One of the things I want in life is to be stupid wealthy and have all my needs provided for by doing the things that I enjoy the most. The only thing I really like to do (besides being a Father) is magic. Ideally, I would be able to get rich, or at least strongly supplement my income by writing and teaching about what I love to do.
But one of the things Kenaz got me thinking about is how I don't provide for my readers the kinds of things I think warrant getting supported financially by them, above and beyond the simple purchase of my books. I've tried to lay out in recent blog posts the basic criteria for what a spiritual leader ought to provide their followers/congregants/covens/cultists in order to deserve to receive the kind of support Kenaz advocates for Pagan Elders, and that I'd like to get for myself.
I think to deserve the "kept" lifestyle, we need to address within a spiritual context each of the following areas in the lives of our clients/students:
* Financial Security
* Physical Health and Hygiene
* Emotional Well-Being
* Mental Health and Hygiene
* Spiritual Attainment
The Teacher needs to be able to provide their students with the basic techniques that will enrich their students personal lives. We need to be able to make their lives physically, fiscally better. If we expect them to give us money, we need to provide them with the means to attain it. Since we're talking about spiritual leadership and instruction, the spiritual lessons of financial management need to be addressed. This should include money magic, of course, but at a deeper level, it should pave the way for financial responsibility, fiscal maturity, and the spiritual methods for attaining this state. For me, that could mean an analysis of the financial aspects of each of the planetary spheres, spiritual initiations into those mysteries, and practical conjure magic that taps into each of the planets' powers appropriately.
Physical Health and Hygiene
The body is the Temple of the Soul, the material manifestation of what we are while we wear it. There are all kinds of mysteries related to the body that should be addressed by the Teacher. We should teach the spiritual principles that lead to physical health and well being. That can include healing techniques, and methods of spiritually diagnosing the sources of physical illness, but it can also include preventative and maintenance measures that focus on the union and harmony of the body, mind and spirit.
Emotional Well Being
The Teacher should provide instruction that results in emotional well being. We live in anxious times, and many of the spiritual dramas that I've seen unfold in people's lives are magnified by the emotional mess overshadowing their decisions, experiences, and memories. The doctrines we provide need to enable the manifestation of positive emotional experiences and equip them to deal with negative emotions constructively when they inevitably arise.
Mental Health and Hygiene
The teachings we give should strengthen the rational mind, feed it and train it without giving it total autonomy over all that we do. The intellect is a powerful tool, but it can take over everything else, and when that happens, we turn into "Black Brothers," building our towers brick by brick with pieces of information gathered from the Abyss of Da'ath, but divorced from the physical, emotional, and spiritual growth that should come with incarnation. We didn't bother with going through all those spheres of manifestation to sit around and think smart thoughts all the time, or to know it all. We need to teach people to use their minds the same way we teach them to use their bodies.
This is the most obvious area a spiritual teacher should address, and that's why I saved it for last. It gets almost all the attention on my blog, and I tend to think that I'm doing enough to warrant people's financial support because I'm telling them how to freaking create their universe! But teaching the techniques of conjuration, and talking about the benefits of initiation aren't enough. We need to provide the signposts and initiations along the path that lead to understanding holistically why they incarnated, and what their personal relationship to all things around them, above them, and within them happens to be.
-end of overview of requirements-
Now, it should go without saying that in order to provide this kind of comprehensive teaching that really makes people's lives better, we need to know what the fuck we're talking about. We can't be hypocrites, or at least we can't be blatant hypocrites. I can't teach fiscal responsibility and be living a fiscally irresponsible life. I can't teach forgiveness and harbor long-term grudges.
I'm not saying we have to be perfect before we can teach, because even imperfect people have something to pass on that's of value. But what we're teaching needs to be true, and the evidence needs to be there in our own lives. We may not always deal with our emotional urges appropriately, but we need to be able to talk about specific times when we did and the benefits it brought us. Otherwise we're just frauds, and we're not only ripping off our students, we're ripping off those who really can teach by making their potential students cynical and bitter.