The Lucrative Business of Being a Witch on Etsy and TikTok

Rhiannon Headrick, the owner of All About Intentions in Rolla, Mo., said that a lot of requests can feel like a last resort for people — usually women — who are out of options and hope. “My wife reads the majority of our messages now, because I got to a point about eight months ago that it was just breaking my heart,” said Mx. Headrick, who uses they/them pronouns.

“We’ve done hundreds of legal cases, typically nasty divorces and custody battles where there’s one partner who is in control and has more access to the funds,” Mx. Headrick, 35, said. But it’s impossible to verify, they said, whether the spells are effective. “We recently had a man admit in court that he assaulted our client’s young son,” they said. “He’s now in jail.”

A “Winning Legal Matters” spell costs $75.55 from Mx. Headrick’s store, while a “group cord-cutting ritual” to facilitate harmonious co-parenting costs $45.55. Casting a curse on a defendant or plaintiff during a family court case is not illegal. However the sale of “metaphysical services” that guarantee outcomes has been banned on Etsy since 2015, causing an uproar in the witch community. The services of many Etsy witches and practitioners now have “entertainment only” qualifying riders.

Still that hasn’t deterred repeat customers. Bernadette Giacomazzo, a journalist and writer in Atlantic Beach, N.Y., works with Mx. Headrick at least once a month, mostly on career-centered rituals. Ms. Giacomazzo, 45, credits her disillusionment with Catholicism for her interest in witchcraft and other supernatural practices, comparing her monthly payments to Mx. Headrick to tithings.

In return, Ms. Giacomazzo feels as though she has a psychic cheerleader. “I know that someone’s praying on my behalf in a positive way,” she said. They’re “somebody that has my back in the spiritual realm.” She attributes landing a publisher for her book after years of trying to Mx. Headrick’s spell casting.

Visiting witches for help is a longstanding tradition, sometimes a last resort, especially when all other avenues have been exhausted. “If you go to a witch, you might be asking for something which, as a woman, you couldn’t have access to in other ways,” Dr. Gibson said. “Power, wealth, health, security.”