Incomplete Thoughts: Why Are Pagans So Poor?

Every few years, I see someone bring up the lack of money that seems to be within the Pagan community at large. “Why does it seem that Pagans are always so poor?” My guess that there are many answers to this question. However, a lot of those answers are pre-pandemic. With COVID-19 arriving, many people were furloughed or laid off (essentially the same thing) from their jobs. Before the pandemic kicked in, I was already on unemployment and looking for a job. When the pandemic became a major issue with employment, I got added into the temporary federal benefits. This past Saturday, my moronic governor here in Tejas determined that these benefits were keeping people from getting back to finding employment. That type of logic thinking is a load of privileged bullshit. Most people have been trying to find jobs that are not exploitive, low-paying wage positions with no chances of upward mobility within a company. But that’s another thought altogether.

Why does it always seem that Pagans are so damn poor? Or is it just an illusion? Looking around at other folks in other areas of Spirituality, the feeling that most people are poor seems to be prevalent there as well. Maybe its not so much that people are poor, but that in our current overly greedy capitalist society, people are trying to make their money stretch further while prices continue to soar unabated. Many folks have families, and believe me, kids cost money. Clothes, school supplies, recreational sports equipment, books, and the list can go on and on. Prices soar, but wages do not climb on a similar scale. What passed as a seemingly capable yearly wage at $30k just doesn’t cut it anymore today for a family of four – or even three. Due to the rising costs of transportation, we are seeing food prices climb even more. That’s understandable under a capitalist perspective. Costs that get added to the company get passed on to the consumer. Then again, I’m not economist, nor do I play one on tv or even the radio.

Perhaps, some Pagans seem to be poor because they have decided to step out of the capitalism whirlpool. They make their money in smaller ways – farmer’s markets, Renaissance faires, and maybe even Pagan gatherings. Maybe they make their livings online, teaching online classes for those wanting the information and perspective of theirs. I know for a fact that there’s not a lot of money in that realm. They may seem to be poor, but they are living the way that they wish. To them, it may be the richest lifestyle ever.

So, everyone that offers classes, writes books, creates things, offers services – they should do that stuff for free, right? Well, no. They should be compensated for what they provide. Perhaps in trade, if the terms are equal in the eyes of those involved in the transaction. However, we shouldn’t look down on those who are asking for compensation of any form for what they are providing. I have heard the snide remark that the “Craft should not be sold”. Sorry, that’s a load of bullshit. If you don’t think that what is being offered is worth you parting with your hard-earned cash – move along without comment. Or – maybe you can try and barter for a lower price. Just don’t be offended if the lower price is rejected. Don’t argue about it either. Just thank them for the potential to discuss the issue and move along without being crappy about it all.

This is probably not a popular opinion, but I see the question of “Why does it always seem that Pagans are so poor?” to be a rather elitist question. The question comes across – to me, anyways – as wondering why other Pagans just can’t seem to compete on your level within a capitalist agenda. A long time back, my mother reminded a teen-aged me that you cannot truly understand someone else’s life until you have walked a few miles in their tennis shoes.

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