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Magick for Personal Gain?

Someone asked me the other day whether or not it was acceptable to do magick for personal gain. This is one of those topics that can be hotly debated in Pagan circles. Wiccans sometimes say no, that there is something intrinsically flawed with the idea of using the powers of magick to say, win the lottery. (Hell, if that worked, there’d be a lot more rich Pagans out there.) Traditional Witches often used magick to get what they wanted. So what’s the answer?


First off, this is one of those things you can decide for yourself. If the idea of using magick for gain offends you, just don’t do it. There you go.


But I thought that the question deserved some closer examination, since I’ve seen it come up many times during my fifteen plus years of practice. Is there something wrong with using magick to benefit yourself? If so, why?


For me, that brings us back to the question of what magick is actually FOR; what purpose does it serve in our lives? Keep in mind that the spiritual aspects of a Witchcraft practice have little or nothing to do with magick itself. It is a tool—although how we use it certainly reflects on us and on our spiritual values.


As a tool, magick can be used for objectives that are good, neutral, or bad (evil, even…bwahahaha). Some of the most commonly cast spells are those for protection, love, healing, and prosperity. I think that most people would agree that protection spells are either good or neutral, and there is little harm in casting them for ourselves or others. Love spells, on the other hand, can be tricky territory. If cast carelessly or with malice, then we are getting into the “influencing the free will of others” territory, and that’s where I personally draw the line, although there are plenty of Witches who have no problem with doing so.


Healing spells, for the most part, are beneficial, and few people would frown on anyone doing them. But what about prosperity? That falls squarely into the “personal gain” category that some Pagans find objectionable.


In my opinion, magick is a tool that can and should be used to improve our lives, and the lives of those around us (with their permission, of course). So I have no problem with casting a prosperity spell before I take my jewelry to sell at a craft fair, or asking for help finding the perfect car at a price I can afford. I try not to use it all the time (because that feels a little bit to me like abusing the privilege), but on the other hand, NOT using magick to make my life better would be akin to using a screwdriver when I have a power drill sitting right there.


I try not to ask for too much (because I also believe that at some point the gods will get fed up with my nagging), and to use magick in addition to the mundane practical actions I take in everyday life. For instance, if I needed to replace my car (which I do, alas), I’d go to local dealerships, check the newspaper and online, and ALSO do a spell to ask for the right vehicle to turn up at the right time.


Let’s face it—most of us could use all the help we can get. So why not use the gift of magick to benefit ourselves, as long as it harms no one else? Oh, and if you win the lottery, feel free to share. Mama needs a new car.


What do you think? Is it okay to use magick for personal gain? Or are there hidden pitfalls I’m not seeing?

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Deborah Blake is the author of Everyday Witch Book of Rituals (Llewellyn 2012), Witchcraft on a Shoestring (Llewellyn, 2010) as well as The Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) and several other books. She lives in a 100-year-old farmhouse in upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.


  • D. R. Bartlette
    D. R. Bartlette Wednesday, 22 May 2013

    Great post on a great topic. I've been practicing and studying for some 27 years now, and I was originally taught not to take money for tarot readings under the same ideology. I believe it stems from our Christian heritage, this idea that anything we do to help/improve our real, physical situation is somehow "profane" - Christianity fetishizes suffering and looks down on any attempt to end it as "selfish."
    But since doing a lot of Work, I've come up with a good moral guideline for doing magick:
    The Universe wants you to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled. Anything you do toward that goal will be in alignment with the Universe, as long as it doesn't harm, manipulate, or coerce anyone else. Therefore, doing love magick aimed at a specific individual would be manipulating them, interfering with their free will, so it is off limits. Same for healing *without permission.* Everyone has their own journey to wholeness, and some people may actually need this illness as part of their journey. If the person asks, or gives permission, go ahead. (It's actually a very common journey for very proud people to have to learn how to ask for help, to learn empathy for those who need help; so the asking part could be a key aspect of it).
    So I always put this confirmation in all my magick: "in alignment with my (or whomever's) highest good."

  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake Wednesday, 22 May 2013

    That's exactly how I look at it. I often say, "For the good of all, and according to the free will of all," just to be on the safe side.

    I was taught the tarot by someone who didn't feel right charging for her "gift" (although she could do healing and charge for that, which is a little confusing). My take on that is that we all have different gifts--for instance, I consider people who can do professional level physics or mathematics to be gifted, since I can't do those things at all. But you would never say to a musician or an artist, "That's a gift from the gods, you shouldn't charge for it." My time and energy are worth something, so I do actually charge for tarot and healing work (although I also would never turn away someone who truly needed me, just because they didn't have money).

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