Sacred Capitalism: How might we repair our relationships?
I’m taking the time to write this, to locate myself in the trouble, and to speak towards how I might do such a daring thing as charge money for sacred ceremonial work.
As a chronically ill, chronically poor person, I have intimate experience with the systemic injustice of poverty and how it works to enforce other systems of oppression. The kind of extractive, abusive economics that we live under in today’s society is a great sadness, and at the same time, has allowed many people to rise up out of poverty -- at great expense to our relations with the Land, our Mother Earth and her many more-than-human children.
Capitalism has also fed into our cult of individuality, reducing many of our relationships to mere transactions without kindness or empathy. This idea of individuality is at direct odds with the work that I do, a work that seeks to reconnect us to all our relations in interdependent and autonomous ways.
However, the energy and mechanism of Money allows us to cultivate complex relationships!
Money brings with it a power dynamic, as well as expectations of result, that often undermine the processes of healing. Healing is inherently an intimate, mysterious unfolding that needs us to hold space for it and to not obstruct it with our ideas of what it should look or feel like.
And money also represents gratitude and reciprocity, the ability to have relief and a sense of security that allows healing and relationships to blossom.
In ancient China, healers would often have two tiers of payment rates: one for the elite, and one for the common people. This allowed them to subsidize treatment for those who could not afford it with the monetary offerings from those who could. It is with this spirit, and the spirit of reciprocity, that I have sat with in how I am approaching charging for my work, knowing that modern day North America is not the same as ancient China.
In order for me to be well protected doing this work, I must make regular offerings to the Land, and to the native peoples of this land that have been and currently are oppressed and genocidally acted upon.
Therefore, some portion of every payment I receive goes directly towards these offerings of reparations and restorative justice.
I personally require our working together to model healthy relationship dynamics. In working with the nervous system, and attachment traumas, I understand my role to be also one of co-regulation -- to hold safe space for people to unwind and re-model subconscious patterns of relation, some of which are: abandonment/ghosting, codependency, ambivalence and avoidance.
To safeguard both of us from these patterns, I offer packages rather than one-off sessions, so that we can develop healthy trust from which to dive deeper into tough territory.
Packages are negotiable as far as duration goes, but there are some consistencies: initial sessions are always 90 minutes and zoom/distance sessions are less expensive than in-person sessions.
My ethics and my ancestors implore that I also must offer this work to those who are marginalized financially and otherwise at sliding scale costs (no less than $1 per minute of session time) and I understand that even this cost is prohibitive to many who desperately need this work.
So I am also instituting a subscription & donation service for those to offer their support for the work that I am doing which includes developing and offering presentations and ongoing education, and hosting and co-facilitating restorative justice and ritual arts gatherings.
I aim to be a good steward, carefully carrying these monies to where they need to go in order to repair our relations. These strategies listed here are a work-in-progress and subject to updates as I and my ancestors move us further and further along our path.
At the end of this work and looking back across time, I want to sense in my gut that I acted in right relation, taking into account the hypercomplexity of our situation and the gravitational heartache of our world.