Podcast,  Witch Talk

Can you use magic for personal gain? [Podcast Episode 122]


Hello and welcome back. Come join me, Megan, and sit for a spell ‘Round the Cauldron as we talk about witchcraft, polytheism, and the intersection of magic and mundane. For those watching on YouTube you are seeing my face for this particular podcast episode. I wanted to bring it back and do them as videos as well as podcast episodes because honestly the engagement is better on YouTube when it’s my face and not just a static image with audio over it. So what that means is if you regularly watch the YouTube channel and listen to the podcast at the end of every month this particular video and the latest podcast episode are going to be the same. 

So today’s podcast episode is inspired by a question that I received on YouTube on I believe it was…what video was it that somebody left a comment? I think it was my ethics video…ethics and spell casting. Something like that. Someone asked me to speak about my thoughts on using magic for personal gain so that’s what I’m doing today. 

Before we get into the topic though I’d like to thank my patrons over on Patreon and those of you that have switched over to my self-hosted membership program. At the end of this month — so if you’re listening to this when it goes live or if you’re watching this when it goes live — I am no longer on Patreon and everything is now self-hosted. So if you’d like to help support the show, the channel, all the things that I do, check the links in the description and in the show notes. It’s roundthecauldron.com/join-me and all of the information is going to be there. There’s really no difference between Patreon and my membership besides the way that it’s hosted and the little community area is different. So again, all of that information is in the show notes or the description below.

So when I think of using magic for personal gain the immediate — or the thing that immediately comes to my mind is the show Charmed from the 90s because it’s always like personal gain! What about personal gain? There’s consequences for using magic for personal gain! I mean one of the most prominent episodes where this is shown that I remember at least is – spoiler if you’ve never watched the 90s version of Charmed – Paige does a spell to rid her of like a toxic boss or something like that and it ends up backfiring on her and making her more appealing to this particular person’s taste because she was trying to use magic for personal gain. 

I’m not sure how long this episode is going to be honestly because I don’t really feel like it’s something that requires 45 minutes or an hour to talk about, especially from my perspective. There are some things that I know other people who have experienced what I’m going to talk about can speak about it in more detail but we’ll get there in a minute or however long it takes me to get there. But personal gain basically is using magic to get things that you want or things that you need or – that’s basically it: wants and needs. You use spells and magic to bring things into your life that you want instead of using spells to help other people get the things that they need or healing or things like that. So some examples of magic for personal gain would be money spells to attract money into your life or love spells to help you find a lover or spells for revenge or justice. Those can all be categorized as spells for personal gain.

But the tldr version of my answer is yes, you can use magic for personal gain. There is no hard and fast rule in witchcraft specifically that says that you cannot use your witchcraft to get the things that you want or need. Today, I feel like a lot of this, you know, no magic for personal gain stuff comes from the more love and light community where it’s more about, you know, stripping away the ego and the personal desires and the personal needs and really focusing on the external – helping the community or healing the earth and doing things like that and there’s nothing wrong with doing that on a personal level but there are people out there who push that onto other people and say no, you absolutely – words – that say no, you absolutely cannot use magic for personal gain. You can’t use magic to get the things that you want or the things that you need. And I disagree with that heavily.

So I don’t have a large grasp, I guess, on the history behind magic for personal gain and the Satanic Panic and things like that so i’m going to give a very general explanation of my understanding or my thoughts behind it but if anybody knows more, please feel free to either reach out to me in an email or on social media or leave a comment in the comment section below if you’re watching this on youtube. But I very much feel like a lot of the stuff that we see within Neo-Paganism and the love and light community – like good vibes only or no magic for personal gain or, you know revenge and seeking justice and baneful magic are all quote-unquote “low vibe” – comes from a history of witchcraft and magical practices being seen as bad or negative or, depending on where you live, of the Devil.

And this brings me into the sort of the Satanic Panic where everything that was bad or mystical or fantasy was considered Satanic. Even like rock music and Dungeons and Dragons were considered of the Devil. They were considered Satanic and I think this has sort of carried over into modern day where in order for us to avoid that sort of Satanic Panic again, or the categorization of ourselves and our practices as being evil, we have sort of internalized this where we can’t be selfish with our practices and we can’t do whatever we need to do in order to make sure that we are taken care of.

If I’m remembering correctly, even Doreen Valiente said that the threefold law within Neo-Wicca that we see, you know, ever mind the rule of three… whatever it is. I forget the whole thing. I’ll put it up here on the screen for those watching on youtube. If I remember correctly, Doreen has even said that the threefold law was a modern fabrication and it wasn’t even included in the original – Gardner’s original sort of framework for what we now know as Wicca. I don’t think fabrication is the right word…let’s go with creation. Just modern creation, a modern invention, and I definitely think that has a lot to do with the fact that Wicca was very public and witchcraft became very public. So in order to stave off the panic from the general public, witchcraft had to sort of become palatable for everyone and we had to make it known that no, we’re good. We aren’t selfish. We are focused on healing the community and you know, healing the people that we love, and taking care of the planet. There’s no way I would do a spell to get five hundred dollars to pay my rent – or in this day and age two thousand dollars to pay my rent. It’s created this sort of echo chamber of people who say you can’t do magic for personal gain because of the three-fold law or because it’s unethical or for a variety of reasons.

I also think that this line of thinking could be coming from latent Christianity, especially for those of us that have come from a Christian background where we were taught growing up that we don’t want to be selfish and to be selfish is a bad thing. And when we step into our power as magical people, that can be something hard to let go of especially if you were in an evangelical household or it was just really drummed into you that to be selfish is bad and to have boundaries is bad and to go after the things that you need is bad. And you know, like I said, it can take time to break out of that but not everybody does. And it’s okay if not everybody does or everybody wants to. 

The whole point, in my opinion, of practicing witchcraft is that it is a personal path. And if you don’t want to do magic for personal gain and you solely want to focus on healing the community or working with your local neighborhood even or doing works and spells and stuff for the environment or social justice. Those are all valid! But the problem comes when people insert themselves into another person’s practice to tell them that they can’t do a money spell to get their money to pay their rent or to buy groceries for their family. And for sure, I am coming at this from the perspective of a white person. I definitely recognize and acknowledge the privilege that I have in my own practice. And for those that say very strongly that people should not be practicing magic for personal gain really negates the experiences of people that have no choice, of the marginalized folks in our community, of the marginalized folks around the world and their historical and traditional practices.

Sometimes people have no choice and sometimes when people do have the choice they go with that option and it’s 100% okay. You know, I don’t have the background or the experiences or the place, really, to speak about the experiences of marginalized groups of people because while I do consider myself part of the queer community, I am not a person of color. I am not someone who has had to rely on my magical practices to save my life or to have a magical practice that is deeply rooted in escaping from slavery or escaping terrible situations. And to say that using magic for personal gain is bad negates all of that experience and it tells all of those people that had no choice or that their traditions are steeped in those types of practices that they’re wrong or that they are bad or that they’re quote-unquote doing it wrong. And I don’t think that’s right at all.

Since I fumbled all over my words and had word vomit there because words are hard…is it wrong to use magic for personal gain? Short answer – no, not in my practice, not in my life, not in any sort of capacity that I would be included in. One of the things that I want to talk about is that magic is a skill. Using a magical practice is a skill. And there are ways that you can practice without personal gain if that’s something that you want to do, but the easiest way to practice magic is to do magic. And the easiest way to know if it’s working or not is to get yourself tangible results. So, do something that will bring something to you. Asking for a sign or doing a spell for a sign can be considered personal gain. You’re doing it for yourself, but magic is a skill and it has to be used in order for you to get better and that’s okay.

I also want to bring up the point that there is no point in being miserable if you can help it. Absolutely none. So if you’re in a situation and you want to fall back on your witchcraft practice or your magical practice to help you get out of that situation then do it. Do it! There is no point in being miserable if you can help it and if your practice can pull you out of that situation or help you in some way then I say more power to you. Why wouldn’t you use the tools at your disposal to help you out when they’re available to you? I think that’s – that sounds silly. Why wouldn’t I use, you know, I don’t know…a pen if it’s available to me to write something down? Why would I make my life more difficult if all I had was a pen or if all I had was a crayon and I needed to write something down? I’m gonna use the crayon. There’s no point in being miserable. Do the things that you need to do. It’s okay.

And as I said before, I think one of the main reasons that we have come about with these concepts of you know, no magic for personal gain and the Wiccan Rede – like don’t hurt anybody period, absolutely not, and the threefold law – is because we had to make witchcraft and Wicca and magical practices more palatable. But it is 2022. I don’t need to make myself palatable for anyone. I am myself and I have my own ethical lines. I have my own standards and my own sort of moral code. I don’t do the things that I do so other people like me. I don’t do the things that I do to make other people comfortable. I do the things that I do because they’re for me and my beliefs and my practices and my experiences.

It is too late in this century, in this lifetime, for me to water myself down to make other people comfortable. No thanks. I’m not about that. I don’t need to be palatable. I have things to say, I’m gonna say them. I have things to do, I’m going to do them. Someone else’s comfort over my decision generally isn’t my responsibility. So don’t make yourself palatable for others. Be yourself. Don’t water yourself down and don’t water your practice down if you have no issues with doing something for personal gain.

Do I think that everybody needs to go out and do spells to become billionaires and like rule the world? No, because that’s not okay, in my opinion. But if you need to do a spell to get an extra two thousand dollars for rent or if you need to do a spell because you have no money but you really want to support a small business or you really want to buy an art print or you want to go down the street and have your favorite ice cream just because? I don’t care. I don’t care! It’s fine, do what you gotta do. I also think there’s an issue with magic for personal gain – or the idea of magic for personal gain – because here in the Western world, the Westernized world, we have a bastardized understanding of what karma is. And a lot of people apply karma to all kinds of situations but it’s not karma the way that it’s meant to be in Eastern philosophy. It’s sort of like a what you do comes back to you, right? And if…i don’t know, if i’m being selfish then maybe somebody else is going to be selfish and take things away from me. So I mean, it comes from karma but maybe it also comes from fear and, you know, that the universe will be out to get you if you do magic for things that you want or need.

I don’t agree with that. I don’t have a full understanding of the Eastern philosophy of karma. I do know that what we see here in the United States in regards to karma is generally not true or not entirely accurate and not a good representation of karma. But there is a lot of that, you know, you can’t be selfish because it’s bad and you can’t get the things that you want because the energy that you put out will come back to you, and if you’re putting out selfish energy or you’re putting out affirmations and saying the words “I need” or “I want” instead of “I have” then you’re just…that energy is just going to come back to you and the universe is going to give you more of things that you – or the universe is going to give you more needs and not necessarily fill your needs, if that makes sense. I think I explained that well or in a general way that you might be able to understand my train of thought with that.

But yeah, I mean one day I will sit down and do a bunch of research on the Satanic Panic and how we’re kind of seeing that play out again today. I would love to sit down with other people who have differing experiences and traditions where you know, this sort of magic for personal gain would be…what am I trying to say? 

I lost my train of thought. That’s so funny…but yeah, I would love to sit down with people of color, for example, who their practices are sometimes rooted in escaping or keeping themselves safe or protecting themselves and historically that’s how their practices came about because I think that’s really important, especially to understand that how this whole concept of not doing magic for personal gain can be a bunch of crap depending on who you talk to, especially for those people who try to push it down on other people as well because it just negates a bunch of differing traditions and practices.

So long story short, rambling aside, yes I am totally okay with magic for personal gain. There’s no point in me being miserable if I can help it and you kind of have to do the thing in order to get better at the thing, right? So why not practice in a way that can help you get better but in a way that also can improve your life and the lives of others? So short episode, short sort of podcast. I just wanted to answer that question but I have been dealing with some stuff of my own, some mental health things, some other diagnoses that I am trying to get evaluated for so my brain is sort of all over the place right now and I really hope that this episode made sense. I hope you were able to get something from this. It’s going to be interesting listening back to this and seeing exactly what I said because I don’t remember everything but I will soon find out when I edit it.

I hope everybody else out there is having a wonderful day, a wonderful evening, whenever it is that you’re listening or watching this particular episode. And before I sign off, let’s go ahead and do our tarot pool…pool? Tarot pull for the month of August. Yeah, oh god, August already. Yeah, so I’m gonna grab my Spirits and Shadows Oracle Deck and I will get to shuffling. I’m gonna shuffle three times and we’ll see what we get for the month of August. What should you focus on or remember or think about? 

Protection! How funny, how relevant! Protect what needs protecting. Know that protecting yourself and the world around you and your family and your friends is important. And it’s okay to do what you need to do to protect yourself and those around you and make sure that they are safe. Protection magic could be seen as magic for personal gain but I say screw anybody that tells you not to protect yourself. Lay those boundaries, whether magical or mundane, and protect what needs protecting. And with that I will talk to you next time. Bye!

Thank you so much for listening to this episode, this short episode, magic for personal gain. Yes, it’s totally fine to do the spells that you need to do to make your life easier or better or whatever it is that you need to do. Be sure to check out all the links in the show notes and in the description. I have a blog. I am trying to post semi-regularly over there. If you’d like to support the show, again, links in the description for all the different ways that you can do that, not just monetarily, but sharing your favorite episodes, leaving comments, and engaging are all super helpful as well and I have you have an amazing month of August if you’re listening to this when it goes live. If you’re not, I hope you have an amazing whatever month you’re in and I’ll talk to you soon.

Someone on YouTube asked me to clarify my thoughts on using magic for personal gain. I hadn’t done so in that particular video so here I am!

The tldr; version of my answer is yes, you can use magic for personal gain. There is no hard and fast rule in witchcraft that says you can’t use magic to get things you want or need. Listen in to hear my reasons, my thoughts on where this idea comes from, and how I feel that it is harmful to certain communities.

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