Why Ain’t You Rich?

Donald Michael Kraig, who has addressed the issue of poverty-based thinking already, has an excellent post on a common question by skeptics: why are so many occultists short on money?

The occult equivalent to [get rich quick schemes] is composed of the numerous spell books with money bringing spells in them. I’m sorry to disappoint readers, but if they worked, do you really think they’d be for sale at the register of your grocery store for $2.99? It would seem that many if not most magickal people don’t know how to do magick to bring wealth, either.

Real magick requires more than just wand waving or spell mumbling. Both of those are valuable for accenting and focusing magickal skills, but they are not enough by themselves. You need three abilities for magick to work:

  1. The ability to generate and/or raise magickal energy
  2. The ability to manipulate and direct that energy
  3. The knowledge of what to do to get the desired results

Those cheap spell books may be overlooked by seasoned practitioners because they only provide the third point on the Triangle of Magickal Power.

There is some truth to this. Most people do not know how to generate or manage money and wealth, and this includes magicians and witches, who often seem to expect that the gods will provide them with what they want without effort.

It does require some effort to generate wealth, but people tend to either view that effort as unfruitful and give up, or put it all in the wrong place. Pete Carroll has a very simple formula for money magic:

Work + Money + Magical Spells = More Money.

However you can do it with any two of them. Do not blaspheme money by gambling. Invest only in activities where you can apply some work or magic to improve the outcome. Starting with money often actually proves disadvantageous as it can lead to a false sense of power. No business plan ever survives contact with the market, so remain flexible, keep as many options open as possible, examine any possible opportunity, and always try to keep some reserves, as in war.

Pretty no-nonsense approach to banishing poverty thinking.

The converse of this is people who glorify or romanticize poverty, believing that it somehow makes them more “authentic” or spiritual, or taking a page from Christianity, believe that money somehow corrupts.

Says a commenter on Kraig’s blog:

A segment of our Pagan community have come out of the non-conformist/hippie era when money and everything associated with it was a bad thing and carried a lot of negative baggage. Personally, I see nothing wrong with reaping the abundance of your personal harvest-if you worked honestly for the money, then why not take and enjoy what you have earned fairly? It’s what you do with the money that is morally and ethically at question, not the tool of money or wealth. Rejecting it is, in my humble opinion, foolish, and in some way a rejection of the favor you’ve been given by the gods and the Universe. Is it somehow more credible to be poor than wealthy? I don’t believe we need to live in poverty if we have other options that satisfy our needs and desires yet harms none.

I know several pagans who suffer from this, and seem to welcome the dawn of some romantic pagan world where everyone will live subsistence lives and commune with nature of something. This not only ignore all the fun conveniences of say, modern technology, food production, and medicine, but the fact that there were plenty of pagan civilizations that were far more complex than that in their own right, and that they viewed this as a good thing.



2 responses to “Why Ain’t You Rich?

  1. Another aspect of this is covered well by Kenaz Filan in his Voudon books and by Gordon White over at RuneSoup – especially for those of us that live in Western countries, when we work with entities, even those of us who are extremely poor are still considered wildly rich by global standards. Because so many do have food, water, clothing, and a roof – whatever the quality of those might be, it’s considered “enough” even if we have reason to know we need more money to pay debts, etc.

    RuneSoup had some great posts last year on making specific targets and measurements, combining business standards with magical approach. It was really quite excellent.

  2. Pingback: Pagans for Profit | Blacklight Metaphysics

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