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Archive for November, 2011

The BIG MOVE!


Thank you everyone for your support!  We’re moving to a new site along with getting ourselves own domain name.  We did this so that we could have more flexibility with Magick for the Real World’s future.  Wordpress was very limiting in how we could progress with our goals and so we finally decided to make the big move.  We would appreciate it very much if you came to the new site and let us know what you thought of the move.  As always we would love any comments or critiques.  We hope that you continue to support us in this transitional time.  The WordPress site will stay up, but we will be posting all new content at the new site.

Thank you,
Josh and Jen

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There is a growing number of Pagans in the US and many of them want to incorporate this into their daily lives aka their source of income.  For some reason, almost no Pagan businesses are ever as profitable as their non-spiritual counterparts.  I’d like to go into a bit of depth on each of the types of businesses before coming to any major conclusions as to the why and how we can change this.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing business is a very common business for Pagans.  This represents all those that craft by hand as well as major manufacturing companies that create the commonly sold things such as bumper stickers.  The problem with this business is that nearly all of the things manufactured for Pagans are one-time-buys.  No one buys the same necklace twice or the same athame twice.  The only major items that people buy multiple times are candles, incense, herbs, soaps, oils, “spell kits”.  Yes, this is a very viable business, but the problem is that retailers are the ones that buy these products and they are having a hard time which in turn means that manufacturers are having a hard time as well.

Retail

This is the path that most end up going down and nearly everyone tries at some point.  Brick and mortar stores tend to have a lot of problems due to the lack of large concentrations of Pagans in any single area.  They also have far more expenses than online stores and therefore have to have higher prices.  They’ll never be able to compete with online drop-shippers or large chains on price simply because they cannot buy products in large enough quantities to get significant discounts.  The internet retail stores have trouble because most products are one time buys and there is A LOT of competition.  It also seems that the products do not differ enough to allow the consumer to be loyal to a single company because of their outstanding product lines.  This is one of the biggest and most profitable of the current Pagan businesses especially when coupled with a service regardless of the hardships that they have to deal with.

Information  

There are thousands of people trying to make money off of a Pagan blog, website, magazine, or newsletter.  A few make it, but most end up having to have another job.  There are very few people that make their living off of this, and the only real section of people in this industry that stand out are the authors of Pagan 101 books because they can profit off of the people who are not living off of the Pagan industries.  Though it sounds very pyramid scheme-ish, it’s the truth.  Booksellers like Barnes and Nobles sell very few books other than introductory books to Paganism, and these are the places that make authors the most money.

Education

There is only one currently utilized outlet for this business:  “magick schools”.  These are almost exclusively online businesses that offer the same type of information as a Pagan 101 book and again, they are profiting off of the new kids on the block.  They offer very little (from my very limited experience with them) other than an online teacher. This is not a bad idea but the truth is that there are many other paths that should at least be tested in this business.

Health Care

This revolves almost entirely on a combination of massage therapy, energetic healing (Reiki for example), acupuncture, and acupressure.  There are other styles of “New Age” healing that we’ll consider, but these are the main ones.  There is an extremely large number of people practicing these techniques both in the Pagan world and outside of it, and so the competition is rather stiff.  It is also a business that is not extremely expandable and so those that are not business minded tend to have a very difficult time because they have to be both good at their practice as well as running a business which for many people is a difficult thing to do.

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

There is a very large number of these ranging from tourist style entertainment (think Rennaisance Faire) to musical entertainment to general artisans.  The problem with these businesses is that they’re very limited to the number of people in their niche (Paganism) unless they can branch out into mainstream (Ren Faires).  There’s not much else to say other than they will have problems until the population of Pagans increases dramatically.

Accomodations, Food

There’s very few accommodations or food/drink locations that cater to specifically Pagans.  Yes, there are some but they are very few and far between and I have never actually been to one so I have very few things to note other than the fact that our sub-culture is far too spread out in most places for these places to be very profitable unless they can also reach the mainstream.

Professional Services

Professional services would be consultants, financial advisors, and the likes.  The problem with trying to start something like this that specializes in the Pagan business world would be that there are very few Pagan businesses that can afford them.  Its a business that we desperately need, but not something that we’ll likely find any time soon.

Conclusions

There are a lot of conclusions that we can draw from this analysis.  We can all see that an increase in Pagan population would without a doubt make Pagan businesses more profitable and the world is headed in that direction, but we are still a long way away from seeing a large increase in the profitability of brick and mortar stores and businesses. It seems as though more Pagan businesses need to adopt a larger service line in order to be profitable from the beginning.  Having a Pagan restaurant/bar that also sold massages in the back and had a “gift shop” (think cracker barrel) would probably have a better chance of profiting than a simple store because it would cause more impulse buying as well as combining the revenue from all of the possible options.  It would also create a much larger loyal customer base.  This would put more money into fewer hands allowing them to grow their business and in the future, make an impact in the non-Pagan community thus increasing the possible number of customers by increasing the number of Pagans.

Internet shops should push for more brand loyalty by increasing the number of unique items, increasing the number of consumable items, as well as increasing their ability to impact the Pagan community.

The key to everything involves the brick and mortar operations to increase impact on the non-Pagan community, making them more amiable to Pagans, and the internet operations to increase their impact on the Pagan community, making them more “Pagan only” whenever possible.  This would open up huge opportunities for everyone to profit from the increased spending into Pagan businesses.

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So I was thinking earlier about tools I’ve collected, been gifted, gifted, and used throughout my nearly 10 years of magick and I thought I’d let share one of them with you.  It was thought up and gifted to me by my aunt on a winter solstice around 5 years ago, and I used it for numerous years afterwards sparingly.  She gave me 4 glass bottles of water coming from the four elements which would lend the essence of water with a slant towards one of the other elements.  I’ll give you a more understandable explanation for each after I’ve written down my personal recipe for them.

Water of the Air

1 Glass Jar (needs to be glass) that is airtight.  Liquor bottles work perfectly.  Preferably it is dark tinted to reduce light.

1 Large feather such as an owl, vulture, or hawk

Collect rainwater from a single storm.  For those of us living in the desert, this may require a long wait or a trip to Seattle.  This also may mean that you need to put a bucket outside to catch enough water.  Once the water is in the jar, stir it with the feather.  Put whatever air energy you feel is needed into it.  I’m not really one for the rhyming spells or chants so throw that in there if you’re that kind of person as well.

This will be used to represent the airy parts of water:  the fluidity, hurricanes, cold emotions, and all things that go between the water and air such as seabirds, rain (yeah, I know…), and storms of all sorts.

Water of the Earth

1 Glass Jar–the same as the others

a handful of stones from a body of water or stones that represent water to you

The instructions are the same as the water of air except with the earth slant.

The important things to note when using this water is that it is of the earth and therefore represents things such as the body, water that is not in motion, creatures that travel between the earth and water (crabs for example), and emotional ties to objects.

Water of Fire

1 Glass Jar–the same as the others 

1 pot

1 match

The instructions for this one are a bit different.  First boil natural spring water (bottled water works).  Put this water into the jar.  Then light the match and feel the heat and fire flowing into the water.  Put the match out in the jar and pull the matchstick out.  There will be ashes in the water and that’s okay.

This is the combination of opposites.  It is a representation of the “hot” emotions such as passion, anger, and love.  It is also a representation of the idea of alchemy and the combination of opposing forces.  This is a tricky one to really explain with examples.

Water of Water

1 Glass jar

In this, the procedure is very simple.  You just need either water from a very large lake or water from the sea.  I’d suggest that you make sure they are as clean as possible (run them through a coffee filter or 10), but other than that just pour it into the jar and close the lid.

This is the most difficult one to explain the representation on in my opinion.  It has to do with all things purely of water.  Dreams, water bound creature, watery emotions if that makes any sense, and of course water itself.

All of these waters will work for the water aspect in a ritual, but they are specifically designed for certain types.  For example, I would use the Water of Fire in a ritual to bring about more passion in your life but it wouldn’t be a good one for bringing more wealth into your life.  On the other hand, if you wanted to a very water based ritual, you could use all of the waters as representatives of the 4 elements.

You have to be careful not to let them into the light very much because algae will start to grow if they’re exposed to much light and nobody wants to use water in a ritual that’s got weird green stuff in it.

Anyways, good luck and if you have any questions or thoughts, give us a few comments.

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Eliphas Levi' Baphomet

What is reality to you?  Is it a bearded man sitting on a golden throne in heaven?  A group of drunk and disorderly gods and goddesses sitting on top of a mountain?  Is it the media and science’s portrayal of reality where we sit in cubicles until we’re too old to see the computer screen clearly and then we’re put into nursing homes until we die?

My reality is none of the above and though I’m sure my regular readers know, I hold to no reality for very long.  It is constantly shifting to fit my current understanding of the world.

“Knowledge is changeable.  Truth is eternal.  It is disastrous to confuse them.”   –Madeleine L’Engle

This quote is of the utmost importance to all that practice magick because although our society teaches rigidity in belief, magick teaches us fluidity.  It is impossible to fly when you cannot bend your own reality to accept that it is possible.  For anyone who has ever practiced magick knows that the reality that we are taught is flawed and therefore cannot be the truth.  It is the magician’s quest to constantly search for that truth, to follow meandering roads to their ends and to always search for the one that leads to that golden door of enlightenment.

This post is not a simple post.  It isn’t about a simple topic such as athames or tarot cards or even the meaning of life.  This is about what lies beneath all of it.  The core answer of every question.  Truth.

“I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.”  Chris McCandless, Into the Wild

To the magician, everything is based on their current idea of truth.  If they believe that the truth allows them to fly, they will search for a way to do this.  They will always test, always make sure that something will work before they need this.  They gather tools and build their repertoires in this way, but in reality they are actually exploring the unknown and changing their reality to always get closer to the truth.

The end result is a culture of expanding minds, of modern day philosophers.  These expanding minds are the future of our society.  It is only so long before the rest of the world begins to see where these philosophers are headed.  Every day more and more government officials have ties to this culture from the small town officials to a Presidential hopeful, Gary Johnson.  The society that was dominated by science is slowly being influenced by the surrounding proof of flaws in our ideas of reality as well as the ever-encroaching mainstreaming of Pagan culture.  These modern day philosophers are not always authors or college graduates.  They are simply people who’s minds have been opened to the idea of other realities through trial and error.  We are the advisors, the councilors, the confidants of our society and we need to start acting like it.

The expansion of reality does not mean that we should live outside of the bounds of normal society.  We must still provide food for our families, must still keep clothes on our backs and should never become a burden for the ones we love.  We must somehow balance the knowledge that we have gained and the world that we have chosen with the world that we have been placed into.  Remember, we were placed in this time and society for a reason and it is our duty to fulfill our role.

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