The equinox is upon us, bringing light and dark again into balance, so it is again time for us to turn our minds to our toothbrushes.
That's right, toothbrushes....
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
The term grey charges is new to me, but the concept isn't: these are financial parasites that suck off your bank or credit card balance for as long as you don't notice them. Like living parasites, they succeed by staying small and not hurting you too much at a time, costing the average consumer less than $350 per year but banging the entire economy for about $14.3 billion in 2012.
Grey charges depend upon us not spending with intent. Some of us can't be bothered to look at our statements, but it's just as common to be afraid to look at our financial situation. Either of these extremes is the opposite of living a life of intent, because earning and spending are part of the intentional life....
I've been studying the nature and value of money for awhile now, and I've only begun to scratch the surface of what the stuff is. Here in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere, philosophical and economic discussions about money are hopelessly entangled with political philosophy, which makes it all the harder, but I think I have a grasp of what American currency is, and how it got there.
Barter was the first way humans exchanged things they had for things they wanted. It works well when two people each have something they other wants and they value it equally. Otherwise, the trades can become inordinately complex, such is the stuff that fiction writers love to illustrate, because wacky hijinks ensue....
Debt counselors like it when their clients use cash for all of their transactions. That's because they understand that physical currency connects us to the power of money. If you've noticed that most money-drawing and prosperity spells use a couple of bucks as a material component, rather than a checkbook entry or ATM receipt, you're seeing the same idea in action. We don't fully realize the power of money if we keep it in the realm of bank balances and automatic bill payments.
This is no accident: money is the earth element, so by definition it's a material component. The fact that we've made various representations of money, from bills of credit to checks to a jumble of electron, obfuscates this fundamental truth. Money is physical, and forging a relationship with it is going to be much more difficult if you can't feel it in your hand, hear its clink, or smell its peculiar, musky odor.
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.