February 27, 2005

Problems with Paganism

Posted at February 27, 2005 10:34 PM in Paganism .

Begin Rant.

Am I the only one that sees the constant assumption that pagans or occultists are necessarily going to be poor as some kind of cop out? Its fucking pathetic.

I just read an article on Witchvox that seemed to mark it as accepted wisdom that pagan priests and priestesses are likely to be hard up, especially as they get older, because they, of course, didn't work middle class jobs or build careers in the "mundane" world.

Personally, I think this is bullshit.

You can build a career or make money (or both) and still be a priest or priestess. Sure, it's hard to do so and find the time for all of your spiritual interests. You know what? It's hard to really follow your spiritual pursuits if you can't pay rent and are living on food stamps too. Try watching less TV, it tends to help free up your time.

I think this idea of the "poor pagan" as the norm devalues the problems of people who are trying to get better jobs or get into better economic situations.

I know plenty of pagans or occultists that were hurt by the downtrends of the dotbomb and the recession that happened. I watched it happen to good friends of mine who went from wonderfully high paying jobs to being out of work and lucky to get anything in the span of months back in 2001 or so. I also know people that are still trying to build careers for themselves. It was only pure luck that nothing like this happened to me (and that fact that I was conservative enough to not jump to a startup when I had the chance). R got herself laid off and didn't get a full time job of any sort for nine months. It took another year after that for her to get a permanent job.

How likely are people to dig themselves out and maintain some sort of financial independence if the message that they hear from their own community is one that poverty is expected? In fact, some might state that it is good because those people who are affluent are just consumer capitalists. It's rather self-justifying for some people who never did work at building some kind of affluence to state that it is the norm for paganism. There is something to be said for a work ethic and paying your own way in life.

We should be about self-reliance. Self-reliance isn't about making big bucks, buying an expensive house or toys, or getting an SUV. It is about being solid enough financially that you can pay your bills, save up some for later in life or emergencies, and generally get by without constantly having to choose between eating or paying rent. We're supposed to be magicians and witches but somehow removing obstacles in life (and lack of money is an obstacle) doesn't seem to be on the radar of people. That is disappointing.

End of Rant.

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