Thursday, January 3, 2008

Compensating Shamans

Compensating Shamans

People have heard that spiritual people should not be compensated, especially medicine men and Shamans. This is not true. Native peoples all over the world have always compensated the Shaman and medicine people of their communities. Before going to a Lakota medicine man it is customary to bring a bundle to him. You bring sage, sweet grass, tobacco etc. bundled in a blanket or quilt and offer it to him stating you come to him in a good manner. Also, people give some money too. If you go to a sweat, it is customary to bring food for the ceremony and again all the materials the head of the sweat needs to run the sweat. Wood, or money to help out, materials for tobacco ties, etc to help with the running of the sweat. And after a ceremony is done it is customary to offer additional gifts to the one who ran the ceremony such as you feel is right. Also, a year after a ceremony to have a giveaway to thank the spirit people for helping you. It is believed that if you do not do the giveaway then you will have the anger of the spirit people who helped you. The Navajo also get paid for doing ceremonies. In the past it was sheep, goats, rugs, turquoise, etc. Now it is money that we give for ceremonies.

Even the Shaman of Mongolia were compensated.
the community that the shaman served would tend to the shaman’s herds (reindeer, horses, etc). On top of this, when they needed spiritual help such as blessings, hunting magic, healings, etc., they paid the shaman. Currency was usually in the form of hides, meat, bricks of tea, and eagle feathers.
The money and gifts etc are for the spirit people. They did not charge like doctors or store merchants in the past or set prices. This would make it were people who were of lesser means would not be able to have ceremonies done. Shaman and medicine people are for the communities. However, life has changed in the United States and even in the rest of the world. People now work jobs and live in apartments in large cities. In Mongolia The tradition has evolved into gifting the shaman 3 things. One would be to supply the shaman with all the things he needed for the ceremony. This would include bottles of vodka to make arshaan out of as well as smudge material, travel expenses, etc. The second would be khadags (ceremonial scarves) for him to honour the spirits of his equipment with, the third would be a gift according to what the person could afford. Once again, the payment is to honour the spirits and not the shaman himself.

Because the average person now days does not understand the old traditions of compensating the Shaman I am going to have a minimum payment for me to gather the items I need to do ceremonies. Then I will have another area where you can place other compensation according to your means. In this manner I feel I will keep to the spirit of what the spirit people expect of me. Shaman Metaphysical Store

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