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Buy Local, or why you should make friends with your local rootwoman



O, Etsy. You purveyor of all that is desirable and yet sometimes dubious. I didn't appreciate Etsy (and probably still don't) until my hip daughter introduced me to Regretsy. Mothers of gods, what a hilarious mess.

In the interest of honesty and fair play, it's best I tell you that I don't have an Etsy store and have never bought a thing from the site. Nor am I one of those folks who spend time on Etsy seeing what's on offer.

Except for the occasional Regretsy link, I never gave it much thought. Until the baleful lords of Etsy decided to stop allowing my kind to peddle their wares there.

I read several sides of the issue and felt bad for those people who are likely to be severely impacted by this decision--the vendors, the dealers. In this age of unaffordable rental fees for empty storefronts, most folks who do the 'doo don't really have the readies for a bricks-and-mortar store.

I read Jason's excellent piece on the Wild Hunt, suggesting that this is a First Amendment issue. I read what Etsy said about their reasoning.

Interesting on all counts. But if you are a shopper and check the site for a love charm or a luck talisman or a sachet of Hot Foot Powder, you'll have to look elsewhere. I am sorry about that.  The Internet being what it is, you should be able to contact a reputable vendor and get what you need.  There are several sites that have excellent inventories of all that glorious stuff.

I do understand the deeper meaning of this recent banishment. There are religious freedoms issues involved and the sneaking suspicion that some "godly" people may have raised an unholy stink about the witches and gypsies and their filthy contraband.

Someone will no doubt create a site, like Etsy, for folks like us--esoteric entrepreneurs. A place where we may once again take our rightful place on the tournament field of commerce.

But until then, allow me to suggest something radical in this electronic age--buying local.  There may be a struggling metaphysical store in your community that could use your custom.  And there may be rootworkers in your neighborhood that you don't know because they are part of a different culture or religion or race than you.  You might find it hard to communicate with that little old lady at the botanica but it'll be worth it.  And you may be surprised at how much she really does understand.

Ask you neighbors--if they have been in your town for a few years and if they won't be freaked by the asking--if they know of people in the community who do hands-on healing or sell supplies for herbal medicine.  Check bulletin boards in the laundromat, go into that tienda and shop around for something more than a quick taco.

You may be amazed at what you find. 

Here's the poster for our local Buy Local campaign.


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H. Byron Ballard is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has taught at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Her essays are featured in several anthologies, including “Birthed from Scorched Hearts“ (Fulcrum Press), “Christmas Presence“ (Catawba Press), “Women’s Voices in Magic” (Megalithica Books), “Into the Great Below” and “Skalded Apples” (both from Asphodel Press.) Her book Staubs and Ditchwater: an Introduction to Hillfolks Hoodoo (Silver Rings Press) debuted in June 2012. Byron is currently at work on Earth Works: Eight Ceremonies for a Changing Planet. Contact her at,


  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley Saturday, 15 September 2012

    A wonderful post. While my wife and I derive a significant portion of our income from Etsy, not selling the types of things mentioned, it has it's flaws in "quality/policy control". I heartily recommend that folks always seek their supplies locally first, and use the internet as the 'other' way.

  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Saturday, 15 September 2012

    Thanks, Peter. We talk so much about community in Pagandom and Heathenry but we sometimes don't walk our talk. I hear from too many people with bricks-and-mortar stores that they don't get support from us and they don't know why. I know I am as guilty as the next witch of buying some supplies at Dollar Tree. Good luck to you and your wife!

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