The Storehouse

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 CommunityFrith and FainingSpread 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,[1] 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.

TBW

If you are interested in making a purchase (or a donation, I suppose, never thought of that), drop me a line at abadwitch@yahoo.com 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:

Open Path Training
Celestial Earth Grove
The Bad Witch on Facebook
The Wyrd Sister on Facebook

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[1] 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.”

The Road Not Taken

Like Robert Frost, today I’m sorry I cannot travel two roads and be one traveler.

Though I have some time left in my “decision-making window,” I have already solidified the thought that – barring undeniable divine intervention indicating that I must stick to the plan – I will cease to pursue a retail pagan-goods shop here in my little town. It’s sad. I had hoped to have a place where community learning could be fostered and religious education for all – even non-pagans – could be nurtured. (While there is a shop on the other side of town that purports to be a pagan-goods retailer, they are really little more than a “head shop.” No fostering, nurturing, or education available.)

This is what happened, has happened, continues to happen. The incident I mentioned in my last blog is this: someone (I eventually found out who and when and precisely what was said) phoned my potential landlord and told him all sorts of freak-ass stories about me (none of which are true, but all of which I know the origin) that skeered the living-Southern-Baptist-daylights out of this fella. I mean, I don’t blame him. If I thought one of my tenants was going to curse my family while sacrificing small animals on my property, I’d get a little wigged out too.

It ain’t easy being The Bad Witch in real life. For two reasons.

1) I live in a town where, despite its proximity to a large university which helps to populate said town with highly educated folk, simple-minds prevail. Not “narrow-minds” (don’t misquote TBW), but siiiiimple minds that believe whatever the most manipulating machination – well, machinates. Social engineering is beneath me – so I tend to fall victim to it. (Because if I decided to engage? As Albert Brooks asked in The Twilight Zone, “Wanna see something really scary?”) For this reason, some people take “The Bad Witch” as a literal statement of self-identification.

2) Being The Bad Witch means that I have a solid sense of my ethical-code. Sometimes I want to throw my moral compass out the window and rain a shit-storm on my antagonists. But, to my chagrin, though I must admit that I have done such vengeful destruction in my past witchery, I’ve learned my lesson, payed every farthing of the cost (or most of them anyway), and moved on. My life is peaceful and secure. I want to keep it that way. But, being The Bad Witch and having a  set of real bad witches in my midst is irksome – we’ll go with irksome. 

This last point is both a blessing and a curse. (As Adrian Monk would say, “It’s more of a curse.”) I see these folks and I see what they pay for their hooliganisms. It reminds me that (not to be self-righteous ya’ll -but I am a grown-ass pseudo-grandma-lady nearing her crone years), I’ve matured past all that. Wallowing in drama is not TBWs shtick. Thus the curse portion – we’re back to why I fall victim to the dramatic pot-stirring of other’s – they know I won’t fight back. (I’ve even been *disparagingly* referred to as Gandhiesque. Who uses “Gandhi” as an insult?)

All this may be why Meg has come around to settle a little injustice on my behalf. I don’t think she liked watching TBW getting kicked around by the Praetorian railway officials.

I may change my mind in a year or so. But also like Frost, knowing how way leads on to way, I doubt if I should ever come back.

Rather, Imma take the other road – it looks just as fair. Irksome stone-throwing is not on the menu for me and my family this year. I have saved up enough money to start a business and keep it running for six months. Translate that to whatever it means given the cost of living in your neck-of-the-woods. Here in The Alabamaz, it’s also enough to re-side my house, buy two of my teenagers new (used) cars, and to trade in the gas-guzzler I’ve hated since we bought it for a hybrid, and begin to landscape the back half-acre of my property. All without jeopardizing my ability to pay for college tuition (which starts in 2013, 2015, and 2017 – eek), my ability to relax with my family without encouraging that stoke my doctor tells me is impending if I don’t slow down, my ability to say, “Sure I can buy you new shoes,” or “another pony,” or “that video game,” or “send you to Europe” (this is actually happening next year, btw – eek again).

I’ve made too many decisions to go from the South Side of Chicago ghetto and join the 3% (not quite the 1%) as a Bougie Witch in less than 20 years to let some upstart (my friend calls them “pimp-ass” xo) punks steal my legacy. Or my ability to go on regular vacations for once in my life.

Instead, I will do all of those things listed above and more.

You know how I said I wanted a place for community and education? The retail venue was just a means to that end. I still haven’t lost sight of the primary objective.  I just have to find another road to get to my destination. And to be honest, the store wasn’t my first plan. Now that I think about it, I got talked into it. I mean, I had planned a little shop of horrors but not as the means to the community end. The two plans got conflated in a Christmastime conversation with someone who turned out to not have my best interests in mind. The community was always primary – the store subordinate. My priorities got mangled and now I feel like I’m back on the right track. And as these things do, it will work out even better than I could have imagined. My new road will be one with less stress. One less vulnerable to malicious pettiness. One that works out for me, my community, my family, and the strength of pagans in The South in general. One that’s more than a (metaphorical) stone’s throw away from the (metaphorical) owners of glass-houses.

Blessings y’all. I’m off to Home Depot with The Bad Husband.

TBW