A Winding Path: Adventures of Life on a Magickal Pagan Homestead

My wife and I have made profound changes in our lives through green Paganism and simple, ecological living, which have resulted in unforeseen, yet very positive opportunities for peace, joy, laughter, and success. In fact, these opportunities have been so powerful, that I was stirred to share them with others, and not keep all these amazing discoveries to ourselves. We 'unplugged from the matrix' that is the cause of so much distraction and busyness in our lives and created a magickal Pagan homestead. I will share some of these discoveries of how, as a Pagan, you can simplify your life, while living more in sync with your purpose, nature and open up an incredible world of opportunity and possibility.

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Pagan Retailers and Consumers Take Note

This is a deviation from my normal content because I think this is something really important that needs to be brought into more mainstream conversation.

In the fall agenda for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), there is virtually unknown case involving something in current copyright law known as the "first sale" clause. It essentially states that a copyright holder only has control over that first same of an item, meaning you can resell it for whatever price to almost anyone you want.

 

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, which is the case being heard sometime this fall, challenges the "first sale" clause by suggesting that it doesn't apply to items not manufactured in the United States. Read that again. It suggests that any item not made in the United States is not subject to the "first sale" clause. That means you wouldn't be allowed to resell your old iPhone 4 in your own yard sale without kicking back part of it to Apple. To bring that more in line with the groups I mentioned it would affect, you couldn't be able to sell magickal tools made in Pakistan, India or elsewhere without giving a cut to the manufacturer. Even after you've already paid a wholesale price to a supplier. That antique furniture cuckoo clock from Germany that's been in your family for five generations is also subject to the same rule, if the Supreme Court changes the way things have been done for over 100 years.

So what started all this hubbub? Corporate greed, are you really shocked? Basically, a text-book manufacturer chose to sell books in the US for a higher price than elsewhere in the world. A college student from Thailand studying in the U.S. figured it out, had his family buy the books at the cheaper price in Thailand, mail them to him, and then he made $1.2 million by selling them in the U.S,. on eBay, for less than the book manufacturer. The manufacturer/publisher, Wiley, filed a copyright infringement suite against the student, which he then countered with the "first sale" clause. Lower courts ruled that the items made outside the US aren't covered under the clause and that Wiley has control over the sales and resales of their books in the U.S.

If SCOTUS upholds those lower court rulings, theneverything manufactured outside the U.S. will be exempt from the "first sale" clause; just think for a second every item in your house not made in the U.S., and possibly even the car in your driveway, or at least a bunch of the parts. How about the items on your altar? This impacts such a wide gamut of entities like libraries and museums, not just eBay and Craigslist. Many New Age shops I know of have a used book section, and some even have spaces for people to resell some of their own items, which often times includes items manufactured outside the U.S.

My primary concern is that a ruling like this will negatively impact our already beleaguered local Pagan shops. The shop owners, many who have had to try and expand to online venues just to keep the lights on, could be subject to extra fees on all the products manufactured outside of the U.S. It could also wipe out a majority of resellers and vendors who operate at such a low level of capital as to not even have a "brick-and-mortar" store. It also has the very real potential on consolidating the retail sector, eliminating a significant source of competition, which, on top of passed-through-to-consumer fees, would mean a very increase in consumer prices. One of my other concerns is that US manufacturers will use this ruling, if upheld, to ship all their manufacturing overseas just so they can get a slice of the sales from 2nd+ sales. There are so few U.S. manufacturers of magick/ritual items already, that while this may actually help make their items more competitive in pricing, the costs for so many other household items may offset any budget benefit of the average consumer, thus still hurting Pagan cottage industries.

Not all is bleak, however, and this could be the perfect opportunity for a cottage industrial revolution of sorts for the Pagan community because items manufactured in the U.S. would still be covered under the "first sale" clause, and that includes U.S.-made copies of items commonly manufactured elsewhere. So it would seem that the time is right for the more adventurous Pagan entrepreneurs to begin manufacturing all those India/Pakistan-made things which we Pagans buy like crazy. It's also a perfect time to employ U.S. workers to help accomplish this, further strengthening our economy. Politicians don't solve any of the problems being debated about on stage, it's you and I getting out there and doing the work that solves those problems. What say you?

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Peter is an American of British and German ancestry who lives in Missouri with his wife Mary, where he is (re)discovering his connections with nature and the Gods. When he's not tending to their homestead, which feeds his family and provides an expression of gratitude and work in veneration to the Gods, he writes for several blogs, and works as a freelance artist/graphic designer. Having many years of experience in various forms of occult systems, including Asatru, Celtic, and Dragon Hollow Wicca, and Witchcraft, Peter finally found what he had been looking for all his life in a blend of Traditional Witchcraft (the nameless art), Heathenry and personal gnosis/exploration (vision/mystic).

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