Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Soapbox: Prosperity Checks

Lately I've been thinking about Prosperity Checks. They really bug me because they strike me not only as superstitious twaddle, but as greedy, superstitious twaddle. I get angry and sad when I hear about Neo-Pagans espousing them.

For those of you who don't know what a Prosperity Check is, the idea is that within 24 hours of a new moon, you take a blank check, write down a dollar amount, write yourself as the recipient, and endorse the check with either "The Law of Abundance" or "The Universe." You can write down on the memo line what you're receiving the money for, if you want. Then you're supposed to forget about the check and let the universe do the rest.

And this is supposed to be a spiritual practice. I'm not sure if this is because spirituality is about coaxing cash prizes from the Divine or if legal tender is how Deity shows heavenly favor.

The web sites that talk about this sometimes cite Jim Carrey as writing a 20 million check to himself and getting paid that sum for The Cable Guy. Gee, let's see, a single alleged instance of this working for an actor who'd already made millions in previous movies. Yeah, that's proof this works.

Now, I'm not going to say that making a list of priorities isn't a bad thing; and there's something to be said for being clear in your mind what you want -- but having clear priorities is only the first step. As Starhawk once said, "In order to heal the world, we have to know what we value, we have to know what actions to take, and we have to know what structures to create."

For a while, I thought I might write a Prosperity Check and on the dollar amount line write in "Snake Oil Mongers Revealed as the Frauds They Are," signed, "The Law of Just Rewards." And I'd visualize angry mobs with torches. But then I thought, Hey! Let's try another Scientific Experiment With a Data Point of One!

So, next new moon, I'll write a check to myself for $1000 and on the memo line "From selling short stories." Because, after all, elegant words telling a cool story about an interesting character isn't enough to convince periodical editors to buy my work. I need the new moon and a funny check to help me.

And if I receive the usual 99% rejection slips between March 15 and April 14, then it's that stupid Prosperity Check's fault.
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