Dirty Money: Transactional Pagan Writings
Exploring Pagans and their relationship with that earthiest of earth symbols, money.
Forgiving metaphysical debts
One of the things that troubles me about money magic is that all the spells are focused on getting some more of it in my pocket. That may be reflective of how most people approach money (something which must be acquired to achieve security or happiness), but it falls far short of what this medium of exchange is capable of in spellcraft.
This weekend I had the pleasure of leading a group of people through a magical ritual designed to help them forgive those who have wronged them, and I used money as the method for gathering and releasing that energy. It worked as I expected it would, but there were also some educational surprises along the way. Some results were immediately felt, while others may take some time to manifest.
Such is the way of magic.
Forgiveness is the ideal focus for a money spell. We speak of debt forgiveness because the person you are forgiving owes you something, and you are deciding to let that go. It's just the same with the more metaphysical and emotional forms of forgiveness: someone has wronged you, and you feel that they owe you something by way of making it right. To truly forgive that person or group is to literally give them a gift, because they're getting something for nothing.
Of course, some people talk about forgiveness but really are referring to transactional reconciliation: I will stop holding this deed against you if you make amends, which could be in the form of an apology, a good deed, monetary compensation . . . whatever the parties negotiate. This is not forgiveness, for in my mind "give" is a critical part of the word, and implies that only one party is involved, not two.
In short, forgiveness is one-sided because the person who hurt you may not even know, or care, that it happened.
So my ritual was a simple one. Because I'm a follower of Hellenismos, I began by honoring Hestia, then Hekate who rules magic, Hermes who governs commerce and transports the souls of the dead, and Apollon, god of healing. The structure could just as easily be adapted to other systems, and because there were a number of Wiccans and general neopagans present, we gathered in a circle, and acknowledged the four directions in monetary form:
- In the east is thought, or fiat currency, backed by nothing by faith,
- In the south is copper, common but underappreciated,
- In the west is silver, a standard of value and symbol of emotional purchasing decisions, and
- In the north is gold, the one metal that has been used as a measure and store of value more than any other.
Thereafter, I handed out dollar coins and we began jingling them while visualizing the person or incident we wished to forgive. Money is congealed energy, and the sound transferred those experiences directly into the coins. We did not end up using the specific sequences I had planned out, but the transfer of energy became apparent as more and more people started dropping their coins.
Releasing the spell took two steps. First, we passed coins to our left through the circle until they were mixed and mingled and it was entirely unclear which has started with whom. And then, we spent them.
Some people told me that started feeling better as soon as they spent the coins. As for me, I was seeking to forgive myself for a particular behavior that I see as a failing, and within twelve hours I found myself being asked to take on a responsibility which I couldn't have with that particular albatross hanging about my neck.
This is but my first attempt at exploring the true power of money as magical medium. I hope it inspires even better ideas from others.
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