“But why are so many witches poor?”

You’d think that, if magic really had the ability to bring you the things you want, you’d never see a witch who was poor, or sick, or wanting for anything. They’d just be a moon phase and a candle away from getting their heart’s desire, right? Google the words “prosperity spell,” and you’ll get — no joke — over 11 million results. If these spells really worked, wouldn’t you only need one? If they were really worthwhile, wouldn’t we have a lot more lottery winners walking around?

Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

There are a lot of reasons why magic doesn’t really work as a “burn candle, ????, profit” kind of deal. Like:

Magic is the tool of the disadvantaged. Outside of the priestly classes of some ancient cultures, magic isn’t really a thing of the wealthy and powerful. It’s for getting what you need when all else fails. Historically, folk magic was for the common folk, not the uber-privileged — there are much easier ways to get what you want when you already have the tools to do so. As a result, a lot of the people you see using it are people for whom there are already significant obstacles to success. Magic doesn’t necessarily make overcoming these easy, it just helps it become possible.

It’s not magic’s job to create billionaires. Many of us have become kind of conditioned to accept that some people have obscene amounts of wealth, while others starve. This imbalance isn’t exactly a natural state of affairs, though. Other animals with complex social structures care for their sick or weak. Crows (and you know how I love crows) have been documented taking care of their disabled, guarding other crows while they forage, and taking part in a rudimentary social safety net. If magic is a natural force, it is not going to perpetuate that unnatural imbalance.

Magic’s not that easy. If it was, everyone’d be doing it. It takes a lot of experimentation, a lot of reading, documenting, and comparing, and a considerable investment of time. A lot of the people you see online show you their witchy aesthetics, their crystal grids, or their trips to Morocco, but they don’t show you how they actually pay for any of it. (Not that anyone is required to tell the world who pays their bills, of course. But, if you’re not watching someone’s bank account, you aren’t privy to just how much money came courtesy of that prosperity spell, and how much came from a trust fund.) So, if you’re scrolling through fancy snaps of altars and crystals on Instagram and suffering from “witch envy,” don’t.

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Magic won’t create something from nothing. A spell to bring in money, for example, isn’t going to put an effortless extra $5k in your bank account. (If it does, it’s probably a banking error and you’re gonna have to pay it back.) This is why specificity is so important. If you need some extra cash and you aren’t specific in how you hope to get it, you might find yourself dealing with a personal injury settlement or a favorite relative’s will.

Money might not be what’s actually needed. Sometimes, people do prosperity spells when they aren’t actually after money. Maybe their car’s tires are bald, or they want a new place to live, or they need a new coat. In these cases, money is just an intermediate step to getting what’s really important, and it’d probably be a lot easier (and less confusing and time-consuming) to do a spell to bring in some new tires, a nicer apartment, or a parka instead.

Personally, I don’t really mess around with spells to bring in money. If I’m after prosperity, I try to attract new clients or readers. If I find myself in need of something specific, I bring in opportunities to get that thing in a way I can easily afford.
It makes life much simpler!

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2 thoughts on ““But why are so many witches poor?”

  1. I just don’t see magic as trying to get stuff. Magic is about joy, creativity and wonder – the things money can’t really buy. It has become a commonplace idea that magic is for the desperate and oppressed and that is partly true but magic isn’t exclusionary. It is available for anyone willing to pay its currency: attention. Even people who have been successful in their particular societies have practised magic. John Dee, Isaac Newton are some old timey names. Frank Lloyd Wright, Elvis, Stevie Nicks and David Bowie are some newer names.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s where some people draw the line between different types of magic — from my experience, there definitely is a very “getting stuff” component to a lot of low/folk magic, from bringing fertility to flocks and fields, to trying to win at gambling. Life’s rough, sometimes people need a way to keep the pantry/root cellar/freezer full, you know? There’s also an interesting discussion to be had about tangible versus cerebral magic and manifestation, but that’s probably a bit outside of the scope at the moment.
      I didn’t mean to make it sound exclusionary, just provide another reason for why a lot of witches aren’t rolling in dough. As in: Sure, there are some rich witches, but, for people who aren’t set up with an easy road to prosperity, magic is still an avenue when all other roads are blocked. That doesn’t mean it’ll make them an overnight billionaire, though, and not becoming an overnight billionaire isn’t evidence that it doesn’t work.

      Liked by 1 person

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