I suppose I should also talk about why I wanted to give this talk in the first place. Since I made the proposal last November I've been all over the place with this talk. As I mentioned earlier, most of those places were vaudevillian in nature, but the nice thing about putting in a proposal that far in advance is as long as you stick to the basic guidelines in your 200 word proposal you can range far and wide over the topic. The terrible thing about putting in a proposal that far in advance is you can range far and wide over the topic.
The sad truth is, it was not a positive and altruistic imperative that sent me into the topic of ethics and responsibility – I was just really pissed off. Last year I got a run of reading clients here at ULE who were horribly miss trained certified Reiki Masters. Yeah, that's me getting all judgmental, but it came directly from my source, in horrified tones, "this person has been doing energy work in a dangerous way. Set em straight." (In stories my source always talks like James Earl Jones.) So we talked about grounding and clearing and channeling energy rather than using your own. These readings really became energy worker's summer school and I became increasingly freaked out wondering who was "certifying people as energy workers without making sure they were well trained and safe, both for themselves and others.
Most annoyingly, no one would tell me who their teachers were, who were these people who would certify a Reiki master in a single weekend, or sit and read from the book for 4 hours and call it a class, or (best yet) give the first and second attunements from a distance as soon as your check cleared and call you when it was done. I'm going to find her. It could be they saw the vengeful glint in my eyes, but what was I gonna do? Sneak up behind the miscreants in a dark ally, whisper, "I'm Batman," and try to scare 'em straight? Hardly. Batman has better toys than I do.
So I really got to thinking, what are the responsibilities of "New Agey" teachers, and how can I present this without it just being me telling appalling stories for forty five minutes? Cuz it's not just the appalling stories that bother me. I mean, for many people, myself included, this is my business and creepy cons in business are as old as business. Should we just say buyer beware the way we would in any other service industry or should we in the spiritual and metaphysical businesses be held to a higher standard? If so, and I believe we should be, what standard?
So I suppose we probably need to talk about money, this is America after all.
I hear a lot of people talking about money in the metaphysical community with views spanning the divide from you should never charge! to charge what ever you can for your services… and that is something we often forget – services are very different from products. In the same way that you never want to go to a discount surgeon you probably don't want a cut rate healer, so be aware that being the cheapest psychic in the room may not be the best business strategy. But I digress.
Returning to the central idea here – is it ethical and moral to charge for the services of the divine? If we are using unseen and hard to quantify talents should we charge for them? If I provide you a psychic reading should I charge you for it? I have heard a lot of people say no. Saying that Psychic services should be free or by donation only. It is more important to do the work than it is to be paid for it, as if selling your services and talents was tantamount to prostitution. The argument that what we do as psychics and healers is sacred and should not be sold on the barrow to the highest bidder is a powerful one. It is clear and high-minded and I don't agree with it.
While I do believe that those of us who are "sanefully God employed," as one reader puts it, should never turn away a person truly in need – regardless of ability to pay. We still must support ourselves and in the same way that a talented musician or athlete can and should use those talents to make a living so should we. It would be lovely to not have to worry about keeping the lights on and only focusing on a higher, spiritual purpose, that is not the way our current world works. So yes, we should trade upon our gifts and talents to make the world a better place and support our place in it. And while I believe with all my heart that it is wrong to turn away a person in need if you have the skills and abilities to help I also believe those people who are unable to pay anything are very few and far between – everyone else pays cash.
One thing I have discovered over years of readings, some paid and some free, is when you exchange goods for services you are creating an energetic contract that connects the reader and the client until the debt has been cleared. On a spiritual, or energetic, level the psychic is obligated to connect with the client to fulfill the contract and give the best information he is able to provide. In the purest sense the reader must give bad news, good news and everything in between not the make the client happy, but to be honest and truthful while fulfilling the contract. Readers who blow smoke and tell people what they want to hear - frauds as it were - are in breach of their sacred contract and will undoubtedly be held accountable by Spirit. If the reader is unable to connect or give a truthful reading he is obligated to return the payment.
The client on the other hand, is agreeing to be open and honest as well, to not lie or block the reader in the fulfillment of his duties. I also believe that clients who are willfully blocked or blocking give up their right to a refund.
I think most people understand that on a very basic level. There is a sense of security in paying for something that isn't there when you get the same thing for free. I also think that every reader and healer has come to the depressing realization at some point that people don't value what they don't pay for – especially in this society. "You get what you pay for" is hammered into our heads form a very young age and most people believe that deep in their heads.
Psychic work, energetic healing and every other form of mystical, magical, mojo is a team effort between the practitioner, the client, and the divine. Reading for people who think you are a fraud or are actively blocking is really annoying and difficult. Healing people who don't want to be healed is an exercise in futility. Handing over that cold cash creates a bond and is yet another act of giving permission. The client is paying you to connect with their energy and expecting you to do so – it's practically a signed consent form.
But outside the framework of a business transaction, what are the rules and guidelines for being a psychic (for the purposes of this discussion I am going to use the term psychic as a catchall for everyone with the mysical, magical, mojo. Saves time).
[readon url="http://johnmichaelthornton.com/Video/Video/This-I-Choose-Part-3.html"]This I Choose - Ethics and Responsibilities of the Modern Mystic Continues in Part 3[/readon]