Free People's 'Spirituality Shop' Is for the Pseudo Wiccan in All of Us
Remember that phase you went through somewhere between the ages of thirteen and fifteen when you decided you were "Wiccan," made your parents buy you a Book of Shadows for Christmas (FYI, real Wiccans don't celebrate Christmas), and cast "spells" on everyone who pronounced the "t" in tarot? Free People's new "Spirituality Shop" is for the pseudo Wiccan who never grew out of that phase. Or, you know, for those of us who are especially drawn to the amethyst jewelry rack at Urban Outfitters.
The Spirituality Shop is not a real place but a new section on the Free People website that sells sage bundles, dream catchers, crystals, "mystical" boxes, and everything else you'll need to spend your days pretending to be Willow Rosenberg. While I love myself some pop culture witchcraft and a good zodiac motif, there's something about this Free People endeavor that seems a bit... off. Specifically, the fact that it's culturally appropriative.
Wicca is an actual religion with traditions and a belief system that don't look anything like a scene from The Craft. And yet, real Wicca and what I'll refer to as pop Wicca are often conflated. We hear "Wicca" and we picture Stevie Nicks twirling around in a purple velvet cape or the witches from Practical Magic whispering some incantation. I'm no expert on Pagan religions, but I have a sneaking suspicion that's not what really goes on.
However, when stores like Free People peddle overpriced goods that are packaged to look like official "witchy" merchandise, it sends the wrong impression about people who identify with real witchcraft. There's nothing wrong with liking New Age-y incense and moon phase decor, but the $28 bottle of "Potion for Love" on sale at the Spirituality Shop is a) a rip-off and b) offensive to the concept of witchcraft as it's defined by those who actually practice it.
What's worse, there are plenty of "spirituality shops" that exist already and are not owned by big businesses. They're called New Age stores. If you're interested in the actual use of essential oils, herbs, and crystals for spiritual purposes, might I suggest checking out one of these in your area instead of heading to the Free People website? However, if you're simply looking to make your apartment resemble the Sanderson sisters' cottage, maybe the Spirituality Shop is the right place for you.
Images: Free People