Witches Protest Etsy's New Ban On Sale of "Metaphysical Services"

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Ebay banned the sale of spells back in 2012, and Etsy has followed suit, adjusting its guidelines on what kind of services can be sold through the site. No longer allowed: “any metaphysical service that promises or suggests it will effect a physical change (e.g., weight loss) or other outcome (e.g., love, revenge).”

Vendors who specialize in supernatural goods, witchcraft supplies, and similar items have been negatively affected by this recent change, according to the Daily Dot.

“Swathes of us have now had our sales and shop views tank, and there is great distress in the metaphysical community,” one vendor, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Daily Dot in an email.

The witch explained that under Etsy’s previous rules, spells and hexes were allowed to be sold, as long as they fit two criteria: They didn’t guarantee results, and they produced something tangible. So you could sell a tarot reading as long as it came with, say, a digital download, or a candle that could be used for casting spells, as long as you didn’t guarantee that the spell would actually work.


Under the new guidelines, which went into effect earlier this month, such items are not allowed to be sold, even if the description includes a “for entertainment purposes only” or similar disclaimer.

A June 11 post by the admin on an Etsy forum addressing seller concerns sought to convey reassurance:

To be clear, this is not a ban on all metaphysical items. At Etsy, we believe in freedom of thought, expression, and religion. You may sell astrological charts, tarot readings, and other tangible objects, as long as you are not making a promise that object will effect a physical change or other outcome, such as weight loss, love, or revenge. Medical drug claims or claims of a medical cure are also not allowed.

...We will reach out to affected sellers and give them a chance to make changes. We want sellers of all sizes to be successful on Etsy and we will try to help bring them into compliance with our policies.


As Bust points out, there’s a precedent for this type of ban on the site:

Etsy has been extremely cautious regarding legal boundaries since the site cracked down on sellers of soap and other bath & body items a few months ago for violating FDA rules about making health claims about their items.


The witches aren’t retreating quietly, as you might expect. There’s a petition going to ask Etsy to reconsider its policy; however, it seems likely that many shops — including petition-starter Celestial Secrets, which posted about the change on its Facebook page — will have to open independent sites to continue peddling their “metaphysical services.”

[H/T Haute Macabre]

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