Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Marketplace Policy and New Blade & Broom blog

I've cooled off a fraction of a degree since my post on patriarchy and policy last week. That tiny bit is enough to re-direct my wrath not so much at the marketplace who hosts my shop (Etsy), but at its proper source, the FDA. The policy changes are top-down mandates from the federal government, and Etsy just happens to be a little over-zealous in their enforcement.

As Moma Sarah of Conjured Cardea has re-iterated, though, you really shouldn't "shit where you eat." Etsy is trying to cover its own rather large tookus, and they are interpreting the FDA's regulations on medical drug claims more stringently than most venues. Okay. I still need a place to sell my goods, and Etsy still seems to be working out well for me in that respect. They (Etsy) don't want trouble with the feds, and I don't want trouble with Etsy.

However, I still have an issue with the feds, and I think the laws are becoming too strict. If my issue is with a higher authority, I need to take it to them.

Is the FDA trying to protect us? Sure. Are they being ridiculous about it? Have you paid attention?

That mighty hand of Justice that moves within me simply doesn't allow me to sit back and let my government make bad choices for me and my neighbors. I paid attention in Civics class. First they come for a stranger; then they come your neighbor; then they come for you.

So, I have an Action Plan:

1. I have already revised all of my listings at Etsy. (I actually did that on day 1, as I didn't want my shop to be closed before I ever figured out what was going on.) The words "health" and "healing" have been removed from all my listings except in the context of "spiritual healing" -- which isn't a medical claim at all. Words like "insomnia" and "migraine" are gone. I've left terms like "wellness" and "relaxation" -- general states of being. In these listings, we've only included the metaphysical/magical properties.

2. I've created a blog specifically for Blade and Broom Botanica. I know some other Witchy, conjure, Pagan retailers combine their personal blogs with their business efforts, but Natalie and I both feel odd about that. Neither of us wants to feel like we are trying to sell our readers flying ointment and wands when you've signed on to read about our magical experience. We're happy to talk about our products, though, as we are uber-proud of them, and they ARE a huge part of our magical experience. At the Blade & Broom blog, we'll give complete product descriptions -- including both physical and metaphysical properties of herbs, gems, etc -- and talk about the crafting/Crafting process. In the event that we have products that completely unavailable at Etsy, we will also have descriptions and purchase information at the blog.

3. I'll be educating myself about the bills before Congress regarding herbalism, "fortune-telling," and anything else that affects the free practice of my religion. Witches have traditionally not just done this work for themselves, but have done it for a living and I find no shame or anything unethical in providing herbal, ritual, divinatory, or other Craft services for my clients. I'd rather not have our society revert to the 1500's, though, where I an my fellows must practice and work in secret, always fearing reprisals from a government that is too heavily infused with conservative religion.

4. The point above means that I'll probably be making a damned nuisance of myself to my elected representatives at the state and national levels. My writing talents will get used in new and interesting ways, yes indeed. (Not that I have already written to elected officials, mind you.) I'll probably end up on some watch list of Militant Hippy Witches, if I'm not already. C'est la vie!

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