Hoarding: The New Witchy Pandemic?

This has been an intense year so far, hasn’t it?

With the rise of Covid-19 specifically, America, for the first time in modern history, was forced to slow down and reflect. For some of us, we realize how much help we need and don’t receive. For others, it’s been a time of contemplation and crafting.

No matter which category you fall into, it’s quite likely that you’ve also been doing more shopping than usual. Boredom generally breeds consumerism, and for the United States, it’s at an all time high.

With the virus spreading, and businesses closing down, the idea of shopping local has caused more witchy shops to continue perpetuating the idea that consumerism makes one a good practitioner. I’ve also seen an influx in posts from the basements of witches selling supplies from wholesale shops at exorbitant rates, all with the pressured tagline “support small business”.

I’m here to tell you: fuck that shit. Yes, you read that right, fuck. all. that. shit.

Connections made through social media, cute twitter posts made viral, and the ascension of aesthetic over purpose has driven newbies into the idea that you must collect in order to create. I, myself, a witch of almost 20 years, have also fallen into this trap- believing that having items, even if I don’t use them, somehow makes me a better witch.

The only resulting consequence from collecting unnecessarily is clutter. The idea that you, or anyone, MUST HAVE a thousand items, the most precious of stones, a wide array of herbs, or any of the items people making a profit off your dollar are selling, is preposterous. In Christianity it is the same as believing you must have a house of worship in order to be Christian; it’s untrue. As long as the desire is in your heart, you cannot go wrong.

If you want to collect, if that’s how you view your practice, then that’s an energy you’ve decided to cultivate. I’m all for independence, and believe if you are happy with- go for it; however, that’s not what I’m speaking about here. I’m talking about the elephant in the room called Marketing to Witches’ Wallets, not their practices.

But that’s not what we’re teaching these days, is it? After giving away no less than 8 boxes of things I’d collected over the last two years, I am very much a willing victim of consumer-based witchcraft- and I’m old enough to know better. What of the baby-witches or those less secure in their craft? How are they faring in a world that tells them they are less than for having less?

Even the cutesy, supposedly uplifting, infographics for young witches are filled with subliminal messages of hoarding. I saw one recently that said you only need quartz crystals, roses, and glass jars to be a witch; and, even though the intention is true, the idea that you need anything is only perpetuated in First World Problems.

Witchcraft, as I’ve said before, is the manipulation of energy. Sure, having items that call to you is pleasant, they can and often do act as conduits for our own intentions, but to believe they are necessary is saddening. Add on collecting items simply to collect them, allowing them to sit and collect dust instead of being used, and you have a recipe for witchcraft disaster.

Clutter breeds a chaos that interferes with ones magick. For some, like me, it’s a very physical feeling- I get clammy, heart races, my skin tingles- while others only experience mental anguish. A lot of times, without proper introspection, we don’t even realize we’re having these reactions to the items we’ve collected because we’re constantly being pushed into the idea that its what we should be doing.

Going back to those local shops, they give you a sense of duty- helping those in your community- that leads you to browsing and impulse buying items that you will never use. If you’ve collected items that sit next to empty but pretty journals, whose pages your afraid of ruining, what joy or energy are you getting from these things?

And though I’m all for small business, those who hop on the coattails of the tag “witchcraft” irritate me beyond belief. I love me a handmade item, and will always support those who craft with intention. However, I can’t count how many of those small chip bottles I’ve seen sold by people out of their homes (or at Pagan/Witch fairs), who only went to Michael’s and spent $17, to turn around and sell it for $40 or more. Sometimes way more.

It’s not just the clutter in those instances that bother me, but the deception to your fellow community members. We’re supposed to be different than our other religious counterparts- we’re supposed to be more aware of our impact and the influence we have on others, and we’re supposed to do better. Profit should never be a motivator when dealing with the community, unless you’ve physically created the item, especially if you have resources available to everyone to offer them better prices. But as of late, Witchcraft is a cash-grab. If it’s pretty, rocky, shiny, or goes with a certain aesthetic, we’re buying it- and people know it.

It’s also why so many gemstones have “Marketing Names” instead of a geological ones, simply because Citrine sounds way better than lab-heated Amethyst. If you add metaphysical properties to a stone that’s been baked in a fire, someone out there will buy it- they will trust you, perpetuate your lies to others, and create new customers. Do you know how hard it is to convince people that real Citrine is not orange points on a quartz cluster? I’ve been blocked on Facebook simply because I’ve pointed this out.

But the truth disrupts consumerism, and consumerism is the new coping mechanism for life. We’re being taught every day that our church is not nature, but instead, it’s the shopping cart. We don’t worship energy anymore, we worship the dollar. And none of those things benefit the witch, only the one whose pockets we’re lining.

While the title to the post is definitely inflammatory, especially in today’s time, it’s done for a reason. This virus spreading among us, this idea that more is better, removes our ability to manifest properly. If you want happiness and healthiness for your home, you need clarity and positive energy in your home- can you create that with clutter?

Can you hold onto books you refuse to ruin, and not hold on to the insecurity the prevents you from writing in them? Can you hold on to the items you don’t use, and release the notion that you’re not wasting time, money, and energy on keeping them?

Consumerism is directly contradictory to the practice of witchcraft and paganism, but it suddenly fits into the narrative created by social media. Buying because you will use it is not the same as buying because you want to use it; however, if it looks pretty, we’re supposed to have it.

And we need to separate the two, for if we wish to inflict change in not only our community, but the world as a whole- we must stop devoting so much energy to the wrong place. Hoarding is a pandemic, and it’s killing your ability to practice effectively. Manifestation does not come if you cannot release the binds which hold you- including, but not limited to, those glittering treasures you know are superfluous.

Nothing is needed to practice. I’m going to say it again. Nothing. Is. Needed. To. Practice. And, if after my tirade, you’d like a post on how to do so with nothing- I’d love to show you. But first, you must accept the idea that hoarding is a sickness infecting our practices, and like Covid, we must prevent the spread as much as possible.

It starts with you. It started with me.

We can be better than our wallets.

Until next time, my friends…