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

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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.


It is not always practical to carry or store large amounts of money, but for daily transactions, even if you aren't spending with magical intent, because handing over a wad of bills encourages us to think about what we're doing -- in other words, creating intent, magical or not.  Swiping a card is far too convenient, and we tend to spend less when using cash, because we are more likely to stop and think about what we're doing.

My family experimented with a cash-only lifestyle, and found it difficult, but we persevered and paid off our credit-card debt entirely.  (We still have oodles of debt, but it's wrapped up in things that will last longer than the payments, like a home.)  After falling off the wagon entirely, I started a new hobby, in part to get back in the cash habit.

Cash encourages intent.  That is its power.  Any questions?

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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. 


  • Jamie
    Jamie Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    Personally, I think the only real monetary wealth in this life is ultimately dug out of the ground. That's why I'm so suspicious of international banks and their ultra-complex 'financial instruments' of debt. Good for you that you've tried to live cash-only.

    The Gods know that I couldn't do that.

    Once again, great article!

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    Thanks for your kind words, Jamie! I will probably write about stuff that's "dug out of the ground" at some point; I agree with you, but explaining it to people who are used to a largely gold-free world is tricky, particularly since I would prefer to keep the conversation focused on the religious, rather than the political, context.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Wednesday, 11 September 2013

    I completely agree. There's so much political baggage which is needlessly bound up with the gold standard.

    The brutal reality is, you and I both know that the U.S. dollar will eventually be dumped as the world's reserve currency. I would be sincerely shocked if another fiat currency like the greenback replaces it.

    My biggest worry is that we in the U.S.A. will experience hyperinflation once all those internationally-circulated dollars come back into the U.S. economy. There are consequences when an entire generation of a nation's entire political class uses endless money printing to monetize national debt.

    The human race may not return to some kind of gold standard. However, I truly believe that by the 22nd century (and probably much earlier), the future global reserve currency will be backed by things of tangible value...unlike U.S. dollars, which are backed by the honesty and integrity of American bankers and politicians.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Wednesday, 11 September 2013

    You have a firm grasp on the money system of today, Jamie. I probably can learn quite a bit from you.

  • Wizard Garber
    Wizard Garber Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    Living an all-cash life is almost impossible in this day and age, because so many transactions require a card linked to a bank account. This is deliberately designed so that big brother has an audit trail of your activities. They justify this by blaming it on the Terrorists - we have to prevent the Terrorists from doing cash transactions. If they had their way they would do away with all cash transactions.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    It definitely is, and I still pay my mortgage and other major bills electronically. I find the exercise is well worth it, though.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    Come on, now.

    The Ministry of Truth only wants what's best for you...

  • David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    I hate cash. I can't keep track of it. I lose it, I spend it, it just disappears. Debit cards are a key for me. I can check my bank account before purchasing something to ensure that I can afford it, I don't have to worry about actually carrying cash which means I don't need a wallet taking up room in my pocket and, frankly, I can have just as much intent by swiping my card as I can by counting off a bunch of 10's. I've gone so far as to swear off cash entirely. If you can't take a card, I don't patronize your business.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    You're definitely not alone, David. That strange phenomenon of money "just disappearing" is not only a mystery, it's a Mystery, and unraveling it is becoming a big part of my life's work.

  • Penny Lloyd
    Penny Lloyd Wednesday, 11 September 2013

    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 things economic-this is a topic of great interest to me- Thank you!

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Wednesday, 11 September 2013

    Penny, thank you -- this comment definitely made my day, which is quite hot and sticky, otherwise A-OK.

  • Wendall Mountain Runner
    Wendall Mountain Runner Saturday, 21 September 2013

    All of my everyday spending is cash only, the larger financials (mortgage, utilities...) are web based. I try and budget my expenses over and above the fixed ones so I have paycheck left over at the end of the next pay period.

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