Dirty Money: Transactional Pagan Writings

Exploring Pagans and their relationship with that earthiest of earth symbols, money.

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Terence P Ward

Terence P Ward

Terence P Ward is a business writer and journalist who blogs under the rather cumbersome moniker of True Pagan Warrior.  He can generally be found at home, tending to his gardens and the many demands of his cats; in the alternative, follow TPW on Facebook

Moneyworking on the macro level:  the ALS ice bucket challenge

Recently, I was, um, invited to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge, the quirky and incredibly successful spontaneous viral outpouring of support to find a cure to a disease which has been well-known since 1939, but which still strikes down far too many people.  As of this writing, the ALS Foundation is reporting that the challenge has raised $106 million this summer, a pretty big bump from the $3 million in annual donations the organization is more used to seeing.

What strikes me about this phenomenon is that this is the kind of magical work that money is intended for.  Most of what I see discussed (and sold) in terms of money spells focus on, as one of my employers would put it, "Get that money, sucka."  There's a flaw in that thinking, one that reminds me of a couple of friends of mine who tried to start an internet marketing business just before the Great Recession.  The term internet marketing is (or maybe was) used to refer to a set of techniques used to find potential clients online (the "warm" market) and provide them with enough information that they would want to purchase your service.  The problem my friends ran into is that their coach was flummoxed when he found out what they wanted to market:  science lessons for curious children.  Everyone else in the internet marketing field, you see, was building web sites that marketed internet marketing businesses.

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Synchronicity

A few weeks ago I wrote about Hudson Valley Current, a complementary, labor-backed currency that is being developed in my region.  I have been getting paid by one of my clients in currents fairly regularly since, but it wasn't until this week that I finally got around to spending some of them.  And wasn't I surprised to discover that I was doing business with another Pagan!

The current marketplace is still small; many of my fellow users aren't yet explicitly advertising their services, so it can be tricky to find something to spend them on.  The staff behind the currency is not only working on expanding that market, they are also in the business of keeping the currents flowing by matching up people with a whole pile with others who have services that they could use.  Knowing that there's a limit to how many currents I may hold, I have been accepting them to force myself to find ways to use them.  I want this currency to succeed, because it will help me understand money all the better to be in on the creation of a new form of it.

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Financial literacy:  what money questions do you have?

I was speaking today with a moneyworker whom I respect a great deal.  The conversation largely focused on financial literacy, and the fact that it's not common in our communities.  (I think that's more because we are a microcosm of a society in which education about money is sorely lacking, but we spoke more about solutions than causes.)  We floated a number of ideas about how we can lift each other up from the self-perpetuating cycles of poverty and money anxiety, and those ideas are certainly going to manifest in our communities, but I want to know what you know, and what you don't, about money.

Some questions which come to mind include:

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  • Dver
    Dver says #
    I feel I know everything I need to in order to live my very simple life. In other words, yes I can balance a checkbook (and I do i
Pagan savings challenge, week twenty-seven:  just ducky

Money is very often seen as a completely pedestrian thing, such that anything touched by the stuff is automatically not spiritual.  Don't be fooled!  Just because mainstream society embraces it completely doesn't mean that money does not have its own spirit and esoteric roles to play.  That's part of the reason for there being a Pagan savings challenge at all:  to encourage people of these communities to work with money according to our values and using our tools.

Consider the rubber ducky.

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Pagan savings challenge, week twenty-six:  halfway there

Chronologically, this week marks the halfway point for the Pagan savings challenge.  The monetary halfway point is still a few weeks away, if you're following the same arithmetic progression that I am, or well in the past if you're going in reverse.

That was easy, right?

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Pagan savings challenge, week twenty-five:  are you an animist?

Given the strong emotional ties made with money, I think a lot more people in our society approach it as animists than they themselves realize.  To love money, or to hate it, or fear it, is to imbue it with spirit, or recognize that it has spirit regardless.  Why not take the next step, and allow that relationship to be a two-way one?


What have you done for money lately?  Do you say prayers, make offerings, keep a shrine?  Do you give and take money without thought for the medium itself, but only the necessities and luxuries it can provide for you and your loved ones?  Do you use it for magical purposes?  Do you thank money for its role in your life, ignore it, avoid it, or curse it?

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Pagan shavings challenge, week twenty-four:  not a typo

As I was doing my money work this morning at my outdoor altar (pictured), I wondered how I could incorporate Father's Day into a Pagan savings challenge post.  Since I just published a reflection on shaving and fatherhood in a paper I write for, I'm opting to tie my experience with razor shaving into the process.

I know that not everyone is following the savings plan I laid out at the beginning of this challenge, but if you are, you're putting away $24.00 in this, the twenty-fourth week.  That's just about a third of my weekly allowance, which is starting to crimp my style!  To continue this pace, finding ways to cut expenses is becoming a more and more important priority.

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  • Gemma SEymour
    Gemma SEymour says #
    A straight razor can be very challenging to use, but a great compromise is an old-style double-edge safety razor. The blades are s

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