Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buying and Selling

A discussion came up on one of my yahoo groups. I won't post anything from the closed list, but I can share my own thoughts and response. The subject of buying and selling knowledge came up, as if sometimes does. It's just one of those topics which rears its ugly head every now and then. Since I've been given the go-ahead to bring others into The Family, the question has become personal. I've realized that there's never been a doubt about it in my mind:

There is a huge difference between reading cards for a client and offering initiation for money. Of course you should get something in return for your time and skill. You should not, however, sell the family recipe to strangers.

You should know who you're teaching. If you have established a relationship with someone, be it on line or in person (and I have made some wonderful friends thanks to the internet), then great, teach them. Perfect strangers? I totally disagree. When I was taught certain things, I was specifically told: "These are the Family's Trade Secrets." You don't teach them to just anyone, you teach them to Family. If that family is "adopted" that's fine, but it never goes outside of the Family. Would you charge family for your work other than the cost of materials? On the other side of the coin, family also takes care of each other.

Besides being a matter of trust, it's about respect for The Work, for The Magic. If you give it away to anyone who has a few dollars, or anyone who simply wants to learn it, you devalue what you have been given from previous generations. Literally, a sell-out.

I am taking a correspondence course and it's good. It's not about learning a "tradition" but instead how to incorporate various systems, styles and elements of magic into your current work to enhance it. The information is out there and available in the world, but I just don't have that kind of time to travel the world myself, so I've paid someone to do that for me and report back, so to speak. Also, I met him several times before signing up. It's one person's take on how to work the work, but it's has nothing to do with initiations or joining a tradition or exposing secrets. Selling initiation sight-unseen offends me.

There was a comment somewhere about how the Catholics charge money for children's training classes. So? They're trying to indoctrinate as many people as possible from as young an age as possible. Is that what we're trying to do as a Pagan community? Not so much. Besides, their teaching is done in person on a long term basis before the students are initiated. If you want to learn the "mysteries" of Catholicism, you have to become a nun or priest. You can't just pay to take a class on performing exorcism. You can't pay to become a nun without having to do the work involved. If someone is asking for money and no effort? They're selling you a bill of goods.

Writing a book is in a whole different category for the simple reason that reading about something and experiencing it are two different things. If we knew every detail of the Mysteries of Eleusis, it wouldn't really matter: You're not an initiate just from reading it, you have to live the experience. Even they had a few rules in place about who could and could not be an initiate.

Speaking of Eleusis, here's an excellent link detailing the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii and linking it to the Eleusinian Mysteries. It's worth the read. The first couple of paragraphs are long and detailed, but if you aren't familiar with Eleusis or Pompeii, it's a good start. Otherwise, scroll down to the first picture and enjoy!

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