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PaganSpirit
February 14th, 2010, 02:10 AM
Are there any Hermetic/Ceremonial organizations that don't require membership fees?
It seems like every promising one I've come across has some kind of fee to join. Though for some reasons I understand it, but for the most part I don't think that any sincere path to spiritual enlightenment should require any kind of monetary payment. Plus, I just can't afford it.

Terra Mater
February 14th, 2010, 08:16 AM
Are there any Hermetic/Ceremonial organizations that don't require membership fees?
It seems like every promising one I've come across has some kind of fee to join. Though for some reasons I understand it, but for the most part I don't think that any sincere path to spiritual enlightenment should require any kind of monetary payment. Plus, I just can't afford it.

They don't require you to pay for following the path. You can find the texts for free at many of the sites. Nothing to stop you from downloading them and studying on your own. http://www.golden-dawn.com/tr/displaycontent.aspx?pageid=238 is but one such example.

Candles, incense, cakes, ale, and a place to go all cost money. Our local group charges nominal fees to cover the cost of cleaning up afterwards since so few people were remaining to clean up. They have a nice facility which allows their members freedom to practice without having to worry about the headaches of hosting rituals in public parks and coffee houses. They also have a library, indoor/outdoor facilities and other amenities.

Many of the groups do offer free or low cost intro events for newbies and the curious and more than a few of the list them in the events section of Witchvox.

Charging nominals fees does not make a group less sincere. Charging exorbitant fees does not always mean a scam. Sometimes charging fees is a way for them to save their time for those that are serious about being a contributing part of a group and scaring off those that are just looking for a free party to crash.

sidhe
February 15th, 2010, 07:49 AM
Are there any Hermetic/Ceremonial organizations that don't require membership fees?
It seems like every promising one I've come across has some kind of fee to join. Though for some reasons I understand it, but for the most part I don't think that any sincere path to spiritual enlightenment should require any kind of monetary payment. Plus, I just can't afford it.

Fees are required for two reasons:

1) Unlike most other occult organizations, ceremonial groups tend to own/rent property for use as a Temple or Lodge. This costs money.

2) Unlike most Christian organizations, they aren't big enough to cover these fees via donations from the membership. Unless the group is larger still, the chances of being a 501(c) registered religious organizations (with all the benefits entailed therein) is minimal.

That said, there are groups that don't charge fees (like mine, because we hold no property and we're all too dirt poor to do so anyway), and there's nothing that says you can't study the materials on your own free of charge, and there's a nice selection of folks here in the CM Subforum who'll gladly give an assist on explanations of material.

It's not a matter of spiritual sincerity, but of material reality - material things cost money, CM groups require a lot of material things, money will have to come from somewhere. Or, to put it another way, if you're in any pagan group someone is picking up the tab for the incense, etc., or they ask someone to bring it each time. With the specificity CM requires, its far more reasonable to have fees to maintain a stock of essentials.

And essentials can get expensive!! The basic Oil of Abramelin...yeah, you can get the Anna Riva version for $7, but if you want the good stuff you'll be paying $25+ for a teeny bottle which you will find a thousand ways to stretch and dilute and make last longer.

Speaking of which, I need to order some of the good stuff. :D

Also, robes, embroidery, sigils, candles, incense, chalices, wine, patens, banners, pillars, altars, floor tiles (I'm not kidding...paying to have a floor tiled in the proper pattern), ciboriums, lamens, rings...CM is a little pricey.

Humming Bird
October 11th, 2015, 11:15 PM
The reasons for fees have already been explained here. I just wanted to affirm those points and say that while I'd never charge anyone for committing to "suffering to learn" as it is sometimes put because that would go against my devotion to the fire, I do expect them to contribute to either preparation and/or overhead costs regarding the rite.
I do not charge for the seeking of gnosis, however I'm not going to teach someone who isn't willing to do what they need to do to engage the work. How one tends to their ritual space and needs of their praxis says a lot about them. I've I'm looking to get involved with a group, and I see that not everyone is pulling their fair share or moreso that certain people are being taken advantage of in that way, that's a huge red flag. It doesn't matter how good the minority of that group is at what they do, it's not a healthy group dynamic. To do genuine and sincere group work, to really get it working each person has to be present. If they don't want to be there, if they aren't fully there the whole group is robbed, especially if they held a core station.

Sometimes, people just have something on their mind, or its their first time, or... they're working on their ritual discipline.
One thing that really gets me on their case though, is when I see them do nothing as far as set up or take down, because if they can't help financially they can at least make the time like the time and space is being made for them. When I see practitioners who have been doing this for 20+ years do all that work themselves, sometimes two people, even though they are more than happy to do it... it's work, and I know that unless you've done it you just don't know that, however that's when I think those who don't see that need a bit of a reality check.

I tell you what, those that are there not just during but before and after (as is appropriate, sometimes they need to unprepared to actually be prepared) they are the ones it really means something to, the ones that tend to get the most out of it and who will go on to apply what they've learned long after their time with those who taught them.
They're the people I'm looking for, they make traditions happen.

Now working circle, especially when you don't have a permanent place, has its pros and cons to working in a lodge.
Financially it tends to be cheaper, no building costs, rent or taxes. All you really need is land, outdoor workers recommended here.
However, we have to move the altar, statuary, tools, quarterstaves etc. each time we set up and take down.
So you move that stuff to a nice secluded place, set it up, do the rite, take it down and move it.... oh and that includes all the torches on the path there.
Now if you have a feast after ritual, which you set up earlier, to be there on time you have to go back afterwards when everyone is wanting to go home and sleep and take things down then. So you're there a couple hours prior and about an hour after most.
If it happens to be Beltaine there's the May-pole to prepare.