Plans to Sell a 'Witch Kit' Spelled Trouble for Sephora
Before your company makes light of witches for Halloween, consider this: They're a real thing. And they don't ride broomsticks.
Yes, yes, Halloween is still weeks away, but witches are already in the news. The reason is that perfume brand Pinrose announced it was rolling out a "Starter Witch Kit" for little girls; but witches weren't, and aren't, having any of it.
The kit, which was to be sold at Sephora stores and online, was intended to retail for $42 and include nine items identified as witch-related, such as sage (to cleanse any bad karma), a rose quartz crystal, tarot cards and more.
Self-identified witches caught wind of the sale and protested, saying they felt their religion had been slighted; as a result, the kit-maker has now backed down and cancelled the product.
Perhaps Pinrose should know better because, in fact, witches are a real thing. And they don't ride broomsticks, wear pointy black hats or cast spells on children. Their religion, known as Wicca or modern paganism, was formed in the early 20th century and is an actual religion. Wicca worships both a Goddess and a God, the male figure being the "Horned God" and the female the "Mother Goddess."
Some facets of Wicca reference beliefs from the pre-Christian era in Europe and those early paganists' belief in a central female goddess. Magic may or may not be involved, as multiple, autonomous Wiccan groups, or covens, have multiple beliefs and practices.
Those practices in the 16th and 17th centuries had a horrific end for thousands of women identified by the Catholic Inquisition as witches having a satanic mission: They were burned at the stake. The bestselling Da Vinci Code famously described how a doctrine of that era, Malleus Maleficarum -- or The Witches' Hammer, campaigned for people of the era to hunt down and torture or burn "free-thinking women" like midwives and women expert in the medicinal use of herbs.
A commentor on a YouTube video summed up the objections, saying, "Would they ever sell Catholic spiritual kits, [a] Muslim spiritual kit, [a] Buddhist spiritual kit? I doubt it. People should be offended."
Additional sample comments included:
From Chelsea: Desert Witch: "Witchcraft or Paganism (or however you refer to it) is a religion. One with actual practices and guidelines. It is not a basic bitch bandwagon. Spirituality is not a toy. Don't buy the #witchkit @sephora is selling."
From Liz: "Being a witch isn't trendy, it isn't cool because Halloween is next month, it doesn't make you quirky or creepy. Being a witch is a choice, and practicing is a form of religious worship. Do your research, and protect yourself when you practice."
The makers of the derailed witches' kit have not yet commented.
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