After my post on the ethics of charging for spiritual training I’ve had a few people ask how they can support their teachers to ensure they’re able to continue their work; especially in ways which don’t involve money.
The first thing I’ll say is no spiritual teacher who does so for free expects you to contribute anything but your time, energy, and commitment.
They aren’t secretly waiting for you to give back to them when you can afford it and they certainly aren’t thinking they’re being short changed. They made their decision when they took you on as a student.
Your natural flow of energy back to the tradition and the nine-fold repayment you’ll instinctively give is plenty. (However, if you aren’t thinking about staying in that tradition long term maybe you want to think again.)
I’ll probably be just scraping by for my entire life but if you dare try and give me a fistful of cash, I’m going to refuse it. You want to pay me; I’m going to need to give it to my mentors who will also not take it.
There are a few things you can do however to help ease the financial burden.
Coven leaders are always buying wine, incense, and candles, but we tend to get bought a lot of those as presents. When I last moved, I cleared out more boxes of old dried up incense than a conference stall’s worth.
There are other things we spend a lot of money on that you don’t notice. We’re always vacuuming. We spend more on washing up liquid and dishwasher tabs than you can imagine. Ten sets of plates and tea mugs every full moon mounts up. That’s even before you’ve thought about the bedding that needs washing for all those people who can’t get home after, and how much the morning tea and toast also costs. No one brings you dishwasher salt or antibacterial spray. Your coveners bring three types of posh biscuit but they don’t replenish your fruit tea selection or your vegan milk stash.
Tiny things, but when you add them together the additional cost of running a coven from your house becomes significant. If you want to help, buy tea bags not candles.
Think about also whether you can offer your house for a ritual or two a year. By doing that you not only take on the invisible costs but also the invisible workload.
I stopped running a coven when I physically couldn’t take any more of the housework, not when I couldn’t manage the spiritual side.
Sure, we all laugh at the 20th century Alexandrian High Priestesses who worked their coven before the start of the ritual, but the reality is those tasks you thought weren’t part of Wicca need doing. And they need doing twice. The maiden vacuumed the circle pre ritual, but you can bet the coven leaders were there afterwards getting rid of the breadcrumbs and wiping the smoke stains off the walls.
I’m never going to ask you to do my home’s ritual prep, but my goodness does it feel good when someone offers. It feels even better when your coveners get up the next morning and start the clean-up. Screw that, just taking the linen off the beds they slept in is a start.
That’s all very well for coven leaders, but what about those teachers and trainers who don’t run groups?
I’m going to be obvious here and say “thank you” goes a long way. It’s easy, it costs nothing, but is so often forgotten. Just to know what you’re doing is helping people feels amazing.
You can also share website links on social media (or blog post links… hint hint) and leave Amazon and Goodreads reviews for the books which have been instrumental in your path.
Most of all though, keep learning and keep developing
As a teacher, High Priestess, and mentor I want my students to be better than me. I want them to go far further in their research and ideas than I ever have or will. I’ve been successful in my endeavours if I see my students achieving. If I’m left watching the smoke trails, I know I can be proud of myself. We teach because we want to see you fly.