This essay is kind of buried within the Reflections Mystery School web site. Since it is part of my extended rant on money, I thought it might be helpful if I published it here for completion. It will also provide some background for my next post.
Why Charge Money?
We charge for our classes because, first and foremost, it provides income for our teachers. Secondly, it insures that the exchange that is made between teacher and student is as clean as possible given the nature of spiritual instruction and training.
We also charge for our classes because we do not buy into the notion that one should not charge for magical trainings. The notion of free training reflects the reality of another era and one that frankly has a cultural and class bias.
Early teachers in the wiccan revival, especially in England, discouraged witches from accepting money due to the restrictions against witchcraft within British law. However over the years, this early restriction came to be interpreted as a moral stance instead of as a response to a legal reality.
Many of the early British practitioners were also members of a privileged class. One of the ways to inhibit those of working class origins from taking on leadership roles in the nascent movement was to make participation at those levels contingent on not needing to supplement or earn an income from the work. Thus the moralist stance became embedded due to this class-based perspective.
This moralist stance has caused many elders in the craft, who over the years literally gave away all their time, talent and energy, to find themselves living at or below the poverty level in fairly destitute conditions in their old age. The only way to counter this dangerous trend is to re-examine the assumptions that caused it.
Many ministers, shamans, mullahs and rabbis are allowed to earn an income as spiritual leaders and clergy to support themselves and their families. Additionally, the legal restrictions against receiving monetary compensation for occult and Wiccan training no longer exist. All that is left is the false moralism that inhibits pagan teachers and elders from receiving adequate financial support. Maybe in days of old, the village routinely provided for the care and feeding of its wise women and men, but in today’s realities bartering can not assist our teachers in paying their rent, utilities, and healthcare costs or plan for their eventual retirement.