Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sustain-ability -- Money, money, money, money

Two of my favorite bloggers / authors / occultists are currently disagreeing on something: the usefulness of Jupiter for the average person. Of course, they are both awesome and professional guys, so the disagreement is reasoned, polite, and interesting for those of us fans who are watching from the sidelines. I prefer this greatly to some of the high drama that tends to engulf other portions of the online magical landscape. The community can only benefit from the exchange, so thank you Gordon and Jason (buy their stuff, frequent their blogs, they are excellent occultists, both of them).

Occult drama!

I don't plan on weighing in on either side. I have had positive experiences working with Jupiter. I've also had positive experiences working with Mercury, Dionysos, and Hecate. Jason's books and course have opened me to doing more planetary magic and Gordon's Chaos Protocols has inspired me to frequent the less savory side of the spiritual street. I also try to balance the forces of stability and chaos in my life because that's what my life calls for right now.

Frankly, I'll take whatever help I can get in my efforts to help myself and my family. Because beneath this particular debate is a key idea that both parties agree on -- the current economic situation is completely fucked and the deck is stacked against you. [unless you are one of the 1%, in which case why are you reading my blog? Call me and I'll consult for you personally]

See, I think it's less important who you ask and more important what you ask for. Which brings us back to the title of this post. Money magic has to be one of the most common magical targets, if not the most common (it might be tied with love spells). For example, when I read for people, I get insight into their goals and areas of concern. And in many cases money forms a part of that. Either people are looking for a way to get money in order to improve their lives or they're looking for a way to make their passions and dreams pay money. And if you look at the bulk of spells online and the materia in shops, you'll see the same trend -- people need money and they will do magic to get it.

I get it. I'm not independently wealthy. I don't have, as Taleb calls it, "fuck you money" in the bank. I have a job and bills and a budget. I even have a mortgage (and I'm lucky I do because in my city houses like mine are renting for about $800 a month more than my mortgage -- and rising). So yeah, without money my family wouldn't be doing that great. I don't hate money and don't think it's evil (and if you do, stop it! -- it's bad for your bank balance). But we wouldn't get far without it.

Still, I've been thinking for some time that money magic is wrong. A pointless, shortsighted idea. And the recent discussion between Jason and Gordon, along with a key idea from Gordon's new book (totally worth it, review coming soon!) suddenly solidified my thinking on it.

Now, some of you are probably saying (at least in your heads) "but wait, I did a spell for money and IT WORKED and I got money!" Sure. I believe you. If you can do magic, you can do magic for money. But my question is: are you generally more prosperous and secure than you were before your spell? Or did you just get enough money to cover your bills or deal with some immediate need or cover whatever emergency inspired you to do the spell in the first place?

And that's because money isn't what most people actually want or need. It's a handy shortcut, a symbol, if you will of something that people do need -- prosperity. This distinction first came to me back in my student days, when I was discovering the I Ching. It seemed clear to me that the view of success and wealth revealed by the trigrams was very different from that described by advertisements and US culture. First, prosperity had less to do with amounts and more to do with security and stability. Second, prosperity came from moral and right behavior. It wasn't something you had to be a douche bag in order to have. It came from the Earth and wasn't against it. It was supported by family and society, not degraded by it. Now, this broader concept of prosperity isn't divorced from money. Money is the method by which you create connections to others in your community and how you create a storehouse of value for your household.

But in the West, the idea of prosperity and the idea of money have been separated. Divorced over time to the point that there are plenty of people who have money -- jobs and income -- but who are anything but prosperous. Many who have the appearance of prosperity (two newer cars, a nice house, articulate and well-groomed children) are actually about two weeks away from losing everything.

In addition, I feel like the symbolism of money has become corrupted. This has been swirling in the back of my mind for some time: the fraudulence of the stock market and its infiltration into every aspect of life, the bubble economy (this book is excellent), income inequality. But it was something Gordon said in TCP (congratulations, your book is already an acronym) that really clicked for me. He pointed out that when Marie Laveau put a dollar bill under a candle, that dollar actually represented something real -- a store of wealth, however small. But that now this isn't the case. Whether or not you actually think we should or can do back to some "gold standard" it's certainly true that, at least in the US, the dollar bill is nothing more than a storehouse of DEBT, at least on the national level.

So that brings us back to money magic. Your anointed dollars and money boxes may not be the most helpful type of magic you can do. No, instead you want prosperity magic, so that you can build a life that's sustainable and stable where you generally don't stress about bills or food and can enjoy goods or experiences in a way that gives you maximum satisfaction.

So what does prosperity magic look like?

1. Health -- the old adage is true: If you don't have your health, you don't have anything. Remember always that 60% of personal bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical bills -- and most of those families had insurance. Take care of yourself, take care of your family. Don't eat shit. Stop smoking cigarettes. Enchant for safety and good health. Also, enchant for the health of your equipment, do regular maintenance your cars, take care of your things and make them last. The average price of a used car in the US, hit $16,800 in 2014. And the average cost of the payment on that car is $360. So change your oil already! History is chock full of healing and health symbols and Deities, like the Asclepius wand.

2. Connections -- for career and business success, enchant for weak connections. Friends of friends are the people who find you jobs and opportunities. Network enchantment can use the symbol of the spider web or the world wide web. For personal happiness and satisfaction, enchant for strong connections. The people who you trust completely and can confide in absolutely are necessary for a happy life. Lots of symbols for friendship (pineapple, pomander, etc.).

3. Learning opportunities -- don't enchant for a better job, enchant to develop in-demand skills (and use them to get a better job). Taleb recently wrote a piece on wage slavery that I'm planning a response to. I think his piece misses the mark in several important ways. But one thing that's absolutely right is that if you have an in-demand skillset, then you wield considerable control over your life and your earning potential. If your skillset is not in demand, then either get better (Zamfir did not make a successful career being the world's second best pan flute player) or get some skills that are. There are tons of deities and symbols for knowledge and learning.

4. Nourishment -- people don't usually go hungry in this country, but that doesn't mean we aren't malnourished. In fact, the Western world (and the US in particular) is absolutely starved for nourishment of all kinds. This includes physical, emotional, spiritual, mental. Shop at farmers markets, enjoy live entertainment, spend time in nature, avoid police procedurals (AKA serial killer porn). Spell for and seek out nourishing activities. The cornucopia is one symbol for nourishment, but there are many more.

5. ROI -- enchant to increase your return on investment. Don't enchant for bargains or for thing to be cheaper. Stop couponing for crap you don't want or need. Enchant instead for things that have value beyond their cost. Both metaphorical (love's value is immeasurable) and literal (goods and services that are worth the expense). I was recently in the market for a desk for my new shared office. I was looking at the usual suspects (IKEA) when I saw local posting for a 1920s oak secretarial desk with only two owners -- for less than I would have spent for a press-board desk that requires assembly. I am now the proud third owner and have a nearly 100 year old spot to do my tarot readings. This desk will outlive me and it hums with the energy of being loved and cared for for all those many decades. That's huge ROI! ROI is more abstract, but a great symbol is an arrow curving back on itself.

These are the kind of goals that make for prosperity. Plus they are easy to symbolize and enchant for without using those hollow and slippery dollars. And if the result of this work also happens to include more dollars, that's OK. You will be creating your life with a base of sustainability and long-term well-being. One that can hopefully weather the storms that are already battering our economy. Planets are optional, use whichever ones you like.

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