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Author Topic: Ethics of pagan supplies  (Read 3095 times)

Sarah

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Ethics of pagan supplies
« on: May 27, 2014, 02:47:13 pm »
I'm sure this must have been discussed here, but I couldn't find a thread on it

How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?

For me I try to make sure what i obtain for my path is some mixture of: do I really need it, second hand, a renewable resource, not environmentally damaging, made and sold by individuals or small business, and as local as possible.

obviously I can't do all of this all the time but this is the ideal for me (And I am not judging people who can't buy within these parameters due to economic or social circumstances.)

Also I am finding that the more I think about this in relation to my spiritual life it is bleeding through to the rest of my life (which is an experience I've had a lot since I started my path.)
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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 03:15:40 pm »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;148662

How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?.)

 
A dear friend of mine who makes jewelry has a preference for buying things where she can ask "Do you know the name of the person who made this" and get an answer (for things that aren't mass-shaped, obviously.) It's not so much *what* the answer is, but whether you can get to an individual.

I prefer the same for my ritual tools, or at least a small company. (For example, my athame is from a small company that handmakes its items: I don't know precisely which person made it, but I know it was made by hand and by an individual in my area at the time.)

The same thing does carry over into my daily life, as much as I can with various limitations. (Living a rural area actually makes it easier, in some ways, because the places I could theoretically shop in person are a lot smaller in number.)
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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 04:28:44 pm »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;148662
How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

This is something I think about a LOT more now than I did several years ago.  Unfortunately, we can't buy locally or handmade nearly as much as I'd like for various reasons -- usually financial -- but I try to do it when I can.  F'ex, just yesterday, I stopped at the local family-run farm stand on my way home from the grocery store, to get tomatoes, strawberries, and honey.  I could have bought all those things at the store, but I'd rather buy from the stand because it's local and because they taste so much better.  Of course, if the stand hadn't been on my way home, I would have had to factor in the financial and environmental aspects of spending the gas to get there.  So it's not always as obvious a calculation as it might seem.

I don't do magic, but I use amulets all the time, which are incredibly important to me. For the ones I can't make myself, I work with a friend who is a silversmith. So I always know who made them, which means I have a much better handle on the energy that went into them. Amulets made specifically for me are effective.  Mass produced amulets aren't even amulets until I put the energy and intent into them.  

Sourcing the materials is much harder. Especially for jewelry making supplies.  I'm fortunate to know exactly what mines a few of my stones came from. I even mined a couple myself. But that's very unusual, and even more so for the silver.

For offerings, it depends largely on what I can afford.  If I can spare the money for handmade beeswax candles and Jameson whiskey, that's preferable. But it's much more likely that I'll only be able to manage tea lights from Ikea (the cheapest source of tea lights I've found) and tap water.  But I think Brighid is ok with that.

So, I guess my answer is: I try, but often can't do it.
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Redfaery

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 05:02:53 pm »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;148662
I'm sure this must have been discussed here, but I couldn't find a thread on it

How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?


I wish I had the discipline to pay more attention to this sort of thing. Right now, I draw the line at "cheap plasticky crap." Like, the "athames" that some metaphysical websites sell that are really just mass-produced letter-openers. (Full disclosure: I have one of these and I still use it as a decoration on one of my shrines.) Yes, letter openers make great athames, and you can find some really cool ones. However, I'd rather scour an antique store or flea market for that. I'd be more likely to find something truly unique that way, and I'd also probably spend a lot less for it!

I should be as clear as possible that it's not the cheapness, or the plastickyness, or even the mass-produced-ness of such items that I don't like. It's the fact that these objects usually have such dubious ethical origins. Little trinkets from China and Southeast Asia just aren't usually made in very humane or ethical conditions, no matter what shop sells them, or what use they're put to.

However, I'm aware that my standards are currently pretty uneven. I will still buy stuff from the local metaphysical shop and not ask where it came from. I'm really bad about doing this with stones. (FYI, I have stones I've dug up myself, from a trip to the mountains. Need to do that again!) I also have more mass-produced stuff than I'd like to admit. It's embarrassing, because I'm well aware that the stuff I find secondhand in my favorite antique shop always....ALWAYS works out so much better than anything I buy.

Still, I try.:o
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 05:04:05 pm by Redfaery »
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MadZealot

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 05:40:02 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;148666
Like, the "athames" that some metaphysical websites sell that are really just mass-produced letter-openers.

Hanging this here, because my athame is a mass-produced boot-knife.  Also, I get my mass produced tealights at the dollar store.

I'm lucky enough to have a couple of great metaphysical stores within about 30 minutes of me. They do have some of the mass-produced stuff, but they also sell hand-made jewellery, wands, robes... and a shipload of oils & herbal blends that they mix in-house.  Also, books outside the Llewellyn usual.  I buy most of my oogity-boogity goodies from these shoppes as the budget permits.  Other stuff-- bowls, candleholders, decorations-- come from thrift stores, generally.

So I buy hand-made and second-hand when I can, and if I do wind up buying manufactured stuff I'm still supporting a local 'mom & pop' store.  Which probably means I have a C+ in ethical pagan shopping.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 05:41:01 pm by MadZealot »
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Redfaery

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 05:53:42 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;148670
Hanging this here, because my athame is a mass-produced boot-knife.  Also, I get my mass produced tealights at the dollar store.

I'm lucky enough to have a couple of great metaphysical stores within about 30 minutes of me. They do have some of the mass-produced stuff, but they also sell hand-made jewellery, wands, robes... and a shipload of oils & herbal blends that they mix in-house.  Also, books outside the Llewellyn usual.  I buy most of my oogity-boogity goodies from these shoppes as the budget permits.  Other stuff-- bowls, candleholders, decorations-- come from thrift stores, generally.

So I buy hand-made and second-hand when I can, and if I do wind up buying manufactured stuff I'm still supporting a local 'mom & pop' store.  Which probably means I have a C+ in ethical pagan shopping.


LOL...No, I think we'd both squeak by with a B- ;)

I didn't mean to sound like I was condemning anyone who used a cheap letter opener for an athame. Like I said, I've got one myself. My dismay was more at the online suppliers who write them up and are all OMG SOOO SUPER SPESHUL MAGICK KNIFE and I look and think - "I can get this on Amazon.com for $10 less"
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MadZealot

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2014, 05:59:38 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;148673
My dismay was more at the online suppliers who write them up and are all OMG SOOO SUPER SPESHUL MAGICK KNIFE and I look and think - "I can get this on Amazon.com for $10 less"

 
Gotcha.  

Here's a question, tho: are you more dismayed at the occult retailer, obviously resorting to bullshit to peddle his wares; or at the Amazon retailer, who can price more competitively for the same shite product?
Oh, is it time again to say "Fuck Trump gently in the ear with a swarm of pissed-off hornets?"?

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CailinRua

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2014, 07:24:52 pm »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;148662
I'm sure this must have been discussed here, but I couldn't find a thread on it

How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?



For me, ethically sourced is preferred of course but not something i think about much when buying. However, i dont really have a need for too many specialty items so its easier for me than for someone who might use more. I have found in my own practice that items that i find and turn into supplies, a carved and decorated stick, or a certain stone, a feather, whatever calls my attention and feels right for the circumstance. or just a something from a thrift store that might have a symbolic meaning to me and me alone can be more useful and meaningful than anything you can buy because you think you need it. Also im usually pretty broke as a college student.

In my town there are a couple metaphysical stores. I have only been in one. They have local sellers in there, so I do like to get my incense and resins from them, but mostly is just good for home decor and jewelry, the selection of herbs and stones and books is sadly lacking and overpriced and how and when they were harvested i do not know, and all of the herbs have sat in the store a while, you can tell because it ALL smells like incense and not like what it is, and are faded in color due to storage in small plastic bags and probably just age. The staff are also sort of rude so i dont go often. Its disappointing because i KNOW there are pagans/witches in the area, could be im out of the loop and just dont know of any better place right now!

I do have a great herb lady though, she wildcrafts much of her supply, and you can ask her all about where when and how she got it, etc.

I've also ordered items online, mostly oils, seeds, or books. I like to avoid it when i can simply to not have it trucked in from far away or to pay shipping fees. That is a parameter of "ethically sound" i have been more flexible with for convenience. To be honest, i dont generally ask where things came from when i buy it either, which is something i need to get better about, i tend to prefer handmade items and dont investigate much past that. With food, im much more vigilant about its origins. Its a habit i need to spread out amongst other aspects of my life haha.

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2014, 08:32:42 pm »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;148662
What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?


In general, I have the same shopping rules for both ritual/magical gear and other things in life.
 
My first priority is to source it secondhand in some way, if I can - I use almost entirely thrift store candles at this point (though I did buy some new ones 90% off after Christmas) and most of my altar pieces were bought second-hand, even some of the statuary, at thrift stores, yard sales, antique/consignment stores, and one of my ritual knives came from someone else's Etsy destash.

If I have tried and cannot turn it up secondhand, then I try to get it locally and hand-made. If I can't get both, then I consider locally-but-not-handmade and handmade-but-not-local to be equally good. (Most of my statuary is mass-produced but comes from local pagan stores, frex, while about half of my oils are handmade but ordered online.)

Usually that takes care of ritual stuff. I have one more step that I am willing to go for other stuff, though, where I will prefer stores that have good employee records over ones that don't (so Costco, Winco, etc).
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Redfaery

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 12:42:07 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;148674
Gotcha.  

Here's a question, tho: are you more dismayed at the occult retailer, obviously resorting to bullshit to peddle his wares; or at the Amazon retailer, who can price more competitively for the same shite product?


The former, as Amazon sells the letter openers as letter openers. My dismay at Amazon's unethical business practices falls into a completely different category.:eek: To be fair, I'd probably actually buy one of these from the occult supplier, because I'd just feel better supporting the smaller business.
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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2014, 01:21:48 am »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;148662

What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?

 
I think I do pretty well sourcing my ritual and shrine stuff locally or at second-hand shops. I don't have a lot of money so I have to be careful with everything I buy. I try to avoid buying online if I can, because of shipping costs and carbon miles, but sometimes it's just not possible. Many Pagan books, and other rarer books, simply can't be bought here in a bricks and mortar shop, unless I buy them online from either Amazon or the Book Depository. Rarely do I find them in second-hand shops, though I always look.

There is also an epic void of local Pagan supplies in my state, and what is available is mostly of the Neo-Wiccish sort. Some things (like athames) can't be bought online because they can't be imported into the country, so I've just grown to be creative with what I have and what I can find. Gemstone beads and crystals are my biggest problem when it comes to finding ethical sources. I haven't solved that problem yet.

Deity statues I find I usually have to buy online, though, and usually mass-produced ones too, because there are few options for buying them locally, even if they're all made in China or something. Every now and then I get lucky, like the odd Egyptian stall at a market, or like with my Hekate icon, and my winged Isis statue that I picked up at a New Age store, but they're rare finds. Mostly, it's Buddhas and Ganeshas all the way down.

It does sort of trickle down into more mundane purchases, particularly with food. But like I said, I don't have a lot of money, and I can't always afford to buy ethical and locally produced things, if they're available. But I do try to support my second-hand shops, and donate a lot of my stuff there, as well as looking there for cheap things I might find a use for.
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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2014, 03:22:26 am »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;148662
I'm sure this must have been discussed here, but I couldn't find a thread on it

How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?

For me I try to make sure what i obtain for my path is some mixture of: do I really need it, second hand, a renewable resource, not environmentally damaging, made and sold by individuals or small business, and as local as possible.

obviously I can't do all of this all the time but this is the ideal for me (And I am not judging people who can't buy within these parameters due to economic or social circumstances.)

Also I am finding that the more I think about this in relation to my spiritual life it is bleeding through to the rest of my life (which is an experience I've had a lot since I started my path.)

 
Buying second hand or from small, local artists is important to me. I get a lot from charity shops (thrift stores), and I have several people on etsy that I regularly support, plus artists/crafters that I know personally.

But it's even more important to me to make sure that the entire process involved with the creating of an item was ethical, especially in the case of things that often aren't - like incense, or candles, or crystals (which I don't buy anymore, but used to). I don't buy sandalwood anymore, and it upsets me when Pagan shops stock it, because as far as I know there is no ethical sandalwood anymore and we're killing off a species because 'it's so lovely and grounding in meditation'. I've gone back and forth on which candles are the most ethical, and have decided that local beeswax candle companies are mostly the way forward, although I have some soy candles for some things (but it's harder to tell where the soy came from). With second-hand things I'm less worried about where the product started, since it's already been bought and paid for, and my role is mainly to keep it out of landfill, but I try not to buy second-hand things that are obviously unethical, like real fur.

It's really important to me to be aware of these things, for religious reasons.
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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2014, 07:48:06 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;148693
The former, as Amazon sells the letter openers as letter openers. My dismay at Amazon's unethical business practices falls into a completely different category.:eek: To be fair, I'd probably actually buy one of these from the occult supplier, because I'd just feel better supporting the smaller business.


I'm reasonably okay with buying from Amazon (though mainly through their Book Depository division). The bookshops here are pretty much all owned directly by Norwegian publishing companies and so the prices are exorbitant*. The few books in English are pretty much 'bored on vacation' books like you find in airport bookstores (popular and most often shitty novels).

There is ONE metaphysical seller in the area; used to have a brick-and-mortar shop until she realized that getting up in the morning to commute to your hobby business sucks when you're in your 60s...so now she sells online with local pickup.

Unfortunately, she sells what people buy and Norwegian-brand alternativ folks are generally of the love, light, and angels** type.  Which is fine, but it is often at cross purposes with the dirt-under-fingernails, herbal, and folkmagic type of stuff I lean towards. So I just buy stones from her because that's really the only overlap. But I buy from her loyally because she's awesome and local.

Many of my things have been obtained via Etsy. Since I can't do local, I can at least do handmade. I've developed a lot of respect for Baltic woodworkers, let me tell you.



*Something of a minor scandal right now and possible collusion on book pricing is being examined.

**To the point where HH Princess Märtha Louise runs a school called Astarte Inspiration and teaches classes about how to become clairvoyant and get in touch with angels. The Princess is an interesting person.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 07:49:38 am by Allaya »
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Vale

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2014, 02:45:36 pm »
Quote from: Jacob;148662
I'm sure this must have been discussed here, but I couldn't find a thread on it

How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

What are your parameters for "ethically sourced" and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?

For me I try to make sure what i obtain for my path is some mixture of: do I really need it, second hand, a renewable resource, not environmentally damaging, made and sold by individuals or small business, and as local as possible.


I consider this very important but I apply it to all areas of my life where ever possible.

I buy as much as possible secondhand. Keep my household appliances till they cease to work - my TV set was over 20 years old when it was replaced and that was only because they forced a digital signal on us.

I live close to Glastonbury and I hate all the resin products that the shops there sell. I prefer to commission the few pieces I do have from artisans working in harmony with the land. Most of my ritual supplies come from charity shops and I am phasing out candles in favour of oil lamps fuelled by recycled cooking oil. Not perfect but better. As for crystals - lets just not go there....

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Re: Ethics of pagan supplies
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2014, 04:18:34 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;148698
Buying second hand or from small, local artists is important to me. I get a lot from charity shops (thrift stores), and I have several people on etsy that I regularly support, plus artists/crafters that I know personally.

But it's even more important to me to make sure that the entire process involved with the creating of an item was ethical, especially in the case of things that often aren't - like incense, or candles, or crystals (which I don't buy anymore, but used to). I don't buy sandalwood anymore, and it upsets me when Pagan shops stock it, because as far as I know there is no ethical sandalwood anymore and we're killing off a species because 'it's so lovely and grounding in meditation'. I've gone back and forth on which candles are the most ethical, and have decided that local beeswax candle companies are mostly the way forward, although I have some soy candles for some things (but it's harder to tell where the soy came from). With second-hand things I'm less worried about where the product started, since it's already been bought and paid for, and my role is mainly to keep it out of landfill, but I try not to buy second-hand things that are obviously unethical, like real fur.

It's really important to me to be aware of these things, for religious reasons.

 
My candles are all from IKEA, but I like to make a lot of things myself, if I can. If I can't... well, I'm going for the cheapest, or I will find something to reuse. I've never been crystally inclined when it comes to paganism, though I've made jewellery with them. I know that for most of my nice jewellery gems, the owner of the bead store travels around actually going to the places the beads are from, but that's not a guarantee. But, a lot of the things I make, I don't actually use :o specifically my wands. I loooooooove wands. I loooooooooove making them. But I've never found a use for any of them. I'm not a wiccan, so they have no place in ritual... D:

That maybe gives me a B :p

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