The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
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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| I Have Strong Feelings On The Idea Of "pagan Clergy". I Have... ||Oct 10th. at 8:00:13 am EDT|
|horse (Missoula, Montana US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I have strong feelings on the idea of "pagan clergy". I have felt for a while that, a loose confederation of pagans, say a non-profit group (a "church" might be too much "normilization" of beleifs), that was nationally recognized as the 'pagan religion catch-all' orginization, what people in the media and local community groups would automatically go to for 'just the faqs' of paganism, this could lead to the further recognition and acceptance of paganistic beleifs as normal as Christian or Muslim beleifs. I would gladly become a memeber and give money to pay for people to hold positions for the purpose of reaching out to the pagan and nonpagan communities. A person like this may not be "adept" at every pagan path, but would know enough of different paths to be a source of enlightenment for, say, the local newspaper's halloween articles or for a new pagan to find companionship (please, no offense, but we pagans can be cliquish). Also, this person could be instrumental in resolving tensions between local covens, a sort of "neutral ground" to work through differences as well as working towards unity. I think the best people for postions like this would be our modern craft 'elders', those pagans who grew up in times when there just weren't open pagans, those who have fought tradition and conformity to learn and practice a way of life they felt in their hearts. It is thanks to them, and those before them, that we can walk into corporate coffeeshop bookstore and find everything from Asatru to Zoroastrian. (i'm getting misty-eyed)
Maybe these are just pipe dreams, maybe we are too disorganized of a bunch to make this happen...but maybe not.
| Divination, In My Understanding, Is Certainly A Part Of The Wiccan Religion... ||Oct 10th. at 10:07:54 am EDT|
|Kathwoman (Mission Viejo, California US) ||Age: 49 - Email |
Divination, in my understanding, is certainly a part of the Wiccan religion.
A "paid clergy" is a separate issue. Clergy implies organized religion and I am certainly opposed to anything of the sort! That's when you start getting into dogmatic situations and that would be a tragedy for witchcraft and paganism.
However, exchanging teaching, readings, and services for cash is perfectly acceptable. As a matter of fact, my Tarot teacher made it quite clear that an "energy exchange" was necessary for doing readings. That can be a number of things such as favors, gifts, return readings, or even cash!
| I Believe That Divination Is A Part Of The Wiccan Faith, At... ||Oct 10th. at 10:27:28 am EDT|
|Kori Parathena (Nashville, North Carolina US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I believe that divination is a part of the Wiccan faith, at least in the eyes of my tradition. I realize that this may not be the case in other trads, however.
I think the idea of a paid clergy is a bad one. I have yet to see a religious leader...Pagan or otherwise...that could accept money for religious services and remain uncorrupted. Whe it comes to religion, I think money really is "the root of all evil."
I do think it is okay to charge for readings and spellwork, though, especially to "outsiders." I do not charge for teaching, ritual leadership, or counseling, because I believe these matters fall fully within the realm of the spiritual. At one time, I didn't charge for my "magickal" services either, i.e. divination and spellwork. I was soon being taken advantage of, however, and I fell prey to those I lovingly term "Tarot junkies" and "Spell junkies." I have found that when you charge for these services, you are slightly less likely to be taken advantage of, plus, it cuts down on your personal costs when you can expect the client to pick up the tab for any spell supplies you might need.
| In My Opinion Tarot Readings Are Not A "part" Of The Wiccan... ||Oct 10th. at 11:52:07 am EDT|
|Rev. Maya Ravensong (Council Bluffs, Iowa US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
In my opinion Tarot readings are not a "part" of the Wiccan RELIGION. It is a wonderful tool or aid in many many different ways and "can" be used during ritual or as a way to connect with the Divine. But so are many other things. Most Wiccans I know use tarot or a similar tool but none of them consider it a part of thier religion. Many people who use tarot are Not Wiccans, I know some Christians that use tarot! So how can it be a part of our religion? You can be a Wiccan and never touch a deck. This does not mean of course that you can not MAKE it a part of your own path, it is just not something you MUST as in honoring the Goddess and or God.
As for paid Clergy. I have no problem with this when the Clergy is performing a service such as a handfasting, Birth rite or passing over ritual. They are taking time out of thier day/night to do this, sometimes without knowing very well the one(s) the ritual is performed for. I am listed in my local Countys listing of clergy who can perform legal marriages. I did it so Pagans who wanted a ceremony that reflected thier own beliefes could find someone if they were solitary. I think it is entirely appropiate to be compensated for taking time to do it. I am not talking large dollars here, just whatever the peple can afford to give as a thank you. It has ranged from $5.00 to $30.00. Paying to learn the Wicaan religion is another matter. The only thing I think should be paid for by the student is thier own supplies. Such as the cost of candles, oils, incense, notebooks etc. Paying to learn about the Goddess and or God and how some worship them is WRONG wrong wrong! And could lead to unseen or seen nasty little egos hurting people. It turns the relastionship from one of teacher and student in a spiritual sense to one of business. Never should profit be made off of one who has interest in The Old Religion. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth every time I hear about it.
THANK YOU Witchvox for having a place where we can speak on these issues and so many more. All your hard work for the Pagan community shows Pagans what can be accomplished when you work hard enough. Brightest blessing to all of you!!
Blessed Be as Blessed is!!! ;) I love that btw!!
Rev. Maya Ravensong
Coven of the Spiral Wheel
Council Bluffs IA
| I Don't Believe That Tarot/rune Readings Are Part Of The Duties... ||Oct 10th. at 12:01:48 pm EDT|
|Edred Wodener (Roseville, California US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I don't believe that Tarot/rune readings are part of the duties of a priest or priestess in wicca or part of the gothar in Asatru. I believe that the pagan/heathen "clergy" should not be paid for services such as sabbat/esabbat rituals and other base services that are done by a minister type role (i.e. crises councelling, healing rituals, & hospital visits).
I do believe that the pagan "clergy" should be able to charge for weddings, readings, and teaching classes. I believe that the pagan clergy should teach to anyone classes that explain the basic tenets of the faith for example a Wicca 101 class or an Asatru 101 class regardless of an individual's ability to pay.
I myself teach Wicca 101 classes and Asatru 101 for a donation of $5.00. The way I collect is I have a coffee can or jar on a counter in the pagan store where I teach with a sign on it that says donations. I do not look at the jar until after everyone is gone, then I count the money and leave 20% to the store keeper to help cover the costs of the utilities and as a thank you gift. The rest of the money I cover my expenses for the night (hamberger at McDonalds, copies of the handouts, etc) the rest go into my Kindred's fund. I do not expect to receive anything because that is my duty as a gothi(asatru priest).
| Clearly, One Can Not Believe That We Should Expire To The Stability... ||Oct 10th. at 12:52:14 pm EDT|
|John (Blackwood, New Jersey US) ||Age: 0 - Email |
Clearly, one can not believe that we should expire to the stability of an income through Tarot cards. However, I will say that I wish beyond hope that the faith could be recognized more clearly and that perhaps we could become (even more than now) enlightened teachers throughout the community. I understand that at this time some of us are. I also understand that many of us would like to desire a paying job doing things in the faith. Our reward is the presence and the eternal exsistence of the faith in this world. Is that reward enough? Besides, being known for Tarot readings would be just degrading to some of us....
| Divination And Herbalism, Etc. Are Not Part Of The 'religion' Of Wicca... ||Oct 10th. at 1:49:54 pm EDT|
|MachaCrow (Charles Town, West Virginia US) ||Age: 31 - Email |
Divination and Herbalism, etc. are not part of the 'religion' of Wicca. They are common practises of peoples who subscribe to Wiccan 'religion'. There are those who actually do not read the cards, or runes, nor do they create noxious recipes in their kitchens. Just as spell casting is not, in my opinion, a requirement for believing in the Lord and Lady, I do not feel that palmistry, or such is "part of faith".
As for accepting monetary recompense for services, well, I think if a reader or herbalist or healer is paid for service rendered and has rendered service of such quality that is valued at the compensation, then so be it. In the not so distant past, it was common practise for healers, doctors, vets and midwives to collect "payment in kind", this usually in small rural communities was in the form of barter. Their service was valuable and they were compensated for it. Small farming communities could not afford for these knowledgeable persons to seek a living elsewhere, therby putting the locals and their livestock at risk.
It's a matter of valuable service. Therein lies the crux of the matter. How valuable do you as a consumer, hold divination? I read tarot for myself and will willingly do so for close friends at no cost. I have read at fairs and parties and generally any monies collected went to the charitiy or group.
I study herbalism and at this point I still need the services of others, whether recipes, instruction or materials. I expect to and gladly pay for such. To the ability that I can and in a manner I feel reflects the value of said service.
As in any "business" (and it is a business if you are compensated, whether with "silver" or "chickens") there are ethical and unethical persons. You as a consumer should seek the ethical business person. "Buyer Beware". If you are the entreprenuer, then you set your compensation according to how much you feel your service is worth, what the market will bear and try to be ethical in your day to day practices. If you are in it to simply make money, then you are doomed to failure.
There, my $19.95 worth..
Anna (aka MachaCrow)
| First Off, May I Congradulate Whoever Thought Up Discussing This Topic. It's... ||Oct 10th. at 2:55:44 pm EDT|
|Tanais (Spokane, Washington US) ||Age: 19 |
First off, may I congradulate whoever thought up discussing this topic. It's a "hot" topic and I believe it shouldn't be something taken lightly. What I get from this question is not one of faith but of moral philosophy. Is it right for leaders to be paid for the work they do? In a perfect world, money wouldn't be an issue and everyone would take care of each other. Realistically, who is going to want to clean out a septic tank if they aren't getting paid? It would be a very short institution if a wiccan clergy were to concentrate their entire time to theology and not find some way to at least get by with the basic necessities. By basic necessites I mean food, water, etc. If they make their money through donation then so be it. It seems to work in other faiths and here in the United States, the government to some degree takes care of the clergy with tax exemptions and other things. Do I think that there should be a full time pagan clergy? Short answer is no. I'm a firm believer that if someone wants to be a member of the clergy, then it makes no sense to make a clergyperson seperate from the community they are supposed to serve. What's wrong with working a 9-5 job and hosting rituals or coven spell sessions during time off? Sure there is advantages to spending 24/7 studying theology but I think again that there needs to be a personal and hands on quality that goes hand and hand with being the leader of the people. I find it easier to respect a religious leader willing to swing a hammer as well as plan the event.
As for tarot readings and things like that, sure it's regretably the most common thing associated with the faith. But let me first propose this question. Why are tarot readings so important? What real emphasis is put on candles and incense? I use candles as a symbol of the elements and I do hold them very dear to me rather then what I'm burning. The actual candles I can get at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and it wouldn't really matter. It's the symbolism that they have and the faith that I have which I use said candles to symbolize. The point is that they are used in the faith but are secondary to the actual belief so if people want to make a commercial business in catering to tarot readings or selling religious books then go ahead; I'm not going to stop you because they are tools and we are ultimately responsible with the path we take.
People are attracted to whatever religion for a reason. Whatever reason is entirely valid and personal. I think to teach a student should be and is one of the most honorable professions one can have. Public school teachers today are hardly living the life of luxury as it is but they stay because of a love of learning and what I can only describe as community service. The same principles should apply to religious matters when a newcomer inquires into the pagan faith if not stronger. As a religious teacher, the teacher is ultimately responsible for the development of the student. It's not like teaching math or science because concrete evedence goes along with academic learning. We are talking spiritual learning and that is much different. A lot of the ideals will be based a lot on faith and may even go against reason. The needs of good teachers would be needed for religious instruction and the only way that I see one can become a good teacher is to devote all their time, every day. So, how is a teacher going to make a living? Can't exactly hold down a second job to make ends meet so I believe teachers need to be paid.
Just a few insights from under the black pointy hat
| Any Exchange Of Money Needs To Be Considered Carefully Before It Happens... ||Oct 10th. at 4:26:00 pm EDT|
|Tony (Tampa, Florida US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
Any exchange of money needs to be considered carefully before it happens. Someone else mentioned the statement that "Money is the root of all evil, " and while I prefer to point out that this is a common misquote and the original quotation is "The love of money is the root of all evil" each quotation has certain merits.
When it comes to the craft, you've got to be very careful that you're doing any workings for the good of the client and love of the craft -- and not for the love of the money. I would believe that in any case, it should be reasonable to expect the client to pay for the spell, teaching or other materials involved.
| This Is Just A Rambling Of Mine, So Please Forgive Any Grammatical... ||Oct 10th. at 6:19:23 pm EDT|
|Wandering Shadow (North Miami, Florida US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
This is just a rambling of mine, so please forgive any grammatical errors. I understand that people have to make a living, BUT there is a point where I have seen greediness and corruption take over. For example, there is going to be a Samhain ritual about an hour from my house. A local pagan shop is sponsoring it and they require a thirteen dollar entree fee. I know it's not nice to point fingers, BUT they have to be making a profit on the ritual. The ritual is only supposed to last for an hour and a half. Their only visible costs is the bite of cake and shot glass of tea for each participant. That is quite greedy, and seems to be mearly a way to make money. That is just an example of corruption that I see in the pagan community everyday . Another example is the idea of tarot card readers charging a dollar a minute, when frankly they aren't that experienced at it yet, on top of that some of them have the gaul to charge even more if they think they did a better than average job with you. I think everyone has been to a pagan shop were a small candle(not annointed) runs about five dollars. It's not right. I know the pagan supplies industry has grown to be quite large, but I don't appreciate attempts at milking me for money lie a lot of Christian churches would do. It especially sickens me when I see these same milkers decide to teach their vast wisdom to others for a small fee. An example of this would be a local pagan shop holding guided astral meditations of groups of twenty people or more. The sessions are half an hour long and cost twenty dollars each session. Well, thus concludes my rambling. I most graciously thank you for your time to listen to my thoughts. Thanx and Blessed Be :)
| Here Is My Humble Opinion, Qualified As Such! I Do Not Feel... ||Oct 11th. at 1:27:29 am EDT|
|WitchMama (Berkeley, California US) ||Age: 40 |
Here is my humble opinion, qualified as such!
I do not feel that tarot readings are necessarily specifically part of the Wiccan religion per se. However, I think divination, both as a service for others and as a tool for personal growth, most certainly IS part of the Wiccan religion. I see no reason why those individuals, Wiccan or not, who excell in Tarot or any other divinatory practice, should not be permitted to perform their art for others in exchange for payment, just as those who excell at teaching, writing books, lecturing, and making products such as robes, jewelry and candles should be able to make a livelihood from their abilities. I think much of the conundrum is one of attitude. I certainly don't want to trivialize the importance and power of divination in the spiritual practice of Wicca. I think it's up to us, as Wiccans, to assure that there is an air of reverence and respect there when we perform these services for others, whether in exchange for money or not.
As far as "paid clergy, " it depends on how you mean it. I've been paid for performing Wiccan weddings. Does that make me "paid clergy"? Or are we thinking of paid clergy in the systemic sense used by Protestant Christians? I have no problem with the former, but have a very difficult time envisioning the latter!
| The Wiccan Religion Is Amorphous And Difficult To Pin Down With Any... ||Oct 11th. at 5:37:45 am EDT|
|Yui Daoren (Santa Fe, New Mexico US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
The Wiccan religion is amorphous and difficult to pin down with any all-encompasing definition. Thus, I find it impossible to answer the question "Are tarot readings and the like really a 'part of the Wiccan religion'?"
Prognostication has been part of the human experience since the beginning, however. It is probably not beyond the scope of the word "Wicca" to include any form of it, including the use of Tarot cards.
People, such as myself, would very much like to turn the whole of our lives over to our religion. We want to help people spiritually, but we find that we often can not because we can not support ourselves without a "day job". For those brave enough to ask for some compensation for thier spiritual guidance (whether deserved or not - that is a seperate issue in my view) they face the terrible association with charletans that produced those laws in the first place.
In a perfect world, it would be unnessasary for anyone to ask for monetary compensation for spiritual guidance. We all know that this world was not made to be perfect, as we would not learn a thing from being here if it was. So, I wish that it be allowed that those who choose to might ask for money in exchange for thier services. It is left up to the "consumer" to decide if they are worth the price asked.
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