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Consumerism VS Spirituality


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#1 cryptokiller

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 01:54 PM

Now I've been an actual practicing Mage for about a year now, though I have been researching into the Occult ever since I could read, and there is one thing that I will never be able to reconcile within myself, or understand in general if I am honest.

The blatant consumerism at the heart of the modern Occult revival.

I don't live near to that many Occult supplies stores, but the few I do, and some of the more well known ones I have found online, are charging stupid amounts of money for ridiculously over priced trinkets that they claim are 'the only way' to perform a given Magical task, or are just 'the same as everyone else is using' and therefore correct.

Whatever happened to individualism in Magic, and the inherent connection that it would bring to our ancestors?

Did our spiritual growth die in the face of the mighty Dollar?

Y'know, I actually believe that our Ancestors are central to this argument. Could a Druid pop over to his local supply store and grab a new Wand when his old one broke? Could a 16th century occultist nip online to grab a new Scrying Ball? And would any of them be seen dead spending hundreds of Dollars on commercially made and therefore soulless and spiritually dead tools for their work, just because everyone else was?

No.

They made their own as best they could, and where this was unrealistic they begged, borrowed or bought the closest mundane item they could get top what they needed and 'made' it a magical implement on their own, sometimes for a fraction of the price of the modern, supposedly Magical version.

Because of that I believe that they had a better control of said tools, and therefore the results as well, as they would carry the natural vibration of their maker or the person who turned them to magical use, and would work in perfect harmony with them to achieve their goals.

I believe that some Mages, from a whole host of Spiritual Paths, have lost sight of the very Magic they were chasing first place, blinded by the form and function, the aesthetics of the tools and rituals they use, and the constant need to 'buy, buy, buy'.

I for one stand against it, and I always will.

But thats just my opinion, and I'd like to know where everyone else stands on this somewhat thorny topic.

cryptokiller
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#2 Vampchick21

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 02:07 PM

I agree with you actually. What I do purchase from the Wiccashop here in Toronto is mainly what I cannot easily find elsewhere, or statues. Occassionally gifts for like minded friends or a book or other publication that I can't find at the bookstore.

Otherwise, I'll either grow my own herbs or purchase them fresh or dried at the store (sometimes the grocery store, sometimes I have to head to Chinatown or other marketplace). Candles I have always purchased at the dollar store. I tend to use many, so 4 in a package for a dollar is a steal. I have two sterling silver goblets I bought at a junk shop and cleaned up. My bowls were inheirted, part of a service set. Etc. Etc. I've found oils at a West Indian all in one shop, as well as incense. I've bought charcoal and resin at similar shops.

One of the joys of living in the city I guess is that I have such easy access to less expensive and just as workable options.

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#3 MoonChild

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 02:09 PM

Even though I agree with you guys, that is also the price we pay for the growth materialism and advertisement controlled life.
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#4 aloha_spirit

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 05:48 PM

cryptokiller,

I think you mentioned a key reason in your original post. Our Pagan ancestors made everything they knew how to. They used herbs that were convenient to where they lived. We now mostly live in cities without any local herbs. The general public doesn't know how to make a scrying ball. We don't have convenient access to differen5t crystals without hitting the stores.

I believe we leave imprints on things we make and use. The stronger our emotional tie to that object, the stronger the imprint. I'm Christian so I don't do the spells and such, but reading your post it seems the stronger the emotional tie between the practitioner and the object, the better results can be expected in the spell. I have oil which I myself have blessed; I use it when anointing the sick. Since I blessed the oil, I have better results than borrowing someone else's oil.

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#5 Redhead

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:14 PM

You know, I couldn't help but think of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter while reading the original post. Look how these occasions have been turned into mass consumerism. Christmas is the best example of this. Does anyone really think that the people who began observing the anniversary of Jesus' birth did so by spending money that they didn't have? I cannot believe how people have been sucked in by advertising and feel the need to go deeply into debt for this, buying a bunch of overpriced merchandise that no one really needs - not if you think about it. It has nothing to do with the holidays at all. And look at all the televangalists who spend money sent in by gullible people - Jim Baker's solid gold bathroom fixtures and airconditioned two story dog house come to mind. All under the guise of "doing God's work".

I think that materialism is something that is simply human. People have some sort of need to obtain - and it has to be better and more costly than your neighbor. Religion seems to be a way of showing off for a few people, and the marketing folks know just how to suck us in. I prefer to make gifts, to grow gifts, etc. I suppose I am too much of a Franciscan to do otherwise. Too bad more people don't get it.
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#6 Vampchick21

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:25 PM

I do that too Redhead. You should see the pile of hand knit socks and slippers. I still have to get to work on the hats and scarves.

In the end, it's what you create yourself (or in Aloha's case, bless yourself), be it a gift for another or the tools you use in your worship, that works best.

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#7 Redhead

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:32 PM

Yes, the best part of making things for others is the look on their faces when they realize that you made it just for them. And I always put a lot of love in each and every stitch - much like you probably do, Vamp. I enjoy thinking of that person, and how they will use the item and enjoy it. That brings me such joy that I know it fills what ever I am working on. It's a lot like casting a spell, I imagine! Pure energy being emparted from one person to another in the spirit of the Great Spirit.
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#8 GiaCat21

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:33 PM

Ha... Or you can be like me.... For the holidays no one gets anything from me but to enjoy my company... If they're lucky maybe a hug and they can give me a foot massage...
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#9 Redhead

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:37 PM

Stella, that sounds like the nicest gift - a hug. I think you got something there... :ghost:
"Never wrestle with a pig. All you get is dirty and the pig has all the fun." ~ Anon.

#10 GiaCat21

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:14 PM

My dad's middle brother calls mom "the grinch" because she had the gull to suggest one year that we just stop buying gifts for each other one year. It literally seems like you just trade one gift card for another... It's crazy... Mom and dad stopped giving us gifts a couple of years ago (8 I think...). They decided that we were just going to start "skipping christmas" (yeah, like the book). Now we don't go to the beach (flight attendants get kinda mad when they have someone pass out en route) but we just sit around and "soak up each other's awesomeness"...
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#11 aloha_spirit

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 12:06 AM

For many years my family was poor, so we played pioneer. That meant we got homemade pajamas or blankets for Christmas, and sent homemade treats to neighbors and friends (my dad's specialty was fudge; mom was famous for her Christmas breads).

Today we're better off financially, but try to keep the same spirit. We give small gifts throughout the year instead of going in debt in December. My nieces and nephews each get their favorite candy bar, then I give a small something for each family (homemade chocolates are always a hit!).

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#12 MoonChild

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:40 AM

Gift's are often valued at the "size" and "price" but more often than not they are given with an empty heart! I still say, the problem lies in the advertising blitzkrieg and the media! As Red rightly mentioned, the festive season is nothing but a insane money spending time!
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#13 Redhead

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 07:52 AM

Well, as for the size and price being the only value of a gift, you can be surprised. One year, we decided to really downsize the gifts. We got each of my step-kids a small, token gift. Then we found that the local Council on Addictions was trying to raise money to help a woman who was recently out of treatment have a nice Christmas for her children - who she had lost custody of and were wary of her and how long her sobriety would last this time. We found out that hardly anyone had stepped up to the plate to help her - even some folks who had been in her shoes and not that long ago either. We decided that this was our charity. We then gave the Council the money that would have gone for our family's gifts. Someone from there took the woman grocery and gift shopping at Walmart and helped her to provide a nice meal and some gifts for her kids. This made it a double gift as she had to start learning how to live on a budget (make sure she didn't spend too much on one thing, etc.), spend money on others instead of her addiction, and all those little tools that we use every day without thinking. The next gift was also not the food/gifts. It was the gift of a family coming together and enjoying a whole day without mommy getting drunk and causing fights and commotion that leaves children hating holidays and family in general. It also gave her the confidence to stay sober - all these seven years and counting. Our greatest gift was that all hubby's kids thought it was the neatest gift they got that year. Even the materialistic spoiled brat of the bunch.

You know, back on topic of Wicca/Pagen being more commercialized than before, I have a hunch marketing folks have noticed a slight trend in Christian folks doing the kind of Christmas that we've been talking about and decided to shift some focus to where they think money can be made. More people are exploring Wicca, so they see that as a likely demographic.
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#14 Vampchick21

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 08:55 AM

You know, back on topic of Wicca/Pagen being more commercialized than before, I have a hunch marketing folks have noticed a slight trend in Christian folks doing the kind of Christmas that we've been talking about and decided to shift some focus to where they think money can be made. More people are exploring Wicca, so they see that as a likely demographic.



That could well be true. Which disturbs me, since followers of Wicca and Paganism tend to not be all that materialistic (not to say there aren't some. I know of one person who doesn't feel right unless they've purchased an overpriced Athame with a fancy hilt for example. One in every batch).

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#15 Bluemooncat

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 09:25 AM

I am totaly guilty of materialism and consumerism. Unfortunatly spending is what I do both for fun and when I am stressed. Strangely I haven't spent a whole lot of money on ritual tools. It just seems so much more meaningful to make something or use something you already had that has meaning.
No, I blow my cash on a whole lot of other stuff I only think I need and then it sits in a closet, forgotten until I'm rumaging.

I do agree that the profit mongers have spotted a whole new market in regards to Paganinsm and Wicca. It's kind of depressing, really. They're like vultures on a corpse.
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