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  Thelema: No Sale
General Thelema Posted by Xnoubis on Sunday September 17, @03:16PM
from the charge-of-the-light-brigade dept.

I often -- very often -- like to give Uncle Al a hard time about various stances he held that no longer seem sensible today. In fairness, I'd like to voice my appreciation for a little something he wrote once that I believe distinguishes Thelema in a good way from many contemporary spiritual movements:

There is, however, an absolute prohibition to accept money, or other material reward, directly or indirectly, in respect of any service connected with the Order, for personal profit or advantage. -- One Star in Sight

Money has been the downfall of many traditions. When groups begin charging money for services related to spirituality, it is all too easy for money to become the priority. And when money drives the tradition, things can get distorted very quickly.

Some schools charge money based on the idea that people only value what they pay for. I suppose that this could be a valid approach, but it seems quite dangerous to me. The first generation of such a school might be able to keep their priorities intact, but future generations face a slippery slope.

There are reports of P. D. Ouspensky in later life crying in his vodka, confiding to a close friend that he had lost the thread of the work years ago, but was unable to back out, because of the financial involvements of his organization.

Getting compensated for the use of a meeting hall or materials is one thing, but I occasionally hear of workshops "revealing the secrets of Thelema" that charge hundreds of dollars per head. This is a particularly insidious distortion of our tradition. I'm only glad that it's the exception rather than the rule.

Maintaining the principle of service in the transmission of the magical current: one of the tenets that makes me proud to be a Thelemite.



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    Re: Thelema: No Sale
    by Charles H on Sunday September 17, @04:12PM
    There is a common view used to justify the exchange of money for, essentially, Magick. Namely, that people believe they have to pay for it. There's no such thing as a free lunch, even a sacrament, and whatnot. Personally, i think that that is a common excuse, but I do have a view I presented in an interview about modern occultism, and the importance of the inclusion of money. It _humanizes_ Magicians. It reduces the practice of Magick to an "interest" or a "fashion" in the minds of a number of people who would fear the motives of students of the Occult. If our books have decorative covers and catchy titles, and our tools come from shop counters, instead of forges, then we are, like every other person, just deciding where to find our entertainment. We form a base of the economic support of our society, and are essentially, consumers.

    The wisdom of the ancients has a UPC code.

    Charles H

    Re: Thelema: No Sale
    by the Reverend Rob on Sunday September 17, @04:48PM
    A principle of service still may have a fiscal cost associated with it. Even though I view almost anything in my existence to at its core be sacred, I still must eat and live and deserve to be comfortable while I do it.

    Then again, I do gratis work as well as gratis Work, but there are times when I charge for both.

    • Re: Thelema: No Sale
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Monday September 18, @12:23AM
      I prefer the Sufi approach; one has a profession with which one supports oneself. The teaching, the spiritual "services" occur within a non-commercial context. Sure, I need to eat, but I provide some tangible good or service for my keep. Teaching folks to do what only they can do (i.e., the Great Work) aleways comes gratis. Of course the bogus show of religiousity can be charged for, it's only an entertainment. Anything real in this regard comes from the "buyer", not the "seller".


    I'll buy that for a dollar...
    by Phygelus on Monday September 18, @07:24PM
    I think workshops that teach the "secrets of thelema" for large sums of money would amuse me greatly. I would like to know more about these rumors.

    Phygelus

    • Re: I'll buy that for a dollar...
      by Nexist on Tuesday October 17, @12:58PM
      Hell, I would like to know how to start one .


    Re: Thelema: No Sale
    by Craig on Tuesday September 19, @04:32AM
    when i joined the O.T.O in 79' i payed a mere
    pitance, for the entrance fee to the demonic
    funhouse, and the wizard of odds, behind
    the flaming curtain, but things happened quickly
    he told some funny stories, "when i
    was in Normandy"...and later when i placed my priestess mate on the checkered alter and looked into her eyes of blue fire and saw the 93 current rotating it's stars of rain there
    and something passed between us that i can never
    explain in words, and i turned and said that, "there
    is no part of me that is not of the gods"
    i knew then that no matter what bullshit we have to
    deal with, that i truely meant those words, and
    it was surely worth the 93 cents i spent for the ride into the unknown, the unknowable, and the
    nonsense...

    Re: Thelema: No Sale
    by Tim Maroney on Tuesday September 19, @04:25PM
    That bit about "for personal profit or advantage" seems important with respect to the OTO. Otherwise it seems hard to square dues or initiation fees with the passage.

    Anyone else remember the flap when the early Magickal Link showed a picture of Grady reading Tarot cards at a pagan gathering for a few bucks a pop?

    • Re: Thelema: No Sale
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Tuesday September 19, @10:19PM
      Oh, but surely all that money went to meet his spiritual needs!


    Re: Thelema: No Sale
    by ALamantra on Sunday September 24, @11:24PM
    ...Money has been the downfall of many traditions. When groups begin charging money for services related to spirituality, it is all too easy for money to become the priority. And when money drives the tradition, things can get distorted very quickly.

    The replies to this post illustrates that statement to perfection. I feel very strongly about this issue and have NEVER charged for Tarot readings or anything having to do with my Spiritual work. (though I have been tempted.)
    I believe that money needs to be left outside of the Sanctuary ...that it has no place there.
    This means that you have to do something else to pay your bills while you serve the Order (that is mentioned in One Star in Sight.) Oh well... is that too hard? If it is forget it. Take up stamp collecting, golf, or something.

    ...Some schools charge money based on the idea that people only value what they pay for. I suppose that this could be a valid approach, but it seems quite dangerous to me.

    It also supports the structure that "money" supports and locks one hoplessly into a rigid thinking pattern. It doesn't do much for natural inclinations of generosity either. I believe that members of an organization that they believe in have a DUTY to support that organization and that belief, but this doesn't mean that Magickal Organizations should go around trying to squeeze blood from a turnip nor should it deny teachings because a person (especially one who is naturally drawn to Magick and is so likely to be outside of the box) simply because they cannot pay for it with cash. There are other ways of repayment. "My time for your time." Time is the more precious commodity. I can go out and get more money. I can't make up for lost time.
    Also, if an organization is ...organized, it should be able (in this day and age) of amalgamating some resources and investing them wisely into things that will support the infrastructure and perhaps give something to its constituents that do support it with their time.
    A lack of willingness to think about creating another model that does not insist upon taking money from its constituents is a lack of willingness to think.

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