How Much To Charge?
Every shamanic practitioner wrestles with setting a price for shamanic work. The majority of shamanic practitioners have a heart felt desire to help and the money is not the prime motivator for doing the work. But people often place a value on something based on how much it cost. It can be a bad idea to set the fee so low that the client doesn’t take the work seriously. It is also important that the practitioner has a sense for his or her own value. The shaman healer’s time is worth something. Additionally, 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.
If you’ve been raised with a don’t buy it unless you can pay for it mentality, it may be hard for you to think about offering less than a suggested price. But most shamanic healers really do not want to turn you away because you cannot afford a fee.
The fee is all about an exchange of value. It is just like the parable where the beggar gave his last coin, and the rich man’s contribution (although 10x the amount) was not as valuable as the first man’s contribution. Different amounts of money have different values to different people. So it is understandable that you may offer a different amount.
If a fee is more than you can afford and the healer is not open for negotiation, that just means they aren’t the right healer for you.
Some practitioners will accept an 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. I know the story of a healer who lived in a remote location. She felt the extreme effort involved in getting to her home, was a fair exchange for the healing work.
The important thing is that you offer what you feel the healing is worth. Shamanic healing 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. If you are stingy that will close you up, blocking the healing pathway. If you were raised to make a dollar stretch until it begs for mercy, you may want to ask yourself if that is necessary in this situation.
This is not about paying as much as possible to get back as much as possible. It is only about giving freely of what you have to give. When you give freely, it gives the spirits the message that this person is here, she is committed to this. 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. In case your 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 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 herself. 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. He may spend some time meditation or centering before he 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 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 she has called and the healing energy of the spirits. She then holds the energy 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. The space needs to be that much bigger and stronger. The better container the more effort that is involved to build and hold it. The better the container the much deeper the healing for the one(s) being healed.
This is a tricky topic because there is a wide variety of fees, and they will vary for different locations, urban versus rural etc.
A good starting point may be to look up the per hour fees of massage therapy in your area. Keeping in mind that the healer may have spent time in preparation for the healing you can compare their prices based on 1x, 2x or 3x the massage rates (the cost of 1 to 3 hours) as a general fee range for healing. Land healing can take days, and may not fall into this comparison.
Some people will charge a flat fee for all services, some will ask for a donation. But in cases fees are graduated: 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, and how stuck and heavy it is.
Nationally famous healers charge more, and may not be open to negotiation.
Multiple sessions are common for shamanic healing, but single sessions are also common. This is highly dependent on how the shaman works. Some healers come to give you a major tune up and you will only need to see them for one or two sessions. Some are offering a transformation process where they will lead you through steps of change that take multiple sessions. You can choose your healer based on their approach. You can also mention it if you can only afford one session, and ask what can be achieved in that session. That healer may recommend a different healer, if he knows another healer’s style of work matches more closely to what you need.
Shaman Links occasionally hears about people who end up going for endless sessions without seeing any improvement. If this is the case, you should discuss the situation with the healer. If they don’t seem to have a reason for why multiple sessions are required, you should consider finding a different healer. (‘You just need to trust the process’ is not a specific enough reason.) You can also consult a second healer for a sanity check. There are occasions when many sessions are needed, but in general, a shaman is a good shaman if they are effective.
(To explain a bit further. A good explanation for many healing sessions could include any of these: an explanation for how the healer sees the situation at hand, reason for proceeding with multiple sessions, potential consequences of doing too much too quickly, and what progress the healer believes has been achieved so far. They may also explain how the approach fits with your stated goals.)
More Reading: The Ethics of Fees and Advertising