Today I saw yet another conversation on social media covering question of charging money for one’s services as a healer. Money, for whatever reason, is seen as being something unclean by a few groups. And the healer who would dare to charge people money is somehow deemed to be less of a healer for it.
In the most recent of these conversations about shamans, someone stated:
Traditional shamans don’t charge for their service.
To which I responded:
They may not ask you for money or reward, but you sure do see gifts being left on their doorsteps or given over before and after a healing session. A share of the day’s hunt, a share of foods harvested from the gardens. A pelt. A new gun. Gifts that are not asked for, but if not given cause great insult to the shaman. Maybe the traditional shaman doesn’t charge money, but it is a misnomer to think s/he receives nothing in exchange. The other members of the tribal group know that the shaman provides a service for the community, and so will not necessarily be able to go out to hunt or harvest crops, or get into the nearest city to buy a new shirt or a new gun. So they provide these things in exchange.
I don’t live in a mostly self-sufficient, small tribal group. I live in the midst of a metropolitan area of over 7 million people. I
can’t walk into the local Tesco and offer to exchange a healing for a pound of grapes. They want money. So does the phone company, the gas company, the landlord, and the petrol station when I go in to fill up the tank in my car.
Money is the method of exchange for services in the modern world where I live, so in order for me to survive I have to charge my clients money. They’re not likely to come round with a brace of chickens or a bushel of carrots to pay for their session.
In this midst of all of this, I am in no way saying that people should be overcharged, or that allowances should not be made with regards to a person’s ability to pay. I have in the past given healing at severely discounted rates to those who could not afford to pay. I provide Reiki healing for free for one client, and have done for several years because my own Reiki guides and her guardian spirit both informed me I was not allowed to charge her. (I’m also not allowed to do any sort of “healing” in her energy healing sessions.) I have done healing exchanges with other healers.I have made agreements for teaching – I teach you this, you teach me something in exchange.
These discounts and free healing sessions are not and cannot make up the majority of the healing work that I do. Not unless the phone company decides to start accepting Reiki in exchange for a phone line and internet access.
Money is not a dirty word. It’s time we stopped treating as such.