As I learn to run a business, I freak out sometimes over money stuff, as most of us humans do.
And by “freak out” I mean my heart races, an impending sense of doom descends over my existence, and my mouth fills with dry, bitter, withering regret at having majored in English.
So I’m always on the look out for both magical and mundane means of handling and improving my relationship with money.
Today I want to present some radically helpful habits that I learned both from interviewing business leaders (for my podcast, Superconnectors – which launches in the middle of January), and also from my own journey with using wealth magic to radically expand my havingness level with money.
What kind of radical expansion did wealth magic bring me? Well, I lived below the poverty level for years and now I run a location-independent 6-figure business. By the way – if that interests you, we work a lot on money havingness magic in my course, INFLUENCE).
With these habits in place, I still freak out over money sometimes – but way way way less than I used to. Also now I freak out from a villa in Bali instead of my friend’s couch in the Southside Slopes – so, there’s that.
1. Relate to money as a trickster spirit (a daimon), not as a God
“You cannot serve both God and Mammon,” said my favorite queer witch, Jesus Christ. And by “Mammon” he meant the form that the Spirit of Money takes when humans elevate it into a God. And it’s so true.
Most of us have been unconsciously taught by society (you may have noticed) to relate to money as Mammon, as a God-unto-Itself, and a terrible God he is!
He’s one who gets to determine our self-worth, judge us harshly (based on how much or how little money we have), and whom we have to slavishly serve just in order to survive.
And of course we all have the image of a selfish, oblivious asshole like Donald Trump or even Mr. Burns from The Simpsons blazed into our minds as a picture of someone who willingly serves Mammon and refuses real divinity, who has “gained the whole world but lost his own soul.”
A lot of spiritual and sensitive folks have a tendency to react against this – we try to refuse serving Mammon by opting out as much as possible from the commerce system, usually giving away our services cheaply or for free and living in poverty and precariousness.
I did that for a long time myself, and many people I love and respect a lot are still doing that.
But rebelling against Mammon and “dropping out” isn’t effective – it’s still a form of “serving” him by fueling him with the energies of refusal, rejection, aversion.
In this scenario of refusal, you get to have your self-righteous purity but not much else.
Relationships, happiness, and health all erode under the pressures of poverty. In other words, the world is rigged in such a way right now that if you just try to opt out of commerce you’ll most likely just end up getting crushed under its wicked, wicked boot heel.
Alternatively, it’s possible for spiritual and sensitive people (i.e., witches) to relate to money not as a fearsome, powerful God to be served or rebelled against, but as a hilarious, sexy, tricksy daimon spirit to be appreciated and commanded.
In other words – the Spirit of Money is definitely an archetypal force to be reckoned with.
The most effective way to reckon with that Spirit of Money is not to become graspingly attached to it (like a Donald Trump type) or averse to it (like a broke hippy with great intentions and ideals and no material means whatsoever to realize them)….
….. but instead to just be totally present with the Spirit of Money, willing to have fun with him, and willing to put him in his place when he gets too cheeky.
2. Invest in your connectedness and your earning power first and foremost
My upcoming podcast, Superconnectors, is all about the art of potent networking, so I’ve been asking a lot of brilliant people how best to nurture a network.
Michael Ellsberg, a man who’s actively and vocally supportive of the women witches in his life, and who also happens to be the world-renown author of The Education of Millionaires and of the upcoming The Last Safe Investment: Spending Now to Increase Your True Wealth Forever, taught me about this principle of investing in your connectedness and your earning power first.
Michael’s insight is that in this volatile day and age, what used to be “safe-bet” investments (real estate, conservative stock portfolios) just are no longer safe-bets at all.
In other words, your true safety doesn’t lie in how much cash you’ve got socked away: it lies in how valuable you are to your social network (or your “tribe” as some folks like to say) both locally and globally.
So therefore, the best thing to do with your cash is to invest it right now in making yourself more skilled and more valuable and a better leader to the people around you.
This notion goes counter to pretty much all conventional savings and investing advice, and it also makes a lot of intuitive sense to me.
It makes sense to me that the Spirit of Money, wily trickster that he is, doesn’t really like to be hoarded up in a stuffy old bank somewhere. He likes to be out in the world, out on the street, making stuff happen.
It’s also interesting because this notion of our true safety and wealth resting in our value to the other people we know harkens back to the ways that indigenous gift economies operate, which the scholar Lewis Hyde explains in his book, The Gift.
In a gift economy, Hyde explained, the wealthiest and most respected person is the person who regularly and freely gives the most to the other people in her network.
Drake understands the joy of sharing his wealth and raising up his friends:
3. Everyday, practice being shameless because the personal IS the political
Shame is a giant energy drain. It steals all the energy you could be otherwise using to play with the Spirit of Money and to generally enjoy life and create meaningful change.
I’ve noticed that many people (including myself) have been conditioned to be ashamed of our incarnated existence: we’re ashamed of our hunger, ashamed of the shape our bodies and our fat, ashamed of our sex, ashamed of our desire for power and wealth.
And of course, being uncertain about our right to take up space in an animal body on this planet is a rather direct route to being trampled on.
So I like to heartily encourage myself – and everyone else – to drop it.
I know that’s very easy to say and quite hard to do, and still I want to invite you to begin with this practice:
Each time you feel paralyzed by the sticky hot heavy feeling of shame (for any old reason at all – you’re late to work, you don’t fit into your jeans this week, your partner just dumped you), try having this dialogue with yourself:
(Hmmmmmmmmmmm, no, not really. In fact, it cripples me, it makes me feel like hiding and never ever talking to anyone again. It makes me miserable.)
“Does it serve the shitty patriarchy and the status quo?”
(Oh, hey! Why yes! Yes, it does!
The more crippled and miserable I am, the less energy I have, the less creative I am, and the more dependent I am on consumerism and the approval of others to feel just a little bit better – so I end up perpetuating and fueling the status quo….
….. so, fuck this! I’m not feeling this shame! It’s fucking pointless!)
That old proverb, “The personal is the political” is still so so so true. As far as I can tell, shame is the primary force that alienates everyone (perhaps women especially) from our own magic and effectiveness in the world.
Imagine for one moment what the world would be like if suddenly all women on the planet woke up tomorrow feeling entirely shame-free, 100% undrained by the burden of feeling bad about themselves, their bodies, their sex, their power – for any reason.
What might those shame-free billions of women do? How might they alter the structure of our existence? What would that look like?
Looks fucking beautiful, doesn’t it?
Obviously the work of letting go of shame is rather deep, complex, and ongoing stuff, and therefore it’s something we spend a lot of time addressing in my INFLUENCE course on mastering practical magic.
In the meantime, to encourage you – here’s the Screaming Females doing an utterly amazing cover of “Shake It Off” – I have to give credit to my friend and Superconnectors co-host, Foo Conner, for bringing it to my attention:
4. Anchor your money mojo with material workings
The extent of my money magic used to just be some good ole fashioned Oprah-style Vision Boards.
Visioning and visualization is all very well, but things picked up a lot with my wealth witchery when I started getting more playful, inventive, and concrete with it.
A major breakthrough for me came when I began to get my hands dirty with actual money-attracting spells with real live candles, sigils, oils, herbs, stones, power objects, and mojo bags.
I find that the Lucky Mojo Curio Company is a great resource on this front, and I’m always inspired and uplifted by listening to kat yronwode and Conjure-Man Ali on their Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour.
A fascinating magical principle that’s finally sunk into my brain thanks to the inspiration of Hoodoo:
If I want to see material manifestation, it’s important that I anchor my magic in the material world – through talismans, herbs, oils, candles, stones, graveyard and crossroads dirt, sigils, etc.
(isn’t it fun when Jim starts to chant ‘Mister Mojo Risin’?)
The images in my imagination and on my Vision Board are great, but they’re still a bit too much in the airy-fairy, non-concrete realm.
Speaking of Materia magica, I am well and truly obsessed with Wolf & Goat materia magica purveyors these days.
So instead of just doing the same old Think and Grow Rich type stuff, why not get down into the loamy soil of the graves of your ancestors and use that stuff in a spell?
Your ancestors probably care a hell of a lot more about helping you get wealthy than do the producers of those glossy magazine pages.
5. Say the most uncomfortable thing
So much of a witch’s power lies in her penetrating vision, her ability to see what others can’t or won’t see – and then her willingness to name what she sees.
Accurately naming, of course, is an ancient and well-known means of gaining power over something. It’s still absolutely effective.
This means saying the uncomfortable, honest thing to our friends, clients, partners, customers. It means being willing to experience the sensations of tension, heat, conflict.
It means baptizing the Elephant in the Room and throwing it a party rather than trying to ignore it.
A prominent entrepreneur who’s awesome at this is James Altucher.
Now James Altucher has never said he’s a witch, but he sure has a lot of witchy qualities (in my estimation an integrated shadow and the wielding of symbols to create change in the world are the signature traits of a witch) – and his wisdom about practicing this kind of uncomfortable transparency hits home with me:
“My theory is that complete honesty frees me from the shackles that bind me to stress, anxiety, financial insecurity, spiritual insecurity, and so on. Most people who read my blog think that I’m almost sabotaging my self-interest by revealing all that I do. In fact, its the reverse. My self-interest is freedom in my head.”
In other words, inner freedom comes from expressing ourselves directly and truthfully, and from not trying to hide. Hiding and lying (like their grandparent, shame), are energy drains.
So when you free yourself from hiding, lying, avoiding, etc. – you free up your energy, free up your creativity – and then you become much more capable of generating and sustaining wealth and all the relationships of trust that go into doing good business.
You know who’s also wildly great at that painful-yet-freeing emotional honesty? Of course. Adele.
6. Give freely to the most powerful people in your network, and your ability to give to everyone will grow
This is another great insight that I learned from Michael Ellsberg.
To me, it’s very counter-intuitive: like, why should I give away my best stuff to the people I know who are already powerful?
Shouldn’t I be concentrating all my energy on giving to those less-fortunate?
The answer to those questions is that giving freely to the most powerful people in your network is a way to build trusting, positive relationships them.
And when you build trusting, positive relationships with a powerful people, your opportunities vastly expand.
When your opportunities vastly expand, your enterprise benefits – and your ability to serve those less fortunate also grows considerably.
Pretty neat, huh?
Whatever you do, you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
7. Drop your preconceived ideas about who you are and what’s possible
I’m fairly quick to roll my eyes and back away when a breathless New Age enthusiast (there’s no shortage of these where I live right now in Ubud, Bali) wants to tell me about how “the truth is, we can do and be anything we want! we’re all limitless!”
Because actually the truth is we’re all going to die, which is a fairly hard limit.
I mean, my soul or spirit or whatever might go on forever in a raucous Ecstatic Yoga Dance party in the sky – but this here entity made of flesh and blood, this woman with brown curly hair named “Carolyn” who gets PMS and who cries and who eats and shits and fucks and writes – she’s gonna be wet clay in the ground in about 80 years, max.
So there’s that.
I have seen repeated evidence over my years of magical experience that while there may be some hard physical limits in this game here on earth, most of the limits I perceive myself to have are imagined – they’re flimsy narrative constructs that can fall away.
I’ve found that my ability to create wealth, for example, absolutely didn’t budge until I became willing to fundamentally change my identity.
Instead of thinking of myself as a struggling, misunderstood, unappreciated artist — I began to practice thinking of myself as – horror of horrors – a businesswoman.
And weirdly – magically! – it turned out that… I’m a successful businesswoman.
I’m actually a lot better at being a businesswoman than I ever was at being a misunderstood, unappreciated artist.
Like, wait a minute – whoah, hey now, what if I’m really Lana Del Rey?
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