There is a lot of discussion (Doesn’t it always seem like my articles start this way? “There is a lot of discussion or debate”…. well, there is) about being a witch and charging for services. Sure, I could talk about how to cast this spell or how to cast that one, herbs or crystals and stones and their magickal affiliations etcetera, etcetera…. but there’s plenty-a-witch out there doing all that already, and I kind of fancy writing about the things that still leave questions in most everyone’s minds… not that I have all the answers– I don’t, and I’m certainly not the authority on the subjects I choose to write about. I’m just one little witch with a big opinion (or mouth–depending on who you ask 😛 )
Most today would agree that charging for spells or other magickal acts is down right unethical. And it might be. After all, just this past year, there was a shop in Salem, Mass. that will remain unnamed that found themselves in a particularly hot and bubbling cauldron for having charged a gentleman upwards of two thousand dollars to remove a curse.
I bullshit you not.
Gypsies over the centuries (and even today) have charged for spell casting as a way of making a living. There was one very popular psychic witch in Miami back in the 80’s and early 90’s who made a fortune for her services and had one hell of a following. Heck, I have an aunt in Puerto Rico who makes her living this way, has been doing it for the better part of her life, and has folks four deep wrapped around the block to see her. I believe that in some societies, it is acceptable, and in others it is not only forbidden, but unethical and perhaps even unforgivable. In some states in the U.S. and even in some countries, it is illegal, and in some countries, punishable by death if caught.
So you might still be wondering, what’s the big deal? Why can’t we, don’t we or should we charge for casting spells for others? Well, firstly, even as early as two hundred years ago, women, particularly, were not permitted to work in many places or at all. Take Hulda, the witch, a real-life character here in my own Sleepy Hollow who is all but forgotten and rarely mentioned and one you will not find in legend. Hulda was a real person, an immigrant from Bohemia. She displayed suspicious witch-like behavior by living alone in a cabin in the woods and gathering herbs to make remedies. But she seemed like a perfectly nice lady: when folks in town fell ill, she would leave them baskets of her potions and pastes to try to help the healing. While the people were relatively grateful, they were still scared to death of her. But back then, that’s what witches did. There were few ways of earning a living if you hadn’t been born to a skilled trade, and that was one way for the witch to live; by concocting potions and notions and casting spells on behalf of another (in secret, of course). When folks caught wind of the practices of the slaves, who do you think they would solicit to help them with their problems? Since slaves were obviously not getting paid for their day to day services, they were hard-pressed to decline an offer of money for their assistance when the opportunity arose.
But today is a vastly different world than our fore bearers knew. Witches have stepped out of the proverbial broom closet. We (in the States and a few other places at least) no longer have the prospect of death looming over our heads should our practices be discovered. We have classified ads, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, eBay, Etsy and other outlets to advertise such services. Message boards, chat rooms and social media to network and gather and learn from one another. We have blogs too 😉
Just this past weekend, my future brother-n-law, who fell in love with my Ford SUV asked if I could cast a spell to make his wife (Who is a die-hard Chevy girl) agree to the purchase of it. I refused. He offered to pay. Again, I refused. Why? Because while I’m not a huge believer in the way Karma works and while I also do not subscribe specifically to a Three-Fold Law, I also don’t subscribe to forcing another person’s hand through the use of magick, in making a decision they otherwise wouldn’t have made as a means to a profitable end. Nuh-uh. I don’t want that juju at my door step. The Universe will be like a tax bill collector with bill for twenty-grand in its hand, payable IN FULL right then and there, when it comes time to collect–and it will. My motto is: Don’t let your magick write checks your ass can’t cash. I’d really love to sell the truck, but not that bad!
Going back to the question, “What’s the big deal?”
The big deal is this: Over the years (and because of the great many media and social outlets we have gained during this time) there have been an increasingly alarming number of scam spell casters, fake witches and fake psychics that have become a great source of worry and frustration to spell seekers, genuine witches and legit psychics alike. I had a grandmother who enjoyed reading those tabloid papers and I couldn’t decide what I found more amusing when I was bored enough to pick one up and thumb through it: The alien baby discovered in Nebraska birthed by the Virgin Mary reincarnated or the psychic and spell-casting ads in the back pages of the classifieds.
“I will return your lost love to you!” Boasts one ad. In another, “Let me help you gain riches with this old family spell!” Now, while the cost of these “Services” sound all well and good at the tune of $50 each, do the math. Those magazines have a circulation of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS. That $200 ad Billy Bob placed while chugging a beer and watching Nascar is earning him $25,000 that month even if only 500 out of those hundreds of thousands of readers and subscribers bite.
He takes your money (Payable only by money order, of course) and kicks back, collects and collects and watches Wheel of Fortune —and the title of that show is about the only magical or psychic thing you will ever see. You also have others charging people thousands of dollars to break curses. In some cases, like the experience my mother-in-law had, you bring them the money, they tell you to come back the next day to pick up a mojo bag or some other thing and when you return the only thing left of their establishment is the tumble weed merrily bouncing across the front lawn on the feeling of “Sucker” you’re now stuck with. Ebay has, in the past year or two, banned listings that sell spells. A lot of witches in the community were put off by this, but in retrospect, I really can’t disagree with the company’s decision. Some of the listings were just as bad as the tabloid ads, and there was virtually no way to prove that the buyer received what they paid for. Some buyers did in fact receive, and decided to file a claim, stiffing the seller, and getting their money back. THIS is why witches today have a beef with those who charge for spell casting services. That kind of nonsense right there makes the rest of us look like frauds too. Not only that, but it’s a slap in the face to those of us who take our Craft very seriously. The vast majority of practitioners seek to help, not harm, and gratitude from the receiver is usually payment enough.
So how does the witch– and I’m referring to the “Career Witch” make a living simply by being who he or she is? How does one step away from their “Muggle” (I adore that word!) life and dive broomstick first into their magickal one, full time? Many witches make soaps and sundries, jewelry, ritual clothing and other adornments as well as magickal incense and potions that they sell to customers and New Age and witch shops. Many also make candles, give tarot readings, conduct workshops and seminars and even write and publish books. Some study and then practice–for a living– alternative medicine and Eastern methods of healing. Still there are others who allow their spirituality to completely take over and inspire and they go on to create beautiful works of art in which they sell.
There are still some witches who don’t do any of this, instead they keep their day-to-day lives, perhaps even start a business and name it after something they resonate with spiritually. For example, I know a gent who is a witch and has a car detailing business named Wizard Detailing. I know another woman who teaches yoga and calls her business In Balance Studios, and still another woman who owns a beauty salon that uses all natural products and includes henna as an option for hair coloring and calls her shop, The Alternative Salon.
Practitioners of the Craft today have found very creative ways to derive an income from simply being who they are and doing what they love to do without having to charge for magickal services. Many believe, as I do, that if you have the ability to harness and manipulate the energies around you, which is given freely of the universe (Some will argue with this) then it is only right to give it to another in turn, freely. Real witches understand this.
So stay away from those tabloid ads, no matter how desperate or dire your situation may seem.They’re bad. Very, very bad. If you are a new or inexperienced witch, or perhaps not a witch at all, you have a plethora or resources right here on line at your fingertips to get some help. Nearly everyone is on Facebook these days. There are groups you can join. There are witch shops all over the net who also have brick and mortar locations that can assist you in getting the supplies you need to cast a spell for yourself or at the very least offer sage advice.
Be wary. We all once had to worry about witch hunters. Now, we must worry about con artists.