It’s cool to be Pagan right now. Being so makes one hip, edgy, a demi-anarchist. It would also, it appears, make one financially prosperous. I am talking about the The Big Sell Out; the ‘Pagan for Profit’ mentality that has taken over our computers, our lives and most sadly, our traditions, paths and beliefs.”
[Lupa’s commentary on the entire essay that quote is from:
Wow, where to start with this one? Reading over the entire essay, it’s yet one more “in MY day we didn’t DO things THIS WAY” rant. Well, sure, maybe the people you grew up with didn’t do things that way. But people have ALWAYS made a living off of spirituality in cultures around the world throughout human spiritual history. The myth of the universally pure and unsullied priest/shaman/etc. is just that—a myth. Everyone gets compensated for their work somehow, whether it’s better grazing for your herd of reindeer, or extra food to eat, or currency to pay the rent. Why should spiritual work be any different?
Oh, wait. That whole Cartesian duality thing, where the spiritual and physical are supposedly separate, and anything physical is all bad and evil and icky (which, by the way, is closer to traditional Christian values than a lot of paleopagan ones). Also, the tendency of some humans to feed their superiority complexes by setting up strawmen and knocking them down with Quixotian glee, like the contrived and stereotypical image of the money-grubbing fake pagans who obviously can’t be really spiritual since money’s involved. And, somehow, an attempt to justify the idea that some artists don’t deserve to be paid for our work because it’s spiritual in nature and since we’re cheapening the spirituality by involving it in our income, our art no longer deserves its value (wait, was this a rant about spiritual art, or just the original author bitching about artistic styles and aesthetics they don’t personally like?).
You know that blog post I just posted at Therioshamanism.com , about how nature vs. technology is a false dichotomy? Well, spirit vs. material anything is also a false dichotomy. You don’t just have the pure, good, wonderful spirit-workers who never charge a dime on one side, directly opposed to the fake, money-hungry wannabe pagans who don’t do anything real on the other. It’s not that simple, either in form or function. Again, there are lots of gray areas and overlaps and personal boundaries that aren’t as simple as either/or. I have a very fulfilling and intricate practice, which includes (among other things) making money from selling books that I wrote based on my practices, AND also doing purification rituals on ritual tools and other dead critter art I’ve created and sell to pay my bills. My income and flexible schedule from being self-employed full time as an author and artist allow me MORE time to go out in the woods and be immersed in the source of my spirituality than what I had working in a cube farm. And I’ve had plenty of customers remark on how good the energy of the art I make feels, and how happy the spirits in my art are. I think that’s a decent indicator that I’m not just in it for the money, don’t you?
But hey, if you want to wallow around in your self-righteousness and gloat about how much better you are than us Mammon-fuckers, you go right on ahead. This is the 21st century, and we have two-day delivery and Etsy and a whole bunch of things our forebears didn’t—we also have the internet that we can use to debate things like this with people around the world, not just in our back yards. If you choose to deprive yourself of some or all these things, that’s your decision. If it makes your practice deeper, then go with it. But just like the people kvetching about how technology ruins magic for everyone and every pagan on Facebook is a playgan, quit painting everyone who doesn’t do things your way with the same broad straw brush. Stop projecting your personal biases and calling it universal truth. Buying things for spiritual use does not automatically turn a person into a dis-connected, shallow, mindless lemming in the masses.
/end Lupa counter-rant]
[Lupa’s additional sources: Here and here and also here. Also, just for good measure, a friend of mine wrote a compelling essay about how those “things” that you buy to incorporate into your practice aren’t just dead objects with no spirit; you are inviting spirits into your home when you bring in their physical forms. And here’s the Therioshamanism post I alluded to.]
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