Comments are a double-edged sword in the blogosphere, but I've learned a lot from the ones I have received here. In pointing out what he or she thinks is the fatal flaw in any plan for Pagan financial infrastructure, Kveldrefr got me thinking about one of the underlying beliefs about Pagans, that they want to be poor:
I feel a certain obligation to post weekly about the Pagan savings challenge, if only to remind readers that I am still plugging along, and to cheer on my fellow savers. This week I did not have a topic at the ready, so when in doubt, do some divination!
Using the Greek alphabet oracle, I drew tau, the parting from the companions now around you. I drew this tile separate from my daily divination, and despite carefully shaking the jar of letters, I got the same one both times. Given the growing stream of money that is being diverted from my wallet to my savings, I believe the companions I am parting from are all named George Washington.
This month, with the Claremont Conference on Contemporary Paganism and PantheaCon, I’m taking the month off from my regular blog post to announce the formation of a new Pagan service organization: the Pantheon Foundation.
I've noted before that I am devoting the money I save during the Pagan savings challenge to buying and installing a fireplace insert. This week, my family was reminded that this is a really good idea.
We've had all manner of severe winter weather throughout the United States this season, including a cold snap and foot or more of snow in my area. It was during the cold and dark of that heavy snowfall that my wife realized our heat was no longer on. We tried hitting the reset button, but no dice. We called our amazing heating guys, who talked me through several other troubleshooting steps, all which failed to solve or diagnose the problem. He agreed to come out as soon as he confirmed that the parking lot of his shop had been plowed so he could get the work truck.
I'm a bit of a currency naturalist: I round bills up, mark them, and release them back into the wild. That even goes for two dollar bills, which many Americans believe are no longer made (they are; in fact, series 2013 is in print now). Because the two is in such low circulation, if you ask for them at the bank like I do, you will see some very old, very well-preserved currency.
Only on a two did I have much of a chance of finding this story. Everything I know for a fact comes from that very bill, which I have pictured here. A two from series 1976, in fairly crisp condition, with a note scrawled across it in black ink. The handwriting crosses over dark portions of the bill's design, there's at least one word crossed out, and it's not very legible in the first place, but this is what I think it reads:
This week I received an unpleasant surprise in the mail: a parking ticket. Apparently I had failed to hit the meter quickly enough one time while waiting for the Maetreum of Cybele's day in court, but the ticket itself didn't manifest until four months later. What would have been a $65.00 fine (outrageous in its own right) has now been hiked to $115.00, plus the usual warnings about me never being able to park in this town again.
Honestly, the things we go through for our work . . .
As 2013 was winding down, I put out a call for indebted Pagans who would be willing to be interviewed as I began exploring our relationship with debt. One brave Heathen, Melanie Swaim, was willing to do so, and the post I wrote after we talked blew the doors off the Witches and Pagans Facebook page, garnering (at last count) 1,137 likes and 162 comments. I'm told it was, to date, the most liked post on the page for this site. That deserves some serious unpacking.
First things first: I took one idea from the many which came out of my conversation with Ms Swaim, and ran with it: that she had to seek out guidance and support for her financial challenges in a religious community other than her own, because hers does not have that type of infrastructure. To be clear, I interpreted this is simply an observable fact, not an incrimination of Heathens in any way. Most, if not all, Pagan religions have a fierce independent streak running through them. Anecdotally, it seems that individual responsibility is a more important value across Paganism than even community.