What is Financial Wizardry?
I define this as the ability to create monetary flow. This can take a variety of forms: cash, equity, commodities, etc. It is the art and science of numbers and probability. Many times I hear Pagan contemporaries describe the virtues of spiritual or emotional health, but rarely do we engage in conversations around fiscal health. We often use the excuse that we are focused on more “spiritual concerns” and avoid the subject entirely. Most conversations begin with suggestions for a specific incense, or money drawing spells. Then it derails into a litany of how the system is gamed to encourage failure.
I do not dispute this assertion. Much like a casino, the house always wins. Yet folks still find ways to count cards and win profits. Sometimes they just get lucky. My point is that refusing to play the game creates a culture of ignorance. Just like any esoteric subject, there are certain patterns and rules to the game of finance. The weird thing is that many Pagans thrive on books and describe reading as important to learn and grow in their Craft, yet are functionally illiterate when it comes to financial matters. (It’s not just Pagans, but a widespread cultural thing. About 90% of my day job is explaining how this stuff works to all kinds of folks.) This is a self-perpetuating energetic drain on prosperity. Most of it is self-imposed, due to an emotional aversion to these topics. We think its cool to be against the system and refuse to educate ourselves, but then complain when we are always broke.
Wealth is a concept that is firmly under the jurisdiction of Pluto. Alongside ideas of dynasty, legacy, espionage and betrayal, Pluto actually has many lessons for those who perceive the game is slanted, but need to play to win. Pagans like speak about sustainability, but shy away from attaching that term to material reality. Not all of us, but enough of us for the stereotype of “Pagan poverty” to be viable. This is unfortunate, as most folks’ interaction with money is based on their acceptance or rejection of their parents’ monetary habits. Ironically, we have no problem choosing a new religious or spiritual orientation, but refuse to believe that Financial Wizardry is possible, or that one’s fiscal health is in reality, another orientation. We choose it. It is just a matter of learning a new language and relating to the concepts in a way that is empowering. Just like any convoluted occult study (like astrology) financial concepts can be translated, understood, mastered, and applied to positive use.
This took me a while to figure out. My parents are not good with finances. I always had an adversarial relationship with money when I was younger. I saw it as a finite thing, and there was never enough of it. In college I worked at a bank to learn more, but I still made mistakes. Got screwed up with credit, dodged bills, all of the things. Fun fact: you will get served with a subpoena if you quit paying bills on revolving debt. It wasn’t until I took the time to readjust my thoughts to a magical framework of finance, that things started to turn around. Money is energy. Nothing more, nothing less. The paper/goods are just the physical representation of the abstract concept of flow. I would like to share some of the ideas that have helped me reorient myself for better outcomes. So here is my take on the Elements of Flow. It’s not a spell or formula, or even financial advice. Simply some thoughts that have served me well through some tough financial challenges: death, divorce, raising two kids, and avoiding bankruptcy. Just like the four material elements on the Pentacle activate the fifth point of Spirit, a balance of these four elements is essential to mastering financial sustainability and becoming a Financial Wizard.
Fire – Cash – Consumption
The first Element is Cash. This is the most volatile aspect in the spread, as it comes and it goes. We burn it, we eat it, we trade it for goods and services. I consider this element to be representative of Fire because it is the fuel that runs the engine. Think of the intake of air when you inhale. This is the motion of cash. It is the material representation of Consumption, which is not a negative thing when it is in balance. We need to consume in order to live. We need cash to begin to build the framework. However, people get bogged down in thinking that cash is real. Like fire, it is a chemical reaction. It is only useful when it flows in or out. Yes, you should build up an emergency fund if you are able, but think of trying to hold onto fire, or freezing it into an immobile state. Fire is mutable, and so is cash. It literally is devoid of value if it is not in motion. Think of the folks who stuff their mattress full of money, but refuse to buy nutritious food or turn the heat on in winter. Remember that cash needs to be in motion, needs to be spent in order to translate into something viable. It also needs to be replenished, which of course is a constant challenge.
From a magical framework, Cash is the spark, the beginning, the seed. This is capital, which feeds into all of the other elements as we go around the Pentagram. Just as a plant or animal needs several different fuel sources, so do your adventures in finance. More revenue streams is always the best solution in our current gig economy, so that the spark is never extinguished. Think about keeping a bon- or bale-fire going through the night, there must always be some portion of the fire burning and moving in order to keep the darkness at bay. The coals need to be constantly stoked to stay viable, not kept in a static state.
Water- Credit- RetentionThe second Element is Credit. This is a mutable element, and just like Water, is often the most misunderstood, but powerful, element in this spread. Think of holding a breath as you take the plunge. Credit is the concept of Retention, your credit history is a numerical record of all of the triumphs and mistakes you have made in your financial journey. I do have some friends who opt out of the entire process, and avoid using credit completely. My mindset is that you can’t win the game if you don’t play, theirs is you can’t lose it either. However, when they have an emergency, they also have no recourse if they need a credit card or something to get them through a tight spot. Just like any other demon, credit is useful beast, provided that you always stay on top of it, and don’t let it use you.
Your score is is a number that predicts whether you are a good risk for someone to extend credit to, based on your past performance and your engagement with the process. This is where many folks get derailed, and claim to have a philosophical objection to being assigned a number. Sadly, this is a symptom of not understanding how this number is an aggregate of the average of all of the items and the history that appears on the report. It is also not static figure, but fluid. It is relational, and moves up and down in a predictable pattern once you study it. Like Water, this category has to be monitored and filtered or else it is at risk of stagnation. You must monitor your credit. Mistakes are made, and credit scams are rampant these days. If someone is poisoning your well through fraud or malice, you are the one who will be stuck with the consequences. Conversely, if you refuse to even learn what these numbers mean and how they affect you, then you are choosing to remain at the mercy of squiggles on a page you don’t even understand. If you understand the benefits of grounding and shielding, then do yourself a favor and request a copy of your credit report. Even if you don’t want to engage in acquiring credit, you should know whether someone is using your information or harming you without your consent. You won’t know if you don’t look. It’s free, and a necessary component to keep the Elements of Flow in balance.
The third Element is Investments. This is connected to Air, because of the intellectual nature of all speculative ventures. Stocks, bonds, life insurance, investments in companies or collaborative adventures are all connected to this ideal. Think of the force that is used when you are singing, shouting, or even whispering. It is intentional, and in some respects the most esoteric of all of the Elements of Flow as it relies on intuition and skill. Many folks never reach this point in the game. Sometimes this is because they are unable to achieve balance with the first two elements of Cash and Credit. Sometimes this is because they are unable to imagine how Air breathes life into both of the first two concepts. Fire needs oxygen to burn, without it fires goes out. Water needs oxygen to remain fresh, without it water becomes toxic. Air is the ingenuity to perceive that things can be different, both positive and negative outcomes. Air is also the force to act upon those intuitions, and to make decisions to effect the course of the future.
Fear is the main thing that restricts people in this realm. Again, mostly born of ignorance and an unwillingness to be confronted with information they would rather reject. In my experience, folks who have issues around Water and Credit mainly avoid looking at the past. Those with challenges around Air and Investments refuse to perceive the future. Both tend to be fixated on Fire or Cash, the first and most basic ideal. However Air has a danger as well, and folks can get lost in pursuit of future dreams. Sustainability is the key. When we remember that money is not an object but instead is an energetic projection, it is easier to move it in the direction we want to pursue our goals. The trick is to know what your goals are, and go from there. If you decide to play in this realm, choose products that align with your ethos, ones that you understand and resonate with. What you speak comes to be, so be mindful of where your words flow.
So the last of our Elements is Equity. I characterize this primarily as real estate, but it can also be applied to vehicles, bullion, goods or commodities that are precious and tangible. This concept is connected to Earth, because unlike the last three concepts, this one actually encompasses real items with mass and value. The action associated with this Element for me is that of Abstention. Think of that time after you expel a breath, but before you take in another. Equity in many ways is the most Plutonian of all of the Elements of Flow because it is literally, where the buck stops. This is the realm of manifestation, and the culmination and beginning of another step in the cycle. Part of this process of manifestation is coming to terms with sacrifice, and locking all of that undifferentiated potential in the mutable Elements of Fire (Cash), Water (Credit), and Air (Investments), into solid and finite Earth (Equity). This is the most terrifying step for many, because it is a commitment but also a risk, as no one knows whether a finite object will retain its original value. Yet history has proven that finite objects do have an inherent value across cultures, whereas the rest of the Elements are of relative value depending on market conditions, which can be volatile or arbitrary. Humans tend to enjoy shiny things, and like being indoors when the weather is fierce, so this is why Equity is called “real estate” because it has a universal appeal beyond the ideal. Earth is where our dreams become rooted to reality, and flourish.
Now some folks are blessed to live in societies which allow families to accumulate wealth and distribute it to heirs, and are lucky enough to inherit the built up capital of their forbears to play with. That has never been my privilege, but I don’t begrudge someone inheriting a home or goods or cash. Good for them. I am not losing sleep over the fact that my level of prosperity is not apex level at the moment, nor the fact that my folks were not thinking of the future when they were at their peak earning potential. There is a certain level of satisfaction in taking care of my family with the resources and tools I am able to create. So I have done what many others have done before, and leveraged the Elements of Flow to manifest something real. In this incarnation, that is a home and small bit of security. Will it last? I don’t know. Life is surprising. But I feel confident that I can sort it out using the concepts from this framework. So I share this way of thinking with you, and hope that it serves you well!