Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Paying for spiritual services

Money is always a hot topic, and I've talked about it from the seller side before, but I wanted to take a look at things from the other side, that of the person purchasing products or services.  There are a lot of options out there, if you want to buy Pagan/witchy products or pay someone to provide a service for you, and there are just as many potential issues that people might fret about.

I think the heart of the matter still comes back to this idea that paying for stuff is somehow bad.  Especially in a highly self-motivated practice, there is this sense that we can do everything!  We are our own Priest/ess and there is a big emphasis on handmade stuff versus mass produced (which is a WHOLE other issue, but the bottom line is don't feel bad about doing what works for you!). 

The funny thing is that I think that a lot of our issues with paying for stuff comes from the modern era.  We look back on the past with rose-colored glasses and think "oh, people in the past could do ALL this stuff, why can't I?"

Well firstly, we do a lot of things that our ancestors couldn't/didn't, so we can do just as much, it's just different stuff.  Secondly, just because almost everyone could make their own soap, cook from scratch, butcher animals...doesn't mean that there weren't also professionals. 

This is why professions first started.  When someone devotes a lot of time and effort into learning something, they become better at it.  While every household might have basic knowledge of common herbal cures and fixes, the herbalist would know a lot more (and probably have bigger stores of herbs on hand, or know where to find the rare ones that they didn't keep in stock).  So, if you needed a tea to calm you down, you might be able to mix that up no problem, but you might not know what to fix for a mother going through a difficult birth.

When you buy the services or products of a specialist, you are exchanging your money for their experience.  It's really not about the product.  You are buying their time.  We all have limited time, and it is simply not possible to be an expert at everything.  Plus, you might not have interest in all of the things, and it is perfectly legitimate to pay someone else to do the stuff you don't care for, so that you have more time to do the stuff you are passionate about.

With spirituality, there is an added layer of guilt.  If I were a 'good' witch, surely I would make my own herbal blends?  I would write all my own spells and bless my crystals and craft my own tools...right?  To a certain extent, I agree with theory.  I think that someone who is drawn to witchcraft will want to understand how things work, they will want to do as much as possible.  This is the difference between people who practice witchcraft and those who just want to pay a witch to do stuff for them (which is also fine, if you don't want to be the witch, but you believe and are willing to pay other people to witch for you!)

There are lots of witchy stuff I adore doing.  I personally love crafting spells, figuring out the wording, and finding the stuff, and creating the ritual.  I have the time to dedicate to it.  But time is my main resource, and there are lots of people who just don't have time to always do all the prepwork.  Now lots of people will say stuff like, "If it's important enough to you, then you will find the time." 

I think that's bunk.  It's a way to shame people.  It's your craft, and you do it the way that works for you.  Many people just aren't word people.  They struggle to express themselves in words (let alone getting rhyme and rhythm going)...but they may feel that is important to them.  There is nothing wrong with working with someone else, explaining what you are looking for, and then having them actually come up with the words for you.  Or looking through books to find a wording that works for you (I love using song lyrics for this, when I find words that just touch me).

I also think that buying spell kits is perfectly legit, whether you want to do them exactly as suggested or just use them as a starting point.  Again, you may not have the means to keep a fully stocked witchy cupboard.  Knowing you want to cast a healing spell, you can buy a healing spell kit, and have a neat little bundle of ingredients as well as a suggestion for what to do.  You might love what you are given and use it just the way it is, or you may want to add (or take away) a few things and change some stuff up.  It's your magic, you can adjust it as you like (once you buy the spell kit, it's yours, don't feel bad about changing it!)

And, if time or energy is what you are lacking, I also don't see anything wrong with paying someone else to actually cast the spell for you.  Or even if you perhaps feel very strongly about this particular thing but don't feel up to casting it (maybe you really want love in your life, but you aren't comfortable with your own experience level and are afraid you will call things you didn't intend).  If you are sick, you may not have the energy to cast healing spells on your own behalf.  And if you are already strapped for time, but want to cast a spell to help your career advance (perhaps so you will be able to take more time for yourself), then maybe you just need to pay someone to do the ritual for you.

I think it's funny that we create this moral line between mundane and magical.  Most people don't think anything about doing mundane things that involve paying other people to do stuff, even if it's stuff they could do themselves.  I can bake.  I can even bake from absolute scratch.  I often buy cake mixes (because they are quick, easy and reliable), and we even buy cake from the store, fully made.  Sometimes, I just don't want to make stuff, I just want it already done.

Now, I do think there are things that we need to do ourselves, but even then we can often get help.  Think of therapy for a moment.  If I am struggling with some inner issues, then obviously I need to be involved in the work.  There are lots of things other people can do to help me (like doing things for me if that particular thing causes me too much anxiety), but at the end of the day, if I want to work on handling my anxiety, I have to do the work.  I can see all the therapists in the world, and they can give me the best advice ever, but unless I start working on my inner worlds, I will never truly master my anxiety.  But it will be much easier if I go see a therapist, who has been trained in these particular issues, than to do it on my own.

One thing I find really perplexing about this idea of 'we should do our own work' is that there is a simultaneous thread of 'you need to invest in yourself'.  There are a million things out there in the world that are shoved in our faces and we are told that if we don't buy them, we obviously aren't serious about our craft.  It might be lessons or coaching or fancy tools or supplies.

Now, it might seem contradictory, as I just spent how long talking about why it can be perfectly fine to buy things or hire people, but I also think that sometimes we don't need to pay other people to do stuff for us.

Just like we all have different levels of time and energy, we also have different levels of money.  What might be pocket change to one person might be a serious investment to another.  Where I have a problem is when someone is trying to guilt me into paying money that I don't want to spend....especially if you are trying to get me to spend outside of my means (but honestly, the minute you try to guilt me into something I'm over it).

I've seen some crazy (to me) pricing out there.  Hundreds of dollars for a couple hour class in something, or for a fancy spell kit, or for a tarot reading.  Now, to me, a hundred dollars is a LOT.  If it's not a lot to you, that's great, and these things might absolutely be things that are perfectly reasonable to you! 

There seem to be two types of people who sell more pricey stuff (or services).  One group just focuses on what they are selling...they talk about how much work it takes (and handmade stuff takes work!) or the benefits other people have found in it..they sell by making their product sound amazing.  Then there are people who sell through fear.  They talk about how horrible your life will be without their service/product or how much you will suffer if you don't get it.  This is absolutely preying on people, and it's really not cool.

And a lot of people fall for the fear tactics, because those techniques play into our own fears and insecurities about being good enough.  Funny thing though....I am much more likely to pay more if you talk about how amazing your stuff is (or better yet if someone else talks about how amazing your stuff is).  If you are a great person, and you have pricey stuff, I'm more interested in buying from you because I want to support you (I will always be more inclined to buy from someone who I like or who does nice things for other people).

There is a lot to think about, when it comes to paying for spiritual services, and it's all pretty personal stuff.  There is no single right or wrong answer, when it comes to what you should or should not be paying for.  That is something for you to determine.  What is right for one person might feel completely wrong for someone else.  I am a big believer in doing what feels right, and sometimes we have to dig deep, to get through all those emotions and feelings that are dumped on us from outside, to really find how we feel about something.  And sometimes that surprises you!  But it is so worth it.

There are amazing crafters and spiritual workers out there, many of whom use their skills and experience to make a living (or to make their life more comfortable and fun).  Buying products or services from other people can be a real blessing in your own path.  But doing things on your own brings a different kind of satisfaction, even if sometimes what you do isn't quite as polished as what a professional might do.  It's all about finding that balance, and doing the things that you are passionate about, and offsetting that by buying things that you either don't have as much interest in or that you aren't able to do on your own.  Remember, whatever you decide is right for you is valid!  Don't let other people tell you what you should, or should not, be doing in your own path!

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