The Pressure to be a Professional Witch

The Pressure to be a Professional Witch August 23, 2020

It comes as a surprise to many that I have a day job. Yep–I get up every morning and go to my cubicle (well, to the other side of my house, during COVID) and clack away on a keyboard, purely for the sake of a paycheck and health insurance. It’s pretty mindless. I don’t love it. Every few years I hit my mental limit and I get a different job (retail, food service, teaching, cube life, more retail, whatever), I rollover my retirement investments, get a new insurance card, and nothing substantial really changes in the end. It’s fine. Frankly, I’m lucky to have the kind of job that lets me entertain the idea of retirement at all. It’s also how I can afford to go to Pagan festivals. I wouldn’t be able to attend most of the events I do without the money that comes in from my boring job. The fact that I have zero emotional investment also means that I have lots of mental space leftover for writing books, coming up with magical ideas, and running a coven. It’s a sweet deal, even though I can quote substantial portions of the movie Office Space.

When a person writes books, travels to speak at festivals, blogs on a major platform, or has a substantial social media following, we often assume that that’s what they do for a living, especially in magical communities. Lots of people do make their living that way, of course! And it certainly seems like something people should be able to do if they choose–we shouldn’t expect presenters, musicians, authors, and artists to contribute for free just because these are spiritual communities–but underlying all of this is a sentiment that exists in American work culture as a whole, and seems to hit creatives the hardest. And that’s the idea that we should all be doing what we love in order to make money, and that a passion isn’t really a passion unless we’re striving to make it a career.

In witchcraft and Pagan communities, this manifests as the idea that once we reach a certain level of proficiency or knowledge as a practitioner, it’s time to turn it into a business.

In this video I chat a bit about the expectations surrounding having a “witchy biz” and why it’s perfectly acceptable–maybe even preferable, for a lot of us–to not have one. Like the video? Subscribe for more.

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