During a conversation with a friend, the topic of money came up. He was genuinely surprised when he found out that I consider financial security and career success were important to me. “But aren’t you like really spiritual?” he asked. When I nodded he said “Well, then money shouldn’t be that important to you.” This got me thinking about my relationship to money and whether I could have both a meaningfully spiritual practice and financial comfort.
Much like the archetype of the starving artist, I think people have romanticized the act of taking a spiritual vow of poverty. There is something alluring about someone leaving behind all their worldly possessions to fully embrace spirituality. We look starry-eyed at the struggle, but I don’t think it’s necessary for all of us.
Most religions sprang up from tribal societies. The needs of the tribe were prioritized over the needs of the individual. The men went out hunting every day while the woman tended to the gardens and childrearing. As time went on, the priority moved to caring for your individual family, but bartering was used to ensure that everyone got what they needed. If you needed vegetables, but had chickens, you would trade a chicken to someone who had vegetables. While this worked then, I’m not so sure my electric company would take a flock of chickens as payment for my electric bill. Times have changed.
Some people obsess over their money and success. They focus all their efforts on maintaining their wealth, fighting for the next promotion, or working too many hours to buy their next luxury car. Some people prioritize wealth and comfort over their family, friends, and spirituality.
For me, I take a different approach to money. For me, financial security is a priority, just not my highest priority. I consider my financial security as a way of providing for my tribe. There are times that my friends struggle and I am more than willing to help them. Without my assistance, there have been times during which my friends would have had few places left to turn. My financial success affords me the opportunity to take care of those I love when they need it most.
Additionally, my success has helped me increase my spiritual experiences. Below are just a few things I have done in the last year that I wouldn’t have gotten to do otherwise:
- I took a trip with my friends to New Orleans so I could get some firsthand experiences with African Diasporic religion.
- I donated a goat, a flock of chickens, and honey bees to Africa as an ebbo to my Orishas
- I was able to pay for a reading from a very gifted teacher of Witchcraft and Tarot
For me, there is nothing wrong with money or the desire to live a comfortable life. We spend this life on the physical plane which requires money to live. For me, having a positive relationship with money is part of my path. My patrons, ancestors, and spirit guides don’t just want me to survive, they want me to thrive.