An Ancient Triad of Giving to Receive: The Role of Taxes, Charity & Tithes

Divine feminine entrepreneurs frequently gift their clients
with products, information, classes, or offers which have both substance and value.
At the same time, they often struggle with issues around devaluing their work
in the world. Marketing and money goddesses see their offers as an investment
in reciprocity, growing directly from a sacred tradition of giving, challenging
thinking about abundance and sacrifice from a heart-centered perspective.

From ancient times and in many cultures, including the Mayan
culture, abundance and fertility were assured by blood sacrifice. If we look at
money as a metaphor for the life’s blood of exchange, then it becomes possible
to understand traditional forms of giving through taxes, tithes, and charity
from a divine feminine perspective.


Sacrifice is an offering. In ancient times, altars would have been designated for the
sacrifice of animals or persons to the gods to ensure fertility. Today, the word can refer to both the act of the offering and the thing that’s being offered. Its purpose is to secure a thing of importance by giving up something that’s valued. From this perspective, taxes can be considered as a type of “blood” sacrifice to ensure individual liberty.

The peoples’ consent to taxation by their governments occurs because “sacrifice of a degree of freedom ensures the essential freedom,” according to Helen M. Luke, writing in a 1981 essay “Money and the Spirit of Relatedness.” In other words, citizens give money as a type of sacrifice in order to ensure a certain way of life.

Modern discourse surrounding civil disobedience is rooted in the 19th century writings of Henry David Thoreau, and the 20th century direct actions of Gandhi and King.  From this lineage we inherit the conviction that individual citizens have the right to break unjust laws, such as paying taxes to fund social or civil injustice, such as war. The people can invoke this right if the government is believed broken its sacred compact with the citizenry. In this context, the government may be seen to jeopardize the essential freedoms for which the taxes were exchanged. The taking of monies unjustly from the people gives rise to the derogatory phrase “blood money,” indicating the sacrifice of the life’s blood of the peoples in ways which do not ensure essential freedoms.

Your Take-away: For entrepreneurial women, questions about taxation arise
during the foundation phase of their businesses. Paying taxes as a business
instead of as an independent contractor changes the structure and format of the
“sacrifice” to ensure their freedom to earn a living in their chosen professions,
and provides a measure of protection for their personal property and livelihood.


Charity is a form of giving which assumes there are those persons who have, and those
who have not. In English, the word for charity has its origins in the 12th century and the feudal class structure, though the root word, char, from the Latin meaning dear, is much older and the practice of extending charity well-established by that time. Essentially, most acts of charity are rooted in ideas about scarcity and lack, and laden with judgment about those who have less. Not ironically, colloquial American English today includes phrases indicating one in a position of superiority “Lords it over” the less fortunate.

Though charity is predominantly seen in modern times as a position of benevolence from which one gives what one can afford to those in need, a second look is needed through the lens of history. In the 11th century, a Jewish theologian named Maimonides created a “Golden Ladder of Charity” with eight steps tracing the level of virtue of the giver. In the lowest rung on the ladder, the giver feels “reluctance or regret,” according to Tad Crawford, in the Secret Life of Money. On the highest rung, the giver “is to prevent poverty and avoid the need for charity.” Instead of giving, the emphasis is placed on creating a way to independence for the person in need.

Today, as work with money mindset evolves, one of the underlying
precepts which emerges is “what one focuses on grows.” Charity in its modern
form may be seen as a support of the aspect of lack or create an expectation of
scarcity, according to Barbara Wilder, in Money is Love: Reconnecting to the
Sacred Origins of Money

Your Take-Away: For the divine feminine entrepreneur, investment in scarcity or lack often shows up in their business in two primary ways: in the giving away of their work for no pay and without reciprocity; and in pre-judging what their clients can or
cannot afford to invest in their businesses, which leads to undervaluing their offers. Shifting one’s mindset about “value” removes judgment about worthiness of both the giver and recipient, and allows one to release attachment to outcomes for the recipient of the gift.


Tithing is also a form of offering which probably traces its roots in ancient agrarian societies. The word tithe traces to Old English, Anglo Saxon and Norse equivalents from the tenth century and perhaps earlier. Quite literally, it means one-tenth, and relates to the creation of sustainability within the society. An oft-quoted, unattributed piece of advice is “Set apart a tithe of all the yield of your seed that is brought in yearly
from the field.” In this way, the wise farmer ensures that he has enough seed
for abundant harvests in the coming season – and in the case of disaster or
relocation, enough to start over in a new place. The tithe is a means to ensure
abundance, a state of more than enough.

Once mandatory in churches, tithes are today a way to ask individuals to stretch their conceptions about giving to give “10 percent more than you think you can afford,” says Wilder. When tithing, the individual “gives upward” and “demonstrates abundance.” Million dollar marketing coach Kendall Summerhawk openly talks about her own experience with tithing from a feminine, entrepreneurial perspective. In a recent
blog article
, she recommends women tithe with every sale in order to create
sustainable business. She explains, “I set aside a small percentage of every
sale and earmarked the money to be used to either fund the development of my
business or to smooth out some of the financial rough spots that occurred in
those early days.” She sees tithing as “a means of giving financial thanks to
those who feed your soul and spirit. …you’re giving yourself the resources you
need to stay connected to spirit and to your Soul’s Divine Purpose.”

Your Take-away: Business and money goddesses of today can choose to work
with the essence of tithes to set aside 10 percent of their earnings, or to raise and meet their goals by 10 percent monthly in order to increase abundance in their business over time. Tithing remains a way to demonstrate, increase, and invest in abundance. It provides a direct connection to the sacred origins of money and abundance as it relates to sustainability and values, moving the giver toward her full potential.



Spiritual approaches to marketing and public relations

Spiritual approaches to marketing and public relations have been around a long time, at least for centuries, and perhaps, millennia. I am coming to understand that my personal approach, grounded in an ecological, earth-centered, divine feminine  perspective, has its roots in those times.

Public relations mythologies of the Spanish explorers linger today. Personal collection of the author.

Within earth-centered perspectives today, many of which are the result of the Indigenous Rights Movement, it is not uncommon to seek inspiration in works that came “before:” pre-Christian, or pre-Colonial/contact. In many cases, particularly after 1400, the two occur in tandem. But a divine feminine perspective often looks to the past in Western European history “before” the patriarchy disrupted the nature-based, shamanic Goddess religions and the communities and societies which were organized around them. Margot Adler, a long-time, respected, National Public Radio journalist, tells us in her landmark book, Drawing Down the Moon, that today, the heirs to
nature-based, divine feminine perspectives “…see themselves as modern-day heirs
to the ancient mystery traditions of Egypt, Crete, Eleusis, and so on…” I agree with her perspective, and often return to the original feminine archetypes for deeper understandings of my own life experience and professional practice.

I am not alone. Public relations practitioners often see the roots of their profession in a time “…as old as human communications itself,” according to Wilcox, et al, in Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. The writers note:

In succeeding civilizations, such as those of Babylonia, Greece, and Rome, people were persuaded to accept the authority of government and religion through techniques that are still used: interpersonal communication, speeches, art, literature, staged events, publicity and other such devices. None of these endeavors was called public relations, of course, but their purpose and their effect were the same as those of similar activities today.

Persuasion, drama, and storytelling remain the primary techniques of the practice of Spiritual Marketing Public Relations. Use of feminine archetypes, modern mythologies, dramaturgical approaches, and a ritual, consummatory view of writing or speaking as direct action connect Spiritual MPR as a discipline not only to the communications techniques of earlier civilizations, but give rise to an understanding of its unique role as a 21st century offshoot of establishment public relations practice.

Wilcox, et al, cites the remarks of Peter G. Osgood, who spoke of the adept practice of Babylonian, Greek, and Roman politicians to send a team in advance to prepare the way for travelling dignitaries. A timeline of these early examples of public relations follows:

  • St. John the Baptist’s work for Jesus
  • Speech writing by Plato
  • Investor relations in the 15th century in Venice

Followed by the editors’ additions:

  • Pope Urban II’s engagement of the Holy Crusades in the 11th century
  • Pope Gregory’s creation of the College of Propagation in the 17th century
  • Spanish explorers spreading the story of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold and the Fountain of Youth
  • Eric the Red’s discovery of ice-covered “Greenland” in 1000 AD
  • Sir Walter Raleigh’s embellished accounts of life on Roanoke Island in the 16th century

From my eco-feminist perspective, something strikes me to be of particular interest. In EACH of these examples of early public relations is its use within a colonializing agenda to supplant the existing order with the patriarchal order deemed advantageous to the advancement of Western Civilization. This realization leads me to formalize a central question about the intention of public relations practice at its inception:

Was early public relations practice used consciously and deliberately to supplant and replace pre-existing earth-centered and divine feminine perspectives as means of colonizing lands and peoples?

I can only presume the answer is yes – despite the tendency today to see public relations and mass communications as a way to maintain the status quo. I wonder…

What will evolve as divine feminine business leaders used the same techniques from their unique perspective to effect a sort of re-membering, re-claiming, and  re-turning? What will evolve as a result of drawing models for effective professional practice from nature herself?

Sherri L. McLendon is a communications strategist specializing in the application of spiritual principles in marketing, public relations, and media.