Sacred Economics: Chapter 21, Working in the Gift (Part 22)

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The following is the twenty-second installment from Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition, available from EVOLVER EDITIONS/North Atlantic Books. You can read the Introduction here, and visit the Sacred Economics homepage here.


Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us
comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine
purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do
know: that we are here for the sake of others.
–Albert Einstein



The question comes up again and again: How can I share my
gifts in today's money economy and still make a living? Some people who ask
this question are artists, healers, or activists who despair of finding a way
to "get paid for" what they do. Others have a successful business or profession
but have begun to feel that something is amiss with the way they charge for
their services.

to charge a fee for service, or even for material goods, violates the spirit of
the Gift. When we shift into gift mentality, we treat our creations as gifts to
other people or to the world. It is contrary to the nature of a gift to
specify, in advance, a return gift, for then it is no longer giving but rather
bartering, selling. Furthermore, many people, particularly artists, healers,
and musicians, see their work as sacred, inspired by a divine source and
bearing infinite value. To assign it a price feels like a devaluation, a
sacrilege. But surely the artist deserves to be compensated for his work,

idea behind the word "compensation" is that you have, by working, made a
sacrifice of your time. You have spent it doing work when you could have
instead spent it on something you want to do. Another context in which we use
the word is lawsuits, for example when someone seeks compensation for an
injury, for pain and suffering.

an economy that deserves the adjective "sacred," work will no longer be an
injury to one's time or life; it will no longer be a matter of pain and
suffering. A sacred economy recognizes that human beings desire to work: they
desire to apply their life energy toward the expression of their gifts. There
is no room in this conception for "compensation." Work is a joy, a cause for
gratitude. At its best, it is beyond price. Doesn't it sound blasphemous to you
to speak of, say, compensating Michelangelo for painting the Sistine
Chapel or Mozart for composing his Requiem? No finite amount of money is
sufficient in exchange for the divine. Of the most sublime works, the only
appropriate means of offering them is to give them away. Even if, at the
moment, few of us have access to the genius of a Mozart, we are all capable of
sacred work. We are all capable of channeling, through our skills, something
greater than ourselves. Something takes form through us, using us as the
instrument for its manifestation on earth. Can you see how foreign the concept
of "compensation" is to this kind of work? Can you feel the dishonor in selling
a sacred creation? No matter what the price, you have sold yourself short, and
you have sold short the source from whence the gift came. I like to put it this
way: "Some things are too good to sell. We can only give them away."

immediately arise in the reader. Despite the foregoing, you may have even
caught yourself again thinking, "But doesn't an artist deserve to be
compensated for his work?" The intuitions of separation run so deeply! So let
us rephrase it: "Doesn't the giver of great gifts deserve to receive great
gifts in return?" The answer, insofar as "deserves" means anything at all, is
yes. In a sacred economy, this will happen through the mechanism of gratitude
rather than compulsion. The attitude of the seller says, "I will give you this
gift-but only if you pay me for it, only if you give me what I think it is
worth." (Yet no matter what the price, the seller will always feel
shortchanged.) The attitude of the giver, in contrast, says, "I will give you
this gift — and I trust you to give me what you think is appropriate." If you
give a great gift, and no gratitude results, then perhaps that is a sign that
you have given it to the wrong person. The spirit of the Gift responds to
needs. To generate gratitude is not the goal of giving; it is a sign, an
indicator, that the gift was given well, that it met a need. That is another
reason I disagree with certain spiritual teachings that say a person of true
generosity will not desire to receive anything, even gratitude, in return.

let's make this practical. After wrestling with this issue for some time, I
realized that while it feels wrong to charge money for my work, it feels fine
to accept money from people who feel grateful for having received it. The
degree of gratitude is unique to each person. I cannot know in advance how
valuable this book will be to you; even you cannot know it in advance. That is
why it is contrary to the spirit of the gift to pay for something unknown in
advance. Lewis Hyde illustrates this point most insightfully:


It may be clearer now why I said above that a fee for
service tends to cut off the force of gratitude. The point is that a
conversion, in the general sense, cannot be settled upon ahead of time. We
can't predict the fruits of our labor; we can't even know if we'll really go
through with it. Gratitude requires an unpaid debt, and we will be
motivated to proceed only so long as the debt is felt. If we stop
feeling indebted we quit, and rightly so. To sell a transformative gift
therefore falsifies the relationship; it implies that the return gift has been
made when in fact it can't be made until the transformation is finished. A
prepaid fee suspends the weight of the gift and depotentiates it as an agent of
change. Therapies and spiritual systems delivered through the market will
therefore tend to draw the energy required for conversion from an aversion to
pain rather than from an attraction to a higher state.1


I have taken what steps I can to conduct my work in alignment with the spirit
of the gift. For example, I make as much as possible of my writing, sound
recordings, and videos available online for no charge and invite readers to
give a gift in return that reflects their degree of gratitude. This gift need
not go to me. If the gratitude is, for instance, toward the universe for making
my work available, perhaps a more appropriate way of giving is to "pay it

use a similar model in my public speaking. When I am asked my speaker's fee, I
say that I do not charge a fee. Usually I request that my travel expenses be
covered; beyond that, I say something like, "It is up to you. Give me whatever
amount, or none at all, that leaves you with a feeling of clearness, balance,
and appropriateness, an amount that reflects your gratitude for my coming to be
with you." This is not a formula, it is a spirit that adapts itself to each
unique situation. If they have a standard speaker's honorarium, I won't
necessarily insist on an exception for myself. Moreover, sometimes an up-front
offer communicates to me how much they desire what I have to offer. I want to
give my gifts where they are wanted, and money is one of several ways to
communicate that desire.

is important not to make "living in the gift" into a fetish, or into a standard
of virtue. Don't do it in order to be good. Do it in order to feel good. If you
find yourself rejoicing (as I do) over a big fat check, that is OK! We humans
are delighted to receive big gifts. Even if you find yourself (again, as I
sometimes do) feeling miserly, resentful, and grasping, simply take note of
that as well. The road back to the gift is a long one, so distanced from it we
have become. I see myself as one of many explorers of a new (and ancient)
territory, learning from the discoveries of others and from my own mistakes.

I lead retreats, I charge only for room and board and other out-of-pocket
expenses, and invite gifts.2 It has taken some time for me to enter
a state of consciousness where this model actually "works." If I resent those
who give nothing, if I intend, through the enunciation of high-sounding
principles, to coerce or manipulate people into giving beyond what genuine
gratitude dictates, or if I subtly "guilt" people into giving by hinting at my
hardship, sacrifice, or entitlement by virtue of poverty, then I am not living
in the spirit of the gift at all. I am living instead in a subtle kind of
scarcity mentality or beggary, and, as if to mirror that state, the flow of
gifts dries up almost immediately. Not only do people refrain from giving, but
my own wellspring of gifts dries up as well.

long as my gift intention is authentic, I find that the inflow of gifts matches
or exceeds the outflow. Sometimes the vehicle of the return gift is mysterious,
indirectly traceable or not traceable at all to anything I have given, yet
somehow, when it comes, it carries something of the spirit of the original
offering. Sometimes only an exiguous trail of synchronicity and symbol connects
the gift I have received with the gift I have given. The rational mind says the
return gift has nothing at all to do with what I gave — "I would have received
that anyway" — but the heart knows otherwise.

the return gift comes later, as we step into gift-based livelihood we live for
a time in faith. With no assurance of return, we learn whether we really mean
it. The ego struggles and thrashes, trying to find an assured benefit. If not
money, maybe I can advertise my generosity to receive praise. Maybe I can
secretly congratulate myself and feel superior to those who are less in the
gift than I am. In my experience, each new step into the gift is scary. The
letting go has to be real, or there will be no return.


in the Gift

Now let us apply this model to other kinds of businesses.
There are already a number of enterprises today that are implementing gift
economics in creative ways. I don't uphold my own model as the best or only way
of living in the gift. We are pioneering a new kind of economy, and it is going
to take some trial and error to get it right. I'll offer a few examples of
people doing business according to one or both of the key principles of the
gift I have discussed: (1) The recipient, and not the giver, determines the
"price" (the return gift); (2) The return gift is chosen after the initial gift
has been received, not before.

Berkeley, California, the Karma Clinic has been treating people with holistic
medicine on a gift basis for two years. After the consultation or treatment,
the client receives a "bill" that reads,

"Your consultation is a generous gift from someone that came
before you. If you would like to gift-forward in that spirit, you can do so
however you choose. Monetary or other gifts may be left in the gift box in the
Karma Clinic office or mailed to …" In Ashland, Oregon, another gift-based
clinic called the Gifting Tree has formed. There are doubtless many more around
the country, and they appear to be quite sustainable: the Victoria Attunement
Center operated purely on a donation basis from 1982 to 1988 and, according to
its founder Will Wilkinson, was completely self-supporting with over 300 client
visits per month.

gift model has also been applied to restaurants. The One World restaurant in
Salt Lake City, in operation since 2003; the SAME (So All May Eat) Cafe in
Denver, in operation since 2008; A Better World Cafe in New Jersey, which
opened in 2009; the Karma Kitchen in Berkeley; and many more operate on a
donation-only basis — and many of them serve organic food to boot.

the idea entered the mainstream when the national restaurant chain Panera Bread
opened a pay-what-you-want store in St. Louis, Missouri. The menu is exactly
the same as at its other stories, but the prices are guidelines only. Patrons
are asked to pay whatever feels right: the sign at the counter says, "Take what
you need, leave your fair share." If this experiment works, the company plans
to expand the model to locations around the country. I wonder if they realize
that they are pioneering not just a model of civic virtue, but also a model of
business for the future.

the internet, of course, an enormous gift economy thrives. Versions of all
major types of productivity software are available at no charge. For example,
the office suite OpenOffice, a collaborative effort by hundreds of volunteer
programmers, is available at no charge. I am hesitant to use the phrase "for
free" here, because those words imply almost a repudiation of any return gift.
The OpenOffice organization does accept donations and encourages those who have
downloaded the software to contribute in various ways.

of bands offer their music "for free" online as well. The most notable pioneer
of the gift business model for recorded music was Radiohead, which offered its
2007 In Rainbows album on a pay-what-you-will basis. Although nearly
two-thirds of downloaders chose to pay nothing, hundreds of thousands did
choose to pay a few dollars for it, and millions more copies were purchased on
iTunes, as CDs, and through other channels. Critics dismissed this success as
an anomaly made possible by Radiohead's iconic status, yet the basic model
continues to proliferate, especially in the music industry as traditional
distribution channels becomes increasingly impractical for most bands.

there is even a law firm that has incorporated a pay-what-you-will element into
its business. The Valorem Law Group, a trial law firm based in Chicago, has
added a "value adjustment line" feature to its bills. At the bottom of the
bill, above an empty "Total due" box, is a box labeled "Value adjustment." The
client writes a positive or negative number there and adjusts the final fee
accordingly. I am full of admiration for this firm, because from a legalistic
point of view this feature is quite insane. Someone could "adjust" the bill by
the full amount and pay nothing, and the firm would probably have no legal

let's generalize these examples into a broadly applicable business model. The
fundamentals are quite simple. The first guideline is to charge money only to
cover your own direct costs. This includes marginal costs and apportioned fixed
costs, but not sunk costs. So, for example, if you install plumbing for
someone, you would charge for materials (with zero markup), fuel to reach the
site, and perhaps half a day's worth of your current payments on capital
equipment (e.g., your truck loan, business loan, etc.). You would make it clear
to the recipient that your time, labor, and expertise are a gift. The bill
might have the total costs, and then a blank line labeled "gift," and then the
line labeled "total" underneath it.

variant of this model is to follow Valorem and display a normal fee that
reflects the market price with a line under it labeled "value adjustment" or
"gratitude adjustment." Most people will probably just pay the market price,
but you can explain that they can adjust it if they are especially satisfied or
dissatisfied with the work.

variant is not to charge anything at all but to delineate various line items
such as "cost of materials," "apportioned cost of business expenses," "hours of
labor," "market price for this service," and so on. That way the recipient can
choose to pay nothing at all, not even for materials, but at least she has this
information. This information, like the note in the Karma Clinic, is "the story
of the gift" referenced earlier. Traditionally, gifts were often accompanied by
stories that helped the receiver appreciate their value.

gift business model is actually not as far from standard business practice as
you might think. Today, a common negotiating tactic is to say, "Look, here are
my costs; I can't go any lower than that."3 It is not such a huge
shift of perspective to say, "Here are my costs. You can pay me more according
to the value you believe you have received." Often the customer will have a
pretty good idea of the market price of the goods or services you are offering
and, if there is any genuine humanity at all in the business relationship, will
probably pay close to that. If he or she does pay a premium above the base cost,
you can interpret that as indicating the presence of gratitude. If someone is
grateful for what you have given, you will desire to give more. If someone is
ungrateful, you know that the gift is not being fully received, and you will
probably choose not to give to that person again.

into a business relationship, what this means is that you will choose not to do
business again with someone who pays you little or nothing above cost, and you
will preferentially do business with someone who, using money as token,
communicates her high degree of gratitude. This is as it should be. Some people
need our gifts more than others. If you have bread, you want to give it to the
hungry person. Displays of gratitude help to orient us toward the best expression
of our gifts. So, just as today, a business will tend to do business with those
who pay the most money (although nonmonetary expressions of gratitude may also
come into play). This is different from tending to do business with those who
offer the best price. The difference is key. In keeping with the spirit of the
gift, the price is not offered ahead of time. The gift is offered first, and
only after it is received is a return gift made.

cannot help but notice a parallel between this approach and various
game-theoretic studies of altruism and iterated prisoner's dilemma problems.
Look up "tit-for-tat" in Wikipedia for some background on this topic.
Essentially, in many situations where there are repeated interactions among
discrete entities with varying payoffs for cooperation and betrayal, the
optimal strategy is to cooperate first and retaliate only against someone who
didn't cooperate last time. Analogous reasoning leads me to think that the
business model I have outlined can actually be more financially successful over
time than the standard model.4

gift mentality is so alien to us today, doing business in the gift sometimes
requires a bit of education. I've found that if I advertise an event as "by
donation," people sometimes treat it as a throwaway, thinking, "It must not be
very valuable or very important if he isn't charging for it." They'll come late
or not at all, or they'll come with low expectations. Paying a fee is a kind of
ritual that sends a message to the unconscious that "this is something
valuable" or "I am doing this for real." I and many others are still
experimenting to find better ways to invoke the benefits of payment while
staying true to the spirit of the gift. We are at the beginning of a new era,
so it is going to take some practice and experimentation.

at the time of this writing most corporations and business owners are not ready
to step into a gift-based business model. That's OK — you can give them a little
push! Simply implement it unilaterally by "stealing" their products, for
example by illegally downloading or copying digital content like songs, movies,
software, and so on. Then, if you feel grateful to the creators of it, send
them some money. I would be quite happy if you did the same with this book. It
will be hard to do it illegally, though, since I don't claim standard
copyrights (I bet you didn't read the copyright page carefully, but it isn't
the usual verbiage), and the content is available online without charge.
Nonetheless, if you do manage to "steal" this book, I will be pleased to
receive an amount from you that reflects your gratitude — as opposed to the
amount that I or the publisher presumes reflects its value to you. Each
person's experience of reading it is unique: for some it may be a waste of
time, for others it might be life-changing. Isn't it absurd to receive an
identical return gift from everyone?


Sacred Professions

The gift model comes especially naturally for professions in
which the value delivered is something intangible. Musicians, artists,
prostitutes, healers, counselors, and teachers all offer gifts that are debased
when we assign them a price. When what we offer is sacred to us, then the only
honorable way to offer it is as a gift.5 No price can be high enough
to reflect the sacredness of the infinite. By asking for a specific speaker's
fee, I make less of my gift. If you are a member of one of the above
professions, you might consider experimenting with a gift model of business — but
remember, if you apply that model as a more clever means to "get paid," it
won't work. People can detect a phony gift, a gift that isn't a gift but
carries an agenda of gain.

all of the above professions, the intangible rides the vehicle of something
tangible, and it is the former, unquantifiable, that naturally wants to abide
in the realm of the gift. This is actually true of every profession. Always,
something is present that is beyond quantification, beyond commodity, and thus
beyond price. Every profession is therefore potentially sacred. Consider the
example of farming. What makes food-something tangible-a vehicle for the

  • It is grown by someone who cares deeply about
    its nourishing and aesthetic qualities. It is grown in a way that enriches the
    ecosystem, soil, water, and life in general. Its production and processing
    contribute to a healthy society.

In other words, sacred food is ensconced in a web of natural
and social relationships. It is grown with a love for people and earth that is
not an abstract love but a love for this land and these people.
We cannot love anonymously, which is perhaps why I've always gotten a somewhat
cold feeling from anonymous charity that doesn't create connection. Somebody
grew sacred food for me!

we see our work as sacred, we seek to do it well for its own sake rather than
"good enough" for something external such as the market, the building code, or
a grade. A builder who does sacred work will employ materials and methods that
might be hidden in the walls, beyond anyone's notice, for centuries. He derives
no rational benefit from this, just the satisfaction of doing it right. So also
the business owner who pays an above-market living wage or the manufacturer who
far exceeds environmental standards. They have no rational expectation of
benefit, yet somehow they do benefit, sometimes in ways that are
completely unexpected. Unexpected returns accord perfectly with the nature of
the Gift: as Lewis Hyde puts it, a gift "disappears around the corner," "into
the mystery," and we don't know how it will travel back to us.

way to see the unexpected fruits that arise from the mystery is that when we
live in the spirit of the gift, magic happens. Gift mentality is a kind of
faith, a kind of surrender-and that is a prerequisite for miracles to arise. From
the Gift, we become capable of the impossible.

met a man in Oregon who owns a property management company specializing in
low-income elder care facilities. "This," he says, "is an impossible business."
Subject to the multiple, conflicting stressors of medical institutions,
insurance companies, government regulation, the poverty of the residents, and
general financial turmoil, his industry was in a state of crisis. The week I
visited him, two of his largest competitors called begging him to take over
their money-losing facilities. Yet somehow, this man has built a profitable,
growing business, an empowering workplace, and human living environments that
are a model for the industry. How does he do it? "Every day," he says, "I walk
into the office to face a stack of impossible problems. I cannot imagine any
way to solve them. So I do the only thing I can do: I bow into service. And
then, like magic, solutions fall into my lap."

one who bows into service is an artist. To see work as sacred is to bow into
service to it, and thus become its instrument. More specifically and somewhat
paradoxically, we become the instrument of that which we create. Whether it is
a material, human, or social creation, we put ourselves into the humble service
of something preexisting yet unmanifest. Thus it is that the artist is in awe
of his or her own creation. I get that feeling when I read aloud from The
Ascent of Humanity
: "I could not have written this." That book is its own
entity, born through me but no more my creation than parents create a baby, or
a farmer a spinach plant. They transmit the impulse of life, they provide a
place for it to grow, but they do not and need not understand the details of
cell differentiation. I too nourished my growing book with every resource
available to me, and birthed it with terrific hardship from its womb in my mind
into physical form, and I am intimately familiar with its every nuance, yet I
have an abiding sense that it existed already, that it is beyond my
contrivance. Can a parent legitimately take credit for the accomplishments of
his or her child? No. That is a form of theft. Nor will I take credit for the
beauty of my creations. I am at their service.

have drawn this out to show that the same logic that the Christian fathers,
Thomas Paine, and Henry George applied to land applies as well to the fruits of
human labor. They exist beyond ourselves — we are stewards at their service, just
as we are properly stewards of the land and not its owners. As they are given
to us, so we give them onward. That is why we are drawn to do business in the
spirit of the Gift. It feels good and right because it aligns us with the
truth. It opens us to a flow of wealth beyond the limits of our design. Such is
the origin of any great idea or invention: "It came to me." How then can we
presume to own it? We can only give it away, and thereby keep the channel open
through which we will continue to receive sacred gifts, in diverse forms, from
other people and all that is.

an incentive to make the switch to a gift model of business, observe that for
many of the sacred professions, the old model isn't working anymore. Here in
the small city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is not exactly the most
progressive place on earth, there are nonetheless literally hundreds of
holistic, complementary, and alternative practitioners advertising in the local
Holistic Health Networker. Hundreds. And probably at least half of them, upon
entering their herbal studies program or yoga therapy program or naturopathy program,
or their hypnotherapy, angelic healing, crystal healing, polarity therapy,
Reiki, cranial-sacral therapy, holistic nutrition, massage therapy, or other
program, had in mind a future career in an office or holistic health center
seeing "clients" for "sessions" at $85 or $120 each. It is impossible that more
than a handful will realize that dream. Yet the schools and training programs
keep churning out new practitioners. Sooner or later, most of them will have to
abandon the clients-and-sessions model and turn toward offering their skills as
a gift.6

is happening in these professions is starting to happen more generally. We
might ascribe it to overcapacity, debt overhang, the "falling marginal return
on investment," or some other economic factor, but the fact is that the old
profit model is in crisis. Like the holistic practitioners I described,
collectively we will soon have no choice but to adopt a different model en masse.

the old economy, people pursued jobs and careers for the purpose of making a
living. From the viewpoint of survival, nothing is too sacred to sell, to
charge money for. If you are working for the sake of survival, such as in a
lead mine in China, then it probably won't feel wrong to negotiate and demand
the best price possible for your labor. Another way to look at it is that the
survival of oneself and loved ones is itself a sacred endeavor.

want to inject a note of gentleness and realism into this discussion. Please do
not think I am advocating some saintly standard of altruism or self-sacrifice.
You do not gain heavenly rewards for accepting a salary cut. If your main
concern right now is survival or security, "work" to you will probably not be
an avenue for the expression of your gifts. Your job will feel like just that,
a "job"-something you do primarily for the money and would quit or radically
change if you had no financial pressure. And even though you may feel some
sense of being ripped off, of living the life someone is paying you to live but
not your own life, the life of a slave compelled to work or to die, that
doesn't mean you "should" overcome your fears and quit that job and trust
you'll be OK. Living in the gift is not another thing you are supposed to do in
order to be a good person. Fear is not the new enemy in our continuing war
against the self, the successor to the old hobgoblins of sin and ego. Sacred
economics is part of a broader revolution in human beingness: internally, it is
the end of the war against the self; externally, it is the end of the war against
nature. It is the economic dimension of a new age, the Age of Reunion.

if you find yourself slaving away at a job, working for the money, doing it
"good enough" rather than "as beautifully as I am able," I urge you to
transition out of that job when and only when you are ready. Perhaps for
now you will see your job as a gift to yourself, giving you a sense of security
for as long as it takes for that feeling to become second nature. Fear is not
the enemy, despite what so many spiritual teachers say. "The opposite of love,"
says one. "Frozen joy," says another. Actually fear is a guardian, holding us
in a safe space in which to grow; you could even say that fear is a gift.
Eventually, as we grow, the fears that were once protective become limiting,
and we desire to be born. That this will happen is inevitable. Trust yourself
now, and you will continue to trust yourself when your desire moves you to
transcend the old fears and enter a larger, brighter realm. When the moment of
birth comes, you won't be able to stop yourself.

the struggle to be good also means that giving does not involve a feeling of
sacrifice or self-abnegation. We give because we want to, not because we
should. Gratitude, the recognition that one has received and the desire to give
in turn, is our innate default state. How could it not be, when life, breath,
and world are gifts? When even the fruit of our own labors is beyond our
contrivance? To live in the gift is to reunite with our true nature.

you step into a gift mentality, let your feelings guide you. Let your giving
arise from gratitude and not the desire to measure up to some standard of
virtue. Perhaps the first steps will be small ones: adding little extras, doing
small favors with no agenda of reward. Perhaps if you run a business, you will
convert a small part of it to a gift model. Whatever steps you take, know that
you are preparing for the economy of the future.


1. Hyde, The Gift, 66.

2. Why do I even charge to cover expenses? It is because I
see the events as cocreations. We each contribute something to allow the event
to happen. This is not in the realm of gratitude; it is in the realm of
cocreation, a gathering of resources for the realization of an intention.

3. Of course, actual costs are usually lower than anyone
reveals, and other factors come into play such as the fixed costs of idle
equipment and employees if no agreement is reached.

4. These principles apply only if the business relationships
are happening in a community. In cases where all interactions are one-time
transactions with strangers, the gift model is less practicable. In ancient
gift cultures this was also generally true; when there was barter, it happened
between strangers. However, I have found that most people honor the spirit of
the gift even when it is a one-time transaction. Could it be that we sense that
we are indeed all part of an all-encompassing community and that our gifts,
even our anonymous ones, happen in its witnessing?

5. Significantly, some of these professions have traditionally
operated on the border between payment and gift. Artists and musicians would
receive support from a patron, who would basically give them money so that they
could work. This allowed people like Mozart to survive at a time before
copyrights. Elite prostitutes have long worked on a similar model in which they
receive gifts from their regular clients.

6. This is a trend toward the universalization of medicine,
the migration of healing from the money economy back into the social commons.


Image by Tim Green, courtesy of Creative Commons license. 

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Shrooms vs Acid: Differences and Similarities Explained
Ever wondered what the differences are between shrooms vs acid, or if you can take both together? This guide explains what you need to know.

Quantum Mechanics, Reality, and Magic Mushrooms
Scientist and author Dr. Chris Becker takes an in-depth approach in understanding how we perceive reality through magic mushrooms and quantum mechanics.

Psilocybin Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Psilocybin has everything you want to know about this psychedelic fungi from its uses to its legal status.

The Psilocybin Experience: What’s the Deal With Magic Mushrooms?
From microdoses to macrodoses, the psilocybin experience has been sought after both medicinally and recreationally for millennia.

Psilocybin and Magic Mushroom Resources
Curious to learn more about psilocybin? This guide is a comprehensive psilocybin resource containing books, therapeutic studies, and more.

Paul Stamets Profile: Mushroom Guru, Filmmaker, Nutritionist, Scientist
Learn about Paul Stamets, read his thoughts on psilocybin mircodosing, the future of psilocybin, and his recent film “Fantastic Fungi”.

Microdosing Psilocybin & Common Dosage Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivably, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing psilocybin.

Psilocybin Nasal Spray: Relief for Anxiety, PTSD, and Depression
Microdosing nasal spray with psilocybin, is that possible?! Oregan a start-up Silo Wellness believes so and has created this new option for PTSD treatment.

Mazatec Mushroom Usage: Notes on Approach, Setting and Species for Curious Psilonauts
A look at traditional Mazatec psilocybin mushroom usage, and a comparison to the cliniical therapeutic approach, with an examination of the Mazatec setting and species used in veladas.

María Sabina: The Mazatec Magic Mushroom Woman
Magic mushrooms are incredibly popular today. How they became introduced to into American culture isn’t usually a topic discussed while tripping on psilocybin fungi. We all may have María Sabina to thank for exposing the Western world to the healing properties of the psilocybin mushroom.

Guide to Magic Mushroom Strains
Are there different types of psilocybin? Read our guide to learn about the different magic mushroom strains and their individual effects.

Kilindi Iyi: Mycologist, Traveler, Teacher
Learn about traveler and mycologist Kilindi Iyi known in the psychedelic community for his research and exploration of psilocybin.

How to Store Shrooms: Best Practices
How do you store shrooms for optimal shelf life? Learn how and why the proper storage method is so important.

Shroom Chocolate Recipes: How to Make Magic Mushroom Chocolates
This recipe provides step by step directions on how you can make mushroom chocolates with the necessary ingredients. Read to learn more!

Why Do People Use Psilocybin? New Johns Hopkins Study
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicines has just published a new study on psychoactive effects of psilocybin. Read here to learn more.

How-To Lemon Tek: Ultimate Guide and Recipe
This master guide will teach you how to lemon tek, preventing the onset of negative effects after consuming psilocybin. Read to learn more!

How to Intensify a Mushroom Trip
Learn about techniques like Lemon tekking, or discover the right time to consume cannabis if you are looking to intensify a mushroom trip.

How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: Step-by-Step
This step-by-step guide will show you how to grow magic mushrooms at home. Read this guide before trying it on your own.

How to Dry Magic Mushrooms: Best Practices
Read to learn more about specifics for the best practices on how to dry magic mushrooms after harvesting season.

How to Buy Psilocybin Spores
Interested in psilocybin mushrooms? We’ll walk you through all you need to know to obtain mushroom spores. Nosh on this delish How To guide.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

Having Sex on Shrooms: Good or Bad Idea?
Is having sex on shrooms a good idea or an accident waiting to happen? Find out in our guide to sex on magic mushrooms.

Gold Cap Shrooms Guide: Spores, Effects, Identification
Read this guide to learn more about the different characteristics of gold cap mushrooms, and how they differ from other psilocybin species.

Guide to Cooking with Magic Mushrooms
From cookies to smoothies and sandwiches, we cover various methods of cooking with magic mushrooms for the ultimate snack.

2020 Election: The Decriminalize Psilocybin Movement
Are you curious if mushrooms will follow in marijuana’s footsteps? Read to learn about how the U.S. is moving to decriminalize psilocybin.

Oregon’s Initiative to Legalize Mushrooms | Initiative Petition 34
Oregon continues to push ahead with their initiative to legalize Psilocybin in 2020. The measure received its official title and now needs signatures.

Canada Approves Psilocybin Treatment for Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients
Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu approved the use of psilocybin to help ease anxiety and depression of four terminal cancer patients.

Mapping the DMT Experience
With only firsthand experiences to share, how can we fully map the DMT experience? Let’s explore what we know about this powerful psychedelic.

Guide to Machine Elves and Other DMT Entities
This guide discusses machine elves, clockwork elves, and other common DMT entities that people experience during a DMT trip.

Is the DMT Experience a Hallucination? 
What if the DMT realm was the real world, and our everyday lives were merely a game we had chosen to play?

How to Store DMT
Not sure how to store DMT? Read this piece to learn the best practices and elements of advice to keep your stuff fresh.

What Does 5-MeO-DMT Show Us About Consciousness?
How does our brain differentiate between what’s real and what’s not? Read to learn what can 5-MeO-DMT show us about consciousness.

How to Smoke DMT: Processes Explained
There are many ways to smoke DMT and we’ve outlined some of the best processes to consider before embarking on your journey.

How to Ground After DMT
Knowing what to expect from a DMT comedown can help you integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible from your journey.

How To Get DMT
What kind of plants contain DMT? Are there other ways to access this psychedelic? Read on to learn more about how to get DMT.

How DMT is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make DMT? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how DMT is made.

Having Sex on DMT: What You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered about sex on DMT? Learn how the God Molecule can influence your intimate experiences.

Does the Human Brain Make DMT? 
With scientific evidence showing us DMT in the brain, what can we conclude it is there for? Read on to learn more.

How to Use DMT Vape Pens
Read to learn all about DMT vape pens including: what to know when vaping, what to expect when purchasing a DMT cartridge, and vaping safely.

DMT Resources
This article is a comprehensive DMT resource providing extensive information from studies, books, documentaries, and more. Check it out!

Differentiating DMT and Near-Death Experiences
Some say there are similarities between a DMT trip and death. Read our guide on differentiating DMT and near-death experiences to find out.

DMT Research from 1956 to the Edge of Time
From a representative sample of a suitably psychedelic crowd, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t tell you all about Albert Hofmann’s enchanted bicycle ride after swallowing what turned out to be a massive dose of LSD. Far fewer, however, could tell you much about the world’s first DMT trip.

The Ultimate Guide to DMT Pricing
Check out our ultimate guide on DMT pricing to learn what to expect when purchasing DMT for your first time.

DMT Milking | Reality Sandwich
Indigenous cultures have used 5-MeO-DMT for centuries. With the surge in demand for psychedelic toad milk, is DMT Milking harming the frogs?

Why Does DMT Pervade Nature?
With the presence of DMT in nature everywhere – including human brains – why does it continue to baffle science?

DMT Substance Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to DMT has everything you want to know about this powerful psychedelic referred to as “the spirit molecule”.

DMT for Depression: Paving the Way for New Medicine
We’ve been waiting for an effective depression treatment. Studies show DMT for depression works even for treatment resistant patients.

Beating Addiction with DMT
Psychedelics have been studied for their help overcoming addiction. Read how DMT is helping addicts beat their substance abuse issues.

DMT Extraction: Behind the Scientific Process
Take a look at DMT extraction and the scientific process involved. Learn all you need to know including procedures and safety.

Microdosing DMT & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing DMT.

DMT Art: A Look Behind Visionary Creations
An entire genre of artwork is inspired by psychedelic trips with DMT. Read to learn about the entities and visions behind DMT art.

Changa vs. DMT: What You Need to Know
While similar (changa contains DMT), each drug has its own unique effect and feeling. Let’s compare and contrast changa vs DMT.

5-MeO-DMT Guide: Effects, Benefits, Safety, and Legality
5-Meo-DMT comes from the Sonora Desert toad. Here is everything you want to know about 5-Meo-DMT and how it compares to 4-AcO-DMT.

4-AcO-DMT Guide: Benefits, Effects, Safety, and Legality
This guide tells you everything about 4 AcO DMT & 5 MeO DMT, that belong to the tryptamine class, and are similar but slightly different to DMT.

How Much Does LSD Cost? When shopping around for that magical psychedelic substance, there can be many uncertainties when new to buying LSD. You may be wondering how much does LSD cost? In this article, we will discuss what to expect when purchasing LSD on the black market, what forms LSD is sold in, and the standard breakdown of buying LSD in quantity.   Navy Use of LSD on the Dark Web The dark web is increasingly popular for purchasing illegal substances. The US Navy has now noticed this trend with their staff. Read to learn more.   Having Sex on LSD: What You Need to Know Can you have sex on LSD? Read our guide to learn everything about sex on acid, from lowered inhibitions to LSD users quotes on sex while tripping.   A Drug That Switches off an LSD Trip A pharmaceutical company is developing an “off-switch” drug for an LSD trip, in the case that a bad trip can happen. Some would say there is no such thing.   Queen of Hearts: An Interview with Liz Elliot on Tim Leary and LSD The history of psychedelia, particularly the British experience, has been almost totally written by men. Of the women involved, especially those who were in the thick of it, little has been written either by or about them. A notable exception is Liz Elliot.   LSD Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, or just acid is one of the most important psychedelics ever discovered. What did history teach us?   Microdosing LSD & Common Dosage Explained Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing LSD.   LSD Resources Curious to learn more about LSD? This guide includes comprehensive LSD resources containing books, studies and more.   LSD as a Spiritual Aid There is common consent that the evolution of mankind is paralleled by the increase and expansion of consciousness. From the described process of how consciousness originates and develops, it becomes evident that its growth depends on its faculty of perception. Therefore every means of improving this faculty should be used.   Legendary LSD Blotter Art: A Hidden Craftsmanship Have you ever heard of LSD blotter art? Explore the trippy world of LSD art and some of the top artists of LSD blotter art.   LSD and Exercise: Does it Work? LSD and exercise? Learn why high-performing athletes are taking hits of LSD to improve their overall potential.   Jan Bastiaans Treated Holocaust Survivors with LSD Dutch psychiatrist, Jan Bastiaans administered LSD-assisted therapy to survivors of the Holocaust. A true war hero and pioneer of psychedelic-therapy.   LSD and Spiritual Awakening I give thanks for LSD, which provided the opening that led me to India in 1971 and brought me to Neem Karoli Baba, known as Maharajji. Maharajji is described by the Indians as a “knower of hearts.”   How LSD is Made: Everything You Need to Know Ever wonder how to make LSD? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how LSD is made.   How to Store LSD: Best Practices Learn the best way to store LSD, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long LSD lasts when stored.   Bicycle Day: The Discovery of LSD Every year on April 19th, psychonauts join forces to celebrate Bicycle Day. Learn about the famous day when Albert Hoffman first discovered the effects of LSD.   Cary Grant: A Hollywood Legend On LSD Cary Grant was a famous actor during the 1930’s-60’s But did you know Grant experimented with LSD? Read our guide to learn more.   Albert Hofmann: LSD — My Problem Child Learn about Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD, along with the story of Bicycle Day and why it marks a historic milestone.   Babies are High: What Does LSD Do To Your Brain What do LSD and babies have in common? Researchers at the Imperial College in London discover that an adult’s brain on LSD looks like a baby’s brain.   1P LSD: Effects, Benefits, Safety Explained 1P LSD is an analogue of LSD and homologue of ALD-25. Here is everything you want to know about 1P LSD and how it compares to LSD.   Francis Crick, DNA & LSD Type ‘Francis Crick LSD’ into Google, and the result will be 30,000 links. Many sites claim that Crick (one of the two men responsible for discovering the structure of DNA), was either under the influence of LSD at the time of his revelation or used the drug to help with his thought processes during his research. Is this true?   What Happens If You Overdose on LSD? A recent article presented three individuals who overdosed on LSD. Though the experience was unpleasant, the outcomes were remarkably positive.

The Ayahuasca Experience
Ayahuasca is both a medicine and a visionary aid. You can employ ayahuasca for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repair, and you can engage with the power of ayahuasca for deeper insight and realization. If you consider attainment of knowledge in the broadest perspective, you can say that at all times, ayahuasca heals.


Trippy Talk: Meet Ayahuasca with Sitaramaya Sita and PlantTeachers
Sitaramaya Sita is a spiritual herbalist, pusangera, and plant wisdom practitioner formally trained in the Shipibo ayahuasca tradition.


The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca
My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice.


Microdosing Ayahuasca: Common Dosage Explained
What is ayahuasca made of and what is considered a microdose? Explore insights with an experienced Peruvian brewmaster and learn more about this practice.


Ayahuasca Makes Neuron Babies in Your Brain
Researchers from Beckley/Sant Pau Research Program have shared the latest findings in their study on the effects of ayahuasca on neurogenesis.


The Fatimiya Sufi Order and Ayahuasca
In this interview, the founder of the Fatimiya Sufi Order,  N. Wahid Azal, discusses the history and uses of plant medicines in Islamic and pre-Islamic mystery schools.


Consideration Ayahuasca for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research indicates that ayahuasca mimics mechanisms of currently accepted treatments for PTSD. In order to understand the implications of ayahuasca treatment, we need to understand how PTSD develops.


Brainwaves on Ayahuasca: A Waking Dream State
In a study researchers shared discoveries showing ingredients found in Ayahuasca impact the brainwaves causing a “waking dream” state.


Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a pro cannabis Peruvian Shaman.


Ayahuasca Retreat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Brave the Brew
Ayahuasca has been known to be a powerful medicinal substance for millennia. However, until recently, it was only found in the jungle. Word of its deeply healing and cleansing properties has begun to spread across the world as many modern, Western individuals are seeking spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. More ayahuasca retreat centers are emerging in the Amazon and worldwide to meet the demand.


Ayahuasca Helps with Grief
A new study published in psychopharmacology found that ayahuasca helped those suffering from the loss of a loved one up to a year after treatment.


Ayahuasca Benefits: Clinical Improvements for Six Months
Ayahuasca benefits can last six months according to studies. Read here to learn about the clinical improvements from drinking the brew.


Ayahuasca Culture: Indigenous, Western, And The Future
Ayahuasca has been use for generations in the Amazon. With the rise of retreats and the brew leaving the rainforest how is ayahuasca culture changing?


Ayahuasca Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
The Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca has a long history and wide use. Read our guide to learn all about the tea from its beginnings up to modern-day interest.


Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order
Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.


Ayahuasca and the Feminine: Women’s Roles, Healing, Retreats, and More
Ayahuasca is lovingly called “grandmother” or “mother” by many. Just how feminine is the brew? Read to learn all about women and ayahuasca.

What Is the Standard of Care for Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy is on the rise in light of its powerful results for treatment-resistant depression. But, what is the current standard of care for ketamine? Read to find out.

What Is Dissociation and How Does Ketamine Create It?
Dissociation can take on multiple forms. So, what is dissociation like and how does ketamine create it? Read to find out.

Having Sex on Ketamine: Getting Physical on a Dissociative
Curious about what it could feel like to have sex on a dissociate? Find out all the answers in our guide to sex on ketamine.

Special K: The Party Drug
Special K refers to Ketamine when used recreationally. Learn the trends as well as safety information around this substance.

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

Ketamine vs. Esketamine: 3 Important Differences Explained
Ketamine and esketamine are used to treat depression. But what’s the difference between them? Read to learn which one is right for you: ketamine vs. esketamine.

Guide to Ketamine Treatments: Understanding the New Approach
Ketamine is becoming more popular as more people are seeing its benefits. Is ketamine a fit? Read our guide for all you need to know about ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Treatment for Eating Disorders
Ketamine is becoming a promising treatment for various mental health conditions. Read to learn how individuals can use ketamine treatment for eating disorders.

Ketamine Resources, Studies, and Trusted Information
Curious to learn more about ketamine? This guide includes comprehensive ketamine resources containing books, studies and more.

Ketamine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to ketamine has everything you need to know about this “dissociative anesthetic” and how it is being studied for depression treatment.

Ketamine for Depression: A Mental Health Breakthrough
While antidepressants work for some, many others find no relief. Read to learn about the therapeutic uses of ketamine for depression.

Ketamine for Addiction: Treatments Offering Hope
New treatments are offering hope to individuals suffering from addiction diseases. Read to learn how ketamine for addiction is providing breakthrough results.

Microdosing Ketamine & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing ketamine.

How to Ease a Ketamine Comedown
Knowing what to expect when you come down from ketamine can help integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible.

How to Store Ketamine: Best Practices
Learn the best ways how to store ketamine, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long ketamine lasts when stored.

How To Buy Ketamine: Is There Legal Ketamine Online?
Learn exactly where it’s legal to buy ketamine, and if it’s possible to purchase legal ketamine on the internet.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
How long does ketamine stay in your system? Are there lasting effects on your body? Read to discover the answers!

How Ketamine is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make Ketamine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how Ketamine is made.

Colorado on Ketamine: First Responders Waiver Programs
Fallout continues after Elijah McClain. Despite opposing recommendations from some city council, Colorado State Health panel recommends the continued use of ketamine by medics for those demonstrating “excited delirium” or “extreme agitation”.

Types of Ketamine: Learn the Differences & Uses for Each
Learn about the different types of ketamine and what they are used for—and what type might be right for you. Read now to find out!

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

MDMA & Ecstasy Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to MDMA has everything you want to know about Ecstasy from how it was developed in 1912 to why it’s being studied today.

How To Get the Most out of Taking MDMA as a Couple
Taking MDMA as a couple can lead to exciting experiences. Read here to learn how to get the most of of this love drug in your relationship.

Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing MDMA.

Having Sex on MDMA: What You Need to Know
MDMA is known as the love drug… Read our guide to learn all about sex on MDMA and why it is beginning to makes its way into couple’s therapy.

How MDMA is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make MDMA? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how MDMA is made.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

How Cocaine is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make cocaine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how cocaine is made.

A Christmas Sweater with Santa and Cocaine
This week, Walmart came under fire for a “Let it Snow” Christmas sweater depicting Santa with lines of cocaine. Columbia is not merry about it.

Ultimate Cocaine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
This guide covers what you need to know about Cocaine, including common effects and uses, legality, safety precautions and top trends today.

NEWS: An FDA-Approved Cocaine Nasal Spray
The FDA approved a cocaine nasal spray called Numbrino, which has raised suspicions that the pharmaceutical company, Lannett Company Inc., paid off the FDA..

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Bioavailability
What is bioavailability and how can it affect the overall efficacy of a psychedelic substance? Read to learn more.

Cannabis Research Explains Sociability Behaviors
New research by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano shows social behavioral changes occur as a result of less energy available to the neurons. Read here to learn more.

The Cannabis Shaman
If recreational and medical use of marijuana is becoming accepted, can the spiritual use as well? Experiential journalist Rak Razam interviews Hamilton Souther, founder of the 420 Cannabis Shamanism movement…

Cannabis Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Cannabis has everything you want to know about this popular substances that has psychedelic properties.

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a procannabis Peruvian Shaman.

CBD-Rich Cannabis Versus Single-Molecule CBD
A ground-breaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), challenging the medical-industrial complex’s notion that “crude” botanical preparations are less effective than single-molecule compounds.

Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
Modern science has already confirmed the efficacy of cannabis for most uses described in the ancient medical texts, but prohibitionists still claim that medical cannabis is “just a ruse.”

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