Chances are good that if you have been practicing magic or witchcraft for any length of time, you have been asked a question that goes something like this: “If magic is real and you can cast spells, why aren’t you rich?”
Most of us dismiss that question because if we are serious about magic, becoming rich is usually not our main concern in life. We have other motivation for what we do. If you think about it, though, the question actually has some validity. I mean, why not? Most of us work just like other people do, and need money just as everyone else does. When you take the snide skepticism away, we are left with a legitimate question: If magic is real, and spells work, why are we not more successful with money magic? When you take a look at the occult and pagan community, you can see it’s not just a matter of being rich; many of us are not even financially stable. This is becoming more evident now that we have a generation of leaders and authors in the community who are at retirement age and older, and have to rely upon frequent calls for charity and assistance just to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and medicine in the cabinet.
I spent quite a lot of time thinking about this question of money and magic, and I started talking to others about their experiences. I came to the conclusion that the magic itself is fine: our spells usually work, the spirits bestow their gifts, and the gods respond when we call. The problem is in the application of our magic.
Almost everyone I spoke to about financial magic told me stories of how they used magic to fix a problem rather than build something for themselves. I was told stories of successful magic aimed at not getting fired, or obtaining emergency funds to pay bills. The attitude for most people seemed to be that when everything was okay, it was best to not give much thought to money at all. When people did talk about doing magic to attain something better for themselves, it was almost always for something pie-in-the-sky like the Mega Millions lottery. Though the aim of such a spell is to attain something greater than what you have, the real attitude behind it is still the desire to not have to think about money. Whether y fo about ou are marginalizing the role it plays in your life by ignoring it or trying to get so much of it that you never need to think about it again, the goal is avoidance of money rather than engagement with it.
My own experience with money magic up until that point had mirrored that of my informants. Throughout my 20s and early 30s I had no interest in money outside of the bare minimum. I was what in the 1990s we liked to call a slacker. I used magic to address emergencies that arose in my hand-to-mouth lifestyle, and I did not think of anything else. In fact, I basically considered focusing on money to be un-spiritual. This is an attitude that was shared by many of my friends, and still is today by many people who practice magic and witchcraft.
Examining this brought me to an important realization about money and the spiritual path.
If you will grant me the indulgence to talk a little Bible, I’d like to share one particular verse that has had a profound influence on how we in the West view money and spirit. In the Book of Matthew, Christ says, “You cannot serve both God and Mammon,” mammon being a word that means “money,” but also implies a demon. Though I am writing a book on (financial) magic, this is a sentiment I tend to agree with. You cannot serve mammon and spirit. Those who serve money tend to become slaves to money, which tends to run counter to the aims of spirit. Money can corrupt those who serve it as surely as any demon can, and I think it is fair to say that a lot of the problems facing our world today are caused by people who are obsessed with money.
So how do you avoid serving money? One way that people avoid serving Mammon is by ignoring him entirely. This may in fact be the best way from a purely spiritual perspective. Certainly since the counter-culture hippie movement of the 1960s and 70s, anti-materialism has been commonplace among witches and magicians. It is a noble tactic and one that really works if you do it wholeheartedly. The problem is that most people do not do it wholeheartedly. If you are going to do it, then you really need to do it! There are only two ways this has been a successful approach: become a monk or nun, or become a homeless wanderer. Anything short of this is just kidding yourself. Thinking that merely working at a coffee shop and not wearing a suit is a non-materialist lifestyle is just the worst of both worlds.
For those wishing to become monks or nuns I have a list of contact info for Buddhist and Catholic monasteries you can apply to. If you would rather wander the earth I also have the number of Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School, which includes survival training, in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Spend a few weeks with him and you’ll be able to walk into the woods and be self-sufficient there for life, with just a good knife and the clothes on your back.
So are you ready to take the plunge into a real non-materialist spiritual path and give up your former life? No? Me neither.
For me this option of giving up the Western lifestyle was real. A Tibetan lama offered me the chance to stay in Nepal and study with him as a Yogi for years and years. When I said no (as I suspect he knew I would), I realized that if I was not going to take a non-materialist path in a serious way, I would need to bring materialism onto the spiritual path in a serious way.
If we cannot serve money, and we cannot avoid money, that really leaves only one option: to master it.
Magical people—pagans, witches, mages, sorcerers, and so on—are ideally suited to accomplishing this goal. We have experience in taking things the rest of society has deemed sinful and making them sacred:
We have taken sex and made it a healthy part of the spiritual path.
We have taken radical freedom of expression—the right to be gay, kinky, and straight up freaky—and made it part of the spiritual path.
We have taken spells and magic and made them part of the spiritual path.
It is for this reason that the very people who will read this book are in the ideal position to take financial wisdom and join it with spiritual wisdom. To marry fiscal responsibility to environmental responsibility and make the financial craft a part of the witch’s craft. To take the magical arts and apply them to the fiscal arts.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind While Reading This Book
First and foremost, I am not a financial services professional. I do not have a degree in economics or any related field. The non-magical advice in this book is fairly mainstream and common-sense, but should not be considered the advice of a professional.
Second, much of the information in this book is based on the economy, businesses, and laws of the United States. Most of the information in the book will be applicable to people in other countries, but some of it may not be.
Last, please keep in mind that magic is an art that can have drastic effects on one’s life and psyche. Even seemingly simple practices such as meditation can bring up repressed thoughts and memories. Contact with spirits and gods can at times be jarring and open up unwanted communications. Spells may manifest in ways that you do not expect or plan for. If you have no basic training in the magical arts, you may want to first seek out such training from another individual, group, or book (see the resources at the end of Chapter 3).