This week for the first ‘G’ week on the Pagan Blog Project, I’d like to write about Good Will.
Many people expect pagan elders to provide training or services for free, out of good will. While I agree that we should do what we can to better the experience and life of our fellow man, we should not be doing so to the detriment of our own lives and the experience of our own families.
Often, pagans who offer services do so as a primary or supplemental income … with the expectation of some kind of return for their services. In addition, always giving to the group, without getting anything back is draining on the practitioner. It can lead to a very unbalanced relationship between the community and the individual, and this is likely to have a negative effect on the practitioner’s ability to perform the services for the group. If we ask a practitioner to give us their time and energy for training or services, we need to give something back in return.
The most common trade is money. We use our time and energy to earn money, and in exchange, we ask someone else to provide their time and energy to earn money. There can be cases where the exchange of something other than money is great, but that should be negotiated between the practitioner and the person requesting the services.
Unfortunately, this world does depend upon money and, as such, people need money to function in society today. There are individuals who life “off the grid” and can live on a very small amount of money, but it’s not a lifestyle that most of us would choose. If we want to have practitioners to do the training and provide the services, we, as a community, need to ensure that the individuals who have the skill and the willingness to share their knowledge have the resources to maintain themselves as they need.
Barter does not pay the mortgage (or rent), or the gas, or the utilities, but once those basics have been covered, barter can be acceptable to share. So if you can’t provide money in exchange, talk to the practitioner and see what you can provide … but don’t expect them to provide their time and energy for free.