In this time of the harvest season, when we reap what we have sown, a central concern is abundance, and in the real world, that usually means money.
Are money and spirituality ever in conflict for you? If so, you are in good company, because, as author of Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman notes, “The entire problem of life in contemporary culture can be defined as the challenge to understand the saying, ‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.’”
Wow. That is a pretty sweeping statement that we’ll be exploring in the days to come.
For instance, over the years, in many Pagan groups, and doubtless this comes up in other spiritual paths, I have seen many flare-ups about whether (or how much) money should be charged for services that have a spiritual dimension to them: classes, initiation, rites, and so on.
Naturally we would not expect an auto mechanic, dentist, or jet pilot to donate their services, or perform them in their spare time. So why would we expect those who dedicate their time and energy, possibly their whole life path, to being of spiritual service to just sharing it with us for free?
Do we expect our spiritual teachers to simply live on air and pinecones, or to live from a begging bowl of donations? Perhaps we think that their grateful covens should support them with crops and offerings that will provide for them. They may find it hard to barter such goods at the gas station.
This line of thinking certainly ensures that our Priests and Priestesses are forced to keep their “day jobs” whether they wish to or not. And are we really satisfied with amateurs, volunteers and whoever has the time to read a book or two and then set up shop?
As Witches and Pagans, we view the “mundane” and the “divine” as One and the same, don’t we? If everything is the sacred presence of the Divine, as many of us believe, how are serving up hamburgers or laser surgery or drumming classes different? How is money itself different?
More about this tomorrow.