I was just scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I came across a whole load of pictures from various different Pagan/Wiccan groups displaying members altars. All of these pictures showed off some kind of wealth in the manner of which they had displayed plenty of expensive looking items. This has led me to think about how commercial paganism really is, beyond what any other religion may be. This is ironic because Paganism is a nature based spirituality, based upon ways of the old. How has modern day consumerism come to affect how we worship? I, myself, am guilty of wishing I had the money to splash on fancy chalices, athames and altar cloths. These things are expensive. I see the types of clothing that is fashionable, generally, among other pagans and free spirits and I wonder where on earth they are able to raise that kind of money. Do they still have all of their organs? Their limbs? I window shop with envy pouring out of my eyes.
As I was learning, online, about Wicca, most of the sources told me about how I should have an altar from which I could practice the craft and be at peace. They recommended that I have items that symbolise the elements. Wands, athames, crystals, candles, incense, statues, cloths, you know it. Then of course, there are all the different forms of divination that one could try their hand at. These too, can also be quite costly. I myself wanted to try and make everything. However, when I realised that my sister had thrown away my wand, and my best friends had gone mouldy from the oil that she had rubbed into it. At this point, I didn’t really talk about my beliefs and was still very much in the broom cupboard! I thought about making my own deck of tarot cards but after studying my first deck, I was worried that it would be far too complicated.
My own ‘altar’ is a window sill. I had a few small candles, a small card trinket box of tumble stones, an incense box I found on a car boot sale, with various different types of incense, and often a glass of water. It’s very basic but isn’t that what the practice is all about? Using what you’ve got, making what you haven’t, and keeping it close to nature, close to your heart? It’s almost like a status symbol or a competition. There’s a programme I liked that was on BBC called Switch, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it really did show, to me, what the community is like. They used ‘normal’ women vs ‘posh’ women. In the reality I see it’s ‘normal’, as I would class myself, vs the expensive lifestyle of the pagan hippy. I understand that this is pretty controversial and could probably cause some argument. The ‘free-living’ hippy lifestyle, doesn’t look very free from where I stand. That’s not to say that it is wrong and if you have the money to travel, to buy pretty things or to help people, then do it. Feel free to. A part of the Rede is to ‘Live and let live’, after all.
Anyway, I’m not sure what else I really have to say on the matter of the commercialisation of Paganism and Wicca. It is something I’ve been thinking about for years, ever since I’d taught one of my school friends about it and a few days later she’d persuaded her mum to buy her a very fancy carved table to begin her altar on. I was shocked that her mum had done that, considering I had third degree question from her mother- just in case I was badly influencing her daughter, of course. I have no idea what has become of that friends beliefs as she moved away and we’ve slowly lost contact as people do, but I’ve not forgotten. What are your thoughts? Is it all necessary?
Thanks for reading! See you soon x
Side Note: Image is not mine.