Friday, October 22, 2010

Work hard and give it away

I would like to apologize ahead of time for the following rant. I have never seen the nobility of having to slave for a less-than-living wage, nor have I seen the spirituality that is supposed to come from giving everything away. Having said that...

Today, I was reading comments about how one occultist used to charge for lectures while he was alive. Some of these lectures are now on film. And it irked me reading how this occultist was considered some less spiritual because they had collected money to give a lecture.

The general gist was that they should have given the lecture for free.

Well, they might actually have been giving the lecture away for free despite collecting a fee for the lecture.

What often is ignored is that it costs money and time to give a lecture. For instance, if you want to give a lecture without having to hold it in your basement, or deal with coffeehouse customers making noise, you need to rent a space to hold the lecture at. Locally, the cheapest hall that I know of charges three hundred dollars for a two hour period and it is late evening during the week; it is even more if you want the hall for longer or for more user-friendly hours on a weekend.

This hall rental money has to come from somewhere.

The "work hard and give it away" school believes that not only should the lecturer take time away from their busy lives, they should also pay for all the expenses of renting the hall, advertising, chair and equipment rental, etc.

My response to these people are "Are you willing to do this? Why are you not doing it yourself?"

The same hold true for open rituals, books, videos and music. Space to do such things costs money. Equipment and props cost money. And it takes time away from one's busy life and work.

It is possible to collect a fee for a lecture, or to sell your book, and still be thousands of dollars in the red. Just because someone has charged a fee doesn't mean that they actually made a profit.

Of course, my opinion must be ignored because I get paid to write an astrology column for a student newspaper among other things. But it is actually proof that I am right...I could make more money writing something else or flipping burgers while sweating gallons of blood everyday.

And yes, I have never seen the vast amounts of cash that occult writers are rumored to make by the crowd that believes that they should work hard and give it away. And that just makes me think that they are just cheap-skates...something else I have never seen the spiritual virtue in being.


Unknown said...

Thankfully, these people get weeded out at the fee-collecting door, and inside we have plenty of intelligent people to talk to =)

Peregrin said...

Hi Morgan - not a rant, but a good post laying it out as it is. Thanks.

This was the theme of my very first post on MOTO and since I have little time, a cut and paste from there (

"On a per hour basis the [magic] course was less expensive than most yoga or fitness or exercise classes. Hundreds of thousands of people, including myself and many other esoteric students, attend these classes every week. Here we are guided (hopefully well but often only competently) through variants on the same set of exercises. We happily do this, giving time and money to keep our outer self healthy.

The inner life equivalent would be repeated meditation or prayer or worship or other spiritual practice. But as soon as someone charges for these processes the magical-pagan community throws up its arms in outrage. Why? It seems that despite our avowed focus on the inner life we simply do not value it as much as our outer life."

"...When asked about costs, Swami Alokananda, a Tantric Yoga teacher in Perth says that if she charged the real value of the Yoga she teaches no one could afford it. How true – the chance to commune and connect with the One is beyond price."

Thanks, again :)