Why Do People Charge for Spiritual Work?

I often read Social Media questions about why people charge for Spiritual Work. Sometimes this is an earnest question by someone who truly doesn’t have an answer. Sometimes it’s posed by someone who has listened to the judgments of people who have been indoctrinated by mainstream religion to believe the only way to heaven is via asceticism. Other times, it is a projection or energetic spear, thrust by a person who is unable to understand how much time, energy and money are behind our offerings. I’ve definitely been attacked many times by people who just don’t get it!
I began writing a response to one friend’s question last night and then decided that my wording was awful and that I needed to create a blog post around this.
For those of us who have spent our lives and massive amounts of time and energy learning, as well as a lot of money learning, it doesn’t make sense to then offer our work free of charge. It would deplete us completely.
To be completely transparent: I spend about 20 hours preparing for a weekend circle and 20 hours per weekend with the circle. I hold a strong container for women to process what they need. I buy toilet paper and plates and Kleenex. I pay the water and power bills for the space. All people doing this sort of work will have similar infrastructure to pay for, one way or another. That’s leaving out thousands of hours of education, reading, travel and doing the work, recording meditations, and preparing the daily practices.
I bring in about $8000 per year from doing my spiritual work. It is not enough to pay many bills but it’s enough to make me feel like I can continue. I LOVE the Illuminated Priestess Path, the women in circle, and the word ‘work’ isn’t completely accurate but it’s short, so I’m using it.
Loving what we do doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to paid for all of the hours we put into it. The mythology that spiritual teachers should do without in order to offer their work to the world is just that: a myth. Asceticism is great, if you are drawn to it. It’s not so great if you aren’t.

This is not me.

There’s a premise in Reiki about energy exchange. Master Usui treated people without charging them when he first discovered Reiki. Here is a quote,
“[Usui] decided after a few days to go to the beggar city in the slums of Kyoto to treat the beggars and help them lead a better way of life. He spent seven years in the asylum treating many illnesses. One day, however he noticed the same old faces kept coming. When he asked why they had not begun a new life, he was told that working was too troublesome, and that it was better to go on begging. Usui was deeply shaken and wept. He suddenly realised that he had forgotten something of great importance in his healing work, namely to teach the beggars gratitude. In the following days, he thought out the Reiki principles…”
Think about what it’s like being a mother, or try and imagine what it’s like if you aren’t one. Consider how drained you feel…How depleted you can be by the end of a week. Then think about doing it for people who you didn’t voluntarily give birth to, who don’t live with you and who aren’t willing to give you anything in return. In a nutshell, that’s the answer. The analogy here isn’t about comparing Priestesses or clients to children, it’s about people expecting a teacher to give them time, energy, education, space in their home or classroom, handouts, reading lists, playlists, etc and to not charge a fee.
Once you think about it, feel into it, it is more than simple to see why people charge for spiritual mentoring, guiding, teaching, or coaching. Most of us have the equivalent of a Masters Degree in our area of focus. You wouldn’t expect to take a college course on Shakespeare and not pay, would you?
Edit: A friend pointed out to me that for low income women, paying in cash is not always an option. That’s true and is the reason I changed my fees for Clearing from a flat-rate, to an energy exchange. This work, the Priestess work especially, tends to draw comfortable, white women. I seek to change that, to have much more diversity in my circles, and am happy to barter. Energy exchange is about *energy* after all. Money is a form of energy but it isn’t the only option.

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