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 Was Raised In A Unitarian Univeralist Home. My Mother, Step-father And... ||Oct 14th. at 3:04:37 pm UTC|
|Colbiras (Tallahassee, Florida US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I was raised in a Unitarian Univeralist home. My mother, step-father and I went to fellowship nearly every Sunday. We didn't go out of a sense of religious obligation, however. We went because of the sense of community we had when we attended fellowship, and because my step-father was the minister. Many was the day when I would pass the door to my step-father's office to hear him typing away at his weekly sermon on an old electric typewriter.
Being a UU minister was one of his many jobs. Each week he would write a sermon on a topic, and then deliver it that Sunday. In turn, our church would pay him a nominal fee for services rendered. It was a fair exchange of work for pay, essentially.
When it comes to a "paid clergy" it only seems fair to me. A minister or priest performs services that take a portion of their time and energy. This time and energy could also be spent elsewhere just as well as on the coven or congregation. The difference is that the clergy makes the decision to spend his/her time on that congregation. I know that if this were the case with me, I would prefer to recieve some payment for my services. However, I would not ask.
I would not ask for payment of my services, but I would not expect to be paid. When I started learning about the Craft, I learned it from a friend's grandmother. She came from a line of naturally gifted witches. She taught me that I shouldn't ask for payment for using my gifts because it would take away from the power of that gift until it was ultimately sapped away. I believe this was because eventually the gifted would start to view their gift as an object or toy, and not a gift. What she said made sense to me.
In one form or another, the clergy-person is paid for their services, no matter what. Either the God/dess gives them what they need (food, shelter, protection, etc.), or the individual or congregation pays him/her for services rendered. As I understand it, clergy is Called to service by God/dess, to perform duties to the people. True, it isn't always the case and there are those out there who are high muckety-mucks just for the power it gives them. They are usually the ones that demand high sums of money, homes, or other things they see as necessary for their welfare and well being.
But it isn't an issue of their welfare and well being. It's a matter of the well being of those around them, their friends, their family, their congregation, coven, circle, students, etc. In giving of themselves, these people recieve in turn.
As for tarot, I personally don't think that it is "part of the Wiccan religion." Tarot is a tool, just like athames and cauldrons. Tarot is not needed, and the pagan and Wiccan world existed for a long time before Tarot ever came along. There are many other systems of divination out there, such as reading tea leaves and geomancy, that are just as valid and can be just as useful when used correctly. Tarot is just popular with modern society.
Okay, so that's really idealistic and utopian. I realize that the world we live in is not perfect, and sometimes priests and ministers give a lot of themselves and don't get paid when they should. Or they just get plain shafted somehow.
I think to answer the question, yes, clergy should be paid for their services. It's only fair to them and the congregation. However, they should not have to demand payment.
| While Ministers And Pastors Of The Christian Faith Are More Often Than... ||Oct 14th. at 3:19:52 pm UTC|
|Wendy (Sarnia, Ontario CA) ||Age: 2 - Email |
While Ministers and Pastors of the Christian faith are more often than not "paid" for their acting services with their church, the work they do for community and people outside of church duties is not.
I have no problem paying for someone's "time" if they have something I seek to gain, be it knowledge, insight, etc. However, there is a definitive line (for me, anyway) where I believe that "teaching" or "sharing" the Craft would only be of valid/true status if the person offering this was doing so out of non-monetary compensation. I would feel much more confident if my "teacher" were walking with me in kinship rather than as payment for services.
Retail....well, that's a money market with no exception.
| Divination, Such As Tarot Reading, I-ching And Astrology, Are Very Important For... ||Oct 14th. at 3:29:24 pm UTC|
|Lori Dake (Chicago, Illinois US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
Divination, such as Tarot reading, I-Ching and Astrology, are very important for those of the Pagan faiths, but is in no way exclusively *for* Pagans. I find it to be useful for daily living, as well as using it for magickal purposes.
Since I have worked for a "psychic hotline" in the past, I've gotten alot of questions about the ethics of reading cards for people over the phone at $4.99 a minute. Here's my stance on the issue:
- I never forced anyone to call me. The ads, while only briefly mentioned or in very fine print, did state the fee.
- I did *not* get rich off of it. The money I earned was used to help support my family. In fact, I had to quit working at home because the money was not enough.
Should you want more information about my work, you can go to my website's section on psychic hotlines at http://www.users.drak.net/doomdiva/hotline.html
| At One Time While I Was At School, I Was Shuffling My... ||Oct 14th. at 7:29:15 pm UTC|
|Dennis Tibbs Jr. (Mishawaka, Indiana US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
At one time while I was at school, I was shuffling my tarot cards and someone asked me for a reading. Well, I thought one reading would be no trouble at all... after all, it was a friend. People started gathering when I did my friend's reading and before long I had them lining up before me. After about an hour of this I was getting quite exausted, and I asked a simple fee of a dollar. I ended up with over $20. I felt that this was a gift, but I started to think about what I just did and I felt I was making someone pay for what I feel enybody who is willing should get. So if I where able to give all those people back their money I would. It just didn't feel like the "right thing to do."
| On The Question Of Payment, How Much Time And Effort Have You... ||Oct 14th. at 8:34:26 pm UTC|
|the ShadowDancer (Tucson, Arizona US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
On the question of payment, how much time and effort have you put in learning your skill or trade? What is your time worth?
Do you just pick up a Tarot deck, have some luck with the cards, and then begin asking for $$$? Or have you spent years in study, reading and divining?
Can you counsel on esoteric as well as exoteric matters, or do you even know the difference. Who is your teacher and how much time did you spend learning?
Have you made the deck and its symbols yours? Or are your just beginning?
I think such matters should be taken into account before setting a price on your time. It is a matter of professionalism, just like any other skill or trade.
The same goes for paid clergy, in my opinion. Can the person counsel the sick, the dying, teens in trouble? Will they devote their time to these matters? Can he/she officiate weddings, namings, funerals? Is the person ethical? Does the person truly know the faith, or is he/she just another charlatan wannabe trying to avoid getting a job. Can they truly speak for the god/goddess?
If someone does me a service, I owe them either $$$ or a return favor. But I don't just hire anybody to paint my car or watch my kids.
In my own profession, I have college degrees, state licenses, in-service and continuing education, certifications, and about 16 years experience. So in getting a new job, I ask for a certain minimum of $$$$$ for my time. I don't ask for the same $$$$$ if I wash my sister's car.
| I Think That The Power Given To You Is A Gift, And... ||Oct 14th. at 9:34:43 pm UTC|
|kelly (harrisburg, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 14 |
I think that the power given to you is a gift, and you shouldn't charge for it, because soon the readings will not be to help others but for you to gain money, thus it loses it's magickal side.
| Divination, Whether It Be Scrying, Dowsing, Or Tarot Reading Is All Part... ||Oct 14th. at 10:59:32 pm UTC|
|Mary K. Hornbeck (Nwe Paltz, New York US) ||Age: 38 - Email |
Divination, whether it be scrying, dowsing, or tarot reading is all part of our religion. The Gods gave certain people the ability to prophcy(?). How they or we do it is of our own choosing.
Whether it is barter or cash for a service renderd there should always be a payment of some sort. A wise person once said "There is no such thing as a free lunch".
| I Read Tarot. Today, A Friend Of Mine Found Out, And She... ||Oct 14th. at 11:01:47 pm UTC|
|RaeVynn Sands (Hoquiam, Washington US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
I read Tarot. today, a friend of mine found out, and she asked me if I could do a reading for her. I told her I could. when she asked me what I charged, I told her that I would like for her to make a donation of whatever amount she thought fair to the local animal rescue shelter I volunteer at.
For me, I have no problem with someone accepting money for time/effort spent, but I personally would rather not "charge" for what I do.
| I Do Not Think That It Is At All A Bad Idea... ||Oct 15th. at 2:17:59 pm UTC|
|Richard Cobb (Great Lakes, Illinois US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I do not think that it is at all a bad idea. mainly because we pay for all the rest of our education. like college and such. so its not like we are breaking any rules. and as long as someone benefits from the service then it cant be all that bad.
| Given The Assumption That Wiccan Groups (covens) Are Supposed To Be Small... ||Oct 15th. at 3:04:24 pm UTC|
|Peter (Norfolk, Virginia US) ||Age: 37 |
Given the assumption that Wiccan groups (covens) are supposed to be small (dozen or so people) then there is no reason for paid clergy. Nor is there sufficient number of people to support somebody except for a token payment at best basis. Thirdly, the dynamics of small groups works against having money changing hands.
For Pagan non-Wiccan groups, paid clergy is a possiblity. Having a large group (congregation) of say 200 people warrents having at least one part time person.
I would expect a paid person to do a lot more than just lead rituals though. I'd expect them to be teachers who really know their material, and it would have to be a lot more than a re-hash of Cunningham or Farrar. I'd expect real academic type background in myth, history, etc.
I'd expect some sort of group event most days of the week. Twice monthly rituals plus Sabbats wouldn't be enough. Weekly lore nights, kids classes, etc would be normal.
Of course all of this would almost require an open membership policy. Accepting 20 or 30 new people a year would be normal, instead of the apparantly typical of zero or one or two members every year.
| I Think That Exchanging Teaching, Readings *and* Clergy Service For Cash Is... ||Oct 15th. at 5:43:27 pm UTC|
|ScotLass (Monterey, California US) ||Age: 31 |
I think that exchanging teaching, readings *and* clergy service for cash is perfectly sensible, since the churches and schools do the same, by way of taxes and/or payments and/or offerings.
I believe also, that as in any other such enterprise, training and reaching a certain level of skill would be required.
| I Do Not Charge For Tarot Readings. If I Were To Have... ||Oct 16th. at 1:03:58 pm UTC|
|Brigid Moonwater (Sunnyvale, California US) ||Age: 26 |
I do not charge for tarot readings. If I were to have a booth or something similar, I would have a jar labled Donations. I have only handfasted a couple once and I only charged them for supplies that were needed. I don't know about Tarot being a part of any religion at all. I think it and other divination tools are somewhat akin to witchcraft in that both are practiced separate from religion. Witchcraft and divination are not used by all Pagans and it's not only Pagans that practice them. Having a paid clergy would ruin the whole beauty of our religion, freedom of religious expression. We are far too diverse to a main clergy. I am much more partial to trading services. At one time I could not afford (I was very poor) my favorite soda, so I asked my student to give me soda in trade for teachings. I am pretty against charging for the craft, but that is my own beliefs.
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