As many of you already know, being associated with making a business out of spirituality is not our Way and goes against our traditional Teachings.
We hope this page is helpful in providing clear reasons for this and as a support that may help you in understanding this concept in a money driven culture.
Here are some simple things we keep in mind to determine if we are Living Respectfully to the Way of Ancestrial Wisdom:
Preparation is very important in our Way of Life. Preparation is for our own spiritual growth so that we can be better Human Beings, men, women, and relatives of all kinds. As we prepare ourselves for Ceremony, we prepare ourself for Life and the Spirit Path ahead. If our children or family member asks us for a ceremony we do not charge them money, but we help them prepare. If we have a ceremony we may invite our Kin and close friends- To us, preparations require various steps, but the main one is mostly in accepting the responsibility so that we can do for others.
Participation in most ceremonies does not automatically deem someone an “authority” or a “Spiritual Leader” nor do we believe that political status does either. We Live in a Manner to be guided by the Great Mystery which is the Creator of all that Is and we seek to discover our sacred Kinship in a manner outside of ego and politics- a process that usually takes much more than a few experiences of ceremonial participation, or maybe even one life time. We teach our children the importance of being discerning when it comes to ceremonially “following” anyone, especially outside of ones own family/kinship circle. To us, participation in ceremonies is also an important part of kinship bonding and the committment to pass on wisdom to the next generations.
Giving Thanks: Those in which we DO for lovingly become our Ceremonial Kin - like a family, we recognize people respectfully and appropriately as some kind of relative. We then help/assist each other according to what that relationship is. We Give Thanks for any help or assistance we receive from our relative by preparing a gift for them or something they may be in need of, or we may provide a gift to another in Honor of that person.
Kinship: Every Tribe and Family has their own customs, traditions or observances to the Kinship Way ~ but always to us “business” and “kinship” are 2 different things entirely.
We understand that in the modern world, we are depending heavily upon money as a resource to trade or acquire what we need and want. We live in a way now that a person may really believe that anything can be bought and sold - and from a materialistic perspective we see this a lot. From a Spiritual perspective we must use good sense in seeking balance in regard to this.
Share: When we receive help and/or something wonderful it is natural for us to want to share it. The key word here is “Share”. If it is appropriate and we are prepared well, then we understand that in sharing we do not claim ourselves as owners of "it". If we do not “own it” then we have no right to “sell it". Without getting into the ethics of “ownership” of various kinds, (since ultimately, all things as we know them are from the Creator which we have been entrusted or loaned for a time and purpose- including the Earth) we can still understand the need to acquire money (resources) for certain aspects of modern life under certain conditions.
Ask: In situations where the necessary resources are not available otherwise, asking for help from others (especially family or ceremonial kin) is appropriate to us. This could mean asking for help in collecting blankets, firewood, give-away items, feast preparations, etc. In other cases where money is a direct need, for instance to arrange for an elders travel to a ceremony or to help someone with a financial struggle, then asking for financial donations may also be appropriate-as long as it is not for personal profit. Usually though, in a close kinship circle, needs are obvious and help is given without the need to ask.
A set price or “due” of any kind in exchange for a ceremonial ritual or privilege of any kind is not something we condone or involve ourselves in. Sadly there have been situations in which we have had to make a conscious decision to step away from some people who have disregarded this philosophy. The most simple way that we can explain it is that we must never ask for or expect money for providing ceremonial rituals of any kind.
It is ok to “gift” people who help us ceremonially in any way a person chooses… it is about choice, freedom and sharing and never about setting an admission price for ceremonies.
May we walk together with integrity.