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Spiritual Gifts and Money – Feeling Comfortable Charging For Our Services

I loved reading the tarot so much I carried six decks with me at all times.  I gave readings in restaurants, in class, outside Starbucks, at parties, in the park, over the phone, even by instant messenger.  Reading tarot connected me with Spirit.  It was sacred to me, even if most of the people I read simply found it entertaining.

How could I charge for readings when giving them brought me so much pleasure?  Could I really refuse someone a reading because they didn’t have the $20 I felt bad about charging?  Should I read some people for free even while charging others?  Were free readings worth less than paid ones?

Every few months I paid a friend of mine, a professional psychic, $20-$40 for a reading.  I recorded the readings either on tape or in my notebook, and I referred to those notes frequently as the events of my life unfolded.  My friend made her living reading tarot, and I wanted to make my living the same way.  I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough, that I wouldn’t find enough clients, and ohmygods, what if I couldn’t read someone who paid me?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    Very nice and I totally agree. In some quarters of our Community "money" - even the very concept - is seen as offensive and even
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Carl! I have a whole other blog post about hating v loving money brewing in me noggin'. The first draft of this post
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Well said! The question of charging for services by no means is limited to the metaphysical ones; the underlying problem is nearl

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

For many, the Summers Solstice is a time for Sun, Sea and Sand, the longest day and the official start of summer in the West--a good time to create a shadow box altar to honor this turn of the wheel.

Before we get started, I want to tell you why shadow boxes are important. They are not only seasonal reminders of our 8 holy days, but they take concentration and focus. By thinking about the elements that go into the box, you are also centered on the meaning of each box. What represents Beltain? Should I include a maypole? What can I use from my environment to honor the gods at Imbolc? (The image below is a Beltane altar--in miniature!--and made from clay, beads and found objects.)

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Beltane-altar-closeup.jpg

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In the library of the University of South Carolina, you can peruse—with the help of a librarian and a pair of cotton gloves—a rare and marvelous text called Joshua Gordon’s Commonplace Book, which dates to 1784. Gordon’s little tome contains herbal remedies, recipes for treating livestock and human ailments, and a number of magical charms which call upon Christian concepts—the Trinity, the name of God, etc.—to do everything from revealing a thief to treating demonic torment to dealing with cuts, scrapes, and bruises. In 1820, John George Hohman produced a now (semi-)famous book called The Long Lost Friend, which outlined a number of cures from the Pennsylvania-Dutch tradition, as well as methods for magically gaining a dog’s loyalty, treating skin lesions with homemade salves, helping cherries maintain a longer shelf (or branch) life, and a method for guaranteeing a good catch while fishing which involves rose seed, mustard seed, and “the foot of a weasel.” Some houses in Berks, Lancaster, and York Counties, Pennsylvania would have had copies of Hohman’s book, and some would have manufactured their own collections of spells and recipes more in line with what Gordon did. In some places, the possession of a strange and mysterious publication known as The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses provided a person with magical powers by mere virtue of the book’s ownership—the spells within being an added bonus.

When I was training with a Gardenerian Outer Court (and I should emphasize that I never went beyond the dedicant phase, and so the inner workings of that tradition are not expressed here), I remember the concept of the Book of Shadows being explained to me as a sort of hand-copied and inherited text. Each new initiate would likely have copied down his or her own version of the High Priest and/or High Priestess’ book, and perhaps have added to it over time with new spells and rituals. Over time, the book could evolve and change, but the process would be slow and meticulous, growing with the tradition itself.

At the other end of the spectrum from the hand-copied books are the mass-marketed spellbooks available from publishers like Llewellyn or Weiser, which may cover only a set of thirty love spells or which may be encyclopedic in their scope. A few artisan publishers produce excellent and lovingly crafted grimoires which have their own life force from the moment you remove them from their slipcovers (Xoanon’s Cultus Sabbati books or the range of gorgeous texts from Scarlet Imprint are fine examples). In these cases, the spells come pret-a-porter, but may already have the essence of magic in them by dint of their ink, book boards, and binding.

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  • D. R. Bartlette
    D. R. Bartlette says #
    What a great post! I'm a bit of a journal junkie , and of course my grimoire is most special to me, so I've thought about it a lot
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Lovely, Cory. Thanks!

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