one more for the road

This has to do with something else Mama Cat posted in that same post, which in turn touches on something we’ve talked about before, sometimes in the comments of this blog, though the particular facebook response I’m quoting here was written in response to a colleague who is an initiate in Candomble (who I recommend as a reader at my “readers you can trust” blog page). The exchange went like this:

In this pinterest post, I shared a query I’d gotten from a would-be client who wanted me to use spiritual work to induce either miscarriage in another woman, or else maybe just kill the mother, whatever I thought would be best to keep the woman from interfering with her man and relationship. It’s exactly the thing Mama Cat was referring to in her post. My colleague wrote, “That woman is gonna have to answer to Papa Bondye for her evil. That or she belongs in a asylum.” I responded:

“I have been dealing with people lately complaining, like “who is a rootworker to tell me if my work is justified or not, they aren’t God” and “I don’t come to a rootworker to be told to Cut and Clear, if I wanted to do that I’d just do that myself, I come to a worker for hope and help,” and I’m like, man, if these people could understand what those of us on the receiving end of all these client requests have to deal with every day, totally ignoring any clergy status, covenants, initiations, education, pastoral role, divination, long-term service to spirits or deities, etc that we are involved in, then they might stfu and begin to glimpse what we mean when we say that some clients want unjustified work, or are wasting their time on stuff they won’t get, or are just plain wrong, and it IS our job to say “No, that is not righteous work” or “that is not the best route to your
ultimate goal and you should NOT do it.” It is our job and our obligation to listen, and our job and our obligation to point out problems of approach and make alternate suggestions; it doesn’t mean we judge the people, but if you don’t want to listen to anybody about the actions, then what exactly are you coming to us for? We aren’t perfect and aren’t God, and we make mistakes too, but you better believe that God, our spirits and saints, the masters of our heads or guardians of our hearths, the powers within our given or respective religions, traditions, or systems, are holding us to standards, and you better believe that we are being held to standards quite different than those of people complaining because a worker wouldn’t take their case or told them their plan needed some adjusting. We are part of a spiritual economy in which judgment and consequences for spiritual actions are a FACT. Do they think about all the hours and weeks and months and years and decades and distances and lessons we have gone through to get here, to take that kind of resonsibility in advising them from a spiritual perspective? All the time and money and effort and hardship for you to travel and study and serve on your path? The obligations and responsibilities involved for you in being able to do divination in Candomble, or for me to do a headwashing and charm on the points of a spirit for them? It’s just astonishing to me, the way some people seem to view this stuff, like everything is a mall or a vending machine and they put their quarter in and get their little neatly wrapped package out.”

This is spiritual work, not mercantilism. And MOST clients seeking our advice do not do this whiny crap. The ones who do are those who are driven to spiritual work out of desperation usually, mostly over their love lives, and sometimes out of ignorance or immaturity or greed — but not usually. Usually they just don’t understand how this works, what they are really getting into when they seek spiritual assistance. Yes, I charge for readings and services and products, but I am not getting rich; I live just slightly over the poverty level for my household size. Not that readers and workers who live more comfortably than I do are bad people or greedy either – money is a necessary thing in our culture if we are to have health, security, a roof. There is no sin in tending to your obligations and caring for your children and health, and nothing wrong with charging for your time and expertise. I don’t need much; none of my areas of expertise or study are fields that I went into for the money. I could have gone into more lucrative fields, into fields that don’t require so many hours of work and study for which there is no direct payment; that is not where my true talents or passions were, though. I take care of my obligations, and I would definitely like to be putting more in the bank towards retirement or solid assets. I owe a whole lot of money for student loan debt, a whole lot, an astonishing amount; if I made twice what I make, it would still take me over 15 years to pay it off. I’m not poor-mouthing; I’m pointing out that I, like so many others who do this work, am not getting rich doing it.

But I don’t know any legit spiritual workers or advisors who went into this for the money – it’s a calling, like teaching or nursing. Like teachers and nurses, we get shit heaped on us by people who don’t understand what we do, and the pay is really not all that amazing. We give countless hours to the communities in which we live, in our physical neighborhoods or in our larger spiritual communities. You don’t just hang out a freakin’ shingle one day on a whim – working with clients on spiritual matters requires a certain amount of knowledge, a certain amount of experience, a certain ability to communicate and connect, a hell of a lot of stamina, and a HUGE amount of compassion and responsibility, not only to the clients but also to whatever spiritual offices, more or less formal, that we hold. Again, I’m not complaining and I’m not poor-mouthing; I’m just responding to some of the astonishing misconceptions I’ve seen lately. Leaving aside clergy work, even, or the hundreds or thousands of dollars from our own pockets and from freely given donations, from hard-working folks who might be able to drop $5 in the bowl, at headwashings or spiritual events or workshops or initiations or ceremonies, there is a whole complex system of relationships, knowledge, training, obligation, and communication skills that we work with and within every day, even when clients aren’t looking. Even if our training and education did not come from a place that charged tuition, it was still no joke.

Even those of us that don’t serve as clergy or have certain roles within our given religions or spiritual traditions that demand untold hours, offerings, training, and work, still enter into and negotiate with the spirit world on behalf of the people that come to them. That is a BIG responsibility that we take quite seriously. If we don’t, we will be held accountable – not by an upset client who thinks we’re mean, but by forces much bigger than any of us. Even when we’re cranky about off the wall questions, we do this work because we believe in people and in empowering them and in the life of the human spirit and heart (and sometimes because the spirit world, universe, God, or however it works in our given traditions, made it clear that we had no choice, that we had an obligation). I’m not saying I’m better or wiser than anybody, nor that my calling is more noble than that of a massage therapist, or a social worker, or the nurse who tends your grandmother on her last illness, or the gardener who toils away in the heat to make your environment more pleasant, or anybody else on the face of the planet, really. I’m just trying to point out that nobody honest enters into this lightly (if they do, they don’t last!) and that in fact, there’s a lot about it that is not fun or glamorous. Nobody is sitting here trying to play judge or gatekeeper or telling you things just to be spiteful or thwart your goals. There are so very many easier ways to go if we were concerned with power or riches or glamour that it just astonishes me what some people seem to think and what they don’t think twice about whining about on spellcaster-rating forums.

Anyway, enough of my rambling – I have tons of work to do that I have neglected the past 30 or so hours in dealing with some plagiarism, theft, conjure drama, and communication with folks who have also been affected by the thieving liar du jour, and I have tons of clients who have been waiting, more or less patiently, for me to get back to them, and so I need to shut up lol… I just felt the need to put this out there, not even on my own behalf, but on behalf of anybody whose work involves the sort of connections and communications with others that I’m talking about. We now return to your regularly scheduled youtube kitten videos or facebook memes 🙂 Happy hoodooing, y’all.

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