• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in money

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Poseidon, god of the economy

I took an unscheduled blogbatical as we moved into the darkest time of the year, but I have emerged excited that I missed celebrating perhaps the most important historical festival for my patron deity.

Today is when the festival honoring Poseidon, called Poseidea or Poseidonia, was celebrated in antiquity.  It's a reconstructionist's nightmare, because virtually no record of what went on has been discovered, but the good folk of Elaion put together a Poseidonia ritual based on their understanding of what festivals were usually like.  I didn't see the announcement until just after the agreed-upon time to practice apart together, and I was already late for Quaker meeting, so I had Poseidon close to mind as I joined my local Friends in worship.  (I am not a Quaker, although I attend meeting for worship; I have pondered how Quakers and polytheists fit together for awhile now.)

When I sit in the silence like that, it is an opportunity to complete the conversation.  Maybe I'm too busy with orthopraxy, or I can't multitask well, but I don't often get messages when I make offerings to my gods.  To put it simply, ritual is the way I talk and meeting is when I listen.  Today I listened, and pondered how important Poseidon was to the ancient Hellenes.  The sea was vital, not only as a food source but as the primary medium of commerce.

...
Last modified on
0
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, That Canadian $20 bill is wicked cool. Wonderful image, and so appropriate to the discussion.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I was thrilled to discover that image -- I feel it was created just for me!
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, Brilliant post. I'd honestly never thought of Poseidon's role with regard to the totality of human economies. It's so t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Running on empty

Time is money, so they say, and I seem to be more on the "money" side of the equation this month.  Money to buy gifts for loved ones and strangers, but the act of earning it has left me very short of time for the other important things, like wrapping gifts and writing blog posts.  So here's a few quick ideas about using time or money to prepare for Giftmas in all its forms, since few of us have both:

That's it for now, and two of my paid jobs and several people who want me to take on additional volunteer obligations are all awaiting my attention.

Last modified on
0
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, Great ideas! Especially the quitting smoking part: Everybody dies, but who wants to die slowly and painfully? I wish I

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
'Tis the season to move money around

The beginning of shopping season may be blurry, particularly for those whose traditions include portmanteau neologisms, but it's safe to say that it's in full swing as I write this on December 2.  The convergence of the gifting culture and the end of the tax year in many locales also makes this the time when many charities make their year-end pitches.  Likewise, this is when tax-free gifts to family members are often delivered, stocks bought and sold to maximize profit or minimize taxable gains, and people who participate in pre-tax health savings accounts and the like are making sure that they've spent everything they're required to.

So there's a lot of money on the move right now, a lot of energy flowing.  I'd go so far as to say that December is to money what October is to the spirits of the dead:  if you want to work with money, this is one of the best times to do so.  Spells and prayers for abundance and prosperity, as well as workings and offerings which are released through the movement of money, are worth incorporating into one's practice at this time of year, when the secular cycles are so strong that they reveal the unseen powers which shape them.

When I read about holiday shopping madness, I liken it to someone who draws down a deity without training or preparation, insofar as the damage comes from a lack of respect for, and comprehension of, the powers involved.  We presume that, because we invented money, that we understand and control it.  Perhaps if we approached the "holiday season" with the same deference and study that some Wiccans apply to preparing for ritual possession, we'd all have a healthier relationship with the stuff.

...
Last modified on
2
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, Thanks for sharing your thoughts, as well as the links! Some of the suggestions were just great.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Seeing the Maetreum of Cybele win its tax fight was satisfying:  justice prevailed, a small Pagan congregation gets treated with respect, the separation between church and state is preserved (if not strengthened) by a decision that basically said that local governments don't get to decide what religions look like.

The underlying principle -- that religious institutions don't get taxed -- is being upheld in a fair and consistent manner.  But in the belief that a good idea bears up under examination, all this hubbub inspired me to ask whether or not it's a good idea not to tax churches in the first place.

For the sake of clarity, I'm following the IRS usage of the word "church" in this post -- it's a broadly-defined term that includes all manner of organized religious activity, including circles, covens, temples, and other terms that Pagans use to describe how they worship together.  It's similar to how the God on money is secular, so at least the government is being consistent.

...
Last modified on
2
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, Thanks for your article. I had no idea that in 1875, President U.S. Grant tried to abolish the tax-free status of churc
In God We Trust, but only as a secular symbol

On this day of remembrance of those fallen in war, it seems appropriate to ponder one of the ways in which war has impacted our money, the addition of the motto, "In God We Trust."  The phrase was first included on US coins in 1864, perhaps to show that God sided with the North in the Civil War.  Paper currency was given the message in 1957, after Congress made it the official motto of the country, to set us apart from godless Communism.

In short, the motto was born of, and fed by, war.

What's perhaps more interesting are the battles which have been fought over the phrase since.  These have been in the courts of law and public opinion, and put followers of this deity in a peculiar position:  to keep God on money, God must be secular.

...
Last modified on
1
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, I agree in principle with the substance of your argument. It's probably for the best, though, if Pagan fingerprints wer
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    We certainly don't want Pagans to be the poster children, which is why I think a coalition is best. Atheists are more numerous, m
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, You're right. Thoughtful Christians in positions of power are probably quite aware that secularizing the word 'God', or

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Power of pocket change

Spare change is one of my favorite forms of money, because it's just so obviously pulsing with energy, the elemental energy of earth.  Coins are often shiny, they have a weight that conveys value, and there is power in the jingling of money.  It's solid enough to decorate a bathroom, but it's also liquid enough to imagine swimming in it.

And pocket change seems linked to its own pocket universe, too.  Who hasn't searched the couch cushions for some?  A good cushion-hunt can mean clean laundry or a week's worth of ramen dinners for a college student.  On the other hand, coins can definitely burn a hole in your pocket; research shows that we don't like to spend big bills, and coins are the other end of the spectrum.

I don't like carrying change, but I don't spend it, either.  I walk with the Fellowship of the Change Jar.  My pockets are emptied for stealth and speed, and my hoard grows nightly.  Our nemeses, the Clan of the Exact Change, take a sadistic pleasure in getting in front of me at the checkout counter and saying, "Oh, I have the eighty-seven cents at the bottom of my purse!"

...
Last modified on
0
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, Thanks for posting this! As a Yankee skinflint, I have a jar of pennies I've accumulated over the past 25 years from si
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Jamie, your last thought reminded me of this: my wife is a teacher, and one of her continuing frustrations is the idea that child
Money magic: is money the means or the goal?

There's been a lot of talk about money in the Pagan blogosphere in the past week, so much so that I wonder if it would be a service simply to round up those links once in awhile.  I'm barely making my self-imposed "money Monday" deadline this week as it is -- missed it, in some time zones -- so I won't be giving that idea another moment's thought quite yet.

One of the posts that really caught my eye comes from my fellow blogger here, Carl Neal, who cajoled readers to contribute to your favorite Pagan efforts.  One of Neal's personal favorites is the Wild Hunt blog, which is presently running its annual fund drive.  With four weeks left in the campaign, 108% of the needed funds to pay for servers, columnists, and administration have been raised.  In an early thank-you note, Jason Pitzl-Waters remarks, "Fundraising is a spell."  I agree, but I'm not sure it's the kind of spell most people might think it is.

There are many money spells.  Spells to draw wealth, build business, protect the money we already have from thieves and spendthrifts.  Spells to hunt money and spells to protect it from swindlers.  The one common thread that runs through virtually all money magic is that money is the target:  bring it, multiply it, protect it, find it, hide it.

...
Last modified on
1
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, I frequently read the "Zero Hedge" website. Whilst it has its share of ideologues and cranks, both the articles and the
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Off to check out this website for myself!
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?

...
Last modified on
6
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
Forgiving metaphysical debts

One of the things that troubles me about money magic is that all the spells are focused on getting some more of it in my pocket.  That may be reflective of how most people approach money (something which must be acquired to achieve security or happiness), but it falls far short of what this medium of exchange is capable of in spellcraft.

This weekend I had the pleasure of leading a group of people through a magical ritual designed to help them forgive those who have wronged them, and I used money as the method for gathering and releasing that energy.  It worked as I expected it would, but there were also some educational surprises along the way.  Some results were immediately felt, while others may take some time to manifest.

Such is the way of magic.

...
Last modified on
2
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your ritual with us. I had never before considered a parallel between transact
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I learn more about you with every comment -- your specific path was news to me!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tithing: not just for Christians

Risking charges of cultural appropriation, I'm going to come right out and say that I thinking tithing is a wonderful idea that Pagans should borrow and embrace . . . with some modifications to fit our diverse paths and beliefs, of course.

Tithing is the Biblical tradition of skimming ten percent off the top of one's income and giving it to one's church.  This was an effective way to provide for priests and ensure that charity stays local, but there are a number of reasons why its literal application won't work for most modern Pagans.  A few that come to mind are:

Last modified on
3
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, I wish we could do this. We do give to various charities, though. Thanks again for another great post.
  • Debbie Vozniak
    Debbie Vozniak says #
    This is a great idea. I personally tend to give my donations to animal or nature rescue causes and to victims of disasters worldwi
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Great points, Emily! Produce was the originally tithe expected of Hebrews, with money moving in as a convenient way to measure th

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Local spending is intentional spending

Whether it's your local metaphysical shop, farmer's market, or hardware store, buying local is an easy path to intentional spending.  The 3/50 Project is my preferred method of encouraging local spending, because once you get past the sometimes-confusing name, it's an easy way to redirect existing money to local businesses.

The 3/50 concept is this:  take fifty bucks each month, and spread it around three local businesses instead of using it at chain stores, franchises, or online.  The project has a pretty specific definition of local business that focuses on the amount of money which stays in the community.  One thing I like about the concept is that it stresses balance -- don't avoid big-box stores entirely, if that's where you get the best deals on some items, but do spend some money in businesses owned and operated by your neighbors.

Last modified on
3
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you! A wonderful way of remembering that our spending is a spiritual practice!
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Thank you! We spend all the time, and I'm sure that's the mystery of money: turning its flow into something more powerful than t
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    This is an absolutely wonderful idea! Helping our local businesses makes the world where we live a better place. Thank you for sh
Dental hygiene and the wheel of the year

The equinox is upon us, bringing light and dark again into balance, so it is again time for us to turn our minds to our toothbrushes.

That's right, toothbrushes.

I'm a big believer in using visuals to honor the change of seasons, and changing my toothbrush has long been part of my personal practice.  Dentists think it should be changed every three months, and what do you know, seasons happen every three months, as well!  My hygienist friends are pleased because I remember a task that many people don't, and it's also helped me remember that I really ought to respect the cycles of nature as the flow past me, so it's a win-win.  And if you factor in the environmental and social factors that I lay out below, it's either a win-win-win or a win-win-win-win.

...
Last modified on
2
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I like it, Terence! Thanks.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    That's a really great idea! I never knew about that company. Thanks for sharing.
  • Don Kraig
    Don Kraig says #
    Indeed, getting a new brush every 3 months is a great idea. Just as important, IMO, is to use the toothbrush daily. You should als

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dispelling grey charges

The term grey charges is new to me, but the concept isn't:  these are financial parasites that suck off your bank or credit card balance for as long as you don't notice them.  Like living parasites, they succeed by staying small and not hurting you too much at a time, costing the average consumer less than $350 per year but banging the entire economy for about $14.3 billion in 2012.

Grey charges depend upon us not spending with intent.  Some of us can't be bothered to look at our statements, but it's just as common to be afraid to look at our financial situation.  Either of these extremes is the opposite of living a life of intent, because earning and spending are part of the intentional life.

For those who find visualization to be a powerful tool, I have used the mouth of a parasitic lamprey to be used when imagining grey charges.  These are the free trials that turned into charges because cancelling turned out to be harder to do than signing up; the innocuous little subscriptions that you don't use anymore; the official-sounding charge you're too embarrassed to call about because you don't know what it was for in the first place.  They exist to slowly suck you dry.

...
Last modified on
1
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for bringing a focus to these!
  • David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees says #
    If you see such a charge on your statement: call the bank. My bank (Chase) was actually helpful (for once) in correcting the sit
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    "A fool and his money are easily separated," P.T. Barnum.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A brief history of the value of money

I've been studying the nature and value of money for awhile now, and I've only begun to scratch the surface of what the stuff is.  Here in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere, philosophical and economic discussions about money are hopelessly entangled with political philosophy, which makes it all the harder, but I think I have a grasp of what American currency is, and how it got there.

Barter was the first way humans exchanged things they had for things they wanted.  It works well when two people each have something they other wants and they value it equally.  Otherwise, the trades can become inordinately complex, such is the stuff that fiction writers love to illustrate, because wacky hijinks ensue.

That kind of trade can be simplified if there's a medium of exchange which both parties agree has value.  Early media of exchange were things that, if you didn't exchange, you could use yourself, like a sheaf of wheat.  Cigarettes are often used for exchange in prisons, where money isn't permitted, because you can always smoke your extras.

...
Last modified on
2
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    I'm no survivalist, and we'll be in as much peril as everyone else once the game of kicking the [fiat money] can is no longer poss
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    "I don't care if its dirty, moldy, or soggy, just so its money," Bart Maverick from the 1960s TV series. Gold isn't money, gold
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Enjoyed this, Terence. Reminds me of my friends who invest in the stock market, when I try to point out that it's based on nothing

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The power of cold, hard cash

Debt counselors like it when their clients use cash for all of their transactions.  That's because they understand that physical currency connects us to the power of money.  If you've noticed that most money-drawing and prosperity spells use a couple of bucks as a material component, rather than a checkbook entry or ATM receipt, you're seeing the same idea in action.  We don't fully realize the power of money if we keep it in the realm of bank balances and automatic bill payments.

This is no accident:  money is the earth element, so by definition it's a material component.  The fact that we've made various representations of money, from bills of credit to checks to a jumble of electron, obfuscates this fundamental truth.  Money is physical, and forging a relationship with it is going to be much more difficult if you can't feel it in your hand, hear its clink, or smell its peculiar, musky odor.

Last modified on
2
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Wendall Mountain Runner
    Wendall Mountain Runner says #
    All of my everyday spending is cash only, the larger financials (mortgage, utilities...) are web based. I try and budget my expen
  • Penny Lloyd
    Penny Lloyd says #
    Just wanted to tell you how much I'm enjoying your blog! Your insights are helping me to change my perceptions on money and all th
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Penny, thank you -- this comment definitely made my day, which is quite hot and sticky, otherwise A-OK.

NPR reports on a study that confirms what many of us already felt, that poor people are more charitable, in how they think about community and as a percentage of what they have.  So what's going on here?  I have some ideas, not all of which could possibly be correct at the same time, and I'm even more curious about the ideas I haven't thought of myself.

Not surprisingly, "religion" is cited as a motivator for charitable behavior, but from what I can tell, that generic term as applied in the studies cited actually means "Christian religion" instead.  It's understandable that researchers focus their efforts on the largest groups, but the rest of us must read between the lines.

My theories about wealth and charity include:

...
Last modified on
4
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • T
    T says #
    I recall (though sadly can't cite) this being a repeatedly reaffirmed trend. Heck, even Jesus has parable with an example of the p
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I like the connection you draw between community and charity, T, particularly this remark: "Someone who has not directly experien
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Not Paganism specifically, but a general New Age concept that if you want to attract prosperity into your life you must be willing

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Charity is blind

Although I grew up in a community with a strong Jewish presence, I never really delved into the wisdom of that path; therefore, I was completely unaware of the wisdom of Maimonides and his views on charity.  The philosopher laid out eight levels of giving which observant Jews should follow as a tenet of their faith.  I can't think of a reason Pagans shouldn't adopt something similar.

Last modified on
3
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    That is a really, really good post. Thank you. Marcus Aurelius once wrote that the most noble deed is the one we receive no cred
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    It's noble because it's hard! I have a slew of things I'd love to tell the world about, but unless you're interested in boor hunt

A story by NPR looks at how profit impacts cesarean births.  The study shed some light on how money impacts our lives from the very first breath we take.

As reported, researchers hypothesized that doctors may opt for a more lucrative C-section if the mother doesn't know any better, and to find out they compared birth mothers who were also doctors to those who weren't, and looked at how many in each category delivered their children naturally.  Doctors, the researchers reasoned, would resist a surgical procedure that wasn't medically necessary more often than anyone with average knowledge.

Despite the fact that the physician-mothers received a C-section ten percent less often, the study does not suggest that doctors are consciously pushing for profitable procedures.  Instead, its authors believe that the motivations are subconscious and subtle.

...
Last modified on
2
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Doctors market their services like used car salesmen. They always try to SELL you as much "treatment" as you will buy. My fathe
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Reading the link to the NPR article, I got the impression that there were too many variables for the study to reach any definite c
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I agree that the causes were not entirely clear -- my take was that money is likely a factor, but not necessarily a conscious fact

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
First things first: introducing TPW

This is the first time I have been invited to write for a Pagan site, which is both an honor and a privilege. I'm mostly unknown, so it's only fair to introduce myself, and my topic. The topic's much more interesting, so let's start there: MONEY!

Money has always held a fascination for me, the sort of fascination that comes from growing up in a family that never had enough of it. It wasn't just that I wanted more of the stuff (who didn't?), it was the fact that we never quite went over the brink that amazed me, too. My mother worked magic with those bills and coins, always managing to pay the bills in time to keep creditors away, and still have enough of Dad's paycheck left to feed and clothe us.

I discovered Paganism in college, and soon realized that most of us weren't exactly wealthy. Was it by choice or circumstance? Does it slough off us like dead, useless skin, or do we shy away from it as if it's toxic waste? The answer to that question still eludes me.

...
Last modified on
3
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    "I don't care if its dirty, moldy, or soggy. Just so its money," Bart Maverick from the 1960s TV series.
  • *d.*
    *d.* says #
    a life lived with such a focus on money is a life unlived.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    "Any sum of money invested at compound interest for 600 years is practically worthless," Heinlein. You are right that few peopl

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I am in debt. Even when I do not count my study loans, I'm chronically--but not deeply-- in the red on my bank account. I don't have credit card loans, however, and I don't owe money or goods to anyone. I have had a tough year, but it's slowly getting better. Although I work, next to getting an education, my income does not cover all my costs. I am extremely lucky, though: I have a working partner who will gladly jump in and cover costs until my education is done and I can get an actual job that pays the bills.

I don't like being in debt. It's against the spirit of Hellenismos--or at least the two were antagonistic in ancient Hellas. Debts were paid off at the Deipnon--the end of the month--and those who could not pay them became serfs to their creditors. It was one of the main ways a citizen could become a slave.

It sounds a bit harsh, becoming a slave because of a missed payment. Yet, is modern life any different? Am I not tied to all people, companies and foundations who pull money from my bank account on a regular basis? Will not strong men and/or women show up on my doorstep if I can not afford to pay my bills and take items I own to pay off the debt? If all else fails, won't the government take my freedom? Aren't all of us a little enslaved to a economy which requires monthly contributions for protection, huge debts for housing and education, and for an ever-increasing number of people; financial support from their government simply to eat and have a roof to sleep under?

Last modified on
3
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Give a pledge, and ruin is near. It's as true today as when it was first written, but our complex economic system makes it seem o
  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    It's not even a fine line between the 'freedom' I was talking about, and the 'enslavement' you were, Terence.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    My phrase "to the contrary" was likely a bit hasty. As you said, Peter, people think freedom from debt is unnatural now; we have

Additional information