In a more decent world instead of digital numbers or paper money, more physical trade and bartering would be done between people – just because that ram skull isn’t important to one person, it might be to another; and trading that person for their needed skins is a function I think we’ve lost in our society. With trade there is an understanding, and a contentment that is lost with the exchange of currency.
I’m not saying trading is perfect – there are assholes, dicks, pricks, and con-artists in every genre, orientation, race, and type of person. They’re everywhere. However, trading offers us to have our own choice, and price on what we include in our lives. It is a freedom that’s been lost due to ‘progress.’
I have managed to trade a little locally, and with a very few Pagans abroad. We were both happy, and felt the trade was equal and well balanced. I always have a need for metal, skins, horns, skulls, and bones – and sure enough one night of road-kill finding was enough for me to forge happily.
Within trading, there is an appreciation for what you have, and an understanding of what you’re trading for. The greed is less prevalent, as it takes six skins for a sword – both parties have to work to make the trade. Not only that, but there is a true knowledge of value of the items we’re trading, an in-depth knowledge of the work and skill needed, which is so overblown in many Pagan stores it’s nauseating. And I really think this should be a personal decision, from the one who’s exchanging, not just the maker. I really think there should be a two-way street.
Not to mention the many I’ve spoken to who see the hand-made items that were traded as ‘more real,’ than one that was manufactured, or mass produced. The skill to make the item (yes, even cleaning skulls is a skill!) adds to it’s value. If someone offered me a skull, I’d happily forge. It’s the same for leather, fur, and other parts. There is a love that is lost in the things we have, how so little can mean so much.
The idea that many online stores are happy to charge astronomical prices for what they see as their faith is insulting. Religion shouldn’t be a business.
An interesting article about trading: http://politics.pagannewswirecollective.com/2011/03/22/making-money-currency-cultural-symbols-and-civil-religion/
Sadly, that’s the only article I found.
I think this is an idea as Pagans, we should look more into. This is our faith, our guidance for living – why are we charging each other like it’s Wal-Mart, Target, or other commercialism?