Workin’ for a Livin’
Five steps to a more magical workplace.
by Deborah Blake
In my view of the perfect world, we would all own Pagan stores, do Tarot readings, create beautiful crafts, or make our living in some other way that satisfies our Pagan inclinations. Alas, for most of us, earning money to put food on the table requires that we spend our days toiling away at more mundane jobs, often under circumstances that are more likely to sap our spirits than to sustain them.
However, that doesn’t mean that we should give up on our dreams. In my experience, magick can find you almost anywhere, if you are willing to look for it. So, until the day when that perfect Pagan world arrives, here are some guidelines to help you survive — even thrive — in the everyday workplace.
I have wanted to be a writer all my life. But in the past I had lots of explanations as to why I couldn’t start writing. Then, two years ago, an idea so possessed me that I had to write it down and share it. I ignored all the reasons that I knew my writing career couldn’t take off, and did it anyway.
The result was that I wrote the book, submitted it, and it got published last year. My next non-fiction book is due out later this year, and I am presently working on a novel. At this point the satisfaction I get from doing what I love far exceeds any money I’m receiving, but I still feel that I’ve made a major step forward. The point is this: I don’t have more time or energy than I had before, back when I wasn’t writing. I still work at my “regular” job to pay the bills, but I find the time to write nonetheless.
It turns out that all those reasons for not doing what I loved are not as important as I thought. So if the gods gave you a gift and you’re not using it, now is the time to start. You might be surprised at the way the universe will support your efforts. Have faith in yourself and faith that the gods will help you if you are willing to help yourself. Figure out what it is you love to do and (as they say) “just do it.”
Do what you love. This may seem obvious but believe me, it’s not. How many of us take a job we don’t particularly like at some point in our lives “just for now” and end up stuck there for years, or even decades? How many of us have a job that starts out as fun — but ends up as drudgery?
It’s easy to fall into a pattern of saying; “Some day I’ll…” while coming up with reasons why “some day” can’t be today. Let’s face it, there are always plenty of reasons not to make a change: “I won’t make as much money”, “my family needs the security”, “I might fail and lose everything” and so forth. Any (or all?) of the above sound familiar? If so, you may want to rethink that attitude. The “tomorrow fairy” isn’t going to tap you on the shoulder with her magic wand and say “today is the day to change your life!” Change means taking responsibility for making it happen.
Love what you do. Just because you have taken a leap of faith and gone after your dream doesn’t necessarily mean you can quit your day job. It also doesn’t mean you have to regard your paycheck-punching profession — whatever that is — as a nuisance to be barely tolerated. If you loathe your job because of unsafe or de-meaning working conditions, abysmal pay, or because of an unethical employer or a product you don’t believe in, it may be time to start looking for a new way to make a living, too! One way to improve your work life is to approach your work with a positive attitude.
Try this experiment: go to work next week and pretend that you love your job . Start your day with a positive affirmation (“I love my job in spite of its challenges”), do your assigned tasks with energy and an upbeat attitude, and remember to smile at the people you see through the course of the day.
You will be amazed at the difference a positive attitude can make. “Perfect love and perfect trust” are not just ideals we use in our spiritual practices — they ought to carry over into our everyday lives, too. So, to paraphrase that old Paul Simon song, “If you can’t have the job you love, then love the job you’ve got.” And don’t be surprised if suddenly people are smiling back.
Remember the Threefold Law. Any Pagan worth her pentacle knows about the Law of Returns. But how many of us apply it to our work? Isn’t it okay to do just enough to get by? Nope. This “rule” is something that most Pagans share a belief in, whether they call it the Threefold Law, the Law of Returns, or just plain karma. Simply put, it means that what you put out into the universe is what you get back in return. (“Times three” if, like me, you are a believer in the Law of Three.)
Think of your employment (just like the rest of your life) as an extension of your spiritual practice. Buddhists have been doing this for centuries; as the Zen masters say, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” So when you chop wood, do your best. When you haul water, be the finest water hauler that anyone has ever seen. Whether you are selling real estate or scrubbing dishes, aim to complete each task to the best of your ability. The gods expect no less from us, and we should expect no less from ourselves.
Keep your soul unified. As much as possible, bring your Pagan self to work. This isn’t always easy — or obvious — but it is more possible than you might imagine. While in that perfect Pagan world we could all wear our funkiest clothes, display our pentacles with pride, and burn a smudge stick after every office spat, in this world, more decorum is in order. (Be fair — ask yourself how much religiosity you like from your co-workers and you’ll have a good idea how much they’ll appreciate your blow-by-blow description of your last Beltane bonfire.)
Work sites differ wildly on how open we can be about what is still considered by many to be an alternative (or even aberrant) lifestyle. I consider myself lucky: as my day job I run an artists’ cooperative store filled with free-thinking folk; between having my book published and putting on public rituals, I am out of the broom closet, I wear my pentacle where everyone can see it, display my book on the front counter and, if asked, talk openly about my beliefs. But I don’t put a Pagan “spin” on the shop, bring up the subject with customers unless there is some indication that they would want to discuss it, nor do I push my views on any non-Pagan artists/co-workers.
No matter what your circumstances, it is a balancing act to bring your Pagan self to work. So why even try? One reason is that Pagans are often misunderstood because most people have never consciously met someone who is Pagan. They don’t realize that the nurse in the operating room or the mechanic who works on their car are Pagans. I’m not advocating that everyone immediately jump out of the broom closet. What I am suggesting is that you take a look at your own circumstances, and be as open as possible.
Even if you can’t be openly Pagan at work, try to bring your best Pagan self to all that you do. Our beliefs and approach to life can aid us here as they do in all other aspects of our life. If later, you feel that you can become more visible, all that you have achieved will speak well about what it means to be Pagan.
Use a little magick. As Pagans, we have tools that are available to us that most non-Pagans don’t. Some of these tools are a matter of mindset: keeping in mind that what we put into our work is what we will get out, and having faith and a positive attitude. But let’s not forget about our other tools — spells.
It is possible to use magick to ease tensions at work, and bring beneficial changes into our lives. I also use prosperity spells from time to time, when I feel like I need a financial boost or have a particularly crucial event coming up. For example, I make jewelry for sale, so I cast a spell for prosperity before I go to vend at a craft fair. Other excellent times to use spellwork for an extra lift to your endeavors is if you are going to ask for a raise, or are looking for a new job.
Here is a spell for dealing with difficult people at work. Remember that you can change any of the words or actions to suit your needs, as long as you are obeying the rules to “harm none” and respect free will.
Spell for Dealing with Difficult People
Intent: The goal of this spell is to get along better with others, ease work-related tensions, and protect yourself from negative energy.
It is important when dealing with people (especially those you might not get along with) to send out love and not anger. Difficult as it may seem to love the guy in the next cubicle who can’t stop tapping on the wall, or the boss who is constantly asking you for the impossible, remember that what you put out is what you get back; I have seen amazing things happen when this simple change in attitude is applied to a troubling situation.
Preparation: Light a sage smudge stick and waft the smoke over your body and your ritual space. Visualize resentment and negativity flowing away with the smoke.
If you are particularly stressed, you may want to take a few drops of lavender or chamomile oil (or any magickal “peace” oil) and anoint your third eye chakra (between your brows), your throat chakra, and your heart chakra.
Doing the spell: Light a blue candle (for healing and peace) and gaze into the flame for a moment, taking slow, deep breaths to center yourself. Close your eyes and visualize your third eye opening to allow for rational thought and empathy, your throat chakra opening to allow for free-flowing communication, and the heart chakra opening to allow love to go out towards the person with whom you are having a problem. Next, see the other person as if they were sitting in front of you, surrounded by a brightly glowing light. Then widen the area of light to include your own space. When you have this image firmly in your mind, you can open your eyes and say the following spell out loud.
As with all magickal work, remember to follow up with practical actions to bring about your goals. In the case of this spell, try being especially nice to the difficult person referred to above for at least a week. Moving from intent to action gives the universe the opening it needs to change the energy in the situation.
Remember that you have the power to bring about the future of your dreams. Visualize the working world you want to live in; see it in your mind’s eye as if it already existed. Every step that you take today can move you towards fulfilling your goals. By combining your mundane skills and your Pagan outlook, you too can create the perfect Pagan world of work that nurtures both your wallet and your soul.
— DEBORAH BLAKE is a Wiccan High Priestess and the author of Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (Llewellyn 2007) and Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft (Llewellyn 2008). Her award-winning short story, “Dead and (Mostly) Gone” is included in the Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales (Llewellyn, October 2008).
» Originally appeared in PanGaia #49 - Money Magic
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