PARKERSBURG, W. Va. — A single mother who wanted to bring in some extra income by opening up a tarot-reading shop has found her plans thwarted by a decades-old law that most city council members weren’t even aware was on the books. However, it was definitely on the radar for the zoning administrator who explained that she’d need a zoning variance to practice her craft legally. Instead, Heather Cooper opted to try to get the law repealed. Cooper, who has been reading tarot at home, was offered space in a friend’s building to open up a new metaphysical shop called Hawthorn, which would focus on card readings.
The debate may be as old as the concept as money itself. Is it ethical to require payment for spiritual services? The question has emerged again in Pagan communities, thanks to a widely-shared article on the subject. Those who support payment for services such as divination, spell-casting, crafting and consecration of magical and/or sacred objects and the like often frame their arguments in terms of energy exchange. However, the underlying message appears to be, “I cannot afford to do this for free.”
Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! Just as we were going to press, the passing of Jeff Rosenbaum was announced.
Over the past few months we have been reporting on several stories involving religious freedom challenges. Here are updates on those stories:
Beebe, Arkanasas makes national news
On June 17, we reported that Arkansas resident Bertram Dahl had been denied the necessary permits to open a Pagan temple on his property. In addition, he was harassed by a neighboring Pentecostal church and, eventually, arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. This past week, the national news picked up Dahl’s story. On July 28, The New York Times published the article, “Pagan High Priest Finds Few Believers Inside City Hall.”