The Reiki Synergy Bookstore

Welcome to Reiki Synergy!

Namaste and welcome!

I've put together this blog in order to share my ongoing experience as a Usui Reiki Master, and Intuitive Energetic Healer. I always enjoy reading and learning from the practices of other healers and Lightworkers, and so in service to those who are seeking information I've launched Reiki Synergy.

I will be exploring a wide variety of topics on alternative healing and eclectic spirituality as tools for personal empowerment and spiritual evolution. Reiki, Ruach Healing (an energetic healing system based in the mystical Qabalah), flower essences, crystal healing, healing through sound, and meditation are just some of the subjects that I will be touching on. Healing will the the core theme for these articles, and hopefully you will find them not only informative and entertaining, but inspiring too!

Please make sure to browse through our lovely bookstore! I've taken the time and energy to put together in one convenient place many of wonderful resources that I've found helpful on my path, and hopefully you will too.

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Manifesting Goals with a Reiki Box

Lately I've been running across alot of people asking questions about using Reiki to manifest one's goals. I thought I would use this article to address some of the options available to Reiki practitioners along these lines. Firstly I'd like to say that one is free to experiment with using Reiki in any way that they intuit - you don't have to stick with currently popular techniques. Even within those popular methods there are many variations in the exact application of them, so even if you do wish to use one of these methods, you should feel free to tweak them to suit your own needs and preferences.

Before I go any further, we should address how the Reiki energy will function when directed towards goal manifestation. Reiki energy, as any practitioner should know, is pure White Light - so it cannot cause harm, and can only work for the Highest Good of the person, place or thing towards which it is directed. This should be taken into consideration when deciding which goals you which to work towards manifesting with Reiki energy. You're going to want to carefully consider WHY you want to manifest that goal, and WHAT you want to accomplish through it's manifestation. If the reason is purely selfish (and it's ok to have a few purely selfish goals) it may not be the most appropriate goal to utilize the Reiki manifestation methods with. However, if by acheiving this goal, you will be enabled to serve others in some fashion - in other words there would be some altruistic effects, or it will enable you to better express your Divine Self and fulfill your purpose - then this may very well be a goal that the White Light of Reiki will enable you to manifest.

So let's say you have the goal of increasing your financial abundance. You've taken some time to examine your desire for this and have determined that having a greater cash-flow would alleviate some of the stress you feel about debts, decrease the debt faster, which would free up more expendable money that you could invest in expanding your healing practice. Or that would allow you to cut back slightly on the hours you work, freeing up valuable time you can spend with your children and spouse. Or would free up time which would allow you to volunteer at that animal shelter you've been wanting to help out at. You can see how in these cases increasing financial abundance actually helps spread more Love and Light throughout the world. However if you wanted more money simply so you could trade-in your car for the newest, fully-loaded SUV just so you could feel more affluent...well, there's really no Universal benefit from that result, and perhaps that indicates that you have some self-worth issues that you are not dealing with in the most appropriate manner. In any case, examining your reasons for wanting to acheive your goals can often be enlightening, and can help you indentify some important elements of your current life-path and give you new determination and motivation to working towards manifesting them!

Now that you've got an idea of what you want to work towards, how can you use Reiki to help manifest them? Well one method is known as the "Reiki Box". (This is also sometimes called a "Wish Box", however for me the word 'wish' denotes a fantasy that is very unlikely to come true - but a 'goal' is something achievable however fantastic it may be; so I refer to it as a "Reiki Box" and the things that go inside of it 'goals'.) The Reiki Box has become quite popular, and is often taught in Level 2 or 3 Reiki classes, depending on the focus of the class. Reiki Boxes can be used as a form of distance healing, as well as for manifesting goals or wishes, so they are versitile. There are many slightly different ways of making and using a Reiki Box, and all are equally effective. What is important is that the practitioner feel completely comfortable and resonate with whatever version they decide to use.

To start, one first creates the physical Reiki Box. Many people search out a beautiful decorative wooden or glass box that they are particularly attracted to - there are many such boxes available online, or often in gift stores. Some people make their own Reiki Box by decorating a shoe-box or sturdy gift-box in a way that speaks to them personally. Others create a temporary Reiki Box from paper alone that will be disposed of once the goal has manifested, a method we'll talk about a little later. Most commonly however, practitioners create or buy a Reiki Box that they will use over and over again for the specific purpose of manifesting goals &/or performing distance healings. Many of those who use a Reiki Box will adorn the inside of the box with whichever Reiki symbols they feel will help direct the energy in the most appropriate way. The Power symbol (as it concentrates the force of the energy) and the Distance Healing symbol (as it bypasses the space-time continuum) are the most commonly used - however I'm sure you can see how the Mental/Emotional Healing symbol could also be useful. The most important part in acquiring and decorating the Reiki Box is that a feeling of sacred connection is felt, and that it is pleasing to look at and inspires a feeling of joy.

I personally think that getting involved in the creation of the box in some way is important - even if you are starting out with a pre-made box. Decorating the inside of the box is a very good way to do this. If the material of the box allows, you could paint the Reiki symbols on the inside walls, or otherwise attach the symbols inside. Those who have not yet learned the Reiki symbols should feel free to decorate it in whatever way seems appropriate and effective to them, perhaps by using sacred symbols that are important to them personally. Some practitioners like to include healing crystals in their Reiki Box, which could be as simple as including a few stones inside, or as complex as attaching a few crystals into a grid to the sides of the box (I'll talk about Reiki Crystal Grids in an upcoming article). By putting some extra time, thought and energy into the create and preparation of the Reiki Box your mind focuses on the project at hand, and all the positive effects that you will see through it's usage. It helps make the personal connection to the Reiki Box stronger, and embues the box with your own intent as to its purpose. This all helps make the box sacred.

Once you have finished making the box, you will want to spiritually cleanse and consecrate it...which basically dedicates it to working for the Highest Good. Running the completed Reiki Box through some cleansing incense, such as sage or frankincense, will do a nice job of clearing it of any unneccessary energies. If you've included crystals into your Reiki Box remember to cleanse and dedicate them as well. Make sure to visualize the smoke clearing away any debris and bringing in Light. You can then Reiki the Reiki Box to consecrate it, making sure to say an affirmation or prayer while you do so stating your intent to dedicate it towards manifesting only the Highest Good. Once your Reiki Box is personalized, cleansed, and consecrated, put it into a place of honor (on an meditation altar, in your healing room, or anywhere else where it is out of the way and in a special place) and then you can begin using it to manifest your goals!

Using the Reiki Box is very simple. The first step is to write down the goal you would like to manifest on a piece of paper.Make this goal into an affirmative, positive statement that speaks of the goal as if it had already manifested. Starting these goal-affirmations with "I AM" is particularly powerful, as it taps into the deepest levels of your subconsciousness. So rather than writing "I would like to get a raise", you should write something more along the lines of "I AM effortlessly manifesting a promotion", or "I AM manifesting increased compensation for my excellent service". Whether you do or do not wish to use "I AM' in your affirmation (I realize sometimes it can seem clumsy - but I find that using 'I AM effortlessly manifesting' as a starting phrase usually works out very well), try to create a goal-affirmation that paints a vivid picture in your mind and that has a pleasant rhythm to it. This way you can visualize your goal manifesting as you affirm it. These are tools used to enact the Law of Attraction and are very potent if used correctly. If you'd like more information about utilizing the Law of Attraction and affirmations to make positive and dramatic changes in your life, then I suggest you pick up a copy of The Secret or any of Louise L. Hay's books.

You may choose to decorate the paper upon which you've written your goal-affirmation with Reiki symbols that you feel will aid in the goal's manifestation. Take some time with the creation of this paper, as it represents your desires. Perhaps use some colored construction paper instead of a plain white or lined sheet. Maybe use a calligraphy pen to make it particularly attractive. If you like stickers, you can put some on there that pertain to that goal. If you have a special oil blend that you feel will contribute to the goal, you can annoint the edges or corners of the paper with it. What is important is that as you create the paper, you repeat your goal-affirmation and accompanying visualization over and over to yourself. Try and build up an excited and positive emotional charge towards that goal-affirmation paper as the representation of your goal manifested. When you have finished creating the paper, hold it between your hands and send Reiki energy to it. Also send all the joyful energy that you've built up by repeating the affirmation and visualizing yourself acheiving the goal to your heart chakra and then down through your arms and out the palm chakras into that paper. When you're finished, place that paper into the waiting Reiki Box!!

The final step is simply remembering to send some Reiki into the Reiki Box for a few minutes everyday, knowing that the Reiki energy will speed towards the goal inside. If you want to, you can re-affirm and visualize the goal as you do so - however, try and forget about the goal in the Reiki Box at all other times. You want to try and remain unattached from WHEN the goal will manifest, and especially from HOW the goal will manifest. You especially don't want to give yourself a chance to doubt that the goal will manifest or that the Reiki Box will work. That way the energies of your thoughts will not tamper with all the good energy and work you put towards placing that goal into the care of Reiki and the Reiki Box, and will leave all possible avenues open for it to manifest!

One interesting thing about Reiki Boxes is that you can work towards multiple goals at once, by placing several goal-affirmation papers inside. You don't have to put them in all at once - in fact it's much better to prepare and place the different papers into the Box on different days, so that you can give each seperate goal-affirmation paper the time and attention it deserves. However, when you have several different goals going at once, it's easier to just put them into the Reiki Box and then 'forget' about them. Just make sure to send some Reiki into the Reiki Box everyday, and know that the Reiki energy will go towards each goal equally.

Basically the Reiki Box is a container that sends Reiki to any needs placed inside, so you can even place papers with pictures or names of people who need healing energy as well. In fact many practitioners are first presented with directions for making and maintaining a Reiki Box as a distance healing method, rather than for goal manifestation. It works the same way, except that you would create a healing-paper to go into the Reiki Box for the intended recipient, rather than a goal-affirmation paper. Then the Reiki you send into the Box each day would go towards healing that individual. Some practitioner feel that Reiki Boxes for goal manifestation should be kept seperate from Reiki Boxes meant for distant healing, and that is certainly a valid perspective. It helps keep the intent of the Box very clear, which is certainly important in the case of goal manifestation. It's up to you whether you wish to use your Reiki Box for both distance healing AND goal manifestation, or only one or the other.

Once your goal does manifest, remove that goal-afffirmation paper from the Reiki Box and dispose of it in whatever way seem most appropriate. Some users burn the paper as a form of closure to the work. It also keeps the feeling a bit more sacred than if you simply pitched the paper into the garbage can! I've read online that some practitioners make a paper Reiki Box so that the entire Box can be burned at the conclusion of the work. Others were taught to only send Reiki towards goals for 21 days and then remove the papers from the Reiki Box. For me personally I don't see the point in putting a limit on how much time you provide the goal with Reiki energy. Things often take a little while to manifest, and if you truely desire them for the right reasons, then they deserve your faith and time. However, if it's been in there a year and still hasn't shown any signs of manifesting, perhaps you need to revisit what you want and why you want it, and then revise your goal-affirmation to reflect those changes! Again, use whatever "rules" and "procedures" that make the most sense to YOU. Reiki is an intuitive energetic art, after all.

Once you have your Reiki Box up and running, it will be there for your to use forever! If you do go awhile without using it, you will want to re-cleanse and consecrate it to make sure it is properly prepared. If you're using it consistantly, though, you shouldn't need to do that. Those who have incorporated crystals or crystal grids into their Reiki Box will want to take whatever measures they feel appropriate to keep the crystals charged - if Reiki is flowing into the Box daily, that also shouldn't be a problem.

Those who do go to the effort to make a Reiki Box are usually extremely pleased with it and with the results that they see! It can be alot of fun, as well as rewarding. So if you've got some goals that you'd like to work towards, why not create a Reiki Box and see what the Universe has in store for you?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Energetic Protection for Empathic Healers

I wanted to take some time to address a topic that is very important for healers to be well-versed in – energetic protection. While in some energy healing systems, such as Reiki, a student is taught that they cannot do any harm with Reiki, nor can they be harmed, the fact of the matter is that anyone working with energy needs to learn and use spiritual cleansing and protective measures. I’ll outline some of them in this article.

I’ve always been very sensitive to other people’s energies, and was often uncomfortable in situations where there are large groups of people that I’m unfamiliar with. All those energies overwhelm me, and I end up feeling very withdrawn and defensive (not the best mood to try and party in). I eventually strengthened my personal energetic bodies to the point where I wasn’t so susceptible in social situations, but I still feel myself reacting as my bodies try and adjust to the energies of new people and places. When I began practicing energy work, I had to take some additional precautions in order to remain safe and healthy as unneeded energies were sloughed off by my recipients’. Over the years as I’ve developed as a healer, my natural empathic abilities have also increased. For a period of about 2 years I rarely practiced healing on anyone but friends and family, primarily because I did not have a proper place to practice out of, but I was also going through an intense healing period of shadow work, thought re-patterning, and matrix shifts. I emerged out the other side a very different person than before – more stable, more confident, centered in my sense of self-efficacy, and with a rapidly expanding spiritual persepective.

I was eager to get back into my healing work and to begin working with others. I didn’t quite realize that all those changes were going to require adjustments to my personal protective measures when practicing the healing arts. My first client finally came, and I was thrilled. I went through my old routine of personal meditations and visualizations, along with the shielding that had served me so well before. About half-way through the treatment I started to feel a bit dizzy. I didn’t think too much of it, trusting my shields, and I thought that perhaps I had been standing with my knees locked and was just experiencing some poor circulation. I bent my knees, checked my posture and continued on. All of a sudden it was like a brick wall flew up off her body and hit me in the face and chest. I was immediately in the throes of a panic attack. Luckily I had some Rescue Remedy nearby and simply had no choice but to excuse myself for a few minutes while I attempted to regain my composure.

What had just happened?? I had shielded and done all the proper protections. Maybe what I had been doing just wasn’t cutting it anymore. As the Rescue Remedy took it’s blessedly speedy effect, and my heart rate dropped back to normal, I knew I needed to meditate and find out what was going on with me and my shields. At the close of the treatment, my client reported feeling as though a huge amount of anxiety had been lifted off of her. I had to laugh. Yea! It HAD been lifted off of her, and pounded right into me! That night I meditated a bit on what had happened, and asked my guide Ganesha to lead me to the information that I would need to make whatever adjustments I needed to in order to move forward as a healer. Within a few weeks I had found my answer – which was really a combination of awakening to newly recognized truths about my energetic make-up, and also what methods I could use to aid me.

Like me, most people who are called to heal are empathic to some degree – which means that they are especially sensitive to the thoughts, emotions, and energies of other people. This sensitivity allows them to more easily tune into the subtle bodies and enact positive change. It also makes them more susceptible to the negative effects of energies cast-off during a healing session. To complicate matters, there are a certain percentage of empaths who are naturally hard-wired to be (what I’ve started calling) “transmuters”. Transmuters naturally, and usually unconsciously, seek out negative energies and absorb them into their own subtle bodies in an effort to transmute the energies from “negative” to a more useful state. When properly trained and guided this shamanic gift can be extremely powerful – but will always carry with it a high risk level. However, when it remains unconscious or untrained this can cause a HUGE problem for the healer. Healers with natural empathic abilities, or who are transmutive empaths need to take extra precautions to keep their spiritual environment very clean, and to shield and protect their subtle bodies.

There are many very basic shielding techniques out there that are very effective for most people. Generally speaking they are all variations on the same theme of building a sphere of energy around their body, and programming it with the desired intent. Some use a simple sphere of Divine White Light, and some draw on their mental bank of sci-fi images by visualizing a proton shield being beamed around them a la Star Trek. The intent can vary widely as to how a shield functions. You can program a shield to only allow positive energy to pass through, but to block out anything questionable or negative. This kind of shield would be intentionally semi-permeable. If you do not wish for anything to enter into your immediate energetic area, you can program your shield to be built from mirror, which would reflect back any and all energies that came at you. If you are worried about a conscious attack on your shield, you may wish to program it to cascade like water, so that it is constantly being renewed and it less likely to develop weak spot. Some more ideas as well as links to more advanced shielding techniques and exercises read, and also read the follow-up which discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each kind of shield from the perspective of something or someone trying to break through it here (Psi-vamps are a very misunderstood group of people, but to go into that would be to veer far off the course of this article. Because of their intensely empathic nature, they require constant shielding and so have some of the most comprehensive archives of practical information on the topic. I encourage my readers to learn more about the truth about psi-vamps before passing judgment. I plan to do an entry on this topic at a future date. In the meantime, exploring the host site of the above 2 articles would be a very good place to start.) Finding a shield that is effective is an experimental process, for each different kind of psychic shield will take practice to become adept at, and each will have a different effect on how your own energy can interact with the area around it.

I happen to be a transmutive empath, so I had to play around with a lot of different protection and shielding options before I came to the perfect storm of protective measures that enabled me to perform accurately as a healer without taking any energetic risks to myself. I tried several different shields, from the standard sphere of Light, to the all around semi-permeable one, and a few others working from a similar perspective. I was still being affected by cast-off energies during healing sessions. The mirror shield actually worked quite well when I tried it – but the sphere was too much protection. I couldn’t interact with their auric field to the degree that I needed to, due to the fact that my mirror sphere was effectively keeping their energies from being perceived by mine!

I ended up making a mirror “suit” with semi-permeable palms. This suit fits tight to my body, like a wet suit (but completely covering me from head to toe), so that I can get into their aura. The palms of the mirror gloves are semi-permeable to allow me to feel their energy and project energy, but it won’t allow any energy to bleed upwards. I still get the intuitive messages from my own auric field, but any energies that get too close will be repelled. My aura is easily cleansed before and after a treatment by smudging; it’s when energies get into my chakras that I have the problems during a healing session. So, as an empathic healer it will be a process for you to figure out what shield, and then perhaps even what original variation on that shield will be most effective for you overall.

There are of course other options that you may wish to consider, such as wearing a protective crystal or gemstone, or several. Some gemstones are amazing allies for the healer, whether or not they are working with them directly through a crystal healing modality. Black tourmaline and smokey quartz are two of the more dramatic protective stones available. Both form their own protective and repellent shield against negative energies around the wearer providing an extra line of prophylactic defense, while at the same time strengthening the wearer’s own energy fields. Hematite is another excellent protection stone that grounds the energy of the wearer, and transmutes any negative energy that is encountered into a more useful form. What is interesting about these stones is that they all have a high iron content. In folklore and witchcraft, iron is used to ward off negativity and protect again malevolent spiritual forces. Iron can be used to fend off cranky or mischievous fae-folk, or to create a protective boundary around your house or property line to block psychic attacks. It would seem that the effects of iron remain the same when found in natural sources, rather than just in those sources created by the forge!

If negative energy seems to affect you more on a spiritual level rather than the physical, you may wish to keep some fluorite on you to protect at the psychic level of being. Carnelian and citrine both help keep the energies of other stones clear, while aiding to anchor and ground the energies of the wearer. Black onyx is helps keep your energies stable in times of stress or confusion. Generally speaking, any coal black or deep red stones have protective qualities, but knowing exactly HOW they are protecting you can help you make the most effective choice. Make sure to cleanse your stones before and after each treatment in order to keep them in working order, and also remember to charge them up from time to time to keep their vibration vibrant and healthy.

I’ve found that in addition to my mirror suit, I need to wear black tourmaline and smoky quartz when I am healing. The repelling and strengthening effects are just what the doctor ordered for this girl! I have my pieces contained in a metal coil which I tuck neatly into my bra, so that there are no dangling gems to interfere with the flow of a treatment. It also keeps them tight against my skin at the core of my chakra system which I’ve found to be the best place for them.

Another possibility which you may wish to explore is flower essences. There is a Canadian company called Canadian Tree Forest Essences, which carries a blend made specifically for healers! The Therapist and Healer Vibrational Essence blend helps strengthen the healer’s aura and energetic matrix, while providing a continual clearing effect. It is intended to maintain the energetic integrity of the healer and encourage appropriate energetic boundaries, while allowing intuitive connections to be established. I absolutely adore this blend, and found it to be the cherry on my protective cake! I use in combination with the Universal Healing Essence from the same line, which works to repair any weaknesses or breaks in the energetic bodies by providing a firmly knit matrix. The two together are a powerhouse, and I know several empathic healers that found that these essences were the only protective measures that they need to take.
There are other lines of flower essences, of course, each with their products created for psychic protection. The other line that I frequently use is the Australian Bush Flower Essences. They have a blend called “Meditation that provides aura repair and psychic protection while facilitating greater intuitive understanding.

On the vibrational essence note, you can very easily make gem essences, which are also taken internally like the flower essences. Simply take your protective stone(s), place it in distilled water in a sterilized crystal bowl and place it out in the sun to allow the vibration to program the water. You may wish to use a pendulum or other intuitive method to determine how long you should keep it in the sunshine. Once it is through, you take a few drops of the liquid – the Mother Tincture - and place it into a sterilized dosage bottle, which you then fill with more distilled water. Now just drop some of that under your tongue, and the vibrations will be carried into your core and ripple outwards. You can combine gem essences for a synergistic effect, and even add flower essences to them for a truly powerful combination therapy. For a more in-depth article on making your own gem essences, see

We’ve discussed many different options for personal protection, but another factor that is just as important for your spiritual health is the spiritual cleansing of your environment. Just because cast-off energies can no longer effect you personally, they can still collect in the room or home and become troublesome to the emotional stability and overall energetic health of the place. For your own sake, as well as the sake of your healing recipients, and if you’re healing in your home the sake of your pets and loved ones, you’ll want to make sure the space is cleansed before and after each healing session. Smudging is one very simple and effective way to do this. Sage is the herb par excellence for this process, but there are equally effective plants from every area and culture the world over, so don’t feel limited. Light the dried herb and waft the smoke into every nook and cranny of the space – and I mean EVERY nook. Heavy energy has a neat way of retreating from cleansing smoke and huddling in whatever places are missed by a careless smudger. Open every cabinet, wave the smoke under every couch and chair, get it up into the rafters, behind the curtains, into the refrigerator and behind the sink!! EVERYWHERE. Keep your windows wide open as you do this so that the smoke can carry away the energies that it is clearing out.

If you don’t like the smell of burning herbs, try some frankincense tears. It works by clearing out the negative by raising the spiritual vibration. I personally don’t recommend using myrrh in your cleansing blend until you are positive that all negativity is gone. Myrrh facilitates the manifestation of whatever energies are present, so you want to make sure that you only have high vibrational and positive energies left prior to burning myrrh. But there are plenty of people who use a High Altar blend (which usually consists of frankincense, myrrh, and rose, and perhaps some other ingredients) to good effect, so don’t take my word as dogma.

If smoke is a concern due to allergies or asthma, you may want to take advantage of some of the truly excellent “smokeless smudge” sprays available out there. These usually consist of a blend of essential oils of cleaning herbs, such as sage, cedarwood, juniper, etc, and many combine that will gem and flower essences for a beautiful uplifting product. I have started offering my own Smokeless Smudge blend, which combines the cleasing ang protective qualities of sage, cedarleaf, juniper and lavendar, with clear quartz elixir charged by a waning moon for greater clearing effect, and finished with Pear flower essence to facilitate calm and centeredness.


It really lifts and clears the energy of a room in an amazing way! You can also use it to cleanse your crystals (just make sure you only use it with stones that fare well when damp or wet), or your aura. I find spraying some on my hands before beginning energy work helps focus my energy and increase receptiveness to intuitive signals. Most of my clients always ask me what it was that I used, and I’m happy to tell them.

And of course Reiki practitioners can always use their Reiki and Reiki symbols to clear and charge the space…but honestly, I prefer these other methods. You may feel otherwise, so try some different ways and see what works best for you. Learning good spiritual hygiene is a skill that will not go unused. Knowing all the various ways to deal with all the energies that make its way into our sphere and our homes through psychic dust, negative emotions, illnesses, etc is very empowering. I teach an 11-week online class, Spiritual Cleansing 101 through my online campus The Lotus Academy of Spiritual Arts, so if you’re interested log on and check out the detailed course outline.

If your are an empath, or even a transmutive empathy, there’s no reason for you to ever be at risk in your healing work – or even in your mundane life. It may be a bit of a journey discovering what protective measures are best for you, but it’s actually pretty fun, and along the way you can learn a lot of things about yourself and your energetic make-up. Overall you will learn how your energy interacts with the energy around it, and by having a grasp on that, you can proceed into the world properly prepared for nearly any situation. As a healer, you want to keep your own energetic health in the most healthy and vibrant state that you can. There’s no better defense than a truly powerful and healthy energy body. Yoga, pranayama, meditation, and ritual work (such as the Hermetic LBRP, and Middle Pillar; or the Merkaba meditation from the Ascension Paradigm) are just some of the ways that you can strengthen your Body of Light. But even the best and strongest need a helping hand from time to time, so make good use of the protective tools that are available to you so you can shine your healing Light far and wide!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Boring Truth about Reiki Symbols and Attunements (Or, Some Unfortunate Effects of the Western Over-Esotericism of Reiki)

OK! This article might ruffle a few feathers, but I think that there is so much over-esotericizing of Reiki in the West that this kind of well-grounded information needs to be presented. I'm all for esotericism and occultism, but very often the desire for something to seem 'magickal' or 'mystical' creates some very unnecessary myths that then get taken to extremes by some individuals. There is ALOT of overblown drama out there surrounding the Reiki symbols, and the process used in the Reiki attunements. I would like to present a more sober perspective on what the symbols and attunements are, what effect they are having on the energetic bodies, and how they really work. The answers may very well dissapoint you as there aren't very glamouruos. They ARE however very interesting from a more psychological point of view.

Let's start with some facts that are thankfully becoming more well-known. For one thing, Mikao Usui did not originially use symbols in his practice, or in his training of students. He also did not pass attunements in the way we have come to know them. Shocked?? Don't be. Read on.

For more perspective on this one should look to what academic research has told us about Usui, and about the cultural milieu within which this was all developing - primarily Buddhist Japan. Usui's first students were all very experienced spiritual practitioners. They also learned Reiki over a long period of time under the direction of Mikao Usui, as in customary in the Eastern Master-Student relationship context. Usui would regularly give students a ceremonial 'blessing' or 'empowerment' or 'attunement' as part of the training, which really functioned as an extra burst of spiritual energy meant to help them reach the next level of their development as spiritual healers. These are referred to as reiju. There are so far no records of the exact process that Usui used to empart reiju, although there have been several teachers who claim to know and teach the original method. That's really neither here nor there. This type of periodic 'empowerment' was a common part of training process in several Buddhist denominations which Usui would likely have had intimate contact with. Research has validated that attunements as we now know them, as an initiation into a system or energy rather than blessing, known as denju, did not enter into the Usui Reiki system until Takata began teaching.

Even then, both the reiju and the denju were regular practices in Buddhist circles. Denju was more initiation-oriented, meaning that is granted "spiritual permission" to the student to begin practicing a certain method. The reiju was a worked on a more cumulative basis, as recipients were getting several of these over time. These were certainly spiritual and sacred practices intended to provide and bestow a particular energy to the recipient.

As for the Reiki symbols, 3 of the 4 of them are easily traced straight back to Sanskrit (in the case of the mental/emotional healing symbol) or Japanese kanji, which is just calligraphic writing. The distance healing symbol and the master symbol are both straight kanji - they are JUST Japanese writing. The power symbol is much more stylized, and the general consensus seems to be that this symbol developed out of kanji, but morphed into a more abstract form over the years until it became a more purely meditative tool rather than recognizable as a word. Using calligraphy, or symbols based on calligraphic writing as symbols upon which to focus intent during meditation is a common practice among many Buddhist schools. The symbols, whether written words or more abstract renderings, have all been found to exist somewhere outside of the Reiki tradition within Buddhist culture. So the Reiki symbols were nothing new in and of themselves.

Original Reiki students were not attuned to symbols by Usui, and if they used them at all it was likely for meditation and not as healing tools as such. However the utilization of the Reiki symbols as symbols to be accessed and applied during a Reiki treatment came later as the system was taught to people outside the original Reiki spiritual community. Some were having problems tuning their Reiki energy to different frequencies of healing, such as for mental healing, and so they were provided with the symbols we all now know and love as a way to help focus their intent. Looking at, visualizing, drawing, or chanting the symbol was a way to change their own internal focus to the desired frequency, to enable them to bring that frequency through in the healing. It was essentially a healing mnemonic. They didn't have any extra power outside of the importance the student assigned to it and how they utilized it. It was exactly as if I had taught someone to think/visualize/write/chant "put the power here" in order to help them make that intentional change in their healing energy at that moment. That's it!!

Now, all of this is of course still tied to a spiritually-oriented energetic healing practice. But it doesn't need to get hyped-up beyond what it is. However, as Reiki made its way into the Western world, the West got caught up in exoticism. Not being familiar with the routine processes of Buddhist-based spiritual education (reiju, denju), and especially not overly familiar with the kanji comprising the symbols, alot of extraneous ideas got attached to them. They were often perceived as mystical stores of supernormal energy that we could now psychically tap into through the magic of the Reiki attunement. The very simple and practical nature of them was lost! Buddhism is nothing if not practical, and many schools are staunch minimalists. They are always seeking the most efficient way to achieve the goals. Concentrating on a phrase that helped you reach a particular state of mind is a lot more efficient than trying to shift yourself into another plane in order to access some energy store on the astral. Not that you can’t do that. You can. It’s just easier and faster for the average human being to think “mental calm and peace” in order to evoke that energy, then to try and pull the essence of that out of the aether through mystical means!

While most of this over-esotericizing of Reiki was well-intentioned, and probably most of it was completely unintentional, it resulted in some very odd ideas about the system. I've seen some amazing claims on the internet about the "dangers" of Reiki attunements and symbols. I've run into several web denizens who have come to believe (nearly always through the "guidance" of psychic or other spiritual worker) that their Reiki attunements had bound them to some sort of being that had then been negatively effecting them energetically and psychically, even while providing the link to the Reiki energy which they used for healing. These people then had ceremonial work done by their spiritual consultant which loosed them from these binds, and set them free from the Reiki energy forever! I've also seem claims that some people are teaching that attunements bind your energies to the Reiki Master who can then exercise psychic control over their students through this link. Again, methods of "de-tunement" are prescribed and the system of Reiki decried as evil and deceptive. Still others see the work of dark forces masquerading as benevolent ones in order to dupe fleets of, well, dupes into doing their bidding and furthering their own dark agendas.

My response to these people, and other people who may claim to have had such experiences is multi-layered. In some cases, I believe that those people fell victim to one of the oldest "psychic" scams in the book: the you're-cursed-and-I-will-fix-you...for-a-fee-of-course. Now, I fully believe in the legitimacy of psychic gifts (hell, I have a touch of the clairsentience and clairvoyance myself). But I also believe that there are plenty of con artists out there praying on the scared and weak in the guise of being psychic advisers or spiritual workers or various ilks. Just because someone is waving sage and a rattle around doesn't mean that they can't run the same scam as someone dressed like a belly-dancer gazing into a crystal ball. Sadly, these con-wo/men are most often visited by people in crisis, and they know their victims. Want to scam people in the modern New Age community? Betcha those types have been dabbling with crystals or Reiki! Easy to hone in on an opening and make the "You've been feeling unwell and unbalanced? Let me take a look at you. Ooooo, I see a dark being around you! Are you involved with any kind of energy work? REIKI!?!!? That attunement has bound you to this spirit. But never fear...I can release you from its grasp!"

Next, we need to face the facts that in addition to straight-up con jobs, the spiritual community has a malevolent practitioner component. You know, the unsavory types who engage in very unhealthy and unethical practices in order to gain money and control over the few people they can impress/intimidate enough to follow them. It is a sad but true fact that some people CAN and do launch very effective psychic attacks, and one form of attack involves creating an energetic link and then exploiting it. Without even getting too creative I can see how a dark person of this type could, under the guise of performing a Reiki attunement, take the opportunity to create an unhealthy link. This is pure predation. Let me reassure any of my more faint-hearted readers that individuals of this nature are rare, and individual of this nature with the training and skills needed to be adept enough to make this kind of attack work as even rarer still.

A second possibility for this "binding" could occur by someone well-meaning, but ill-informed. There are many Reiki practitioners who pray to their personal spiritual deity/ies or guides before or even during a session. This isn't part of Usui Reiki (and I don't do it out of respect for the possibility that a client may not be comfortable with the idea of whoever I happen to be praying to being involved in the treatment), but some modern channelled Reiki-based systems do work on the idea of new frequencies of the energy coming from a particular being/ascended master/angel/deity/etc. I can see an intentionally benevolent practitioner who has given little thought to the ethical implications of such an act, creating an energetic link between a student and another entity, in the guise of a Reiki attunement. I would again argue that someone with enough ritual know-how to effectively create such a link (and who would not have the common ethical sense to inform their student of what they are doing) is very rare.

One simple caveat would likely have helped the victims of the three above scenarios avoid these situations: BUYER BEWARE. Use common sense when shopping around for spiritual services. Get references!! Ask your friends for the names of practitioner or workers that they have had postitive experiences with. Ask the practitioner for more references. Try to meet, or at least speak on the phone with the practitioner before booking a consultation/session/class with them. Even if they are the most reliable and ethical practitioner ever, their energies or personal philosophy might not resonate with you...and that's ok. Make sure that you feel totally comfortable with the practitioner, and that you feel good about going to see them. If you're still a bit unsure, take some time to meditate or pray on it. There's no need to rush into anything. Make sure you resonate with all aspects before going forward. If you get there and suddenly something doesn’t feel right to you – leave! This is actually advice that suits ANY new client-provider relationship. Real estate agents, doctors, car salesman, aerobics instructor, you name it.

And finally, you'll run across people who are mentally unstable and not receiving the appropriate treatment who are suffering from paranoia, delusions, or other effects of their illness. I saw one very emphatic and tragic page where a women decrying Reiki as satanic, described being stalked and hounded by demons in ever increasing numbers after her attunement. Her story was a textbook example of someone experiencing a psychotic break that was manifesting itself in paranoid delusions. It was heartbreaking to read, and also saddened me that she had somehow linked the terrifying symptoms of her illness to Reiki (which I suspect happened after she was brought into the fold of a very fundamentalist "spiritual warfare"-oriented religious organization that she was now a member of)...and that she was spending alot of time trying to convince others of the "satanic nature of Reiki". I still send prayers of healing to her (I figure she won't be too open to Reiki) when thoughts of her cross my mind, hoping that she'll find some peace and proper treatment.

So these are all situations where an unfortunate event has taken place that has been wrongly identified as being the result of "Reiki". I don’t think that these people are lying! I am not denying anyone their experience, or their truth, but I think that a healthy dose of logic and research can help clear the air about what was really going on. Proper Usui Reiki attunements and symbols DO NOT connect a person to any beings or deities. They are there to function as "permission granters" and "intention focusers".

The idea that somehow these nefarious effects of Reiki attunements were programmed into the attunement ritual, and are being carried out unknowingly by sadly na├»ve and deceived Reiki Masters the world over is patently absurd. Firstly, the Usui Reiki attunement ceremony has shifted and changed innumerable times throughout the development of Reiki. Takata often changed the way she performed attunements from student to student, and she also taught the symbols in slightly different ways to different classes! There are key elements that are common to all Usui attunements, but there are a great many variations…and all of them are effective. Secondly, over the years I’ve talked to at least a hundred Reiki Masters (probably more if you count all the ones on the discussion lists I’ve belonged to), and I’ve read stacks of books on Reiki healing from a variety of perspectives, and NEVER have I run into information hinting at the intent for the attunement being anything other than granting permission to heal. If the intent is not there, then it cannot be manifested through ritual. Period. Many Reiki Practitioners and Masters are extremely gifted healers and impressive spiritual adepts. If some psychic dirt in your aura sticks out like a sore thumb to them, do you really think that an entity of ANY kind, let alone malevolent intentions could get anywhere near them without them knowing? Um, NO.

I’m very spiritually sensitive. I’ve run into my fair share of nasty and malevolent entities in my life, and I can tell if something unpleasant is hanging around a room several steps before I even enter it. Likewise, I can tell when something or someone benevolent or divine is hanging around. I’ve NEVER encountered the sensation that any spirits or beings – good or bad – were linked to the Reiki energy. I’ve certainly encountered spirit guides and other higher spiritual vibrations or beings in my work as a healer; but it was due to the fact that they had been called upon to give aid by the client, or that client’s High Self. I am also often guided by my personal intuition. It was and is NOT part of the Reiki. It was completely independent of them. Reiki is one of the purest feeling forms of energy that I have come across – and by that I mean undiluted or shaped by any particular paradigm or dogma. It just IS. It is the pure, undiluted ki/chi/prana/ruach/ whatever you want to call that universal energy. It is above and beyond any limiting factors such as culture, religion, etc. It only needs for us to get (our egos, our prejudices, our social programming, our biases) out of the way and call on the energy with the intention of healing for the highest good.

Which make a nice segue into the #1 MOST CENTRAL concept at the heart of this needlessly contentious issue: INTENT. For a ritual or ceremony to work it must carry energy charged with focused intent for a specific effect. A Reiki attunement is a ritual ceremony, and as such it is ruled by the same metaphysical principals as any other one. During a proper Usui Reiki attunement the Reiki Master grants spiritual permission to the student’s subconscious (and conscious mind, since the student is aware of what is going on, and has been studying towards this goal) to allow the reiki energy to flow through that person in greater amounts for the purposes of channeling extra energy into a recipient for healing. The symbols are placed into the student’s aura and chakras, which is really just handing the confirmation of the ability to utilize these symbols for a specific purpose to the subconscious mind. Through the energetic work that that Reiki Master performs on the student as part of the attunement, the chakras are opened so that they can better receive the influx of energy being provided by the Master, and channel that extra energy outwards when called upon to do so. The student is being given the energetic blue-print for how to perform a Reiki healing. That is the intent inherent to the Usui Reiki attunement, and the symbols – “Here are your tools, now go use them”.

I personally believe that every individual is already divine and perfected – the biggest challenge in life is learning to realize that yourself! Especially in the West, we’ve been programmed by society (and the patriarchal hierarchical religions it is based in) to believe that nothing good can come from us, we must look for that elsewhere. Our culture has denigrated the value of intuitive ways of thinking and being, and we’ve been taught that if you can’t see, smell, taste, hear, or touch it, and if our scientists can’t record in on a machine, then it isn’t real. Reiki defies all that. It asks you to accept that you are fully worthy of and able to be a vessel for healing, and that you must trust your intuition to guide you in those abilities. We need, more than ever, a ceremony to grant us permission to let go and be divine! But the truth is we already ARE. I think that Reiki attunements and symbols are like our spiritual “Dumbo’s feather”. They give us permission to believe that we CAN…but that ability has always been within us. You don’t need to be connected to a deity, or a spirit, or a spiritual master. It’s completely unnecessary. You only need to know that you are allowed.

So there you have it. The oh-so-boring truth (but really, nonetheless fascinating from a metapsychological perspective) about the Reiki symbols and Reiki attunements. I hope that this will inspire you look more closely at the Reiki tradition from all its angles, strange as some of them may seem. I find that researching the history and development of nearly any system, tradition, or organization usually sheds an amazing amount of light on the original spirit that was intended to be the heart. But time and culture-shifts (and also often issues related to translation) result in a lot of misunderstandings! The core of Reiki is the intent to heal. Reiki seeks to communicate to your mind-body-spirit through symbols and attunements that YOU HAVE THE RIGHT. You need only to step up and claim it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mindfulness and Reiki

A Reiki attunement opens the healer up to becoming a pure, flow-through channel for reiki energy. There is absolutely NO NEED for a Reiki healer to invest any of their own energies into a performing a treatment. The healer can direct a treatment via the use of symbols (given in Level II training and above), or through intent, but at NO time are they required to utilize any of their own personal energies in the healing.

Some systems of energy healing ask the healer to consciously draw energy for one source or another (the Earth, the Heavens, a particular spiritual Master, etc) into themselves, and then re-direct that energy into the person they are healing. This easily results in the practitioner inadvertently sending some of their own energy along with the surplus they just pulled in from somewhere else. Some systems even ask the healer to pull negatives energies out of the client and in to themselves, relying on the healer to transmute the negative energies. I’m sure you can see the risk to the healer in that kind of technique! Reiki works differently in its methodology and includes spiritual safe-guards, and is therefore safer for the healer and the client.

One unfortunately common occurrence in today’s Western Reiki community is that people misunderstand the nature of the Reiki safe-guards. While the Reiki system itself makes no energetic demands on its practitioners in and of itself, most novice practitioners need specific instructions and meditations to help them learn how to keep from unintentionally involving their own energies into the treatment process. Often inexperienced Reiki healers want so much to heal their clients that they end up pushing a lot of their own energies into the healing without even realizing that they are doing so. They do so because they have been told that with Reiki they will not be using their personal energies ever. They are then very confused when after a treatment they feel drained and weak and exceptionally tired; some even become ill themselves shortly thereafter. While the Reiki healing itself did not exact an energetic price on them, they (consciously or unconsciously) pushed their own energies into the treatment. This is extremely common in new or inadequately trained Reiki practitioners.

I’ve met several people who had sworn off performing Reiki healing because they got so sick doing them. I’ve also seen websites decrying Reiki saying that Reiki isn’t good because the healers always get sick (of course those websites are promoting different energetic healing systems which are said to be “superior” to Reiki). I offered one “former” Reiki healer I met a couple of simple suggestions for meditations and visualizations to help them grasp the concept of being a “tube” for Reiki and remaining unattached, and it was like an epiphany for them. They said they wished that those lessons were taught in Reiki training…I answered that they SHOULD be and ARE part of Reiki training, and if they aren’t the student should think about training elsewhere!!

All of this could easily be avoided if more Western practitioners kept the Eastern roots of the system firmly in mind. Reiki developed out of the Buddhist tradition, where adept Buddhists and Chi Kung practitioners were using it for healing – adepts who had already had years of training in the art of non-attachment. Modern Reiki students need to be aware of this, and make sure that their Reiki training involves lessons on how to cultivate an attitude of compassionate non-attachment while giving a treatment. One certainly doesn’t need to be a Buddhist monk to perform Reiki, but one does need to become skilled at “letting go, and letting the Divine”. Learning to release attachment as to the specific result of a treatment, and simply practice being present during the treatment while holding the intention of the energy working for the highest good (whatever that may be) is very important to the proper Reiki healing method. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most simple, but powerful ways to begin cultivating a state of non-attachment that you can call upon during a Reiki treatment.

Non-attachment is one of those important topics that get skimmed over, or not addressed at all in many Western Reiki classes nowadays. People are told “Reiki cannot cause harm” and “Reiki is safe – there are no unhealthy energetic exchanges between practitioner and client”, and people trust this and take it at face value as the gospel truth. And it IS 100% true when Reiki is being used correctly by a proficient, properly-trained practitioner. HOWEVER, in the efforts to present Reiki as a non-sectarian, non-religious practice, what is forgotten is that Reiki DOES come from the Buddhist tradition, and within the Buddhist tradition one is trained in the practice of non-attachment (or what I like to call “compassionate detachment”) from the beginning.

One of the more prevalent ways that non-attachment is taught through the use of mindfulness meditations. Mindfulness practices help train the mind to stay in the experience of the moment, without getting caught up in thinking about the details and outcomes. It helps cultivate a state of “just being”. It sounds simple enough, but in truth it takes time to become great at this art – but even a little bit of practice at mindfulness techniques can bring about new states of quiet concentration, heightened awareness, and compassionate detachment. These are all states that are very important to the Reiki practitioner.

Many novice Reiki practitioners (and even some very experienced ones who never taught and also never quite figured out this key) inadvertently involve A LOT of their own personal stores of energy into a treatment. This is extremely common and nothing to be ashamed of…but it is of concern in the long-run and should be brought to the attention of the student practitioner. It is very common for new Reiki practitioners to feel unsure about what they should be “feeling” when they give a Reiki treatment. In an effort to “make sure” that they are transferring the proper amount of Reiki (remember, the Reiki will flow as needed and in the amounts most appropriate to the situation without ANY HELP), they end up pushing a lot of their own energies into the recipient. Reiki energy is fairly subtle, and doesn’t necessarily flow through with palpable power and force. In the beginning, students want/need to feel a powerful flow to validate for themselves that they are, in fact, channeling energy. This is simply a matter of confidence that will develop over time as a new practitioner works with the Reiki more often and becomes familiar with what Reiki actually feels like. In the beginning, though, they often “try” really hard to bring through the Reiki, which results in their own energies being pushed along with the flow of Reiki. As they do this they feel the energy moving very strongly, because in reality they are draining themselves of the energy as they pour it into the client.

This situation is very risky for several reasons. Firstly, the practitioner is depleting their body of the energy it needs to remain healthy. Secondly, personal vibrations (negative thoughts, abnormal energies, unstable emotions, etc) are being sent along with the personal energy – this can negatively impact the client with the practitioner’s “issues”. Thirdly, by opening up a pathway of personal energies between the practitioner and client, the personal vibrations of the client now have a throughway into the practitioner – which can then negatively impact the practitioner, who has also just depleted their own store of energy which would be utilized to neutralize the incoming foreign energies. The risk level of these effects are increased exponentially if the new Reiki practitioner is naturally (either consciously or latently) empathic. It is a sad fact that many Reiki practitioners are nearly always feeling drained after treatments, and also become ill more often than the general public. It is because they never learned to be compassionately detached from the treatment.

So how does one avoid this situation? There are several ways. The first and most simple is a very easy visualization that all new Reiki practitioners should learn (or at least something similar to it) and practice daily until they master it. I call the visualization “The Straw” or “The Tube”.


Take a few moments to centre and ground yourself.

Picture your spinal column, and recognize it as the center line of your bodies. Extend the center line down to beneath your feet.

You should now see a column that runs from the crown of your head, to the soles of your feet. Now see that column as a big hollow tube…like a straw.

It is open at the crown of your head, and runs down to the soles of your feel where it opens down to the earth. Feel the air blowing gently through this tube – THROUGH this tube.

Freely through. With no obstruction. Freely though the tube and through you. You are the tube. You are JUST the tube.

Now bring your attention to your heart chakra. Continue to let the air move freely through the tube as your bring your attention to the heart chakra. Feel the tube start to grow new tubes at your heart center out from the main tube and down through your arms to your hand chakras at the palms.

These new tubes open up, so that now the air and energy can flow THROUGH the main tube and out through your hands with no obstruction.

You are the tube. Be the tube.

It moves freely through you. You don’t need to take any action. You are just the tube.

Feel the air moving into the main central tube and out through your hands without any action or even attention from you.

Continue to stay in this moment.

(If you are going to be giving a Reiki treatment, move on the next brief section.)
Now, call in the Reiki energy. Feel the air moving through the tube become lit up, and the tubes begin to fill with the Reiki energy. You can picture this as clear, White Light, filling the tubes.

Let this new warm energy flow through the tubes. Without any obstruction. Without any action on your part. Simply let yourself be aware of the energy moving through you, and down and out through your hands.

Know that the energy will go where it needs to. Be present in the moment with the energy, without placing any extra attention or action onto it. Let it flow. Unobstructed. THROUGH you. You are just the tube.

Once you are familiar with this visualization, you will be able to call upon the sensation of being “the straw” or “the tube” with just a thought. You can re-affirm yourself as a flow-through channel (or straw) for the Reiki whenever you feel the need.

The other important necessity for cultivating a state of compassionate detachment during Reiki treatments is so that you, as a human practitioner (and therefore someone who can be influenced by outside events and personal biases and emotional attachments), can stay “out of the way” of the Reiki energy. Reiki is Pure White Light. It is Divine in nature and works for the highest good. It is often very difficult, if not impossible, for Reiki practitioners to know or understand the entire scope of an issue, illness, or injury that a client has come to you to address. For one thing, most issues have more than one component to them – something is not purely emotional, as it may have started to manifest itself physically somewhere. Likewise some physical illnesses have emotional components that are contributing to it.

If you are concentrating on and trying very hard to, say, unblock the throat chakra, you will be spending a great deal of energy attempting to manipulate the Reiki energy (and likely putting some of your own energies in with it), and basically making it more difficult for the energy to just flow where it needs to, on the levels that it needs to go. This sounds like a catch-22. You want to be an active part of the healing process, but I’m telling you to stay passive. How can you do your job, if you’re being told to “not do anything”. This is indeed a hard concept for many Westerns, as we’re taught and trained from a very young age that “working hard” is extremely important to our success and efficacy as a person.

The key here is ATTACHMENT TO A RESULT. As a Reiki practitioner you want to be compassionately detached from the process. Ideally, you are an observer of the healing process, even as you are the facilitator. Remember, REIKI is the healer, you are simply the conduit for the Reiki energy. This means that you do your job with quiet concentration, but you also surrender to the flow of the energy. If you encounter a blockage, work to remove it, however if it will not budge let it be – take a few moments to gather whatever subtle impressions you can about that blockage, and then move on. You can address that blockage at a later date after you have gathered some extra information from the client, and after the rest of your energy work has had time to work on the client’s various bodies.

Practicing mindfulness meditation can go a long way in helping a practitioner cultivate that state of non-attachment and of "staying out of the way" of the Reiki. Mindfulness is also one of the most simple forms of meditation. You can practice it anywhere at anytime. You don't need to close your eyes, or sit a certain way, or have a candle, or anything else. You can practice while driving, or typing, or dancing, or cooking dinner. All you need to do is gently focus on your breathing. Practicing this for 5-10 minutes a day can make a remarkable difference in how you react to stress or unexpected situations, and will seriously improve your performance as a healing practitioner. Here is the outline of the most simple of mindfulness meditations (and they don't get much more complicated either).

Gently bring your consciousness to your natural breathing rhythm.

Don't try to change your breathing pattern, just notice it.

Now internally narrate your breathing. For example, "I am breathing in. Holding and breathing out. I am breathing in. ...".

Let your senses note and acknowledge any input - sounds, lights, etc - just keep your focus gently but firmly on your breathing.

That's it!!! Doing that for a few minutes whenever you think about it will start you down the path of cultivating a state of mindfulness. Get comfortable with that feeling of being very aware in the moment, but not getting overly involved with anything going on around you. Then take that mind-state with you into your next treatment.

This aspect of being a Reiki practitioner is the most challenging. Be patient with yourself, but also be vigilant. Do not get overly worried about details, simply stay in the moment with the energy. If you find yourself getting caught up in the procedure of the treatment, simply bring yourself back to your Straw/Tube visualization, and tune into the sensations in your hands. Reiki has a way of greatly facilitating the quiet state of mind that you are aiming for, with just a little mindfulness practice on your part, you will be well on your way to becoming quite proficient at this aspect of Reiki healing!

The Straw / Tube visualization is, in and of itself, a form of mindfulness meditation. It teaches you to stay out of the way of the energy. However, learning one or two other simple mindfulness meditations that you can use outside of the treatment room to reinforce the detached frame of mind, will also prove very valuable and useful.

If you'd like to learn other mindfulness meditations, or read up on the practice in a more in-depth manner, please visit Wildmind. They have an extensive free online resource for learning mindfulness, including many guided meditations that you can listen to to get you on the right track. You can even order a CD of those meditation for your home use if you wish.

Remember, though, that just because this is “basic”, does not mean that it is easy to master! But by practicing mindfulness meditation you will become much more aware of your states of mind, you’ll learn to recognize the feeling of detachment, and you’ll be able to recognize when you are in (and more importantly OUT) of that frame of mind during a treatment.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reiki Ritualized

Reiki is an extremely popular modality of healing energy work within the New Age, NeoPagan, and alternative spirituality communities. Almost every seeker-type that I meet seems to be at least a Reiki I initiate…or has 3 friends that are. Some of the more orthodox Reiki practitioners balk at the sheer number of Reiki Masters and Practitioners running around, and bemoan the “decline” of Reiki. They cite unethical teaching methods - i.e. too cheap, too quick, etc, - that are admittedly a gross departure from the original Japanese system as the main culprit, and are quick to deride any who do not practice and teach according to their own strict standards. (These arguments mirror the ones often debated in many spiritual circles as to which traditions are more “real” and “valid” others).

While I can sympathize with the traditionalists’ viewpoints on the subject, I think that they are missing a very vital key in the issue. Reiki, as a Western practice, is evolving. Whether or not one practices or approves of the new forms of Reiki that have surfaced, the vast variety of perspectives that have arisen under the label of Reiki is astounding and speaks loudly to the spiritual inspiration produced by this healing modality.

I am fully aware of the fact that Reiki has always been taught, in the second and third degrees, to be a tool of transformation in the deeper emotional and mental levels of being. It has also always been recognized to induce trance-like states, in both the recipient and the practitioner, which can result in dream-like visions. The Buddhists who developed this system were more than aware of all this. So what is so revolutionary about Reiki being used in a way that smacks loudly of esoteric spiritual practice? It is the incorporation of unorthodox elements, such as smudging, drumming, crystals, therapeutic sound techniques, conscious creation of ritual healing space, and other tools of the practitioners of folk-magick and shamanic spirituality, applied in such as way that the visionary experience is welcomed and emphasized. A Reiki treatment can easily evolve into a full-blown ritual consisting of many complementary healing and spiritual elements, each chosen to heighten and intensify the internal processes.

I’ve been a practicing alternative forms of spirituality for 11 years, and have been rewarded by experiencing many different forms of psychic phenomena. While I am naturally mildly clairvoyant, I have seen some especially powerful things while in a Reiki induced trance-state. I’ve seen past lives, communicated with recipients’ Spirit Guides, and been taught indelible spiritual lessons all within the context of a Reiki treatment. In fact, almost all of my most vivid visions and psychic experiences have occurred while I was either giving or receiving a Reiki treatment. In all my experimentation with meditation and journey work that utilized drumming, dancing, gazing, or other methods of trance-induction, I have never been party to such dramatic, stunning and immersive imagery as I am when bathed in Reiki energy.

My first real wake-up call to the power of Reiki as a tool self-discovery in a more overtly esoteric spiritual context was during a treatment I underwent. I had begun seeking more spiritually-minded therapies for a chronic illness. I had begun bi-weekly aromatherapy massage and Reiki treatments at a local spa run by a Wiccan. She and I had felt a strangely intense connection to each other upon our first meeting, and often I would drop by her spa just to chat with her about spiritual subjects. This particular day the regular Reiki practitioner was not in the office, and I was feeling a little disappointed as I had hoped to have an impromptu treatment. However my friend said that she was a Reiki practitioner and would be happy to give me a treatment just for fun. Her approach and execution of a Reiki treatment was very different from the ones I had become accustomed to receiving at the spa.

She blended an oil to facilitate self-discovery and put it in the diffuser. As the soft, hypnotic music filled the air, the stimulating oils wafted over me and she began the treatment with a guided relaxation. Her voice trailed off and I was awash in the kaleidoscope of colors and free-associative thoughts that are a commonly reported experience during Reiki. When she reached the hand-position over my solar plexus chakra, my internal vision was shaped into a tunnel with movement at the far end. Curious, I mentally moved toward the scene and saw two young girls holding hands. They were dressed in 17th century Dutch clothing, and the surroundings suggested a small village. They weren’t facing me, but I knew that they were cousins and that I was the younger of the two. It was then that I recognized my older cousin was my friend!

I was more than a little surprised by these realizations. At that point in my life I was relatively new to the more New Age or Eastern spiritual concepts, and while I had no reason to doubt the theory of reincarnation - I really rather liked the idea - I had no personal experiences to base belief on. I found this vision of the little Dutch girl I used to be intriguing, but I still held on to my grain of salt…at least until the treatment ended.

After closing the treatment, she quietly related to me that when she reached my solar plexus she had asked her guides to reveal in a gentle manner any important information they felt I needed to know. She said that she had felt herself visually pulled into a tunnel, where she observed the same two girls and knew herself to be one and me the other. I was floored! She had described the exact scene that I had experienced. My skepticism was gone and I had taken a big step forward in my own spiritual path. I had been given the evidence that I needed to embrace the beautiful doctrine of reincarnation. A frightened piece of my soul had been comforted and I had a new perspective on Life and its meaning.

What made that treatment stand apart from the others I had, were elements that had helped me sink into the most receptive state possible, such as the guided relaxation. The diffused essential oils also helped prime my mind for allowing the inner meditative experiences. I have since adopted these elements as part of my regular Reiki treatment routine, and feedback from those who have undergone Reiki with and without this introductory relaxation/meditation phase and conscious conducive atmospheric creation have reported reaching the deep Reiki-trance state exponentially sooner than when the treatment is performed without it.

These deep trances in which one journeys to various inner vistas are at the heart of the mystical Reiki experience. When supported with Reiki energy, even those who have not had intense spiritual training in skills such as meditation, visualization, and journeying can experience these types of visions that very often act as catalysts for spiritual insight and progress, as well as healing. Another Reiki treatment I experienced served to advance me along developmentally, this one by an amazing young psychic medium whom I had become acquainted with. He had recently been certified in Reiki and was taking any opportunity he could to practice. I had heard from a mutual friend that he worked closely with his spirit guides, and that she had experienced extremely intense visions while receiving a treatment from him. I was eager to see if there was a noticeable difference in his treatment than in the others I had received.

He began my treatment by having me recite an invocation to Divinity asking for the Highest Good of all beings involved in the treatment. He recited this prayer several more times while he cleansed my aura, utilizing a clear quartz crystal point to remove psychic dust. He then began the treatment, and I’m still not one hundred percent sure, but I think he maintained a low hum throughout most or all of it. Within ten minutes I began to hear drumming. It became louder and louder until I opened my eyes to see if someone actually was playing a recording nearby.

My eyes opened, but it was internally. I found myself standing in the middle of a Native American village. There were tents with smoke rising out of the tops, and women and children scurrying to and fro. There seemed to be a jubilant atmosphere, and I turned to find many men dancing around a fire holding weapons. A buffalo carcass was being cleaned nearby. Suddenly I heard the unmistakable cry of an eagle and I turned to where the sound was coming from. Off in the distance I could see it circling, and then begin to fly towards the village. Closer and closer it came, calling majestically as it did. All at once it swooped down in a dive straight at me! As I ducked to dodge the oncoming raptor, I must have flinched on the treatment table, as I was brought back to regular consciousness.

I was really excited about what I had seen while being wrapped in the healing energies, even though I didn’t know exactly what it had meant. It had been the most vivid spiritual vision I had experienced so far in my spiritual path. Afterwards, he told me that during the treatment his guides had offered to share a vision of their village with both of us. He began telling me what it was like, and just as in the other treatment I had had, he described every last detail I had seen in the vision. What was most interesting for me was that he said that toward the end of the vision he had called in his Power Animal, Eagle, who had swooped down on me to bestow a blessing.

I was almost in tears at this revelation. So many concepts that I was conditioned to be skeptical (and downright fearful of) by my fundamentalist Christian upbringing -Spirit Guides, reincarnation, shared visions - were being brought to life in a safe and nurturing way. These powerful, life-altering events were brought about through the magick of Reiki. It was within weeks of this that I began my own training as a Reiki practitioner.

Another even more ritualized Reiki treatment I received was performed with the specific intent of evoking visions related to my spiritual development. I was still in the process of regaining balance that had been compromised during the long illness that had originally brought me to Reiki. It was clearly time to do some serious cleansing of my psyche and outdated coping programs. My mother, who had been involved with a Core-Shamanism group for 6 years felt that a series of neo-shamanic healings & journeys might help shed light on my remaining issues and hopefully present some help in the form of Spirit Guides, Teachers, or maybe even the discovery of my Power Animal.

She set up a crystal vortex that was meant to facilitate deep personal discovery and healing. I stood within the crystals while she smudged herself and then me and the space. I participated while she invoked the four directions, and then turned on a CD of shamanic drumming. I lay down and closed my eyes, trying to drift into the sound between the drumbeats. She laid her hands onto my body and began the flow of Reiki into me. When she felt the impulse she would pick another one of her crystals and use it to energetically cleanse an area of my body. The room was electric with the pulse of the Reiki and crystal energies.

Before I knew it I heard hoof beats. I found that I was sitting on a beach by a small fire and off to the Northwest, there was a herd of wild stallions…and they were headed my way. I was excited and hopeful. I had always had a deep love of horses and had a large collection of very realistic model horses as a child. It would certainly make sense if Horse was my power animal. As the horses approached they began jumping over the fire and me. I yelled over the pounding hooves “Are you my Power Animal?” I had been told to ask any animals that presented themselves this question, and that they would answer whether they were or were not.

The horses all kept up their frantic pace, seeming to ignore me in the meantime. Finally the last horse reared up in place. “Are you my Power Animal?” I asked again. “No. Breathe. And Run”, was the only answer I received. He galloped off after the rest of them. While the exact meaning of that cryptic message was not clear at the time, I return to that lesson and find that it offers great wisdom in situations where I need it the most. It echoes the mindfulness teachings of Buddhism, reminding one to stay present in the moment and not to be attached to the past or future.

Without the supportive energy of Reiki, I do not think that those experiences would have been possible for me at those particular points in time. I have had plenty of other clairvoyant experiences since then, but none with the depth of intensity of those supported by Reiki. I strongly believe that Reiki can be a launching board into transformational visionary experiences for those who do not have a natural aptitude for clairvoyance, or who find meditation or shamanic journeying difficult. The specific trance-state induced by Reiki seems to allow more immediate freedom of the inner-self and safer access to visionary dimensions of perception. I believe that this is due to the nature of Reiki itself. It is said to be the pure energy of Creation – chi, prana, ki, etc. In many ways Reiki is the sentient Pure White Light of Divinity becoming the exact frequency of healing that we need without overwhelming us. As we progress and become ready, the Light of Reiki expands opening us up to more intense and meaningful experiences.

This can be said for Reiki all on its own; however when combined with other methods of spiritual development that resonate with us it can help one catapult, in a safe, effective and efficient manner, to the places we most need to go. While it may not look much like the Reiki practice that blossomed out of Japan, or the Reiki practiced in clinical settings, it is no less powerful or important.

Reiki could easily take an honored place among the psychic tools for self-exploration and development for those within the Ascension Paradigm (otherwise known as the New Agers), NeoPagans, and other open-minded spiritual seekers. We need only listen to our intuition and follow the tides of this blossoming new evolution. It seems that we are asking the right questions and treading into the territory of bringing Reiki into a whole new era of practice.

If it feels right, and it harms none, let the evolution continue! I've taken the leap in designing several unique Reiki-based healing rituals in my own practice. These combine elements of sacred space and altar creation, vibrational atmospheric attunement, crystal energy, essential oil blend diffusion, flower essences, sound healing through therapeutic soundscapes and chanting - all supported with Reiki healing energy - focused on specific spiritual healing themes, such as Awakening the Goddess Within, Archangelic Communion, Chakra Balancing, and more.

It is my wish to facilitate others' spiritual journeys of internal exploration, transformtion, and healing. By utilizing all the tools that we are familiar with to create a new synergy, perhaps we can channel higher amounts of Light into this world to work towards Plantary and Universal Healing. I invite all Reiki practitioners who feel the call to begin (consensually) experimenting with the incorporation of non-traditional ritual elements into their treatments. I’m sure you will find that it will open the door to many unexpected possibilities.


Using Reiki to Address Depression and other Mental/Emotional Imbalances

Reiki is an excellent complementary therapy for managing the mood disorders, such as depression, chronic stress, bi-polar disorders, and more. Stress and mood management are two of the more common reasons that people seek out Reiki treatments in the first place. It was the reason that initially brought me to Reiki! I had been dealing with an inherited panic disorder and depressive issues for many years, and the medications prescribed by my doctors at that time had not helped me much. I had just entered university and the stress and anxiety was taking its toll. I wanted to pursue alternative health options, as allopathic care was not yet aiding me.

I originally went in to the holistic clinic for aromatherapy treatments, which did seem to have a calming and balancing effect. However, the day the resident Reiki practitioner offered to treat me as a, well, treat, things really started changing for me. It was fairly dramatic the state of calm and peace that I felt during and for several days after the Reiki treatment. I started seeing the Reiki practitioner as often as I was able, and things started falling into place as far as my healthcare was concerned. I trained as a Reiki practitioner myself within 3 months of having first experienced it, and the ongoing changes and shifts in my own perspectives led me over the course of the next 3 years to finally finding stability and peace in every area of my life.

So, how does Reiki work on stress and mood disorders? Reiki provides a sense of deep relaxation and balance that aid the mind and body in working towards a more stable state. Most people report feeling much more centered and peaceful for several days after a Reiki treatment, and simply having that energetic support can often go a long way in allowing the body to heal itself. In today’s work-a-day world, many people rarely take any time for themselves to just “Be”. Between work, hobbies, and family responsibilities, and trying desperately and often unsuccessfully to get enough sleep, there often doesn’t seem time for rest and relaxation outside the few weeks of vacation time (during which we tend to plan very active and involved excursions) we may plan for ourselves. Top that with the fact that in the West we live very toxic lives – our food is often processed, our toiletry products are filled with chemicals, and our cleaning routines consist of slathering even more chemicals all over the rest of the surfaces of our homes, our careers most often force us to sit sedentary for a better part of our waking lives. Stress, poor nutrition, lack of activity, deprivation from sufficient amounts of natural sunlight, and sensitivity to chemicals, are all important factors in mental as well as physical health. Injecting an hour of intensely rejuvenating down-time in the form of a Reiki treatment can make a dramatic difference to our overtaxed minds and bodies.

By going for Reiki treatments, the practitioner will also be examining and assessing the energetic anatomy - primarily via the 7 main chakras. Physical, emotional, and mental issues will also present themselves in the form of energetic abnormalities on the subtle level of your being (and visa versa - it's a kind of chicken-or-egg type debate in many cases). In working with the energetic anatomy of the chakras, the Reiki practitioner will also be able to pinpoint specific problem areas, which can help both the practitioner and client identify what areas of life may be causing the greatest stress on the system. For instance, if there is a lot of stagnant energy in the solar plexus area, issues related to self-confidence may very well be the core contributing factor to the state of poor well-being. Having identified and acknowledged that can help the client focus on working through the issues related to that, targeting the problem causing the most discomfort. Many people suffering from depression have blockages or other energetic abnormalities in their base chakra, which is related to matters of physical survival – shelter, food, money, etc. Identifying and working through those anxieties with the support of Reiki energy, will help restore mental and emotional stability and also open up the flow of energy to the other chakras. By addressing these areas of dis-ease, and working to re-establishing proper energetic flow and function on the subtle levels, the body is able to circulate its energies in a more appropriate manner, which will start the process of clearing and healing the physical, mental and emotional symptoms whatever they may be.

Reiki energy also has a way of bringing "things" to the surface of our consciousness that we may not have been aware were causing stress, or had been trying to avoid dealing with. When a recipient find thoughts or memories popping up during a Reiki treatment, or in thoughts &/or dreams afterwards, they should take note as usually this is your intuition pointing you to the things that may require attention for you to move to the next level of healing. The Reiki energy supports the (sometimes uncomfortable) process of identifying these issues, and eases the process of working through them. In some cases, what surfaces may require outside counseling to complete the healing process - as would be the case with a surfaced sexual abuse issue, or something similar. However, continuing with Reiki treatments during such a time would be extremely beneficial as it would aid in increasing emotional stamina and resilience. Reiki works beautifully as a complementary modality, expediting the healing process and lessening any pain involved. These inner revelations will likely happen to anyone undergoing regular Reiki care, even if they originally begin Reiki to aid with a physical problem such as arthritis. Reiki heals on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual - working towards stabilizing the entire Being. Start healing one level, and any progress that needs addressing on the other levels will soon come to light.

When utilizing Reiki to address a more chronic issue, such as ongoing depression or other mood-related concerns, it is always best to get treatments regularly - once a week being ideal (more often if the situation is in crisis or very acute, but most people are fine with the once a week frequency) - until a consistent energetic shift has been made, then you can taper back to a maintenance schedule. The energetic body can easily become habituated to carrying energetic blocks and abnormalities, and part of the course of Reiki therapy is repatterning the body’s energy. One treatment may shift much of the unhealthy energy into a more healthy state, however until that healing is truly anchored into the recipient’s Being, the body and mind’s natural tendency will be to revert to what is easy and a habit – the unhealthy state. Being consistent with receiving treatment will ensure that one receives the energetic support needed to make that new energy pattern the habituated one. Anchoring the new pattern very often involves dealing what whatever caused the energy to “go off” in the first place. Reiki is just like acupuncture, naturopathy, or any of the other natural healing modalities, in that committing to a treatment plan is important to seeing lasting results. That being said, many people do use Reiki "as needed" for stress, pain, etc.

I personally usually practice what I call Intuitive Energetic Bodywork. This is an intuitive blending of several energetic and vibrational modalities, though the bulk of the treatment sessions are based in Reiki. This allows me to utilize &/or suggest other subtle modalities that can assist in the overall healing process. For instance, I have had a great deal of success with flower essences, both in my personal life, my family life, with friends, and also with clients. I find they help support and continue the process of energetic clearing and repatterning between healing sessions, so very often I will suggest certain blends to my clients to use as part of their treatment.

What makes flower essences (and a factor that they share with Reiki) so very useful in the treatment of mood disorders, is that they work on a vibrational level so there are no contraindications for their use. Many people seeking Reiki for mental imbalances are currently taking medications (or cocktails of medications), which often leave them with leftover symptoms that they meds are not addressing, and/or are giving them uncomfortable side-effects. The natural healthcare options open to people on medications are somewhat limited, as herbs, essential oils, and some other methods may easily cause complications with the medications and so should be avoided. Flower essences however make use of the vibrational effects of the botanicals, without involving the chemical levels.

Generally speaking, if someone is responding well to Reiki, then other subtle modalities will also be effective for them (obviously every modality is not for everyone). Utilizing flower essences to address the lingering symptoms or side-effects of the medications between Reiki sessions not only extends the post-Reiki “high”, but it empowers the client to take back control over an area of their life which many feel slipped through their fingers long ago. I used to feel very powerless when it came to my panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. Most other people that I’ve talked with and treated that had chronic illnesses (of any variety) report having felt the same way. That feeling only contributes to the disorder. Gaining back hope, and taking back the power and control over one’s own mind and emotions, is a very powerful healing step. To that end I also like to provide clients with "homework" in the form of guided meditations or affirmations when the time is right – sometimes it is several sessions before they regain enough confidence and stability to take responsibility for playing an active role in the healing process. Providing them with tools to help themselves between treatment sessions is an important step in the empowerment process.

So overall Reiki can help facilitate many positive changes within a person who is experiencing stress, depression, or other mental or emotional issues. It allows their body and mind a chance to rest and be still, which providing a healthy dose of fresh energy that the body can utilize to rejuvenate itself naturally. Reiki practitioner can also pinpoint specific areas of energetic abnormality, which can help identify core issues contributing to the state of dis-ease. The Reiki energy will support the subconscious efforts of the recipient to acknowledge experiences or perceptions that may be linked to the mental/emotional discomfort, and ease the process of working through them. The Reiki energy will help effect a repatterning of the energetic anatomy to reflect the new state of health and wholeness, anchoring the changes into a state of stability.


** Please DO NOT alter the dosage, or stop taking any prescribed medications unless you are under the direct supervision of your regular allopathic healthcare provider. Reiki is a complementary therapy that works well in tandem with traditional healthcare, and should never been perceived as a replacement for traditional medical care.

If you are currently under the care of a counselor or physician, inform them of your wish to pursue Reiki as a complementary therapy, and have them monitor your health and mental state. Any changes to your traditional allopathic healthcare regime should only be made with cooperation with your doctor.

Should any traumatic or particularly difficult issues arise as a result of the Reiki healing process, please seek the aid of a professionally trained counselor. **