It’s January again — the coldest month for Pagan Elders and Seniors (at least in the northern hemisphere). Phaedra and I have had a busy year, publishing two new books (Real Energy and Neopagan Rites) and signing a contract for another (The Laws of Magic). I presented at PantheaCon in California and we both presented at Starwood in New York, the two biggest festivals in the USA. We both went to Buffalo New York to give advice to local Pagan leaders and answered numerous phone calls and emails asking questions about liturgy, small group dynamics, and local Pagan politics.
I’ve been doing tarot readings at local psychic fairs in the NYC suburbs as well as performing Pagan weddings and handfastings. Phae has been working longer hours than ever at her bed store. I’ve been researching and writing new books on Halloween, dualism, and the laws of magic.
Nonetheless, for all our activities, both public and private, we ended 2007 having earned significantly less income than we did in 2006! Much of this has to do with the horrible state of the American economy (for all but the very richest). Pagans aren’t buying as many books, or jewelry pieces, or music CDs; festivals aren’t hiring as many speakers or bringing them in from far distances like they used to. The general public isn’t buying home furnishings or much of anything else like they did in previous years, so the commissions Phaedra earns have been dwindling.
At this point, although we have reduced expenses as far as we can, we are behind on the rent and utilities, behind on our phone and online service bills (we were offline for a couple of weeks in December), and thousands of dollars in debt on the credit cards we’ve been using to pay monthly and medical expenses. Other Pagan Elders and Seniors we’ve contacted are in pretty similar situations. We’re lucky that we have very understanding landlords. Our friend Martin is an acupuncturist who’s been giving me free treatments, though I still need a few thousand dollars’ worth of dental work.
On December 31, 2007, Phae and I finally made our marriage legal, in a brief but touching ceremony led by our friend Bill. This means that I will finally be covered (in a month or so) by Phae’s medical insurance, but she’ll be having higher deductions taken out of her paycheck.
Here’s what we’re planning to do to bring in more money in 2008: We’re going to be creating two new websites, one for live tarot readings and one for promoting our wedding services — after all, even in a terrible economy, people still get married and still want readings. We’re contemplating turning Neopagan.net into (or just adding) a live chat forum available by subscription. We hope to be moving to Ashland, Oregon, where we will be able to live much more cheaply, but will need to accumulate funds to make the move. We hope to sell publication rights to two new books on magic and one on Halloween. I’m going to go to as many festivals and conventions as I can book.
No matter how hard we work, however, none of these activities or projects will generate significant money for several months. So, once again, we turn to those of our friends and fans who have helped us out in the past. If you find yourself with anything left after the holidays, we could certainly put it to good use. You will find PayPal donation boxes all over our websites or can always go directly to www.paypal.com and use our main email address: “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Some of you have donated very generously in the past, and we can’t in good conscience ask for more cash from you. We would ask you to pass the word about our books and products and services to others. You could tell friends who are getting married and want to do it in full (or light) Pagan — or pirate or medieval or Sci-Fi — styles, that I am available to perform the ceremonies. You could ask local metaphysical shops to stock our books and local festivals to bring either or both of us out to present. You can direct people to our websites or send them to our Amazon store. To buy books, candles, ritual gear, and other Pagan goodies, visit our Cyberhenge~EarthSpirit Shop, where you can get all your metaphysical supplies and donate to the Cyberhenge at the same time!
Whether or not you decide to help us out this year, we’d like to thank you for your past support and to remind you, as always, that many other Pagan Elders and Seniors are likely to be in dire straits as well. So please take the time to check up on any you know and see if they need help that you can provide.
May everyone have a blessed and prosperous 2008!
Isaac & Phaedra Bonewits