Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holy Crap! I'm Undercharging like a MOFO!

I was talking to one of my course members today about his experience with Santeria practitioners in Texas. To get a "Santo" they charge $9000(USD). Holy hell! The Supernatural Assistant (SA) Course is only $75, and by the standards of the Greek Magical Papyri, the Abramelin text, and my own experience, the spirit you end up with from the SA Course does everything a Santo does and then some.



The difference, of course, is that if you have a Santeria initiation, get the $9000 Santo, get the $4000-$5000 "collars" that come with additional initiations, and have a lineage that you can trace back to a real life babalawo, you can charge big bucks to curse, bless, and un-curse people, getting back all the money you spent in the first place. It's like getting a Microsoft Certification from Microsoft itself. It's a recognized standard of performance. People are going to pay someone with a lot of collars more than they will someone like me or a graduate of my course because they've never heard of a Supernatural Assistant. If you call it the HGA, people might have heard of it, but due to the cultural bullshit around the HGA, they would expect anyone with K&C to give away their services out of some obligation to perform magic for free.


I'm so jealous.

But for the record, I'd pit any of my course members who have attained their Supernatural Assistant against any equally-experienced Santero in a magical fight and expect my course graduate to not only win, but have their opponent offering them money for the secret to their power when all was said and done. Especially if the course graduate has also gone through the Hermetic Merkavah and Goetia parts of the Red Work Course.

My graduates are going to be Super-Neo-Platonic-Magi, capable of doing all the stuff a Palo, Santero, or any other modern practicing sorcerer can do, plus travel up through the celestial spheres and accomplish the Great Work at the same time.

Hopefully we'll be able to fade away like Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars too, when we die. Or something similar to the Rainbow Body. I haven't had enough time to work on the 8th or 9th spheres this year as much as I wanted to. man.

Anyway, I'm totally undercharging for the courses. I can't believe it's like that. I'm not raising the prices or anything, but damn. $9,000. Freaking Merry Christmas on a silver platter.


  1. To be fair, some of that $9000 goes to pay for ritual supplies. Goats, evidently, are expensive.

  2. From what I have heard from customers, more than any kind of actual "chops," these folks get away with charging these prices because they are really persistent salespeople. They use plain old selling techniques to convince the customer that they have need of their services ("You could be under a curse now and NOT EVEN KNOW IT!!!"). They are masters of the hard sell. And they know how to cover their butt. I've heard, for instance, of someone located in a small town who had a tiny shop and was selling "candles" for $1000 a shot. She took credit cards, which is the way to make the big bucks, and by selling a candle instead of a spell, she avoided any possibility of chargebacks. And people were indeed paying those prices. My customer sure was and had already spent $13,000 without the results she wanted. I've heard this sort of thing from people consulting all sorts of magic workers.

    Some folks seem to think if they pay a lot, they have bought you. OTOH, charge too little and you attract a clientele that is looking for cheap. IME, this is the worst kind of customer to have.

    Figuring out what price you should charge is really difficult. For me, it has been the single thorniest problem in the magic biz.

  3. Santeria is an expensive religion (I think at one point they called it 'the poor man's religion'...yea right). From what I understand the price of Santo changes depending on your 'head'. My best friend's a Santero and he's paid a good bit of money for it all (notwithstanding the fact that his godfather was told by the Orishas not to charge for certain things). However, mostly every Santero I've ever met has never had any regrets for being initiated into the tradition so I guess it's all really worth it. You're not teaching folks to kill a hawk (or some other bird) as suggested in the GMP in order to procure their assistant are you? :P

  4. I would just expect a person to create a realistic price. Not charging hundreds or thousands to remove a curse that "they" say you have. Especially when it didn't require hundreds or thousands of dollars in labor and material. If it doesn't work all the better. Because then they would need to inform the buyer that there are more problems that need a big money fix. But then again taking advantage of people and greed go hand and hand.

    Like charging $500 for a rice and bean filled gris bag that's just supposed to be the bees knees because they say it is. But I suppose the suggestion could be implanted in the buyers mind. Enough so that they would fall to new age illusions. Looking deep and grasping as hard as they can to claim anything that might could be taken as a sign of success. Instead of excepting a failure, figuring out why it was a failure, fixing the procedure and trying again.

    Who wants to take and receive spiritual advice and help from someone that shows less spiritual advancement than their own. But there is always the new age psychobabble to explain that the prices are there to make sure people believe them enough to believe anything they tell them. Like a psychiatrist taking advantage of a clients dependency on them.

    Maybe if they believed what they practiced without doubt. Have everything they believe that supports their effort organized. Follow direction instead of taking a bit from here, a bit from there and leaving this and that out. They might not have the negative whiplash they call problems persistent or not in their lives. The negative whiplash from some form of failure in their procedure and attempt. If they want to do things their way then it needs to be from them from the ground up.

    Then there would be no need for a panic d and frenzied search for someone that charges such stupid prices. A panic d and frenzied search for someone to get them out of the whiplash they created for them selves.

    But then again, what do I know?

  5. Hmm..Harold that seems a bit shifty. Thousands of dollars for trabajos or 'jobs'? I've known Santeros to be expensive but hardly ever in the thousands when it comes to 'jobs'. Initiations of course are different and a good portion of the money goes to buying animals which are usually both sacrificed and eaten. One ritual in particular can call for a staggering amount of animals so the price is understandable. Again that would be for initiations not 'jobs' so whoever's charging thousands of bucks for them ('jobs')is really going out on a limb to dupe already needful and even desperate people. It's no wonder traditions like Santeria (hollywood and the media aside) get bad rep.

  6. There might be something to be said for the psychosomatic effects of paying through the nose, if what this article states is correct. I wish someone would offer to make a controlled study of separate individuals charging disparate prices for the very same course, to see if this form of "sleight of mind" had any objectively verifiable effects.

    That said, I really hope this doesn't cause you to raise your prices, because as soon we we can afford it my wife and I will both probably take your course!

    BTW, love your blog and have been loving it for a coupla months now. Please keep on keepin' on.

  7. I Love this blog I come for the Magic, I stay for the wit.

    I'm sure the ASACers are grateful for the reasonable price.

    Although if you were looking to increase revenue have you considered making and selling the accoutrements to go along with your course? like printing the seals etc, I think you'd get a few buyers of those, especially if you put a little flair into them like selling them on vellum or coloured cloth. Just a thought.

  8. I agree that figuring out what to charge is a tough one. Basically you just have to discover what people are willing to pay. For example, people will buy silver talismans, but they are much more leery of mirror talismans. Or people like getting tangible versus intagible stuff. They like my courses on CD better than exactly the same course online.

    Marketing is its own kind of magic!

    Christopher Warnock

  9. Martialis, I don't think the woman charging $1000/candle was a Santera. I believe she was a root doctor. It was in Louisiana in a small town. That said, I think any practice attracts its share of ripoffs. Ditto with religions, politics, etc.

    I do think there is something to the idea that you get what you pay for and that we all tend to value things more as the price goes up. IME, people do not respect free work. I have heard all the arguments about how magic workers should not charge, and I say bah, humbug.

    Christopher, I hadn't thought about the online class vs. CD thing.


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.