The point in life is to know what’s enough–
why envy those otherworld immortals?
With the happiness held in one inch-square heart
you can fill the whole space between heaven and earth.
— Gensei, Zen monk (1623 – 1668)
Are you still with me? I know that the subject of money can be uncomfortable. I was taught that discussing money is “common,” as my mom (a very dignified Southern lady) would have said, in that disapproving tone that could stop you dead in your tracks. She believed that people who would point-blank ask how much you paid for something were breathtakingly rude. I admit I still sometimes have a residual bit of agreement with her on this. However, I believe I have moved beyond my family’s thinking of it like unmentionable bodily functions: treated as a necessary part of life, dealt with when absolutely necessary, but never discussed casually or in mixed company.
But money is here to stay, it seems. As one writer has suggested, as sex was the taboo of the Victorians, money is the dark, unmentionable subject of our age. It is absolutely loaded with our desire and fear. It carries with it so much power, shadow, and is often the object of our darkest projections. Understanding its effect on us is incredibly important, especially those of us who are interested in magic, spirituality and personal growth. Especially so, not in spite of.
I have noticed that a lot of people who are very committed to their spiritual path want to appear as if they don’t care about money. As if we are somehow more evolved or pure in some way if we seem to never think about it. It is true that we receive a lot of messages in our culture that spirituality and money don’t mix.
For instance, I spent the first 20 or so years of my Tarot practice believing the “rule” that I picked up somewhere (probably from somebody that wanted something for nothing) that it is wrong to charge money for what should be a Gift of Spirit. Only really crass hucksters charge for Tarot or psychic readings, right?
Actually, after a wise teacher got me to think more carefully about it, I realized I certainly do NOT charge for the Gifts of Spirit. Spirit gives as She will. But I should, and now do, charge for my time, training, and experience.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit more about some of the shadow aspects of money, and money’s relationship with spirituality. I hope you’ll hang in there with me as we consider this very charged subject, and I invite you to share your thoughts about it.