Paganism is an umbrella term that is generally used to encompass all non-Abrahamic religions. That, as you can imagine, is a pretty big umbrella. The three major branches of the Abrahamic religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. That would leave everything from Atheist to Zoroastrianism. And that’s a massive number of religious and spiritual groups in between. That group that are in that umbrella term really don’t fit together as a group at all. We have those who follow the teachings of Buddhism, those who practice Sikhism and those who simply walk outside and feel the earth below them as a form of religion. In 2013 I completed the process to become an ordained minister as part of a commitment to the Goddess Hecate. Even though my religion is not an official church and does not have an organized, established sanctuary other than the trees that witness my rites to her honor. Paganism includes all these groups and tries to house them in a neatly organized pile for the world to see.
There are some groups that have official church status and are recognized as such. They are considered non-profit organizations and work to provide training and support for those who follow their path. Circle Sanctuary for example has a Ministry Training Program they offer. Circle Sanctuary is a Shamanic Wiccan Church founded in 1974. The Rev. Selena Fox is the high priestess and senior minister there. Many groups offer training and when joining some covens they offer specific training for their members to advance in the ranks. As a Torchbearer to the Goddess Hecate for the Covenant of Hekate, I had a set of specific requirements I needed to complete in order to be considered for that honor. There was a large amount of study and community service required. At no point was I required to make a payment for the training/information other than books that I purchased online from other sources. Since there was no classrooms or electricity I can understand that it was relativity free for me to get my training.
Now what about those places where they have a physical shop location that has bills to pay. Should magically knowledge be freely given? Should we as magical people offer our services to others without the request for payment in kind? There are just as many opinions on this subject as there are spiritual groups between A & Z under our umbrella. Some believe that magical knowledge should be given freely and only by a certain few. Someone who is a Sage or Crone in the community should take on the role of teacher and pass his or her knowledge down the line to the younger generations. Others believe that someone who has just started out should be allowed to not only teach but charge their students huge fees in order to get the gift of magic.
I can say that fees can put the kibosh on magically dreams faster than you can say alakazam. I wanted desperately to be trained in Reiki. I read all I could on it and even practiced a bit in the form hands on healing and not stone massage techniques. When I questioned on line how to find a Reiki Master to train me I was told, when it is time they will find you. They found me and wanted $10K to take me to the Master level. I was mortified and gave up.
I believe in fairness and equality. I don’t think that knowledge should be held ransom by a dollar sign and I also don’t believe that people should benefit from the experience of others unfairly. Each of us has something unique to bring to the table. The act of barter and service is something that should really be considered when it comes time to offer magical instruction to others. As the owner of a property that is looking to become a dedicated Sanctuary, I have tons of yard work, debris removal and so on that will need to be done. I volunteer with a TNR group that need animals transported to and fro as well as feeding and trapping that can be assisted with. There is no limit to the amount of things that we could work out in trade if we just open our mind a bit.
I cannot say that class one should be 700.00 or 7.00 but I can say as Pagan people, people who are of the earth and of the community; People who come together to help each other whenever we can, which is more important? To make a profit or to be a prophet? Now, I’m using the term very loosely, but you understand what I mean.