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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 10 - 10/9/2000
Money and the Craft
Money And The Craft is something that Pagans have wrestled with for decades. Are tarot readings and the like really a "part of the Wiccan religion"? Should we consider a "paid clergy"? What do YOU think about exchanging teaching, readings or clergy service for cash?
| Reponses: There are 82 responses posted to this question.
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| Do I Consider Tarot Readings Part Of The "religion?" No, I Would... ||Oct 9th. at 10:02:23 am EDT|
|Sally Lambert (Lexington, Kentucky US) ||Age: 20 |
Do I consider Tarot readings part of the "religion?" No, I would consider them part of the religious baggage, much like cloaks, or anything with a unicorn emblazened on it. Pagans (and I use a broader term, here) do have a tendency to gravitate toward certain things, Tarot readings being one of them. I read Tarot and have no problems with anyone who reads Tarot, but my first card reading was done by a Christian at a Halloween carnival in third grade and I continue to know Christians who pick up the Tarot. To pigeonhole something like Tarot reading as specifically "Wiccan" in its religious nature, seems a bit absurd since you don't have to be a Wiccan to know how to do it, you don't have to be a Wiccan to like doing it, and you don't have to be a Wiccan to get something meaningful out of it.
As for receiving money for such a thing, I have no problems with it. Only lately has it become "unethical" to receive payment for working magic, reading fortunes, and other such things. How else would've great-grandmother herbal witch made her living? Some say that it's wrong to take money for things that folks could do themselves, but could they really? I suppose Susie could build a fire and dance around it chanting, "Bring me money!" but if she were to really do it right, buy certain herbs and oils, research appropriate "wealth" deities (eg Freya or Lakshmi or Hermes), buy or loan out books looking for correspondences, then she would be out a great deal of money over something she had no intentions of following past getting a new job with better pay. However if she went to the Pagan down the street who already had the information and ingredients, handed her ten dollars and said "go to it, " she'd probably be a lot better off.
Think of it like this, I suppose I could go to several carpentry classes, buy the wood, stain, hammer, nails, etc. Or I could go to Ethan Allen, and probably save some time, money and frustration.
Money for teaching, however, I consider a unethical. A religious traditiion does not belong to one person or another, it belongs to everyone who wishes to pursue it. So charging for classes or religious instruction is a bit presumptive, especially when amazon.com has plenty on Paganism just waiting for you.
| I Am Always Very Suspicous Of These Arguments, I Think We Need... ||Oct 9th. at 11:13:06 am EDT|
|Michael (Dublin, European Union, Ireland) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I am always very suspicous of these arguments,
I think we need to make the following very clear:
A full time clergy:
A very dangerous idea, Paganism/ Wicca is unique, I find it a very thin line to walk when you have other people interpreting your spirituality for you. Other trappings are also evident, all major religions begin with the best intentions, but the organisation soon after takes precedence over the spirituality. From that point onwards the primary goal is the preservation of the image, and the organisation of the clergy, not the spiritual task. There is also the obvious point that the clergy will certainly loose touch with the "flock".
And most importantly, we are each one a member of the Pagan clergy, we are our own clergy, our coven leaders are just that, coven leaders, they have no authority outside this sphere.
Money for services, tarot, divination etc:
This is a moral issue, I myself am strongly opposed to profiting from religion. We are Pagans/ Wiccans out of spiritual servitude and fulfillment, not economic necessity.
Tarrot is not strictly speaking Wiccan, and certainly not Celtic, but inevitably there are those who have adopted it as an integral part of their faith.
If it is truely being done as a religous practice, then no fee should be charged, let people donate what they can afford and deem appropriate.
If it is purely being done to make a living, for profit or in a mall etc, then you are talking about an enterprise, no matter how you dress it up in religous garb. Then it is a matter for the courts to decide, and religion has no bearing. I understand that people are trying to make a living as best as they can, but so is everybody. We don't want to see our spirituality becoming a business, it is already slandered and abused by the media and religious zealots alike, there is no need for us to sell our spirituality and encourage them, some things can not be bought or sold.
Naturally there are costs that need to be covered and perhaps some of us are only too happy to make a donation for a service, and nobody should begrudge covering the costs of a service offered by another and perhaps something extra to show appreciation. The same goes for teaching and suchlike, we should be doing this for the love of the craft, not the love of profit.
Books are a different story, here there are other parties involved and obviously there are major costs to cover, and profit keeps the publisher interested and suchlike.
I think the important thing to remember is that Paganism is unique, individual and very special, we have the oppertunity to cherish and nurture it, or to cheapen and ruin it, this is an important time when precedent will be set.
Lets keep it simple, honest and unique.
| If Individuals In Our Society Did Not Require Money To Survive, Then... ||Oct 9th. at 11:45:57 am EDT|
|Arielle (Seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
If individuals in our society did not require money to survive, then the question would never be phrased this way. If someone traded house repairs or income tax preparation for teaching would anyone be upset with the idea? And yet I charge to do tax returns for people and others charge me to do repairs on my house. While it would be better if this type of relationship did not depend on an exchange of cash, do any of us see the 'sorcerer's apprentice' as an unethical position? The sorcerer is 'charging' the apprentice by requiring a certain amount of labor from the apprentice. Or to look at it another way, if I use up an hour of someone's time for a tarot reading, then I am preventing them from working at a mundane job for that period of time. As for clergy, if we don't want to all share equally in the time and effort neccessary to run a coven and put on rituals, then we should contribute cash. There have been times in my life when I could spend the time, or like now when it is easier and possible to spend the cash. It is my choice to work full time at a decent paying job, and to be a single mother of teenagers, so it is ultimately my choice not to have much spare time. If a coven grows into a congregation, then there will have to be at least one person paid to handle all the BS associated with a group that size. From being involved in schouts through my children, I know that a few of us always had to do everything, and we had to be firm about not also contibuting all the money. I know some parents saw scouts as free babysitting. I also know some christians go to church weekly and never contribute a dime. Neither of these is moral or ethical. Would I do a tax return for someone in need and not charge them? Of course. But I would not do it year after year unless they made an attempt to do something for me in return. I have many things I want to do that I will never find the time to get to. It is not fair for anyone to take up my valuable time without giving anything in return.
| I Would Say That Divination Is Certainly Part Of The Craft, Being... ||Oct 9th. at 11:47:11 am EDT|
|Luna Ravenhart (Kent, Ohio US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
I would say that divination is certainly part of the Craft, being a religion that encourages, or even requires, deep personal reflection. Notice the word "reflection". I think most pagans believe "as above, so below" - that the universe reflects itself in every part. Tools of divination are a way of looking into a cosmic mirror to better understand what is happening in your own lives. Astrology and Tarot offer a weather report and help us to see the larger cycles at work. Ours is a religion that allows us to look beyond the veil and ask all the questions we have, and divination allows us many different ways of finding the answers. Of course, we also understand that the answers we need are always available to us through meditation and prayer, but fortunately, our religion allows us some shortcuts too!
As to the money question, pagans, understanding the law of karma, would also understand that everything in life is a circle, and see nothing wrong with paying for what they get. As a teacher, I have comes across many people who react badly to someone charging for a tarot class, saying that that knowledge should be free to anyone. Well, it is, if you take the time to search out the answers for yourself. But then again, in that case you would be paying for the knowledge with your time and effort. If you want someone to give you the benefit of their time and efforts in learning something, then pay for it! Can you imagine someone in a tribal society going to their shaman for a healing, or messages from spirit, and not giving something in return? If someone has followed a calling into the priest/esshood, and this is what they do as an occupation, and if they are providing a service that someone cannot do, or does not choose to do for themselves, where is the harm in being compensated for their time and skills?
Interestingly, I think the debate has less to do with the worth of the reading or service, and more to do with our capitalist society teaching us that to receive is more blessed than to give - and to give is to be avoided at all costs. The idea of money equaling worth is very deeply in grained in our American brains, and I have noticed that, when something is given for free, people tend to give it that much worth. When I have bowed to pressure and offered things for free, it has tended to attract the kind of people who think the world and everyone in it owes them a free ride. There are, of course, people who value what someone has to offer, but really don't have the wherewithal to pay for it in money. These people are almost always willing to give their own time, and whatever else they have to give in trade for something that they value. I am always suspicious when someone devalues my gifts and gets all harumphy because I ask compensation for them.
| Any Requests I Receive For Readings Or Anything Related To Craft Work... ||Oct 9th. at 1:48:41 pm EDT|
|Barb Vassar (palmetto, Florida US) ||Age: 52 - Email |
Any requests I receive for readings or anything related to Craft work, I, speaking for myself, do for free. I believe when we start to charge for our services, we become more like the patriarcal religions who feel they can fix anything if you give them enough money to do it.
| No, I Do Not Consider Divination A Part Of The Wiccan Faith... ||Oct 9th. at 2:47:58 pm EDT|
|Kori Parathena (Nashville, North Carolina US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
No, I do not consider divination a part of the Wiccan faith. It IS a part of the Craft (i.e. "science" of magick), but I don't think the Goddess really cares a fig one way or the other whether one incorporates Tarot readings etc. into Her worship.
A paid clergy would be great...as a teacher and priestess of Wicca, I would like nothing better than to be able to immerse myself in my faith on a day to day basis...and get paid for it!!! Unfortunately, I think the saying "Money is the root of all evil" has much truth in it. I have yet to see a single religious leader, Wiccan, Christian, or otherwise, that is paid for their teachings and leadership while remaining uncorrupted by greed. Its a sad thing, but its true...I'm not even sure that I would be immune, although I can hope that I'm better than that.
On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with charging for spells (if nothing else, to cover the expenses of spell components if necessary!) and Tarot/divinatory readings. Especially with the latter, I have found that if you do not charge a fee (which used to be my policy), folks take advantage of you and become "divination junkies." When they have to pay for a reading, they are sometimes a little less frivolous...I stress "sometimes"...*grin*
| Yes, For Many Traditions, Divination Is An Important Part Of Our Religion... ||Oct 9th. at 6:15:33 pm EDT|
|Kori Parathena (Nashville, North Carolina US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
Yes, for many traditions, divination is an important part of our religion. I think the notion of paid clergy is a little silly, though, regardless of the religion. Being paid for spells (components cost money, and spells cost time!) and divination (folks are less likely to be "Tarot junkies" if they have to pay for it!) is a great idea, but when we start charging for our religious services, we risk becoming the Pagan version of the PTL Club...perish the thought!!! Yes, sometimes money really is "the root of all evil."
| Money And The Craft Is Not An Ethical Worry To Those Witches... ||Oct 9th. at 8:33:36 pm EDT|
|Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 58 - Email |
Money and the Craft is not an ethical worry to those witches in the "trade" aspect of Witchcraft.
It is the cowan who wants the use of the witches powers for that extra metaphysical push in life for love, luck, money and to be rid of the ooga boogas and for psychic prognstications, not other witches.
They come to the witch for a spell to solve their problems, hurt enemies, obtain money and have a love-life handed them on a silver platter.
I come to Craft through the trade, having been an occult supply dealer for over 30 years.
If I were to depend on "witches" as customers, I would have been bankrupt that long ago.
A successful occult/metaphysical shop caters to the occult needs of the cowan, who do not wish to be witches, but want the witch around to provide the ingredients for spellcraft.
Charge as much as the traffic will bear. Set your own fees for what you think your psychic talent is worth.
It is not charging a fee for Wicca. Money should not be the criteria for status in the Craft or the Wiccan Religion.
Wicca has no ownership claim to a practice in the traditional witchcraft occult arts and psychic sciences.
Just do whatever you are big enough to do, as we witches from good old Las Vegas use to say. BB Tarostar
| Hey What Ever Happened To That Little Thing That Pagans Are To... ||Oct 9th. at 11:39:34 pm EDT|
|Crescent (Sykesville) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Hey what ever happened to that little thing that pagans are to remember about not taking money for helping others? Well I'm sorry but reading the cards should not be your big money maker.(Now if the person who your reading for wants to slip you a few bucks, that's on them.) but I don't think that anyone should have a set fee, or charge you for it. What happened to giving from the heart? When I do readings I don't take money for it, I'm just happy to do it.
| Paid Clergy? What Would They Do For Us That We Couldn't Or... ||Oct 9th. at 11:43:13 pm EDT|
|Amanda (Providence, Rhode Island US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Paid clergy? what would they do for us that we couldn't or didn't already? If you can give me a good reason why we need these people, and what they'd do, i'd say pay them whatever is fair and don't let it go to thier heads.
As for teaching, I think it's unethical to accept money for any exchange of knowledge. Why should I have to pay my college a small fortune every year just to *learn*? It's not like all my teachers can't go out and get second jobs to support themselves. Seriously, they don't have anything else to do besides teach us. They should feel lucky I go to class at all, I could pick up a couple of books on anatomy, a few on medicine, and then I could be a doctor. It's not like I need thier experience, past knowledge, tools, or anything else. Sheesh, this country is too materialistic.
PEOPLE! You are using someone's time and effort, there is little reason not to pay them somehow. If someone doesn't want to charge you, fine, but if they do, don't get all snippy about it. If Madonna can charge $20 for her new CD, I can charge $10 for a dessert at a restaurant, and a doctor can charge $200 a visit, why can't Morganna down the street charge a few dollars for lessons in Wicca? This isn't a religon where you sit back and do nothing, often there's a lot more involved with spells, herbs, and the like. It's a religon, and a craft. I would have to pay to learn any other craft, why not this one?
| Tarot Is Not A Totally Wiccan/pagan Thing. Anyone Of Any Faith... ||Oct 10th. at 6:30:06 am EDT|
|Sundee Ziegler (Langweid7Stettonhofen) ||Age: 49 - Email |
Tarot is not a totally wiccan/pagan thing. Anyone of any faith can walk into a book store and purchase a tarot deck and a how to book and learn to read the cards. I believe that if an individual wants you to take time from your day and away from what you are doing, than they should offer some kind of compensation. I am an artist and my time is valuable as i work on commission only. If i take the time from my commission work to give a reading for a person i am taking time away from that which is my livelyhood. I do n—t however set a certain price, but will accept what is offered. I let them know upfront that some form of compensation is expected. It can be money, a gift and i have even had my house cleaned and meals cooked in returm. I do not turn away a person for lack of money but some service will be accepted.
As for a paid clergy...I do not believe a paid clergy would benefit us as there are sooooo many different ways and beliefs within the pagan spectrum that one individual cannot minister to all ways. It would take an army of clergy to minister to us all and then there are those of us who are solitary who would not really benefit from them. One of the finest things about our path is that you can follow any path and have the freedom of creation of rituals, traditions and so forth. Never forget that our way was almost totally lost by following "paid clergy". I do however believe that those "elders" who take time out of their busy schedules to help us should be "gifted" in some form much as our ancestors did when recieveing help from them. Would a batch of homemade cookies or help with some yard work or housepainting be out of line? Or a hot meal or maybe somebaby-sitting?
I also think that if we all have knowledge to share we should share it especially when asked by newcomers or those who are searching for a new way. If such a person asks me, I do not expect compensation for the information. As far as spells and magick? I ask for the costs to be covered but not for the actual working of the magick. I think charging for the magick weakens the power as it comes from the pocketbook and not the heart.
| I Must Say That I Get The Impression That We Are Missing... ||Oct 10th. at 7:42:51 am EDT|
|Michael (Dublin, European Union, Ireland) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I must say that I get the impression that we are missing an important ethical point:
There is a difference between profit, and compensation. One is excessive and the other is just and fair.
Teachings are given of free will, and obviously money is needed to cover costs, but remember that if you are charging more than neicessary then it is on your own head. If we allow teaching and readings to become an "industry" or profitable business, then we will naturally draw those who love profit in greater and greater numbers.
Always ask yourself, am I doing this because I'm getting paid, or because it is the correct thing to do. Money can be a nice bonus, but the important question is, would I be doing this if there was no money involved?
Remember we are all our own clergy, as such we must be responsible how we represent our respective Deities and fellow Pagans.
Due to our loose organisation and small numbers we must be all the more vigilent that we are indeed working for the greater good and setting the right example. We are by far more open to criticism than others.
There is an obvious difference between sale of a product (herbs, components etc..) and servces (divination, spells, preyers etc..), one is tangable and the other is not, this does in fact make all the difference.
Many of are fond of pointing out how other religions stole traditions from us, lets make sure we don't steal such habits as the Catholic chuchs of the middle ages.
Then a person could purchase ANY service from the Church, from ancient "relics" (finger bones of christ, and splinters of the cross etc.) up to absolution from ANY sin, all if you pay the right price!!
Sorry for being long winded, but I feel very strongly about this,
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