’s work. Review someone’s blog posts or take a sample class before clicking ‘buy now’ on their How to Witch class and you’ll have a lot less buyer’s remorse. I have had this experience, and there’s little more disappointing than buying an e-course only to receive a bunch of emails where the ‘teacher’ just talks about themselves.
Small Posts, Small Ideas
One of the best pagan blogs I read is by a shockingly long-winded Druid. Her posts can be dry, her tone academic (she’s a college professor), but damn does that lady know her stuff, and she’s putting it all out there for free. On the other hand there are plenty of blogs that go something like “Correspondences for Roses: Love, the color red, um … February,” in other words they give you information that literally anyone could figure out on their own. My “best blog” example is an extreme: someone who publishes verbose posts once a fortnight. The other extreme is someone pumping out posts constantly, none of which measure over 300 words. Often, they will not have sources listed, even though they present specific information that should probably be sourced, and they will try to get you to sign up for a newsletter, follow them on social media, or buy a class. This indicates, to me, that they are going for click-baity titles and content, rather than trying to provide something of quality to a community.
In conclusion, if someone is trying to sell you witchcraft, but isn’t actually a witch themselves, it’s probably a good idea to be cautious. Plenty of non-witches can make great witchy stuff, but I am highly skeptical of muggles trying to sell magickal tools or knowledge. In the end, it’s best to trust your intuition and decide who you want to support. The other end of this is learning how to be a critical consumer within the magick community, for which I highly recommend this blog post since my own hasn’t been written yet.
Stock Image via Life of Pix