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

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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.

The typical money-spells-to-bring-more-money feel like that to me:  Ouroboros attempting to create itself, but in fact consuming itself.  Maybe it will work, but maybe we need to reach outside of the realm of money if we are to meaningfully work with it.  This ice bucket challenge, this wild and bizarre energy that causes embarrassment and discomfort and has raised a stupendous amount for research into a disease still poorly understood 75 years after it entered the spotlight by striking down a famous and well-loved athlete, this is the kind of thing that money can do.  Money is not intended to create itself, and the belief that it is is a key component to our unhealthy relationship with it.  Money is a conduit of energy, a means to transport it to where the need is.  This challenge is working because the spirits of money are honored by this chilly and visual act.

The rules of the challenge state that, if you're tagged, you have 24 hours to either video yourself getting ice water dumped over your head, or donate a hundred dollars to the ALS Foundation.  If you do the video, you get to select (tag) three people to challenge.  Many have done both.  That was my plan, but it did not go entirely well.

Because of my dislike of cold things, I elected to do this in a nice, hot tub.  I was pretty impressed by my choice of angles, so that I could dump the water and name my names without ever making it clear if I were wearing anything or not.  It was edgy.  It was different.

It failed miserably.

Oh, I got the water over my head all right, but somehow I managed to mangle the proof.  The video shows everything up until the money shot, as it were, and then a whole new video starts a few seconds later, making it look like I made it up.  I wasn't willing to go through it twice, so I decided to write a blog post about it instead.

If you get tagged, remember that the ice water is the material component in this spell.  And that the money spirits have a grand sense of humor.

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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. 


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