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Craftwork: Magick makers in the working world


Black Books of Elverum

I’m new to the maker world of witchcraft. Never before have I “sold” things I’ve made for others, I’ve already traded or made things for friends and other witches….*for FREE* I am certainly not against this, at all, but at some point, it is nice to get a return. Over the years in zine land, I’ve learned to never really expect a ‘profit’.  I’ve struggled with the idea of “anarcho-capitalism” if that even exists, which is trivial, but this notion of having anarchic principles against commodity and capital fetishism / exploitation / but still trying to produce a living wage. Granted, the solution does not boil down to words only…it does boil, boil, double, and trouble for working witches.

I know many herbalists and alternative medicine healers work on a sliding scale. I think this is wonderful because it allows for individuals to decide where they fall in an income bracket. Surprisingly, people that *can* afford full price services, generally pay full price services. If I could, I would too, and have when my income was stable, as a way to support.  I like the synopsis of sliding scale offered by the Califia Collective:

Sliding scale represents the idea that financial means are not and should not be the determining factor in whether or not someone can access services/care/etc. Service providers and institutions usually offer sliding scale because there is a commitment to serving individuals and/or communities that would otherwise not be able to afford the services.

I think this is a fair and responsible model to genuinely address financial privilege.  Even in the world of witchcraft, there is privilege. Let’s get away from the woo-woo crap where everyone is equal and we shouldn’t see race, blah, blah, we are all humans. WE KNOW this is another construct of privilege and more specifically white privilege. This really ties into practice and power and more importantly, appropriation. I base what I make on what I’ve learned and know primarily, intuition, and ability. I am careful and respectful about the craft I make.

While I do tend to make herbals with bioregionalism in mind, I have studied Old World western herbalism and custom. In an attempt to contemporize my craft, I’ve contemplated on community, awareness, home and safe spaces, protection beacons, and core elementals. What is important right now? I guess I’m grappling with the cost of materials and practice time put into the object.  When I create a ritual space or ritual time to make a product, I’m weighing my expertise of the subject. Sometimes, in the case of the graveyard visit, I did some research on goofer dust to make sure I was not treading on disrespectful means.* This is all part of the maker time, and we should be validated in counting this as part of our time, yet it is part of the entire object. The question remains, is our time inherent?

Elemental Witch bottles: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Ether

I feel my prices are fair and reflect perhaps what is an embedded sliding scale. So when a practitioner creates a talisman, an object, a tincture there is intention put into the materials, as well. Most bottles cost between $.90-$1.50, depending on the plant or found or bought materials you use, that could range anywhere between $1-$5.00 or more. So charging $10.00 for a protection talisman or a tincture is extremely fair. We would like to be validated for our time, expertise, ingenuity, research, care, intention, wisdom, and essentially magical craft.  Items of wellness and magical support are a service and that service is an integral reason, we do what we do.  If you see a bottle that is full of grass, dirt, and eggshells for $10 and question, why that is, then that is all you will ever see. It is a metaphor. If you see, a gateway, a beacon, bands of color and texture that makes you feel secure and glow, or a lantern that opens a dark path into clearing, then the object becomes words, deeds, more than a physical manifestation. It is passed on to the next.

*There is some controversy about graveyard dirt and where exactly you can respectfully collect. I purposefully do not collect dirt from atop a grave directly, but on the grounds, in most cases in/and around tree groves or single trees.