Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Funny about money

Coyote: Clarity is the path to inner peace.

Homer Simpson: Well, what should I do? Should I meditate? Should I get rid of all my possessions?

Coyote: [snorts] Are you kidding? If anything, you should get *more* possessions. You don't even have a computer.

When I gave my class in financial magick this month at New Hope, a student asked the following during the Q&A: "So, if I do magick just for what I need, that isnt bad magick right?"

I don't quite know how I lost her, but clearly I did. Though I did point out in the lecture, as I always do, that we need perspective about how wealthy we already are, anyone making over 20g a year is in the top 10%, anyone over 47g is in the top 1% income earners on the planetr, I also made a point of saying that wealth is not a zero sum game, and that there is nothing wrong with wanting more.

Yet I find this attitude amongst a lot of pagan and magick folks. Material wealth = evil or at least bad. Is it a holdover from Christian teaching? Is it hippy ethic? Is it just fear of being judged for still living in your moms basement because you spend more time playing world of warcraft than building wealth or doing magick (loser!)? Maybe its all of these. I will never forget when Al over at Open Buddha was asked how he could reconcile being a magician with making lots of money at Microsoft? I was taken aback. What did this person think one had to do with the other?

Here is the deal folks. There are spiritual paths that are built around poverty and non-materialism. They are wonderful paths, but if you are going to do it, than really frigging do it! Join a monestary, become a wandering yogi that lives on alms, make a meager living doing nothing but divination or whatever your practice is. It is a valid path with hige spiritual benefits.

However, if you are not going to join a monestary, establish some spiritual occupation, or go homeless than STFU about it and get in the game. Non-materialism is not your practice, embrace that. Than find the amount of wealth that you think you want and go for it. If like me you want a more or less normal middle class life, with little stress from work, than make that. If however you want the million dollar chateau in wine country, than go for that. Balance it against your spiritual needs, but dont pretend that you are on some non-materialistic spiritual path while you sip your americano. Its just a lie.

If you are not on a path of renunciation, than you are on a path of tranformation or acceptance. Realize that money plays a role in your life. You cannot avoid it. Truth be told even as a monk or renunciate you cannot really avoid it, but thats another issue. If you deal with money, than DEAL with it. Realize its importance and do good with it. Transoform the poisons that can arise from money into blessings. Master Mammon or he will master you.


Zandria Zatara said...

Excellent post! I too see that attitude quite a bit. It might be a Christian holdover, likely a Victorian good vs. bad justification for "good" magick use while still condemning "bad" magick use. It is perpetuated by the "no personal gain" ethics portrayed in shows like Charmed. Some schools teach it - for example Grey School of Wizardry lays it on pretty heavy with the whole "Wizards are good because they serve others but Sorcerers are bad because they serve themselves."

I think is a fear based on the attitude of "absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Lavanah said...

Agreed. Excellent post. And, I will go out on a limb here, and add: suffering is not, ipso facto a virtue, either.

Dohmnaill said...

"they say he carved that spoon from a slightly larger spoon"

An entire episode of the obvious being too obvious to see. Just like the obvious usefulness of money - plus Johnny Cash and the best dialog:

"mister you don't want to drink a candle, do you?"

"maaaybeeee I dooo... "

Jow said...

How.. How did you know I liked an Americano? Witchcraft!

Some of it I think is fear of success. More than a few magicians are downright afraid of success, because success means change and more responcibility. It also means, they dont want what they think they want a lot of the time.

Also the fallacy that "deserve" has something to do with life. To quote Clint Eastwood in The Unforgiven: "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

Do we deserve the money that we get from our magic? YES! We earned it! One of the best lessons I learned when doing my stint as a Thelemite was that a King can aid the world better than a dog or a beggar.

s13M said...

Great post. I especially like the part where you give a reality check to those of us who strive to "keep up with the Joneses" without realizing how prosperous we already are (in the U.S.A.) relative to much of the world. However, with that said, I also have to agree with poster "Jow" who reflects my thoughts exactly when writing "a King can aid the world better than a dog or a beggar". Clearly, there must be a balance of both "gratitude" and "ambition".

Persephone said...

Great post Jay!

You know, it's a funny thing... I've always considered myself bad with money because I'm much better at making it than at figuring out how to not spend it all and then run out. I've envied those people (like my partner) who can make very little but exist on it just fine and always seem to be loaning me a $20. But ever since I attended your wealth sorcery lecture at DVPN, I seem to have hit this long term balanced financial stability. I cut back on some expensive hobbies, but my quality of life has increased as a result mostly because I replaced some toxic people in my life who liked to do expensive things with healthy people who cost me less money. We got a new accountant who got me a huge tax refund. And some other things caused money to seem more available, to the point where today I was confused when I checked my balance cause I didn't know why I had that much money in the bank.

I liked your long term approach to wealth sorcery because it wasn't just about doing a spell to get $200, it was about using magick in financial planning. Seems to be working for me!


Mike Rock said...

Of *course* money is Good (tm). How would else would I be able to pay for all these expensive old rare limited edition works of astrological and goetic genius?