Kenaz Filan has a great blog post on the concept of paying for services in Paganism.
This is something I struggle with a great deal. I never want “ability to pay” to be the reason why someone can’t access my services. Instead of having set fees for things, I usually leave it open to the recipient to offer something in exchange, although I have been getting better at both making suggestions so they understand the general worth of what I offer, as well as trying to make sure I get mine before services are rendered. (Even as recently as a few months ago, I decided to go ahead and offer counseling to someone assuming that they’d pay up eventually and had to end the relationship when four sessions went by with not even a conversation about reciprocity.)
To be clear, the reason I “charge” for services is twofold. The first is that obtaining the education/ability to provide said services at the level that I operate (divination, ritual construction, hook suspension, etc) cost me money as well as time, and professionals deserve to get paid. When you hire me, you not only get my training, but also years of experience – I’ve been divining and constructing rituals for almost 20 years now. I also have some very specialized skill sets that you can’t just find in the yellow pages – in fact, I was musing to someone that I’m pretty sure I’m one of only two madness shamans I’m aware of that take counseling clients.
The second reason I expect some form of reciprocity is because these things don’t happen for free. For example, if you ask me for an ordeal, I need to arrange for the right time, place, people, props, ritual items, whatever tools I may need. Because it’s not like I just write a ritual and then it happens – almost always I’m also the orchestrator and administrator, making sure everyone’s ritual script got picked up at Kinko’s on time, and that the wine was chilled to the temperature the Goddess asked for. People balk all the time when I bring up money around energy pulls, as though hooks grow on trees.
Anyway, I’m exhausted and want to hit the hay, and mostly I want you to go read what Kenaz has to say about paying for services, because zie makes a great point how the entitlement starts to bleed over into expecting the Gods to provide everything for free. Which is a concept you’ll see again when I get back to writing Month for Loki posts.