Spiritual Work for Money? OMG! : Veiled Issues

March 16, 2013 by  
Filed under mysticism, veiled issues

Spiritual Work for Money? OMG! : Veiled Issues

Veiled Issues

Disclaimer: In case you can’t infer it all by yourself, these are the opinions of Sheta and Sheta only. If my colleagues agree (and actually see this), they can add their plus-ones or whatever.

It seems to be a thing with artists and anyone who charges for a spiritual service — people are appalled that we actually charge for our work. The reasons for this shock and awe vary, but the general assumption is that we should all work for free. In the last three days, I’ve had people ask me “Is there a charge for this?” or “Is this free?” so often that it’s been suggested I prepare a macro so I don’t have to keep repeating myself. I guess this is my response to those questions, and the reasons why yes I do charge for my services.

Isn’t this a gift? Isn’t it wrong to charge for spiritual services?

The ability to cook extraordinarily well makes one a chef. Chefs do not give away their gifts; in fact, they are paid in accordance to the level of their skills. Why is it that a spiritual gift must be given away? I need to eat and pay my bills, just like you do. Am I supposed to do this for eight hours per day, seven days per week, for free? Because that’s what I did for ten years, before saying, “Enough. I need something back.” Putting a price tag on something immediately weeds out the leeches, and they fall away in great piles of abandon(ment). It hurt a lot, realizing that the people I thought were my friends didn’t think my skills were worth their money, and in fact a lot of them had never even donated anything in return. I’d consider that to be the minimum of courtesies. Or a thank you card. Or anything beyond yet another night of listening and helping you and channeling for you, without complaint. I deserve to be paid, and my price is a fraction of the people on websites like Keen. I offer real benefit, not a crutch. If you’re gaining something from my work with you, why is the question always “Is it free?” This question comes most often from those who would happily monopolize my time with issues I can barely credit. (For those of you who think I’m talking about you — I’m not. This is a special breed of annoying that few manage to attain, but when they do, wow.)

How do I know you’re not a ripoff?

This is a question rarely asked aloud, but which is obviously on everyone’s mind who has a healthy sense of skepticism. The world, and the Web, are full of frauds, cold readers, and people who feel no guilt whatsoever at charging $8-$10 per minute. I’m not one of them. If you’ve ever chatted with me, you know that. If you haven’t, then ask someone who has. You want references? Check my testimonials page. It’s crammed full of real people’s real comments.

Why does it cost so much?

My prices are reasonable, I offer the occasional free class, and have a flat fee for an intro chat in which I tell you what I pick up about your spirit companion (or whatever term you prefer), the latter of which is refundable if I fail to pick up anything or miss the mark completely. That’s less than most skilled tradesmen make, and if you don’t believe me, try hiring someone to re-roof your house. I made a total of $1705 last year in earned wages. I can’t live on that, even with the money I get from disability, even with food stamps. If someone genuinely can’t afford it, I will do what I can to help, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to pester me every night because you’re hungry for validation. I’m fair, but don’t use me. And remember, if I do help you pro bono, please do something nice in return, even if it’s just to leave a testimonial at the above link.

Don’t you feel guilty? Doesn’t it bother you?

I struggled with this decision. Just because I don’t show my agonizing on my services page doesn’t mean it was easy to get to this point. But I was literally 8-12 hours per day online, helping people. I spent two years on one person, about ten years ago, only to have her balk when I asked for something back. Boom. No more friendship. That was it. Those who decided to abandon ship, so to speak, claimed I was abusing their friendship. I guess they didn’t have much sense of the ironic.

Others clamored aboard, seeking (of all things) power, via li’l ol’ me. Imagine my surprise when it dawned on me. And when I noticed it aloud, oh the drama. That was a lot of fun. More friends left, as sides were divided and I struggled to own my mistakes while standing my ground, a real learning experience. As I began to really understand that people valued my time and sometimes competed for it, and that other people were sometimes too intimidated to talk to me, I felt it was time to put some filters in place. I’ve never charged those I consider my true friends and would never begrudge them my time, and I hope they understand this. But there were those who were truly offended that I shouldn’t be at their beck and call whenever online, no matter how heavy or difficult their problems, no matter how much channeling I did. I was supposed to be a machine. Sorry, only human.

So no, after all that, I don’t feel guilty at all. It’s the smartest thing I ever did, and I deserve to be paid for my services. They have real value. You do understand the word “value”?


Image credit: exileden.deviantart.com

©2013 by Sheta Kaey.

Sheta Kaey is a lifelong occultist and longtime spirit worker, as well as Editor in Chief of Rending the Veil. She counsels others with regard to spirit contact and astral work. She can be reached via her blog.

Rending the Veil is seeking serious volunteers to help kick off next summer with new features and new staff. Also, we now welcome submissions anytime, so send in your best pieces today! Volunteer application (.docx).

Comments

8 Responses to “Spiritual Work for Money? OMG! : Veiled Issues”

  1. Christopher Drysdale says:

    Absolutely agree, here. The association of spiritual with “free” comes from the “opposition” of the spirit and the physical. This is an idea that percolated into Western culture from Christianity, and got its intellectual start with St. Augustine, who had a background in Manichaeism.

    Manichaeism posited that the physical world is opposed to the spiritual. So, by this standard, those who charge for spirit work are mixing two things that “should” be opposed.

    However, if spirit-work is seen as a means to accomplish things in the world, that is an immanent spirituality (not a transcendent one). It’s a very, very different kettle of fish.

    So, yes, I agree, we should provide a good product and charge what the market will bear.

    • Sheta Kaey says:

      However, if spirit-work is seen as a means to accomplish things in the world, that is an immanent spirituality (not a transcendent one). It’s a very, very different kettle of fish.

      This is an intriguing perspective, and if you have more information, I’d like to hear more. I know what I consider to be “mixing the planes,” but this thought had not occurred to me. What about evocation, a la The Goetia, et al? Or do you care not to get into that particular kettle? ;)
      Sheta Kaey recently posted..It’s a Wonderful LifeMy Profile

    • Sheta Kaey says:

      Oh, and, I’m also curious regarding your perspective of the difference between immanentization (sp? is that a word?) and transcendence. Are we dragging down the divine, so to speak, or drawing it down to help everyone transcend?
      Sheta Kaey recently posted..It’s a Wonderful LifeMy Profile

  2. Christopher Drysdale says:

    Okay, there’s no good, short answer to that. This is my 4th attempt to craft an answer, and I’m going to try to keep it short and sweet (and fail).

    Transcendence is probably a shell game. It is definitely a word that is used to label several different experiences that people have.

    Grammatically, the word “transcend” requires an object. So, when we talk about “transcendent” the immediate question that comes to mind is “transcending what?”

    It turns out there are a couple of answers:
    1) Physicality – Just about any spiritual experience “transcends” physicality.
    2) The Self – Breaking down the barriers between “self” and “other” is often a component of spiritual experience.
    3) Everything – This is the transcendence that monotheistic religions usually talk about. They argue that a transcendent deity (source of things) is separate from all the universe, and has independent and prior existence to it.

    That being said, there are spiritual experiences that are transcendent or at least appear to be transcendent from our perspective.

    Transcendent worldviews (Christianity, Manichaeism) tend to argue that the spiritual is more important than the physical, and that all spiritual aspects are either divine or evil.

    Immanent worldviews (Shinto, Wicca, etc.) use the much more practical approach of “spirits are spirits now lets get on with life (usually in a harmonious fashion).”

    So, to answer your question as succinctly as I can:
    Usually in spiritual healing, we’re re-balancing disharmony between the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of the client. We are also re-balancing the client with the larger world, and reintegrating them with it.

    Healing work is, of necessity, immanent. Some aspects of it, however, are (or appear to be) transcendent–especially in our culture where spirit-sickness often goes untreated, and people can live much of their lives spirit-blind.

  3. Christopher Drysdale says:

    I thought I should add that reason I’ve never gotten serious about charging for my own work.

    It’s not because it’s valueless or ineffective. It’s because the usual model for “selling” spiritual work is about keeping the client happy. That is not one of my talents.

    I remember, oh, it’s nearly 20 years ago now, a friend of a friend asked for me because she and her roommate had an apparition in their house. So I went in and checked it out, and the problem stemmed from a conflict between the two of them and a nasty love triangle. The people involved were both projecting and attracting moderately nasty stuff.

    I explained to them what was up, and how to solve it. You know, “address the underlying conflict and It didn’t go over well. They wanted a ghost story and a magicky solution, not simple good advice.

    • Sheta Kaey says:

      I can respect both of your replies, however I felt compelled to hear you bridge the gap. Not knowing you very well, I didn’t really expect your reply to center around healing in such a way. I like that.

      I understand exactly what you mean about the situation in the house and the client response. I don’t always tell people what they want to hear, but I try to tell them in a compassionate way, and persuade them to take action. I’ve grown to be pretty good at that. lol
      Sheta Kaey recently posted..It’s a Wonderful LifeMy Profile

      • Christopher Drysdale says:

        Hmm. I think the gap is pretty easy to bridge. In a very mundane sense, in order to charge for spiritual work, we probably need to educate clients as to what actual services and benefits we provide.

        Doing so is a fair amount of work. I haven’t put in that work, myself.

        You your work is, to my biased eyes, a type of healing work as well. In describing healing work, I wasn’t only talking about myself. :)

  4. Great post and good for you Sheta. I am actually appalled that you had to write something like this, to defend why you need to charge for invaluable services.

    I only recently stumbled across your postings and sites and find you very refreshing. I have been very interested in the discussions around sexual relationships with ethereal partners and loved what you had to say.

    Shame on anyone who feels it is appropriate to ask if help is free, services are free. Nothing is free and frankly I find it insulting that people would think it is appropriate to assume that by helping others it should be given as a gift.

    shame shame shame.

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