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!

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 All those energies overwhelm me, and I end up feeling very withdrawn and defensive (not the best mood to try and party in).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.