Don’t panic! This is NOT going to be an article about prosperity spells and you drum I chant “money, money, money, gimme, gimme, gimme” type of invokation. This little article is my own thoughts on how we in the Pagan community can respond to the current economic hard times, and at the same time, strengthen our own ties of community.
I am inspired to write on this topic, in part, by an article at The Wild Hunt on how one Pagan in Iceland has been responding to that country’s economic collapse with civil protest and increasingly strident calls to action.
In part it also just seems to me as if we, as a community, haven’t really been talking about this. I say this as someone who is a self-confessed blog-a-holic, a member of multiple yahoo-groups, and an avid surfer of the Internet, and who is not all that hard to track down either in his local community or by friends nationwide. I’ve seen some small mention of individual challenges and responses to the hard times we are in, but nowhere have I seen discussions of how we as a community can face and deal with these troubled times. I think it’s about time we started talking about this folks, cause the tough times are not going to go away overnight!
We need to build the economic self-sufficiency of our local, regional, and national Pagan communities! Time after time in the history of my beloved United States we have seen how the ethnic, sub-cultural, and religious communities that form up the patchwork quilt of our great nation have been able to strengthen the their communities and build their social ties, and their economic, and political power by concentrating money into community owned businesses.
I have seen this work within the Gay community.
In order to do this, we need to get better about communicating with one another. What do I mean? Well… how many Pagan businesses can you track down? Now before you start listing off every metaphysical book, candle, and tsotchke (sp?) shop within a hundred miles… can you name a local Pagan Doctor, Lawyer, Realtor, or Plumber, (non occult store) Business owner, or Yardwork company in your area? Why Not?
Now as a Gay man, I know I can go into most Gay community centers, or local gay bars and find some version of the local community directory. They are often jokingly called the “pink pages’ after the U.S. phone directories “yellow pages”. (do they have “yellow pages” in other contries?!)
Armed with this handy information I can find gay owned restaurants, bars, realtors (my people are all over the real estate and home remodeling market, go figure!), Gay or Gay-friendly doctors and therapists, Lawers, Yard work companies and GLBT owned or friendly establishments of every kind. I have never seen or heard of such a thing in the Pagan community! Why not?
Now before some of the naysayers strike, don’t be afraid to spread the word within the community if Joe the Pagan Plumber does shoddy work or rips you off; but also do not hesitate to hire him if he does good work!
Another thing some of the naysayers out there may be muttering even as you read this is, ‘well doesn’t this just open us up to fundamentalist attack or religious discrimination?’ Well, in my experience most of the bigots are not going to go into a Gay bar to pick up the ‘pink pages’, and I have never heard of a business being targeted by a church or hate group for their advertising to the GLBT community; so I have a hard time imagining that the Pagan community would have any more trouble than the GLBT folks.
So now that we are starting to find one another, how can we build economic self sufficiency? Let us start reaching out to one another, let us share what great or little good fortune we may have with others in our community.
Need a lawn mowed but just don’t have the time? Find a Pagan Lawn Service, or local Pagan in need, to do it!
Do you go out to eat anymore? Find out which Pagans in your community are Servers and frequent their restaurants and ask to sit in their section!
Are any of the Pagans in your area business owners? If theirs is a type of business you might frequent, then do so!
What about knowing that there are employers friendly to Pagans as employees or customers? Shop there! Maybe during Pagan Pride Month you could go and drop off a note thanking the business for their progressive policies and attitudes and letting them know that because of them you make a point of spending your Pagan dollar with them!
Then there is the question of our Pagan dollar’s power for good. How often have you, or your Grove or Circle or Community Group given money to charity in the name of the Pagan community? Or donated food? Next time maybe you can look for specifically Pagan run Charities or Food Banks or Scholarships.
Maybe you could even look into starting one.
The more we in the Pagan community can support our own, the more success our Pagan business people and Pagan Professionals have, the more we improve the economic and educational opportunities of our fellow Pagans, the stronger and more self-sustaining our community will be.
8 thoughts on “Invoking the power of the Pagan Dollar”
Ya know, I’ll bet the Amish aren’t having a lot of problems either…maybe…
PS: Donations to the WRCF are tax deductible!
Also, people can do as Joe did when he had a life insurance policy via his job: designate the WRCF as a 2nd beneficiary (after me, of course).
I’m glad there are folks out there interested in finding ways to collect the energy of our community and focus it! Recommendations from other people carry a lot of weight, and if we go out of our way to try out businesses of known Pagans we will have the opportunity to recommend those that offer quality goods and services. Of course, Pagan business people that aren’t running metaphysical shops are a bit more circumspect about their identities than gays are, but we can overcome that – especially if there’s a prospect of more business success for those folks!
I don’t know about the Amish, it seems to me from what I’ve seen of them on documentaries that the Amish, are as tied into the economy as anybody else. They are just less entangled in consumerism.
Some of the furniture making Amish who sell to the outside world may not be making the sales they were last year, for example.
This could be a boon to their community though. With things in the outside world so tough maybe more of their youth will decide to stay within the community.
As for donations being Tax deductible, that is one way for charitable contributions! A good one to, since there are relatively few non-profit organizations or charities that are specifically Pagan in nature. Although it seems to me that economic investment in our community should go hand in hand with social/emotional investment in our community… hey! You’ve given me a topic to write or rant on!! Thanks Tracie!!
“Of course, Pagan business people that aren’t running metaphysical shops are a bit more circumspect about their identities than gays are, but we can overcome that – especially if there’s a prospect of more business success for those folks!” ~ from Terrence’s comment
You’ve highlighted something important here. They feel they have to be circumspect now, yet if there were a stronger sense of having involvement and investment from the Pagan community, perhaps they wouldn’t need to feel quite so fearful?
It seems to me I’ve seen it work like that in the Gay community.
In fact it was through my passion for Pagan Pride that I first started ranting on the idea of invoking the pagan dollars power!
Peace, and thanks,
Your’s is rather a cool blog btw…
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We’ve started a Pagan Business Network for (but not limited to) South African pagan businesses. We’ve started with a basic listing on facebook which will move to a searchable database in due course.
I have shared your article with the PBN (I do hope you don’t mind – I have included a back link to your blog and hope that its ok).
Our train of thought is currently along the lines of “find yourself a pagan doctor, or plumber or whatever” put a network together to allow pagan owned businesses to find one another and Promote and Support their own – can only do our economy and our community good – holding thumbs!