Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical Language Volume I and Volume II, and Essential Enochian Grimoire.
Greetings fellow Mages!
Telling a magician they are “fake” because they don’t have money is like telling a doctor they are “fake” because they caught a cold. In other words, you absolutely don’t get how either magick OR money works. [—me]
Nothing gets occultists and skeptics alike talking more than the subject of money and magick. Without question, this is the primary point of attack for skeptics who want to believe magick is a fantasy, and anyone purporting to possess magical power is merely a deluded fool (at best) or an outright fraud scamming innocent dupes for cash. They point to mages throughout history, and even right here in the modern world, reminding us that occultists always tend to be poor or in need of cash. “If you are so powerful,” they ask, “then why aren’t you rich?”
I find these questions humorous, mainly because they are so pointedly disingenuous. The skeptics look at history and see the fact that occultists are not typically rich, and even that magick (especially sorcery) tends to proliferate in impoverished areas—but instead of making the obvious conclusion that magick probably doesn’t have anything to do with getting rich, they make up their own conclusion: “Magick isn’t real.” This would be like investigating Olympic sprinters, discovering that not a one of them can run a mile in two minutes, and thereby concluding professional sprinters are all fakes. After all, there is a cartoon mouse that can do a mile in far less time…
It’s not simply the fact these types are jumping to a ridiculous conclusion that makes this funny to me. It also speaks to something I’ve noticed across the board with atheists and skeptics (especially the outspoken ones): they always adopt the most outlandish and fantastical views of anything spiritual or mystical—taken entirely from Hollywood and fantasy fiction—and apply those views to the real thing. Hence, if Mickey Mouse can use a grimoire to conjure hoards of animate brooms to clean his master’s lab, then why can’t you conjure gold bars when you need them? Wizards in the Harry Potter stories can conjure food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities at will, so why can’t you? Doctor Strange doesn’t call on help from an “occult community” when he is in need or in danger, so why are you setting up a crowd-funding campaign? Shouldn’t the Dark Forces be taking care of you?
And don’t go trying to tell this kind or person that magick doesn’t work that way! To them, that’s just you back-pedaling. If Steven Spielberg says you should be able to levitate, conjure money or other objects from nothing, cast thunderbolts and more, then you need to measure up or you’re not “real.” After all, Spielberg is one of the most advanced magi the world has ever known, whose word on magick is entirely unimpeachable. How dare you pretend to such mighty powers?? Even if you’re not pretending any such thing, because even that proves you are a fraud!
Most of the time, occultists attempt to answer this accusation from a philosophical standpoint. They point out that magicians simply aren’t the type of people who pursue money, as they have more important jobs and issues to which to attend. However, this argument falls on deaf ears in our modern culture, where cash is king. “Don’t tell me you don’t need money!” they say. “If you can’t even cover your own doctor bills, then your magick is a failure.” Truly, telling a modern Westerner that you don’t seek money is, for them, pure gibberish. It doesn’t compute.
But occultism and its relationship to money doesn’t require that kind of philosophy to explain. Hence my above quote. Occultists aren’t broke because of any altruism, or any kind of feeling they are “above the need for money.” Nope—we need money to survive just like everyone else, and the fact that we don’t typically have a lot of it does sometimes bite us in the ass, thank you very much. But if you think learning the arts of magick has jack-all to do with making money, then you clearly have no clue how either magick or money works. That last part is the real key, though. People who accuse occultists of fraud based on a lack of money are never rich people themselves. Rich people—and by that term I mean people who work damn hard for their money, not folks born into mega-wealth—would never say such a thing to an occultist because they do know how money works.
You see, the “99 percent” often fall for the fantasy that money is something you can just “obtain” and then “be rich.” It is why game shows, lotteries, and gambling are so popular. “If only I could win that jackpot! I’d be rich and everything would be awesome!” But, have you ever looked into what typically happens to lottery winners? Within a year or two, they are broke, depressed, and quite often suicidal. Why? Because they fell for the fantasy about money. They thought it was just something they could get their hands on and it would make everything alright. It never occurs to them that, in order to get rich and stay rich, you have to work for your money. And I don’t mean working hard to obtain it—I mean working hard to keep it.
If you come into a large sum of money and simply let it sit in your bank account, you can be assured it will be gone in a shockingly short period of time. Like the lotto winner, you’ll be broke and wondering what the hell happened. No, if you’re going to be rich—even just comfortably well-off—you are going to have to maintain that money, invest it, and make it grow. You have to become a businessperson, learn how economics work, and how to make worthwhile investments. This becomes a full-time job in itself. You don’t just work for your money, you work for your money. It becomes your boss, and you must dedicate a significant portion of your life to it. If not, then it’s back to the poor house with you!
But, guess what? Occultists aren’t high finance businesspeople. This may come as a shock, but most of us spend our time studying magick rather than the intricacies of how financial markets work. Astoundingly, we do not know which stocks are best for investments. We don’t all keep up with the strength of the dollar against foreign currencies. Being a wizard doesn’t make you a financial wizard. If I were to successfully conjure a million bucks—and I mean it fell right out of the sky with no legal repercussions for me—that million would be gone before I knew what happened.
“But Aaron,” I hear you typing in the comments section—which you shouldn’t be doing until you’ve read this whole piece!—”there are tons of grimoires and spell books out there that say you can use magick to obtain wealth and prosperity! Are we to assume all of these are blinds or red herrings?”
Of course not! I’m not suggesting magick can’t be used to obtain money. In fact, it very much can be used for that purpose, and it absolutely should be used for such when you have need of it. My patrons and spirits have brought me money when necessary on countless occasions. (I’m practically a Jupiter wizard, as that is the force I tend to invoke in times of need over any other.) But, what my patrons and spirits cannot do is maintain the money for me once it arrives. That would be my job—and it’s simply not my area of expertise.
For the most part, my spirits bring me what I need in a given situation, and then the cash is gone and I end up pretty much where I started. (Even the Book of Abramelin, which famously includes a spell for a purse that will produce gold every single day, assures us the money is faery gold and any left unspent will vanish at dusk. In other words—you only get what you need to spend and the rest goes away.) Every time, and I mean absolutely every time I have become better-off financially than I was previously, it is because I was doing some kind of work (magical or otherwise) to change my station in life, not to simply get a hold of cash. I have to invoke better income opportunities, and I have to have some ability to take advantage of those opportunities.
Are there rich occultists out there? Are there people who have used magick to become well-off? Yes there are—but they all share one thing in common: they are proficient in both magick and finance. Unlike the skeptics, they know how money actually works, so they are smart enough to use the magick to obtain money and/or new business opportunities and they have the know-how to maintain that money and make it grow. But when you call out an occultist who doesn’t work that way as a “fake” or “failure” because they don’t have money, you are merely proving your own ignorance on both subjects.
So, in summary, you can indeed use magick to obtain money and increase your general prosperity. However, even if you know the secret to turning lead into gold, you’re never going to be “rich” unless you know what to do with that gold once you have it. And since most occultists are not financiers, then you’re simply not going to find a lot of rich occultists. It doesn’t mean their magick doesn’t work, nor that their patrons and spirits aren’t taking care of them. It simply means they are focused on other subjects, and have accepted some amount of personal poverty for themselves in order to study what they love. And, yes, they do have to charge for their services, and sometimes the community has to come together to help them in times of need. This has been the case for shamans for thousands of years, and I don’t see it changing any time soon.
Before I go, I’d like to point out that this post isn’t the first time money, prosperity, and magick have been discussed on this blog. Back when this was still Donald Michael Kraig’s soapbox, he tackled the issue twice: First in this 2010 post called “Pie and Poverty,” and then again in this 2012 post called, “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?” (which I swear I didn’t know when I created the title for this post!). Each of these approaches the subject from a slightly different perspective, and are well worth the read!
To your prosperity, brothers and sisters! May your spirits always provide what you need.
Our thanks to Aaron for his guest post! Visit Aaron Leitch’s author page for more information, including articles and his books.