Tuition and Fee Policies
As you will discover if you read any number of books on traditional Native American ways prior to colonization, you’ll find that their holy people and healers (which westerners have termed shamans) were compensated for their work. Providing physical, emotional and spiritual healing for their communities, these people were highly valued and respected within their intact tribal cultures because they fulfilled absolutely essential roles roughly equivalent to the roles that physicians, psychologists and clergy fulfill in contemporary western communities. As there was no monetary system within early tribal cultures by which value for services could be calculated, people living within pre-colonial indigenous cultures provided housing, food, clothing and many other amenities for their healers.
The high value and respect accorded such tribal healers was recognized and they were compensated accordingly by the communities they served, as are the physicians, psychologists and clergy who serve contemporary western communities today. (Although many westerners mistakenly believe that clergy provide their services for free, and although this mistaken belief has seeped into many contemporary indigenous belief systems, the fact is that western clergy, not so unlike early, pre-colonial tribal healers, are very well provided for by their congregations by means of the donation basket that is circulated following every public service they perform. In addition, housing, medical care and transporation are generally provided for them by their particular religious orders.)
Ancient systems of non-monetary compensation for tribal healers have broken down under the pressures of government policies aimed at assimilating tribal people, and at this point in time, many tribal healers are living lives of abject poverty, often alienated from the larger tribal cultures to which they belong, their services no longer sought out or valued – and sometimes even feared by many Christianized tribal members.
I am a western shaman. There is no supportive, close-knit tribal community that will take care of my living expenses so that I can offer my services freely and focus entirely on my healing work. In my culture money is the means of payment for services received. Therefore I charge tuition for training, set fees for workshops and seminars and charge an hourly rate for counseling. These fees are listed with the descriptions of each type of service I offer.
In order to maintain a degree of balance between the necessary and the ideal where financial matters are concerned, I also offer a women’s shamanic drumming circle that is free to those who cannot afford a donation, and do ceremonial healing work by donation. In addition, as I’m also an artist and writer, I have begun offering shamanically-themed publications, including a series of booklets on feminist shamanism called “Small Teachings,” the purse-sized booklet “Shamanic First Aid for Today’s Woman,”archival quality giclee prints of my shamanic paintings, and my feminist shamanic journey drumming CD for sale through the web site in order to help support my work. Please contact me if you would like to receive advance notice of new publications and artwork as they are published.