Exploring Pagans and their relationship with that earthiest of earth symbols, money.
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.
But if we take the premise that money is congealed energy -- and I do, because money is gained largely in exchange for something of value, and value is only created through the energy of effort, making money a store of energy economically as well as magically -- then spells to accumulate money and prevent it from dissipating might not be the best idea.
What would it be like to hold a ritual for the express purpose of raising a cone of power? Not raising a cone of power to send energy to heal the earth or a loved one with cancer, or to open a way between worlds . . . no, just raising it to raise it, and then keep it there.
If you're a practicing Wiccan or are otherwise familiar with raising energy as a group, that probably sounds ridiculous. Raising power itself is not the goal; you've got to do something with it, right?
So too is it with money. There is a reason why there aren't a lot of stupendously wealthy magical practitioners . . . you have to have a goal for the energy (e.g., the money) or it's only half a spell. There's no intent, just raising of energy.
As I see it, fundraising is indeed a spell. The intention was set clearly, the call was raised, and because of the number of focused people involved, there will be energy in abundance for this work. It succeeds for many reasons, including people like Mr. Neal stepping up and contributing their own energy. It succeeds because the raising of the energy isn't the point; providing a Pagan perspective is.
What will it look like to use money as means, rather than goal, of a spell? The work will involve giving, rather receiving, as in my forgiveness ritual, for what is magic if there isn't a release of energy? I have to think that there's more to gained by using money as the means to an end, rather than an end in itself.
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