I had thought that I was going to be writing about Beltaine today. It’s right there in my PBP planner (yes I am that sad lol). I had intended writing about all four fire festivals as their letters came up. So what happened? Well, a thread on The Cauldron discussing what to do when work and ethics collide got me thinking about how business and religion can fit together.
In my case this seems particularly relevant at the moment. The Etsy shop that I set up last year is , in some ways, a reflection of my religious beliefs and values. In fact the clue is in my shop title – Handmade Gifts and Devotional Items. Some of those links are obvious – there are items that I have made and sell that are directly in relation to Brighid, such as a Brighid’s cross pendant and a bracelet inspired by Her associations with both fire and water. There are other more general items that are still of a devotional nature – candles, prayer beads, alter tokens. I also sell items that are just pretty to me but may well have a spiritual meaning for others.
So, in what other ways do these things cross over? Well, every time that I sit down to make something with my hands, to use my own creativity to turn materials into a finished item, I honour Brighid as Mistress of the Forge. In this way I offer my work and time to Her. So that means that the work that I produce must be of a high standard – otherwise, I’m letting Brighid down as well as my customers and I take that very seriously.
Through stories of Brig Ambue it is my UPG that Brighid is also a patron of social justice. So how does that tie in with business? For me, it means that I should consider these issues when I source materials etc. I try to buy materials from other small, local businesses, but it’s more that that. It means not supporting questionable business practices. It means not buying the cheap materials if they are cheap because of child labour or underpaid workers. It means taking a stand and refusing to be seduced by higher profit margins or being able to sell my items at low prices hoping to increase custom.
Brighid is also known as a Goddess of the Hearth and to honour Her in this aspect I take care of my home. I interpret “home” quite widely. It is not just the walls that I live within but also my community and the land that I live upon. In this way, I also see Brighid as having concern for environmental factors. This means using many recycled/recyclable/upcycled materials where I can and considering the environmental impact of my choices. It means reusing things wherever possible and limiting waste – which is a good business practice in any case.
As I work on my business and try to turn it from a hobby into something that I can do for a living while being at home and caring for my family, I try to keep Brighid in my thoughts and values. I want to create a business that supports me financially but also spiritually – where I am not forced to take actions that do not sit right with my ethics and values. It’s a work in progress but I think an important one.