Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

The Puritan Ethic Redux

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.
— Woody Allen

Many of us have already run into money obstacles that threaten to hinder our creative desires. After all, we may have awakened some wild, long-lost dreams but we also live in the real world, don’t we? We may be managing to survive in this shaky economy, but there’s precious little leeway for indulging ourselves in art. Or else that art had better pay for itself. Right?

Can you see where our ideas about money play a leading role in our creativity? If we believe there isn’t enough, our expansiveness and willingness to experiment is in jeopardy. If we can’t afford the supplies, the studio time, the lessons, the time off – what’s the use of any of this? If our art doesn’t pay the bills, how can we sustain it?

In this chapter, we have come to a crossroads of either beginning to understand how to fully manifest our creative dreams, or else failing to. At best, if we do not come to this understanding, we will always struggle and always fall short of what our true potential is. And an integral component of that understanding is to recognize the relationship between God/dess, money, and us.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or if you’ve done any browsing through my archives, you know that I’ve written extensively on the history and meaning of money. This is a good time, I think, to review some of those articles.

For instance, many of us are still struggling with the stories handed down to us from our ancestors, especially the founding Europeans that first settled on this continent. I wrote back in 2007, “As we begin to consider and heal our own relationship with money, we can’t overlook the values and ideology that permeate the very foundation of American culture. The Puritans had a profound influence on our deep-seated beliefs about money. Their doctrine was that a strict moral code, hard work, and ‘an honest day’s wages for an honest day’s work,’ would assure one of financial well-being…

“The truth is, that many of the poor in our country are part of the growing number of ‘working poor.’ They work very hard, long hours, often at multiple jobs, and still don’t have enough money to feed their families…The influence of the Puritan work ethic, which tells us that all it takes to succeed is hard work and stoic denial of fleshly pleasures, cannot be underestimated.”

By the way, I wrote this well before the financial meltdown that hit in 2008.

What’s wrong with the Puritan ethic? As I noted, “For those who work extremely hard and make little progress, it creates an impossible bind. It sends the message that they are somehow not working hard enough. It assumes that we are all on a level playing field and that success is entirely based on hard work, courage, and cleverness.

“That is certainly what our founding fathers intended and it is what we strive for this country to be. But the facts are that class, privilege, race, sex, education, and other factors still have enormous influence.

“Ultimately, the denial of these influences adds to our illusions and wounds about money. We’re told it is there for the taking, yet it remains so elusive. It is only available to those who are worthy and so if you have it, you must be good. If you don’t, you must be bad.”

I invite you to consider what assumptions about money are operating in your own life. They may be obvious, or perhaps very subtle indeed. Tomorrow, we’ll examine our beliefs a little more closely.

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  • July 8, 2009, 11:05 am Betty

    This is excellent! Thank you!

    My observation is that our founding fathers were also more closely related to the end product of their hard work than our current culture is. One could "see" more readily the payoff. We were an agricultural society. These days we are often so abstracted from the actual payoff of our work that we lose that connection altogether and wonder why the heck we're even working.

    Art offers a direction connection to our work, as does haying a field or feeding stock. We can see how our work is connected to the whole. That makes a huge difference to me.

  • July 8, 2009, 12:21 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    Oh, wow. That is a really fascinating observation, Betty! Thank YOU! 🙂
    – Beth

  • July 9, 2009, 5:55 am Michelle

    Hi Beth

    This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. When it comes to manifesting I've had some spectacular success (I once made a list of what I wanted in a life partner and found him 6 months later 😉 ), but lately I'm coming up against the "wall" that many of the things I want to manifest relate to money. Well.. SEEM to relate to money. And I can't get my brain to get over that fact. :-\

    I'm not American, so I can't really comment on that side of things. I've been thinking about it though. My ancestors were pioneers in Africa and the Middle East. On my father's side there's definitely been the hard work = spiritual progress ethic. My mom's side were more flamboyant and tended to regard hard work as an evil.

    My childhood was based on trust, faith and hard work = success. My parents put spiritual success before money, but in a way that gave out the message that money was "bad", something that corrupts.

    No suprise I'm useless at manifesting change in my life in areas where I feel I need money!

    My blockage is the fact I want to manifest a permanent home. My family (hubby, me and my parents) have been renting for 7 years now. (since we moved from Africa to Scotland. In that time we've moved 6 times. My health and my mom's isn't up to constant packing/unpacking so this time we just left most things packed, including a lot of the "creative" side – her paints, my books and craft stuff. Plus each house change has offered problems with where to put up her art stuff, where to stick my stuff. It all drains your energy after a while.

    I want to manifest a solid home we can grow in. A place with a garden that we can plant in and a home we can paint, put up shelves or renovate to our needs. (private rentals don't allow that and since private rentals here rujn for 6 months to 2 years it's not worth the effort/expense anyway)

    I've been trying to manifest a permanent home, but my brain says "Houses cost money" and… I freeze. I know it. I feel it. I fight it… I don't think I'm getting anywhere. 🙁
    Yet when it comes to manifesting something my brain doesn't associate with money (like a husband and other things over the years) I've had real good success. Pretty fast too. Never longer than a few months.

    And, as you say, when you're life revolves around basic survival it's hard to keep flowing and creative.

  • July 10, 2009, 4:10 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Michelle.. I absolutely hear you.. Money manifesting is really a sticking point with a lot of people. I am so glad you're here with us, and hopefully, as we progress, some of those blockages are going to dissolve for you, and deep changes WILL happen!

    Just putting it out there what you want, and knowing that everyone reading this is sending a little bit of good energy for you.. well, that can lead to profound things just in and of itself!

    Thanks so much EVERYONE for posting…this is big stuff, especially at this time in the history of money!
    – B.