Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sacrifice is necessary in shamanic work

Favorite Neighborhood Garden, continuedImage by Shamanic Shift via Flickr

I receive mixed feedback for continuing to do shamanic work on a donation basis. Some express admiration, but just as many voice concerns.

I have concerns, too.

Offering services (and teaching) for a donation means there is no set fee list or scale, though I posted a few suggested amounts on the internet by request, or because of listing requirements. Requesting a donation does not make the sessions free.

While spiritual processes cannot be quantified, the space, time, matter and energy costs necessary to keep this practice available are totaled up regularly and presented to me by the universe, with due dates.

So far, overall, I am still paying to shamanize.

More than one visitor has gushed, "I'm so glad you don't charge anything, because now I can afford _____, _____, and _____!" These people also undervalued and underutilized the potentials and possibilities of their sessions, it turned out.

Before money was invented, no one would consider asking a shaman for assistance without giving generous donations "in kind" (in life sustaining stuff), at a sacrificial level.

Sacrifice is a prerequisite for successful shamanic shifting of self and reality towards the better.

It seems to me, some confusion and consternation around asking and accepting "payment for shamanic work" involves mix-ups about the nature of sacrifice and the meaning of the word.

Incorrectly, sacrifice has been linked to altruism or has come mean something like: being forced to give up something good now to get something worse in return (or nothing), or to get something nebulously or dubiously better, possibly after a long (even lifelong) delay, such as feel-good or "get into heaven with less hassle" points.

But sacrifice, or "making sacred" on purpose, is really: consciously and willingly giving up something significant now to receive something of greater value as soon as possible, as part of a meaningful, deliberate and focused working process. In many ceremonial spaces flowers symbolize the power released through sacrifice because they grow and give up their beautiful, blooming lives to generate new seeds.

Without sacrifice, there can be helpful technique-usage, but not sacrament, or the transformation of power from outer and ordinary into inward and non-ordinary (magnified infinitely) life shifting.

In this society, money has been the preferred exchange medium and "sacrifice stuff" for hundreds of years.

Money is required for non-profit (just as much as for profit-earning) businesses to pay for overhead and improvements. Money is on my short list of the most meaningful forms of energy-exchange.

Working on a donation basis, even though this shamanic practice requires money to continue, is another spiritual exercise for me, my current method (subject to change) of keeping spirit and spirits in the spiral-dancing loop, guiding transactions, so work and payment can flex naturally as different people, situations and circumstances show up.

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