Stop The Commodification Of Ceremonies And Medicine Work - The Importance Of Offering Ceremonies On A Donation Only Basis

October 12, 2018 1 Comment

Stop The Commodification Of Ceremonies And Medicine Work - The Importance Of Offering Ceremonies On A Donation Only Basis

  Over the past few decades the attempted commodification of medicine and spiritual knowledge has become rampant. Perhaps some of the people who have been participating in this process have good intentions but are simply naive to the ceremonial protocols which have been upheld among Indigenous humans from all continents from time immemorial. Perhaps some people know of these protocols but simply cannot find another way to support their lifestyles. 

    More recently, the dilution and corruption of medicine work which occurs when a person is offering their ceremonies to others at a set monetary fee has become so apparent that Indigenous leaders from across the globe have held meetings, released statements, created rallies, participated in documentaries, and worked with any means possible to get the message out there;

  Medicine and Ceremonies Are Not For Sale. You Cannot Buy Spirit.

      The truth is, we need all the good medicine in this world we can get right now - all hands on deck. Not charging a fixed monetary fee for ceremonial and healing work should not discourage those who have been given the gift of healing medicine to share with the people. Medicine people need to eat too, and in the modern-day culture one needs money to do that. However, the donations which are given to the person facilitating the ceremony/healing are meant to be just that; donations, voluntary gifts from the heart. In this way, no one is ever turned away due to lack of funds while those who have more abundance can feel free to lovingly gift the healers and medicine people who are helping them. 

        Each and every one of the most potent and clear medicine people who I have been lucky enough to know continue to invest energy into various non-ceremonial ways to make their "bread and butter". For example, making jewelry, weaving tapestries, farming food, renting out a house, etc. The reason for this is that at the moment when a person decides to rely on donations and/or fees they receive through their ceremonial work as their main source of income is the moment when the medicine they are offering becomes about something else other than helping the world. 

      In many of our Original Instructions training programs and retreats we offer the experience of healing ceremonies, songs, and treatments. We include these in all of our curriculum and itineraries because it is our understanding that they are and should be an integral part of daily life.  However, when you pay a fee for one of our retreats, classes, or programs you are not paying for the ceremonial offerings. Not only are we sure to only share ceremonial songs and practices which we have permission to share, but also we clarify with our students and clients that they are paying for the instructional part of our events, which consists of specific professional training. The founder of the Original Instructions School, Brittany Jade Gelinas, has always worked this way in regards to ceremonies, healings, births, and readings. From a very young age she realized that offering instructional classes, artwork, and other more mundane work at a set price provides support to her family whereas basing her financial security on the medicine she has been gifted with is blasphemous.

        If you are currently interacting and participating in healing and/or ceremonial work in which you are being asked to pay a set fee in order to participate you may want to take a long, hard look at the person or people you have placed your faith in and what their motivations are. Chances are that they were never actually initiated into or recognized as a healer in any kind of actually Indigenous tradition, or that they have somewhere along the way disconnected from their other skills in life. Please feel free to contact our school directly in order to obtain resources and recommendations of healing practitioners who offer ceremonies, healings, and readings in the old way:

 By Donation Only

1 Response


November 06, 2018

Thinking about the difference in the emotional response to “paying a bill” and “giving a gift” makes this easy to understand. We imbue our gifts with so much positivity and good intentions, and have such a sagging, compulsory response to “fees,” — how could that not affect the experience of ceremony?

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