Should magical training come for free?
I guess that’s a question we all come across at some point. Whenever people dip their toes into anything ‘spiritual’ correlations to financial interests or dependencies can easily turn problematic. Or do they? I recall asking exactly that question to my first teacher during the early days of my own training. He looked at me quite startled and had a very straight forward view on this subject:
‘Like it or not, we live in a world where our value of things is expressed through money. If I offered my training for free, that’s about how people would value it - they just wouldn’t. It would turn into a commodity, over time they would start collecting lessons at home, pile them up and stop working on them. I don’t want that. I want the opposite: each month they should wrestle with the question if the training I offer is really worth every penny they need to pay for it. The moment they hesitate they should drop out. That’s why I offer different rates depending on income - because for any student it should be just expensive enough to make a tangible difference on their budgets.’
Over a ten year period I paid roughly 10,000 USD for my magical training. About 80-100 USD each month. That’s about what people pay in Germany for a good gym membership or a single lesson of musical training per month. Was it too much? I don’t think so at all. Because each month I looked at the money going out of my account and considered whether the balance was right - the balance of what I was giving and what I was receiving in return. Ultimately this is the model that allows people like Agrippa to fund their own living, to do the magical work they do and to clear the path that students like myself can follow. It’s a damn hard job without any recognition from anyone, countless hours of work, no free weekends and the constant risk of not being able to make ends meet each month. Back then I also asked myself whether this should become my path in the future; and my answer was a clear ‘no’. I lacked the courage for sure, but I also loved the social interaction of my normal day job. Something that ceases to exist quickly for any author - truly magical ones in particular - as mediation of inner contacts and their teachings requires a significant amount of isolation from the outer world. I hold a huge respect for people who dedicate their lives to magical training - because I know how hard it is to bring this work to live.
This was my personal background in light of which Josephine and I began to discuss the Quareia project almost a year ago. I was firmly convinced that each lesson should be unlocked only if two criteria were met:
- the student would need to deliver some sort of proof of having worked through the previous lesson’s material thoroughly and
- they would need to pay a fair amount before receiving the following one.
Anybody who knows Josephine will also know that this was completely opposed to her own point of view. To her mingling financial interests with magical training was one of the essential pitfalls that had led to the decay of our Western tradition as we see it today. I have written about the problem of institutionalising magic in the previous post - and that was exactly what Josephine wanted to avoid. No new institutions, no man-made overlays, no power imbalance and therefore also no financial transactions. We discussed this hard and long, several times, online and offline, in the UK and in Germany. Ultimately Quareia is her project - possibly the summit of a life dedicated to magical training and exploration - and so it also needed to be her to define the rules according to which it should work.
I hope all of this helps to show how lucky we all are? All that Josephine is asking for is to be able to pay her rent for 24 months in order to have the calm and quiet necessary to write this massive amount of work. With this approach she is taking out two of the most significant filters to magical teachings as we have known it in the West for the last three hundred years at least:
- the privilege for the teacher to choose who gets to be their student and
- the financial spending power on the student’s side that previously always was a premise for any student-teacher relationship to be established in the first place.
I assume anybody who has read about the history of magic in the West will understand how significant this is? — Not only is Josephine kicking the doors open to what previously kept true magical teaching locked, but she is also establishing the first ever magical training curriculum that will be free of man-made overlays, historic patterns and styles. She is going to the roots, the deep currents of what makes magic actually work and she is teaching each little step bit by bit, for everyone with the patience and perseverance to follow to ultimately succeed.
It’s in light of all of this that I get really upset when I read comments about Quareia being a fraud, lacking integrity or just trying to pull some easy money from people’s pockets. I wish people who throw out accusations such as this had just a little more life experience. Experience on what it means to earn a living with integrity, to grow old and physically more dependent, to see a few decades ahead of you where almost no income might be possible - and to still show the humbleness and dedication of offering the entire Western magical canon in a completely fresh form for free? It’s a sad thing that some of us are so quick to judge. And it’s exactly these type of people that I’d have loved to filter out by upholding a financial barrier… But Josephine choose not to. And so Quareia will be open to everybody and anyone, ready or not, wealthy or poor, scholarly educated or simply street-smart. It could be a revolution if we get it right. Something so big, I didn’t even believe it was possible myself.
All we need to make it happen from our end is to close the last stretch of another 2700 Pounds within the next nine days. Today I am donating 500 Pounds on top of everything I have invested into this project already. Because I believe in the difference it will make. Can we close the remaining 2200 Pounds together?