The Bad Witch has been know to quote scripture from time to time. Especially when she applies a healthy layer of sensible hermenutics over the often inane dogma that gets attached to said scripture.
Malachai 3:10 – “Bring ye kol hama’aser into the Beis HaOtzar, that there may be teref in Mine Beis [Hamikdash], and prove Me now herewith, saith Hashem Tzva’os, if I will not open you the windows of Shomayim, and pour you out a brocha, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
In other words: “Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall be more than sufficiency.”
Or if you prefer: “Put your money where your mouth is.”
I won’t get into Jewish law too much today. Just let me say that only Levites could collect tithe, which is a moot point since there is no modern application. Therefore tithes are an anachronistic concept.
However, Biblically speaking, funds were to be given to the temple to support the temple; this included both buildings and ministers. Support was given to everyone from the Levite priesthood all the way down to the most humble servants. None of those that sustained the temple were to be left out, because keeping the temple up and running was of primary importance.
But, as I was raised, the title was imagined to be 10% of ones income, payed as an obligatory gift to one’s church. Presumably to go toward the building upkeep, utilities, pastor’s salary, etc. Self sustaining, right? I don’t have a problem with this as long as it’s not abused. If you believe in a ministry, I feel wholeheartedly that you should put your money where your mouth is. For everyone, not just the priesthood. Amen?
Here’s The Bad Witch adventures of sustaining a ministry by putting her money where her mouth is.
Today I renovated the page called The Wyrd Sister. If you look at some posts from fall ’11 through last summer–like Community, Frith and Faining, Spread the Wyrd and The Road Not Taken–you will understand that I had my sites set on a few things: a local grove Celestial Earth Grove) with a teaching facility (Open Path) and a brick-and-mortar store (The Wyrd Sister) to support those ministry. So, I did all of the practical things to make this happen:
- I filed state and federal paperwork for the foundation of the (“church”) grove, Celestial Earth Grove, and was approved in February 2011.
- At that time, I obtained a business license, Roots Curio (dba The Wyrd Sister – onna counto’ somebody put a bad taste in my mouth).
- The Bad Husband set up a quick-and-dirty web store at rootsbwcraft.com. It was an instant smash – until spring. But, we wanted a less dirty (and more quick) site, so we worked toward importing the store onto another site (which is not yet ready–not sure it will ever be).
- At the prospect of running a grove/school and business, I took myself back to part-time at work for the 2012-13 school year. This ended up working out very well for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the preservation of my health and sanity.
- I found modest (personal) funding. I was totally ready to put my hard-earned money where my mouth is.
- Purchasing a modest inventory: packaging items and crafting crafts. I had previously only made things like Books of Shadows and Altar Boxes for personal use and gifts. But they were such a hit, that I started making them in bulk. It’s satisfyingly therapeutic.
- Over the summer, I found a modest building. But, someone had the bad taste to phone the landlord and tell him all sorts of crapola about what Witches do on the premises of occult stores and curio shops. Boogada-boogada. Funny thing is, I didn’t make the location of the store publicly known–only a few people had access to that information. The day we were to sign the lease, I backed out.
- Then I had a run of wyrd luck over the summer that resulted in a sizable vet bill, a medical evaluation that screamed, “lifestyle change–stat!” and a much needed vacation. Thus the spending of said extra funds. (No worries, TBW is not short sheeted–just not rolling in it!)
Along the way, I picked up a string of new students, signed on as the faculty adviser for the university student Pagan group, and jumped from a few hundred readers to the edge of twelve hundred. No pressure. I’ve also dumped off a good deal of toxicity (that I didn’t even realize was toxic until it was out of my system), thus allowing me to make leaps of progress in my writing projects. Having a bit of an attention deficit, I cannot work on one thing at a time; I have to have a few balls in the air or I don’t feel like a proper juggler. So, after fits and starts earlier this year, I have settled into a comfortable pace of controlled chaos. My favorite.
Getting rid of said-toxic-folks has had its health benefits as well. I have a sense of calm and clarity that I had been missing back in the summer. But this clarity didn’t come without a cost. It never does. Those toxic influences make up a sector of my own local Pagan population who have tried to vilify me (again). It doesn’t injure The Bad Witch, she’s like the honey-badger; she don’t care. But that is rather the opposite of bringing things into the storehouse, ain’t it?
(And that ain’t really true. I’ve lost business opportunities, connections, and potential clients because of this baloney. )
So where does that leave me and The Wyrd Sister? Right where we should be, I reckon. And none the worse for wear.
Since March, I have received a number of emails requesting information about purchasing my crafts. As you know (if you’ve read Clean Up Aisle Three. . .) that I’ve also had increased local requests for services.
But, because I don’t “feel it in my gut” that now is the time to settle into a leaseholder relationship with a cowan, I have placed The Wyrd Sister and her contents of Bad Witch Crafts–herbs, Books of Shadows, altar boxes, spell kits, ritual bath kits, ritual robes, and instructions for custom work (or Work)–on this page. Go check it out. Not all of the photos are what I want–but they’ll do for this week, and maybe next week too!
And in the spirit in which I was raised to bring my goods in to the storehouse, all proceeds of all sales (not just profits, ya’ll–gross, not net) go toward supporting the new students of Open Path, fundraising for the university kiddos, Celestial Earth Grove (though there is very little overhead), and other local Pagan groups (any of them).
You see, over the spring, The Wyrd Sister attended an art and craft fair sponsored by a nearby group and unloaded *exactly* enough to defray our materials cost–that means everything after that is gravy. Since *I* don’t need the money, per se, it only makes sense to return the profits to the community. Bringing it into the storehouse, as it were.
And should you decide to buy a little somethin’ somethin’, let me show you some instances of how your purchase money is distributed:
- The Wyrd Sister donated about $150 worth of goods to a local fundraiser’s silent auction–the fundraiser was to defray attendance costs for a Samhain event this fall. I hear they made out like bandits. Woot.
- Likewise, I have some goodies to bring to The Pagan Pride Day event on university grounds where the student group will have a booth; whatever they sell, they keep so that they can keep dues low and activities high.
- My partner-in-crime and I have some crafty plans! Celestial Earth Grove is hosting a “potluck” circle for Samhain crafts–a totally sustainable idea, right? Everybody brings those bobbles and odds-and-ends that are just taking up space but don’t need to be in a landfill, puts them together in a Witchy way, and ta-da–free Samhain crafts and magical gear and less stuff crowding the broom closet; we have some workshops scheduled for early in the day by volunteers that will teach us how to make various goodies. For free events like this, Celestial Earth provides space as well as food and drink.
Putting my money where my mouth is, yo.
If you are interested in making a purchase (or a donation, I suppose, never thought of that), drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll exchange PayPal information or whatever. (Visa, MC, Discover, Amex, checks, MOs work too.) I have not yet been approved by the IRS as a 501(c)3, but the application is out there. However, because this is a “faith-based” charitable organization as defined by the IRS, purchases and donations are tax write-offs for you. Alas, they are not tax free.
And even if you don’t want to buy anything, lend your support by * liking* these Facebook pages:
 A little etymological funtimes? Not only does cowan mean “non-Witch,” it means someone who hasn’t served an apprenticeship: a “pretender” or interloper. Comes from the same (French) word as “coward.”