Usually, when there’s a shitstorm on the internet, I tend to hit ignore to be completely honest. I don’t want to weigh in. I don’t want to have a conversation. I don’t want to get involved. It’s only when my Muse nags me half to death to say something that I finally do, fully knowing it’s going to force me into pointless conversations that just irritate everyone. It’s why I’d rather talk about pop culture. No one is going to get too involved or too annoyed but it’s generally amusing and interesting.
Let’s preface this with a few things:
- You are totallllllllllllllly entitled to hate Pinrose, Sephora, the media, consumer culture, whoever. It’s your life. You are captain of your own ship. You are welcome to have whatever grudges you want.
- Let’s be clear: The Pinrose Witchcraft Starter Kit was in no way shape or form priced in any kind of affordable manner. It was not actually accessible.
What to do, what to do?
A conversation from yesterday:
Me: So the biggest trend right now in occult writing is talismanic publishing, meaning the book is published with fancy goatskin or hand bound or whatever. Naturally, this is not a group that has wanted much to do with me due to my basicness. However, a west coast press is doing an anthology and they hand bind their books. They took my piece! I will have my piece in a hand bound book!
JohnM: loooool. basicness.
Me: Hand bound book! Me!
JohnM: Basic! You!
Me: Yeah, I’m the PSL of the occult world.
JohnM: Goals honestly. I just wanna be basic and ubiquitous. Like Chris Hardwick was.
Me: I’m finally reaching our goal for me to be a mediocre white girl.
Once, several years ago, a Young came to me at NYC Pagan Pride. He said that he worked for Sephora and they had been passing around my first book, the self pub. He was emotional when he told me that I didn’t know what it meant to be seen, to be understood and that I got what they were trying to do. That cosmetics were a kind of sacred space and that it meant something. That it wasn’t just something you smeared on your face because someone told you to, that it could change your life. That you could change each other’s lives with it. I squeezed his hand and told him he was doing good work.
Long ago, in ye olde 90’s, Witch stores were brick and mortar places that lived often in the mall. Borders usually lived right next to the mall. Borders had poetry slams and was one of the few safe spaces to go as LBGT youth. They had books about kink, about LBGT, about feminism, about Witchcraft. We bought our books there. We bought our Tarot cards there. We bought our crystals there. We talked shyly to adult Witches there. I didn’t know I was a Witch yet. I wouldn’t know for years to come. This was a safe space for my mother to look upon with an indulgent eye while shepherding me to church. In confirmation class, we did mediation to Enya. My dad wasn’t dead yet. I didn’t need to question god yet. I had no need for actual magic yet. Seeds were being planted, so deep and dormant. I didn’t know that eventually my origin story would be considered sweet in a basic sort of way at best, garbage at worst. No goddesses called to me. No special dreams were given. I watched The Craft. I read Francesca Lia Block. I don’t have a GamGam who practiced. I have cemeteries and best friends’ stepmothers and honorary aunts when I want to make this respectable. But none of my real teenage roots would be deemed respectable now.
The mall is not a respectable place for enlightenment, for glamour, for sovereignty, for dreams to be born.
If the Pinrose kit was $30, I would have bought it. I would have definitely liked to have rubbed my grubby little paws all over it in store.
I’m a Sephora VIB Rouge level member. I have over 1,000 points banked in my account with them. I have free flash shipping. I just got my biannual sale box full of moisturizer. I was a Play! member for about a year and I would distribute whatever goods I knew would not work for me to my fellow (part time and full time) femmes at parties on my Giving Table. I felt like a Fairy Godmother. I remembered how special and sacred it always felt when someone would give me their Clinique bonus week cosmetic pack. I had been chosen. I could conjure whatever I wanted. Now I was giving my girls the chance to try all kinds of things too. Grassroots glamour, nothing can be wasted. Even just tried lipsticks needed to be distributed. Like the tested Lime Crime lipsticks Bridgette gave to me, only available via special order. If they did not work for me, it was my sacred duty to hand it to the next daughter of glamour. I go to Sephora see my Girl when I have questions about highlighter, when I want to admire lipsticks, when I feel sad and think maybe a new eyeshadow will make me less sad. The lighting there is literally magic. On a sad day recently, I smeared myself full of glittering cosmetics, a private one person version of Joan Rivers and Miss Piggy. I felt invincible.
What’s the difference? I keep turning this question over and over in my head, a worry stone that hasn’t left me alone for days. I often vend with Bridgette. We sell: soaps, smudges, ritual oils, eye shadows, incense, candles, Tarot readings, my book, beard oil, unsolicited compliments, bath bombs, junior Witchscout advice. Sure, we make all this ourselves and we do our best to do our best but . . .
What’s the difference? Why is it okay for me to sell cosmetics and witch supplies but it’s not okay for Sephora? Yes, they are much larger production, of course. Of course. But is it so wrong to link cosmetics with witchcraft? What was the point of talking about glamour as magic and cosmetics as magic and fashion as magic and style as magic and glamour related influence as magic if it’s not okay? What was the point of Azrael showing us how to weaponize cosmetics if it wasn’t? What was the point of kosmesis in the Trojan War?
We have been told that this is dirty and wrong. That cosmetics and religion don’t go together. We have taken art and made it crap for young girls and as we know, anything meant for young girls is crap. We have to be authentic as witches. We have to be wild and free and never ever consumers.
But that’s not my authentic truth. Not as a Witch or as a human. And I bet it’s not a lot of yours either. And I don’t think we should have to be constantly racing to fit an archetype that may not actually be your truth. And I’m saying it’s okay. It’s okay if you like the Witch aesthetic on Insta. It’s okay if you haven’t read a ton of books or listened to a ton of podcasts or vblogs. It’s okay if you like Witches in the media. It’s okay if your representation as a Witch isn’t being covered anywhere but in your heart. It’s okay if you go to Target or shop on Amazon or if you don’t. The point of being a Witch isn’t being enraged on command, it’s making your own judgement. I’ve made mine and it’s okay to have made yours too.
I see you. I hear you. I hold space for you.