Although I grew up in a community with a strong Jewish presence, I never really delved into the wisdom of that path; therefore, I was completely unaware of the wisdom of Maimonides and his views on charity. The philosopher laid out eight levels of giving which observant Jews should follow as a tenet of their faith. I can't think of a reason Pagans shouldn't adopt something similar.
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
This is the first time I have been invited to write for a Pagan site, which is both an honor and a privilege. I'm mostly unknown, so it's only fair to introduce myself, and my topic. The topic's much more interesting, so let's start there: MONEY!
Money has always held a fascination for me, the sort of fascination that comes from growing up in a family that never had enough of it. It wasn't just that I wanted more of the stuff (who didn't?), it was the fact that we never quite went over the brink that amazed me, too. My mother worked magic with those bills and coins, always managing to pay the bills in time to keep creditors away, and still have enough of Dad's paycheck left to feed and clothe us....
I am in debt. Even when I do not count my study loans, I'm chronically--but not deeply-- in the red on my bank account. I don't have credit card loans, however, and I don't owe money or goods to anyone. I have had a tough year, but it's slowly getting better. Although I work, next to getting an education, my income does not cover all my costs. I am extremely lucky, though: I have a working partner who will gladly jump in and cover costs until my education is done and I can get an actual job that pays the bills.
I don't like being in debt. It's against the spirit of Hellenismos--or at least the two were antagonistic in ancient Hellas. Debts were paid off at the Deipnon--the end of the month--and those who could not pay them became serfs to their creditors. It was one of the main ways a citizen could become a slave.
It sounds a bit harsh, becoming a slave because of a missed payment. Yet, is modern life any different? Am I not tied to all people, companies and foundations who pull money from my bank account on a regular basis? Will not strong men and/or women show up on my doorstep if I can not afford to pay my bills and take items I own to pay off the debt? If all else fails, won't the government take my freedom? Aren't all of us a little enslaved to a economy which requires monthly contributions for protection, huge debts for housing and education, and for an ever-increasing number of people; financial support from their government simply to eat and have a roof to sleep under?
It's been a while, but I'm back again, lovely readers! I'm currently hard at work on my second book (amongst other projects, as you'll see below), but I will certainly continue to post here as and when I can. Comments and topic requests always welcome.
At this time of year, it's easy to understand why our ancestors (both actual and spiritual), those wise women and cunning men, were considered remote, unusual, untouchable, even fearsome.
As Autumn moves into Winter here in the UK, we feel our natural, animal pull to dig in, hibernate, take time within the darkness to assess the previous year and anticipate the time to come - but I doubt any busy society has ever really allowed that to happen, except when they have no choice. Stoke up the fire, head to the pub or communal house, light and laughter against the outside world.
(Photo - 'Autumn in the New Forest', from Glastonbury Goddess Temple)
A cross-post this week, if I may - between here at my first blog 'home', and the wonderfully eclectic 'Witches & Pagans' site (because if you can't 'moonlight' as a Pagan, then who can?).
I am very aware that I haven't written anything at either location for a couple of weeks. I could give excuses - ultimately, the days have flown past and life has been more important. I'm sure we all know how that goes. Instead, take a wander with me, if you will.
Regular readers know that one of my favourite places for inspiration is as I walk the dog across the hilltop where I live. This evening I wandered the streets, looking out at the fierce clouds parting after an intense rain and thunder-storm just a few hours ago, the remnants of a rainbow, and the slightly 'stunned' feeling of a normal, modern, country village after a violent and unavoidable incident of Nature. The grass is rich and green, the snails appear to have made a small bypass across the path outside one particular row of houses, and the occasional early bat is swooping overhead.
• Fehu •
Old English Rune Poem
Feoh (Money) is a comfort to humans all;
But each one should deal it out abundantly,
If he wants before the Lord to chance judgement.
Old Icelandic Rune Poem
Fe (Money) is kinsman’s quarrel
And flood-tide’s token
And necromancy’s road.
Old Norse Rune Poem
Fe (Money) causes kinsmen’s quarrel;
The wolf is reared in the forest.
~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright
Money tends to be bound up with intense feeling – particularly anxiety. It is essentially a symbol after all, onto which we are free to project a vast array of significances. Its spectral touch can thread throughout lives, throughout history itself. It is the justification for an infinity of injustices, absurdities, and cowardice.