I was speaking today with a moneyworker whom I respect a great deal. The conversation largely focused on financial literacy, and the fact that it's not common in our communities. (I think that's more because we are a microcosm of a society in which education about money is sorely lacking, but we spoke more about solutions than causes.) We floated a number of ideas about how we can lift each other up from the self-perpetuating cycles of poverty and money anxiety, and those ideas are certainly going to manifest in our communities, but I want to know what you know, and what you don't, about money.
Given the strong emotional ties made with money, I think a lot more people in our society approach it as animists than they themselves realize. To love money, or to hate it, or fear it, is to imbue it with spirit, or recognize that it has spirit regardless. Why not take the next step, and allow that relationship to be a two-way one?
What have you done for money lately? Do you say prayers, make offerings, keep a shrine? Do you give and take money without thought for the medium itself, but only the necessities and luxuries it can provide for you and your loved ones? Do you use it for magical purposes? Do you thank money for its role in your life, ignore it, avoid it, or curse it?
In a fascinating post that examines the impact of free events on the economic viability of the Pagan community, Sable Aradia uses the tongue-in-cheek subheading of, "Pagans are . . . Thrifty" to drive home a point about one of the ways we struggle with financial issues. What she means is that we're cheap. While I won't take exception with that -- heck, I come from a long line of tight-fists which I could probably trace back to the invention of money itself -- I do wish she would take another look at what the word actually means.
I think she would find that thrift is a sincerely Pagan value.
Discovering what other people are saying about the Pagan savings challenge is a source of joy for me. Case in point: this PaganSpace.net discussion about different savings strategies.
The original poster says, "I'm not going about it the same way he did just because I don't think it would work for me to be putting more than $5 a week away into savings is practical for my low income family." I agree! The level of savings should be challenging, but not impossible. I'm glad e is adapting the challenge to fit eir own circumstances, because any savings is better than no savings, and developing a saving habit will serve you for life.
A few months ago, my fellow blogger Deborah Blake wrote about establishing a daily divination practice, something which I have have been doing, first with my personal coin divination system and more recently by using the Lymerian oracle. Recently, in response to the question of, "What will today bring me?" I drew kappa, which means, according to the translation of Apollonius Sophistes, "To fight with the waves is difficult; endure, friend."
Usually that one doesn't give me a super-good feeling.
I've imposed some rules upon my own interpretation of the Pagan savings challenge, some of which are probably going to fall before long.
I'm using the smallest bills possible, because I'm posting a picture each week and want that image to express abundance. The envelope I use is pretty much maxed out as of this week, and my money shrine isn't large enough to support a larger one, but I still like the look of the growing pile of singles.
I'm also replacing the cash entirely each week before I add new, to keep me mindful of the flow of money. As the numbers grow higher, the practicality of doing so will drop, because . . .
I am performing this savings challenge in cash, because talismans are powerful. While there are security concerns for this practice, I have put sufficient safeguards into place that I feel confident continuing in this manner, even if I can't comply with the first two for much longer.
These rules are part of ritual which surrounds my savings, the ritual which places this work into religious context. While I won't be dogmatic about them, I do believe that rooting work with money in one's faith practice will make it more powerful, more successful, and more valuable to the whole person than a wad of cash can be in its own right.