ola Sacred Artists and Soulful Seekers, today in our Working Between the Worlds series we are going to talk about a very sticky intersection – the one where services in the Sacred Arts meet the requirement to be paid.
When I heeded the call to don the Fool’s cap and go into the Sacred Arts I had not really thought about the perceived conflict between fair payment in exchange for spiritual work – it certainly was not present in any of the actual sacred arts traditions I had grown up with – but a few months and social media streams later I discovered that it was strongly held by many people.
I also discovered during business mentoring that many of my clients who dreamed of starting their own Sacred Arts business (and had great talent and ability to do so) were paralyzed by the idea that they really couldn’t and really shouldn’t charge any money for spiritual services.
People have their own ideas and money, worth, and value and while I’m interested in those areas that’s not what I am want to address today. I want to address the question of why we do charge for sacred arts work.
Now, to some degree the answer is pretty cut and dried: when you render a service, in the marketplace, you expect to be fairly compensated. We could stop there. But the deeper answer is relevant to all soulful seekers.
That answer? Right relationship.
As I was taught when someone requests that you assist them by providing a tarot reading, an astrological analysis, a ritual or a ceremony they are asking for your time, energy, expertise, and resources. You can choose whether or not to share those but if you do then there must be some kind of exchange.
Now, to be clear, this doesn’t have to be a financial exchange (I know a handful of sacred artists who get most of their payment in the form of fresh veggies and chicken eggs) but the exchange must happen. Not because strings are always attached and not because this is a tit for tat transaction but rather because when it comes to magic, the fair and equal exchange is what moves us from occupying a passive role in the situation to becoming an active agent and participant in creating better outcomes for ourselves.
This fair exchange reminds and roots us in our own native power to transform and improve an aspect of life that has, up to this point, left us feeling hopeless and fatalistic. In this framework, the Sacred Artist, is no longer the All Great and Powerful Magician, casting magical spells for delight and success; rather, the Sacred Artist is in a partnership with their client, working together, for a better outcome.
Depending on the kind of work you do and the role you see that work occupying in your overall life, this may or may not be about money. But no matter what role your Sacred Arts interests play in your overall life, the exchange is always about more than money.
Case in point: I take on pro-bono clients every year. They are mostly men who are in prison and locked institutions. This is a group that I feel called to serve and it is a group I have been called on to serve as well.
Because they are pro-bono clients, I receive no money from my efforts on their behalf. But once the work has been done, the blessings have been said, and the talismans have been made I DO require them to make an exchange – usually with a not for profit and/or religious organization.
This can be an exchange of money, time, sweat equity – it is up to each individual. But the exchange must occur because the magic that goes deep down and all the way to the root of an issue?
That kind of magic demands that we all work from a place of sovereignty and self-mastery, no one person above the other but all hands on deck, working at different tasks and degrees, but nevertheless, working together.