Keeping Consumerism out of Your Craft (Baby Witch Bootcamp Ch. 33)

Happy woman shopping online at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio, accessed via Pexels.

Consumerism is a set of socioeconomic conditions and attitudes that encourage the continual acquisitions of goods and services. There is no “enough” in a consumerist society — members of the society are constantly pushed to buy new things, pay for new services, and keep up with the latest trends.

There are a few reasons consumerism is bad news. For one thing, it’s terrible for the environment — consumerist cultures usually have linear economies, where resources are extracted, consumed, then discarded, with no effort to replenish them. This is highly unsustainable, because at some point those limited resources are going to run out. Consumerism also has a human cost, as it often leads to the use of sweat shops, which violate basic labor laws. In many sweatshops, workers are not paid a livable wage, children are employed as workers, and working conditions are unsafe. Companies in countries like the United States get around labor laws by outsourcing labor to other (poorer) places. Consumerism also contributes to classism, as the acquisition of expensive items is often treated as a status symbol.

Consumerism is present in nearly every aspect of Western culture, and this includes spirituality and witchcraft. There are multiple “Beginner Witch Kits” for sale from Amazon and other online retailers which include candles, crystals, and incense — which is great, as long as that’s all stuff you’ll actually use in your practice. (I mean, do you really need twelve different varieties of incense?) Witchy authors and bloggers often treat magic like a matching game, where every problem requires a very specific herb or crystal. YouTube is full of “witch hauls,” videos solely dedicated to showing off new purchases. All of this contributes to a commercialized witchy aesthetic, which can only be achieved by buying the tools of the trade.

I get it. Shopping is fun, especially when you’re still learning about magic and magical items. It’s exciting to search for the perfect crystal or incense blend, especially if you have a local metaphysical store where you can shop in person. But owning the right stuff doesn’t make you a witch. All you need to practice magic is your will — everything else is optional.

I’m not saying every witch should be a hardcore minimalist, or that you can never buy new things. What I am saying is that all of us, witches or not, need to be more mindful of how we spend our money and the impact of our purchases on the world around us.

How to Avoid Consumerism

  • If you’re considering buying something, ask yourself if you’ll really get use out of it. For example, I don’t use a lot of tools in my practice because I prefer to work with my hands, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to buy an expensive wand or ritual knife. Don’t feel like you have to buy something just because another witch uses it — if you don’t think you’ll use it, don’t buy it.
  • Don’t buy multiples of the same tool. Instead of buying multiple different colored altar cloths for different times of year, buy one white altar cloth you can use year-round. Instead of buying multiple tarot decks, find one or two you really enjoy working with. You get the idea. (Obviously, there will be some items you need more than one of, like spell candles. This rule applies more to tools that can be reused.)
  • Replace things as they run out instead of buying them before you need them. Buying things in bulk can lead to unnecessary waste and drawers full of unused magical supplies. Buy things you know you’ll really use, and only buy one or two at a time. Use up the items you have before you buy more.
  • Invest in items that have multiple uses. For example, most kitchen spices can also be used in spells — search your spice cabinet before ordering special ingredients online. There are some items that have multiple magical uses, like rosemary and salt. Buy a couple of these multitaskers instead of a large collection of herbs with very specific uses.
  • Use the “two week” rule. This is something I do to keep myself from making impulse purchases. If I think I want to buy something online, I wait two weeks before I order it. If I still want it after two weeks, I take that as a sign that I’ll actually get some use from it.
  • Go “shopping” in your backyard. Familiarize yourself with the plants, animals, and minerals that are native to your area and go foraging for spell supplies instead of buying them. Items you can probably find near your home that could be used in ritual include leaves and flowers, pine cones, seed pods, tree branches, rocks, and naturally shed feathers. Just make sure you never harvest enough of a plant to hurt it, and make sure you properly disinfect any animal products you pick up.
  • If you can, make it yourself. Not only does making your own magic items save money, it also creates a much stronger personal link between you and that item. You can grow your own magical herbs in a garden or in indoor pots. Many common magical tools, like brooms and wands, are easy to make at home with some basic craft skills. Making your own items also means you can customize them, tailoring them to your own craft.
  • If you can’t make it yourself, but it used. There are some items you can’t reasonably make yourself, like incense burners, cauldrons, and books on the craft. But you can find most of these items used, either in thrift stores or online on websites like Ebay and Depop. Buying used almost always ends up being cheaper than buying new, and because you’re buying items already in circulation you aren’t contributing to a linear economy. Thrifting is also a great way to find unique items that won’t be like what anyone else has on their altar.
  • If you can’t find it used, support a small business. Sometimes, you can’t make what you need or find it in a thrift store. In that case, buying from a small business is preferable to buying from a big retailer like Amazon. When you support a small business, you’re supporting an individual rather than contributing to some CEO’s massive yearly bonus. A lot of small business owners make their items themselves, which avoids sweatshop labor. Pretty much everything I buy new for my craft comes from Etsy sellers — there are a LOT of witches on Etsy, so with a little digging you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for!
  • Don’t buy crystals. I know, I know. Thanks to social media, large crystal collections have become synonymous with witchcraft. But the crystal trade is highly unethical, with unsustainable mining techniques, dangerous working conditions, and child labor. Because of a lack of regulations, it’s virtually impossible to find crystals that are truly ethically sourced. Most sellers don’t know where their crystals come from and can’t guarantee that no workers were harmed in their extraction. No stone is worth the health and safety of other human beings, no matter how pretty.

Avoiding consumerism in your witchcraft means being less reliant on tools and set dressing. This will allow you to rely on your own energy and will, which will lead to a deeper and more meaningful spiritual practice.


  • Revolutionary Witchcraft by Sarah Lyons
  • Simply Living Well by Julia Watkins
  • “11 Facts About Sweatshops” on
  • “Child labour in the fashion supply chain” from The Guardian
  • “Bangladesh factory collapse toll passes 1,000” from BBC News
  • “Are crystals the new blood diamonds?” from The Guardian
  • “Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze” from The Guardian

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