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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 23,410,094  

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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. Reverse Sort 

I Personaly Never Charge For A Reading Besides The Only People I... Oct 11th. at 9:22:50 am EDT

Jennifer Juniper (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida US) Age: 24 - Email

I personaly never charge for a reading besides the only people I read for are my famliy and close friends. As for being part of the craft, tarot is just another tool for divination such as runes and scrying. I have no problem with any tool. Where teaching for cash comes in, I'm a bit fuzzy I have attended "workshops" that took me 10 mins to figure out my money would have been better spent somewhere else. This has somewhat jaded me towards "teachers" who ask to be paid up front. I would much rather gather with a group of my peers and pool our collective knowledge. I subscribe to an email group where the moderator has daily topics of discussion and I find it to be very enriching, and we goof around too:) In closing except for paid handfasting services and magical supply, I find the craft and cash mix just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I Don't Necessarily Have Any Opinion On A "paid Clergy", But I... Oct 11th. at 10:22:50 am EDT

Renae Martinez (Norwood, Massachusetts US) Age: 24 - Email

I don't necessarily have any opinion on a "paid clergy", but I definitely think that tarot readings and the like are part of the *Pagan* tradition, if not the "Wiccan" tradition. I do not consider myself Wiccan; but I follow many of those practices. I do consider myself Pagan, and I do tarot readings, for friends, family, myself. I do not collect money for that sort of thing, though. I more or less think money, though a necessary thing in our society, is kind of pervasive and evil. But that's just me. =) I don't think I agree with exchanging teaching, readings, or clergy service for cash, but I do not condemn those who do so.

Cash For Knowledge? It's Bad Enough We Have To Pay For Water... Oct 11th. at 11:38:50 am EDT

Little (San Diego, California US) Age: 22

Cash for knowledge? It's bad enough we have to pay for water..a free resource of the earth, but to pay for the services of the Gods. If a person is blessed with the gift of reading, he or she should not get money for it, perhaps an exchange in a gift for a gift...maybe lunch for a reading would be allright, donations at your discretion type of thing. But If one is being payed to read the stars to give ease to some ones mind, I think it is abuse of the powers.

Tackling This Question One Piece At A Time. The Easy Part Is... Oct 11th. at 3:09:05 pm EDT

Beth (Silicon Valley, California US) Age: 49 - Email

Tackling this question one piece at a time.

The easy part is divination. My tradition (an offshoot of English Traditional) includes a few simple rules about money and Craft. 1) You may not charge money to teach the religion of Wicca. 2) An artisan is worthy of her or his hire.
3) IF you need to use magic in order to acquire something, you may not haggle over the price. (I take this both ways, though it's only stated in this form.)

Nothing in those rules says that one may not get paid for working magic. And divination is a combination of skill, talent, study, and magic.

The difficult part is the question of pagan clergy and payment. Accepted practice in the tradition is that one may "charge" or request fees sufficient to cover costs. But how do you calculate costs? Actual cash layout for a class includes renting space (what about teaching in one's home, where one must house-clean and make ready and prep space?), purchasing consumables (incense and candles, cookies and juice), photocopying materials (handouts, class notes, synopsis, flyers or posters or mailings), cost of travel to and from the class location for the teacher(s)... What about time? Is a teacher's time worth anything? I'm not speaking here of the dozens or hundreds of hours of preparation of class materials, lesson plan, handouts, ritual design, etc. Nor travel time to and from a site. I'm only talking about the 2-3 hours per session that the teacher(s) spend(s) with the students. Why does that matter?

Many teachers are sharing information garnered over decades of study (not all of it formally within a Pagan religion). Studies in mythology, magical techniques, ritual, psychology, counseling, divinatory techniques, hypnotherapy, herbalism, parapsychology, energetic techniques (including martial arts and healing practices), and plain old comparative religions. They also share information gathered from experience, and winnowed for the grains of useful truth among such experience.

Teaching the Wiccan religion comes cheap even at New Age prices. If you choose your teachers carefully. That doesn't make me any more comfortable with charging anything like my true costs when I teach. There are far too many out there who resemble the seeker in the Zen story, who demanded of the master to be taught the wisdom of the world while standing on one foot. For that, buy the Teen Witch Kit and begone.

The first Wiccan seminary (ATC) in this country is already credentialed (, and look for the link). There are other avenues for the Pagan clergy of the future to develop, but they're pretty durned hit-and-miss. Painful lessons at the hand of one teacher or group, which scar the Wicca priesthood even as they all grow into what they will be.

Support them how you may. And if you think that money buys wisdom, you'll find that you're probably right. But not the way that you thought.

Being A Merchant In The Pagan Field, Let Me Tell You That... Oct 11th. at 8:29:11 pm EDT

Ken (Raleigh, North Carolina US) Age: 25 - Email

Being a merchant in the pagan field, let me tell you that it is always a constant "karmic" struggle as to what fees should be charged with what. I own a small shop in Raleigh, North Carolina, and from the beginning, we set out with the mission to provide the local pagan community with items and tools that can best benefit them at affordable cost. However, the issue comes up when people want to receive "guidance" through things such as astrological charts and Tarot. When it comes to that type of thing, I do cringe a bit.

We do have an astrologer that works on our site. Because she is not affiliated with our store financially (we make no money from her and just let her use a part of our shop as an office), she does charge for services. But, as stated, I feel it is wrong to take money for this, so the store does not benefit from her readings beyond her clients coming into our shop. We also do have someone that has come aboard that does Tarot readings, however again, we make no money from him. Basically, we just give these two people a front to use so that they can provide a service if we have clientele that desire it (and some do). For that is what it is. Things like Tarot are services...not a part of the religion, at least in my opinion. If a person is good enough to charge, then by all means let them...but it better be a VERY good reading by a true Tarot artist.

As far as religious teaching goes, I am not a proponent of charging for admission. In other words, we feature free discussion groups and classes on things such as Tarot and a "Witchcraft 101" course, as well as Spell-Crafting courses that are offered by a local High Priestess. There are no charges associated with these courses beyond a donation to the instructor to cover expenses such as photocopies and the like (but even then, a person does not have to pay, nor is it encouraged). We also work with a local group that holds open rituals for the 8 holy days as well as bi-weekly worship circles. There is never a charge for admission, NOR SHOULD THERE BE!

I detest nothing more than groups that like to say things like, "If you pay me such and such, I can make you a 2nd degree initiate yadda yadda..." It is my belief, and this is just me personally, that to do things such as that are wrong. The best teachers I have ever had were people that didn't know they were teaching or guiding me.

This is a time of opening possibilities in this world...unfortunately you are always going to have those few that like to take advantage of those starved for knowledge. It is up to all of us, ALL, to put that to an end, and to let people know that the best information comes from the Earth and Stars Herself, not from the wallets of men and women.

I Do Not Approve Of Anyone,for Any Reason Getting Money By... Oct 11th. at 10:12:17 pm EDT

billie (fort scott, Kansas US) Age: 48

I do NOT approve of anyone, for any reason getting money by way of religion-mine or any other.I refuse to be an emotional and monetary hostage to any religious cause.If you want to read the tarot, by all means do so, but do not charge for it!No minister, priest, high priest or priestess should charge for offering religious guidance. billie

In My Opinion Any Service To Help Should Not Have A Set... Oct 11th. at 11:30:33 pm EDT

Joe (cameron park, California US) Age: 28 - Email

In my opinion any service to help should not have a set price.
look at some of the weathy christions and there fat pocket books at the expence
of others in the name of kindness.?
that is part of what i think makes a witch diferent is giving and helping
without thought of payment, if it could be done without loss of selflesness
then great, but i think reading the cards and other services to aid.
should be free, unless the person youve helped ofers a gift of there own free

If A Service Is Provided, Regardless Of The Faith, And It Is... Oct 12th. at 1:45:43 am EDT

Sonic (Flint, Michigan US) Age: 31 - Email

If a service is provided, regardless of the faith, and it is from an honest
puck..Ye who pays into the clergy or the reader is in for a bit of luck.

True of heart and strong of faith will relay a good service indeed,
for if they didn't thy fates would toy and oh what havok would they
endure with speed.

So mote it be..


It Is My Opinion That Accepting Cash For A Tarot Reading Is... Oct 12th. at 2:40:22 am EDT

Wesley Stevens (Eddyville, Iowa US) Age: 21 - Email

It is my opinion that accepting cash for a tarot reading is fine, but who am I to say what is right. The person reading is providing a service and the public is only willing to pay for the time and use of the cards. If you think that accepting money for a reading is wrong then consider that most people pay good money for decks. The part of the religion thing, well that is partly true. Divination is a part of the religion the so be it.

Divination Is Indeed An Integral Part Of The Craft. And It Is... Oct 12th. at 3:29:39 am EDT

Rose Crowe (Savannah, Georgia US) Age: 20 - Email

Divination is indeed an integral part of The Craft. And it is also a skill that can be learned by anyone with the inclination. I was learning about tarot ages before I chose to become a witch. Had I even chosen a different spiritual path I would still be reading tarot cards. It's a part of who I am, and I believe that some small amount of my talent may have been passed to me by my deceased grandmother, who (to the best of my knowledge) was rather Southern Baptist. I have no qualms about charging strangers money for my services. In fact, it's the most enjoyable job I've ever had.

The motives behind charging money, however, are something that should come into question. I personally have no regard for television psychics that charge outrageous amounts for a simple spread, only to tell you that "you are in terrible danger and if you give me even more money I will tell you how to get out of it." Only if you are truly one of the most highly skilled at what you do (or if you use terribly complicated and in-depth spreads) should you have the right to charge more than twenty dollars. (I charge ten.) Tarot reading is a good way to make a living, because the point isn't merely to tell the future. The point is to give insight and advice from an objective viewpoint. People need to talk, they need peace of mind. Keep in mind that as a reader, you are also a non-liscenced therapist. Should a therapist charge for her/his sessions?

Entertainment value is another aspect of tarot, at least. I read cards in a restraunt, and many people see it as a curiosity. I don't have a problem with that, because I believe in what I do, and entertaining others is fun. If someone wants to pay me to try and prove me wrong, that's their dollar. Sometimes I even help out a skeptic or two. Maybe I even show them that there is more to tarot than what they see on television.

I like to help people, and using the tarot is easier than taking psych classes and a liscensure exam. Other readers I have met have similar views, some of them Pagan, some of them not. Divination may be rooted deeply in Paganism, but it is whole and unto itself, with its own histories. One need only look at the various histories, most notoriously with tarot, to see the connections with many other religions and cultures.

Yes, Diviniation Of Any Sort Is Part Of The "wiccan Religion" (i... Oct 12th. at 9:25:40 am EDT

Dorothy Webweaver (Clyde, New York US) Age: 52

Yes, diviniation of any sort is part of the "Wiccan religion" (I prefer the word spirituality). After leading the Web at Galen Rd. since 1994 and priestessing ritual since 1984 I feel very strongly that our work as clergy is a gift of service. Everyone I am familiar with who has tried to set up a situation in which they were paid as clergy has found it disappointing and insufficient. I think that stems from the energy of the office of priest or priestess in Wicca. All of us are our own priest or priestess. All of us have connection to and resposibility toward those we love/circle with. Money detracts from that energy exchange and tries to set one over another. We ought not to go "there".

As for readings for money, we are finishing a 4 part series on tarot and have advised people to consult their conscience. I do not charge for spiritual services. Entertainment sessions may be handled differently, although I donate any funds received for any of our services to the upkeep of the Web mailings, newsletters etc. As a result, I have been blessed by a fine career with a good salary in the mundane world which keeps me refreshed and connected to the larger picture. I advise every aspiring minister to first "get a job!"
My partner Merlin believes stronly that were he to charge for his healing work, he would lose his gift. I suspect he is correct. When I was seriously contemplating a second career as massage therapist, I was given a phyaical disability which prevents that. Wrong path or wrong motive? not sure.

In any event, it is easier to love with an open hand (detachment and trust) when money is not an issue. We do not charge for classes either, and we offer 4 levels of wiccan training, 4 tarot seminars and 2 levels of shamanic studies with overnights in our house. People bring food to share and honor the teachers with gifts of ritual consumables like incense, candles, cakes and ale. Everybody helps out with the food and clean up. Sometimes I think people then fail to make class a priority because it was "free" (how good could it be?) but I see that as a challenge to our focus on money and materialism. When a student learns to value the content and experience, not the prestige of paying a price for "name" then the student has learned a great lesson. Peace and blessings, Webwever

Just As The Justice Of The Peace Is Paid A Donation For... Oct 12th. at 12:45:55 pm EDT

christine guin (arkadelphia, Arkansas US) Age: 43 - Email

just as the justice of the peace is paid a donation for his service in performing a handfasting, i expect the same from a client. if they ask for an amount i inform them it is up to them....the usual and customary for one of my kind is...and again i repeat that i leave the actual amount to them... i have yet to feel "cheated" financially...

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