Etsy Is Absolutely Right To Ban The Sale Of Magic Spells

In case you hadn’t heard the news, Etsy banned the sale of magic spells earlier this week, and some witches are very, very unhappy about it–feeling that they are being discriminated against for their religious beliefs. A petition against the ban currently has over 3,800 signatures.

The new rules state that any “metaphysical service that promises or suggests it will effect a physical change (e.g., weight loss) or other outcome (e.g., love, revenge) is not allowed, even if it delivers a tangible item.”

The Wiccans and Pagans who sell their wares on Etsy–such as tarot readings, enchanted candles, magic spells and other metaphysical goods–say that this is discrimination, because there aren’t the same kind of rules about selling like, St. Christopher medals and whatnot. I think that may be because St. Christopher medals aren’t guaranteed to prevent any and all car accidents or anything, but I could be wrong.

I mean, I’ve got a necklace with a cornicello and a mano fico on it, but it’s not like I literally think they are going to prevent anyone from putting the maloik on me or anything.

Still, I get where they’re coming from. I do. Far be it for me to tell anyone not to practice their religion! Go and do, I say! What care I!

But, here’s my thing. I do not have magic powers. I’m not saying these ladies don’t have magic powers, but I definitely do not. And not for lack of trying either! I mean, I watched “Carrie” in sixth grade, too. I tried, and I definitely thought I moved a piece of Kleenex for a second, but it turned out it was just the wind.

In the event that Etsy were to allow the sale of metaphysical services, I, a person lacking magical powers, could easily go on Etsy and claim to be selling enchanted pineapples. I could charge way more for said enchanted pineapples than I would for regular pineapples, because I could say that they could give you healthier, shinier hair and make all the dudes want to bone you or something.

Now, like I said, I have no magical powers. How is Etsy supposed to differentiate con-artists like hypothetical-enchanted-pineapple selling me and people who have actual magic powers like Lady Astrelle here?

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Lady Astrelle (AKA Ashley Coulton) is one of the witches upset about the recent ban, and told the Washington Post that “[m]any have told me their shops are being closed without so much as notice. I do worry about the effect this will have on my business … I do believe the actions of Etsy are in fact, discriminatory toward Wiccan and Pagan faiths.”

Once again, understandable. But, like I said, someone like me could go on down to the Ren Faire and pick up some kind of outfit like that. Perhaps even my very own large wooden throne! And a stick with a thing on it! And I could totally con innocent Etsy users into believing that I, Robyn Pennacchia, have magic powers. How would they know? I’m just some lady on the internet they’ve never met in person, who definitely cannot move Kleenex with the power of her mind. That doesn’t seem right to me.

For the record, I don’t really think people should be selling Christian prayers on Etsy either, if they claim to literally do magic stuff. An Etsy spokesperson has said that this is covered in the new rules too, and that no one can sell a prayer or a spell that claims to cure cancer or what-have-you.

I don’t like the idea of people getting taken advantage of. It’s something that bothers me a lot. People spend crazy amounts of money on this shit and pin their hopes on it, believing it will help them find love or more money or job satisfaction or cure whatever ails them with no proof whatsoever that the people selling it to them actually have the magic powers they claim to have.

To boot, many of these people are also selling “traditional medicines”–which, I’m sorry, could actually be dangerous. Really. Please, for the love of god, do not buy medicine on freaking Etsy. Someone was even selling crystals that claim to cure AIDS. That is not OK.

Etsy is right to ban this stuff, because at the end of the day, they are protecting their customers from frauds and con artists. That comes first. Just because there’s possibly someone out there who will buy a fugazi enchanted pineapple from me for $100, that doesn’t mean that a website has to sponsor me doing so.

[Washington Post]