So I was planning to stay away from the whole “Public Occultism” nonsense, but now it’s turned into a proper old-school blog-go-round and students are actually pinging me to weigh in on it. It has broken up into a couple different topics now, so I think its a good idea to maybe deal with them separately.
First and foremost is the idea of magicians having normal day-jobs…. (I refuse to use the term muggle jobs. This isn’t Harry Potter) .
I make my living doing this, and I make a good living at it. So, do I think that working a day job is a sign of being a bad magician? Do I think I am better than you for being a professional Sorcerer and author?
I had un-magical day jobs in the past. I eventually was able to make my living as an author/teacher/sorcerer but that doesn’t mean I was less of a magician when I worked a day-job. Not everyone is suited to working for themselves, not everyone is comfortable with self-promotion, and some people simply like their non-magical job! Doing a non-occult job you love is not a sign of being a poor magician, it is a sign of success. People who see everything in the lens of magic and mundane need to pull their magical head out of their magical asses anyway. Not everyone finds their passion enhanced by making money at it. People that don’t treat this as a valid choice, especially those of us who are doing otherwise, really piss me off.
On the other hand you have people proclaiming that you cannot make a decent living in the occult, that it is a bad job, or that it somehow denigrates the magic…
I make a great living doing this, more than I made at any other job. I wake up every day excited to get to work. I am not the only one. When I left the day-job behind, Chris Warnock wrote me a nice letter of encouragement ensuring me he was making more as a professional Astrologer than he was as a Lawyer.
There are two things that I try to keep in mind:
1. I am a professional: As such its not wrong to expect to be compensated as a professional for my time, training, and expertise. I have plenty of free stuff (you are not paying to read this are you?), I have plenty of stuff that costs very little (four books with a whopping $16 price tag), I have a course that is moderately priced for students who are serious about going further ($150 for a year of lessons is less than most similar courses), and I have higher level services and training that cost more for those who have more money and time to spend. Put it all together and you have a career.
What’s more is that by treating yourself like a professional, you attract students and clients who treat you that way. They generally do the work, and you have less hassle.
2. I serve my students: I never have any qualms about promoting my work because I love my students, and think that what I have is good for them. I think they are better off for hiring me or studying with me. You will notice that almost all the marketing for my course is field reports from students doing the work and getting results. I will have another one of those up later today. If I didn’t think this was the case, I would hate what I do, but its not the case. My students rock, and I love them for it. They are not perfect, but neither am I.
Every now and then someone will want to hire me when I think it is not a good idea. Perhaps they are close to their last dime and looking for a miracle, or hoping for something unreasonable, or looking someone to hold their hand every step of the path. I will either recommend something different for these folks, do some pro-bono work, or make some kind of price arrangement. One of the things about being priced as a professional, is that it frees you up to do stuff like this.
As for money denigrating my magic, I find it is quite the opposite. Nothing has spurred me on to better work than being a professional in service to my students and clients. It opens the time to do better work both in terms of practical sorcery and mystical attainment.