Economics and Paganism

Recent surveys have shown that there .67% of the population self-identifies as “Pagan” when asked about their belief system. That is a slightly higher percentage than Seventh Day Adventists or Unitarian Universalists.

I find that many people I encounter, whether they identify as “Pagan” or simply “spiritual,” would love to have a community of people with whom they can talk about beliefs, do the occasional meditation, or even just feel connected. They don’t feel the need, for the most part, to find other like-mindeds to worship or practice with, but they would love a sense of community.

When presented with opportunities to have community, to have a center, to have a gathering place or a school or even just a series of classes, these same people balk, because it might cost them money.

These other, smaller groups have no problem finding the funds to create meeting places and schools and businesses.

There are several components to this problem.

  • Pagan-oriented groups have no tradition of tithing;
  • There is an odd mind set in the Pagan community that you shouldn’t have to pay for teachings or anything spiritual;
  • Many people in the Pagan community are either frightened or wary of money, so they have less of it.

There may be other components, but those are the big three.

The second one is the one that I have the biggest problem with. In “the old days,” the medicine person/priest/village witch didn’t necessarily charge you for their help, but the village fed them and clothed them and protected them. They also had no qualms about using the energy of anyone or everyone in the village to do their manifestation/banishing/healing. Accepting money for my services solves both of those problems – there is a clear exchange of energy and, therefore, clear boundaries, and you are still contributing to my care and feeding. I don’t charge for ascensions (or whatever this week’s objection is), I charge for my time and the body of my knowledge.

As the the third point… Money is not evil. It is not even “the root of all evil.” If you’re going to use that quote, use the whole thing: “LOVE of money is the root of all evil.” Money is a tool, plain and simple. Reduced to its essence, money is merely a representation of an exchange of energy. If you just use it as a tool, it remains a tool. Worshiping it is the problem. Most people, when they wish for more money, don’t actually want more money. They want what that money will bring them. Acknowledge that it is a tool, and a tool it remains.

Allowing yourself to remain in a mindset of lack dishonors the Divine in you. It says that your efforts are not worth anything, that the gifts you were born with or the skills that you have learned are not deserving of acknowledgement, or compensation. Lack, at it’s most basic essence, is the illusion of the absence of the Divine. So work to reprogram that mindset. My experience has shown that the Universe really does want you to be abundant.

What we end up with, once those two problems are addressed, is a group of people who want a sense of community who don’t understand how to create one. Money is not the only thing that will help set up the structure for a community or a school, although it is going to be necessary at some point. These things also require effort, attention, dedication, and a shared vision. That representation of an exchange of energy is going to have to come into play at some point, because materials and space cost money. Unless you’re keeping it to five people, meeting in someone’s living room, and everyone brings food that they grew themselves, something, somewhere costs money. If you want a larger space, where more people can gather; if you want people to come in with more information or tools; if you want books or handouts or websites or even a Meetup group; if you want people who are trained to lead groups with a Pagan ethos, you might want a seminary; these things all cost money.

Because of the way our society and our economy works, things cost money. Roads cost money. Police cost money. Education costs money (whether it comes out of taxes or directly from your pocket). Bridges cost money. Places to meet cost money. Electricity costs money. Training costs money. Materials cost money. Travel costs money. Whether you are a capitalist or a communist or something else entirely, the reality is that things cost money. If you want someone else to fund the things that you desire, what else are you putting up in return? Because if you’re not putting in effort or money, you’re asking for something for nothing, and that’s actually the definition of entitlement. It dishonors your teachers, it dishonors the information, and it dishonors yourself. Stop it.

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