The following is an excerpt from a paper by my friend Lauren Torres in Chicago.
Fees and Costs For Shamanic Work – How Much To Charge?
Every shamanic practitioner struggles with setting a price for shamanic work. The majority of shamanic practitioners have a heart-felt desire to help and would be happy to do it for free. But people often place a value on something based on how much it cost. It is also important that the practitioner has a sense for his or her own value. The shaman healer’s time is worth something. It is also important to note that the person getting healed gets as much out of it as they give. I have seen a pride on the face of clients when they have paid me, like “I did this for myself” or “I provided for myself.”
In tribal societies the shamanic work might be paid in food, or livestock or other services. The main thing was that something was given for something received. Nowadays, the shamanic practitioner must take into account the economic conditions of the area they are living in. High cost of living areas mean higher prices, but what about the people who can’t afford those costs? Some practitioners handle this by putting themselves on a donation basis. But in the case where a healer does have a price, they often are willing to accept another fee or an exchange of services.
Fee Flexibility The fee is all about an exchange of value. Just like the parable where the beggar gave his last coin and the rich man’s contribution thought 10 times the amount was not as valuable as the first man’s contribution. Different amounts of money have different values to different people. So it’s understandable that you may offer a different amount.
Also some practitioners will accept exchange of services. Do you know how to make a good flier? Are you an excellent baker? This hearkens back to the tribal societies where goods where given for shamanic healing.
The important thing is that you offer what you feel it is worth. Because this really is a situation where what you offer has an effect on the healing. The giving of the exchange fee or item has an opening effect on you energetically [it demonstrates a strong intention for healing}. If you are stingy that will close you up. Freely giving also gives the spirits the message, this person is here, she is committed to this, and they will then work on your behalf in the spirit of your own commitment.
What are you paying for? There is more work going on than meets the eye. And in case you’re wondering what that is, I thought I’d try and explain it to you. Depending on the depth of the healing the shaman healer will have to prepare him or herself. She or he has to put out a strong call to the spirits to come to aid in the healing. The healer has to call to the energy of the healing and begin drawing it towards himself. She may have to go on diagnostic journeys. Sometimes a lot of preparation has gone into the healing before the healer has the healing session with you. A good healer knows he must come into the healing session with the right state of mind and may spend some time in meditation or centering before she arrives/you arrive.
If the work is a shamanic extraction it may take a lot of effort on the healer’s part to remove the blocks from you. The shamanic practitioner has to build themselves up to be a strong enough magnet to pull the misplaced energy out of you. If the work is a soul retrieval she may need to put a good amount of effort into the search to find your missing pieces. Some healers will not charge you for additional sessions to complete a healing, so that follow up work may be included.
When a shamanic practitioner has a healing session or teaches a workshop he or she creates an energetic container. That means a shamanic healer expands her own energetic field (which would normally be a few inches to a foot from their body) until it encompasses the whole room or the entire building in some cases. That container is then filled with the healing energy he has called and the healing energy of the spirits which he then holds there for the length of the healing and sometimes afterwards for a time. The shaman provides the a pathway so the helping spirits can stay anchored in the room. With each additional person being added to a healing ceremony or a workshop it takes that much more effort to hold the healing space and the space needs to be that much bigger and stronger. The better container the more effort that is involved to build and hold it, but the better the container the much deeper the healing for the one(s) being healed.
Generally soul retrieval and then shamanic extraction will be more then divination, power animal retrieval, or a general healing (like drumming for you.) Soul retrieval, de-possession, and extraction are more taxing on the healer then divination or power animal retrieval. House clearing or land clearing will vary with the difficulty of clearing the energy, how stuck and heavy it is.