The occult is having a moment. Companies want in, but not if witches can help it. (Vox)
Sephora and Urban Outfitters are among the brands that have faced a backlash for appropriating magic.
By Nadra Nittle, Vox, October 31, 2018
A clothing store may not spring to mind as the go-to place for spiritual supplies, but chains like Urban Outfitters now sell smudge sticks, tarot cards, and healing crystals — and they’ve been at it for years.
Fashion retailers aren’t the only ones commodifying indigenous spirituality and the occult. Customers can also find alternative religious goods at stores as mundane as Dollar General and Walmart. And those who prefer not to shop around for such products can sign up for witch and magical subscription boxes.
As more Americans abandon organized religion, efforts to capitalize on the occult will almost certainly persist. But outcry related to this trend has recently grown louder, with pagans and people of color objecting to the idea that corporations can pass down their traditions. When word spread in September that Sephora planned to sell a $42 “starter witch kit” from Pinrose with perfume, tarot cards, crystals, and sage, it faced a backlash so fierce that the company pulled the product.
Both practitioners and scholars who study the occult argue that corporate takes on these beliefs are shoddy versions of the real thing. They accuse businesses of bastardizing traditions and twisting magic’s purpose — implying that it is something to be consumed rather than accessed from within.