There Is No Such Thing as a Free Resource

As some of you may know, I’ve made the decision recently to pull back from my TikTok and put more energy into other outlets for my knowledge and creativity. In particularly, I’ve been working on growing my Patreon. This has left some people understandably disappointed, as my TikTok is a source of free information. But I want you, dear reader, to know that there is no such thing as a free resource, and if the only material you are consuming as you research your path are materials that are ostensibly free to you, you should understand the trade-off.

First of all, I’m sure everyone has heard the social media adage — if you’re not the customer, you’re the product. This means that if you are consuming media “for free” on social media, you’re not the customer. Customers pay. If you are consuming media on social media, you are the product. The customers are the advertisers that keep social media sites in business by advertising to you while they collect your information to keep refining the ads they target at you. And, honestly, part of this is why I’ve pulled away from TikTok. Yes, I recognize that every social media platform is going to have this problem, unless they charge users to use it, which would obviously limit their audience. But TikTok in particular has some very troubling and mysterious algorithm elements that actively suppress necessary content in favor of pushing out seemingly light-hearted, “unpolitical” content. But all content is inherently political — “avoiding politics” is in itself a political statement. So if you get most of your content from social media sites, you are “paying” for it in bias. You aren’t getting the full picture.

Beyond social media, where content is in pre-digested chunks ready for the baby birds of our audience, there are books. And while I do not condone pirating in-print books by living authors, I do use public domain references quite often in my research. But there are two costs to public domain references, both of them somewhat related to time. It is important to remember that time is a form of cost — I spend my time searching for references and reading them (sometimes in facsimile format or even in other languages, where necessary and/or possible for me). But beyond that, public domain references are generally rather old and might be out-of-date, both in terms of information that has been updated recently and in terms of philosophical values. In fact, my next folk magic course lesson will be able to learning how to recognize problematic language and themes in older references. And it takes time (and mental/emotional energy) to both sift through that rhetoric and to even learn how to recognize it in the first place. So from now on, when I do that work, I’m going to prioritize it for my paid content, through Patreon.

Because of the inherent bias in all references, and the platform-specific biases for references on social media sites. So I urge you all to find other forms of reference for your practice. No, not everyone has the financial resources to build a library of texts, but putting in the work to seek out content creators who share their lived experiences with dogwhistles and then using that to vet public domain resources available will serve you better than letting an algorithm choose what witchcraft content is put in front of you.

And if you happen to be interested, you can find my Patreon here.