Today, my husband asked me to teach him how I do Reiki. He recently completed his Reiki Level 2 class, and is playing around with what he had learned. I think that most people start developing their own way of going about their Reiki practice if they do it long enough, and I’m no exception. His question made me stop and think.
How do I describe what I do?
After a little thinking, and paying attention to what I do when I am doing Reiki, I think that I can give it a little explanation here.
First of all, for those of you who are not familiar with what Reiki is, allow me to offer a quick crash course. Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki, was born in 1865 in Japan. His life story and how he came up with Reiki is a convoluted story mixed with myth and Christianization to appeal to western audiences. It is believed that in the early 1920s, after a 21 day session of fasting and prayer on Mount Hiei, he developed (or was given) the practice of Reiki.
It’s hard to say how it has changed from Usui’s day to what we are taught in the US today. Hawayo Takata, a student of a student of Usui, is the one credited to bringing it to the US. She is also credited to giving Reiki’s story a more Christian flavor so it would be received more favorably in the West. She may have changed some of the information as she taught it, which may account for a few of the different schools of Reiki. Adding to that, different people taught it differently as it spread. Some would add stories of it originating in Atlantis because they “channelled” it (or it made for a great story that those in the New Age movement would eat up). Some would add extra symbols.
So, here we are in the early 21st century with quite a few different schools. I’ve learned primarily from two Reiki teachers, and both taught the system differently. What remains the same is the basic idea of what Reiki is. Reiki is a way to channel energy through the practitioner into the client to balance the clients energetic field, balancing the emotional, spiritual, and physical. This is taught to the practitioner through three classes (sometimes there is a sort of 2.5 level, but I believe that to be just a way for the teacher to make an extra buck) and three attunements. The attunements are the most important part, as it teaches you what to connect to. In the second level, you are taught symbols that are used both in healing, strengthening your Reiki practice, and (eventually) attunement of others.
When you are first taught Reiki, after your attunement you are taught to pull the energy out of the sky. That’s how I did it for the longest time. Then, I began to learn about the rituals in the revivalist Druidry of the AODA. One of the main tenets of the work in the AODA is that there are three sources of power in magical work: the cosmos, the planet, and you (fed by your own mix of the cosmos and the planet). It’s interesting to look at other magical and spiritual practices through this lense. It also suggests that there is better balance when using all of these.
I decided to try and mix this practice into my Reiki. I still myself, get myself out of the way, and let the flow of power travel down my center line, from the sky to the earth, from the earth to the sky. They meet in me, mixing in me, flowing through my hands into the Reiki power symbol that I am visualizing over my client. I usually also work in a silent prayer to the Creator, as well as my guides and the client’s guides.
I find that the more that I let go, the better the practice. Sometimes, I can feel my guides move my hands somewhere on the client. I try to pay attention to what I’m doing, sometimes reaching in and asking the client’s body what it needs. My goal is to smooth out anything that feels out of balance, as well as clear any blockages in the central channel. While a practitioner is taught specific hand positions in Level 1, I have never really used them. I focus on specific chakra points, and feel where my hand is needed.
I have found that one of the interesting things that changed in my Reiki practice when I added a terrestrial flow was a lot of heat. Sometimes, it heats up my body so much that I sweat. That’s why I have to rock a bandana in summertime sessions. I imagine getting hit by your practitioner’s sweat would ruin a perfectly good Reiki session.
Another thing that I do differently than many other Reiki practitioners is I place a rock at the client’s feet. I had a teacher suggest this to help ground. I like the feel of it, and I enjoy working a little bit of nature into the practice. I also use a rattle and drum. My drum can assist in breaking up blockages, and my rattle can assist in sealing in the session, as well as acting as a sort of energetic cleanse.
There is more to Reiki, such as cutting energetic cords, or removing anything that shouldn’t be in a client’s energetic field. This goes more into shamanic work, though. This is why I like to refer to my practice as more than Reiki. I work in all of the other modalities that I have learned on this path.
If you have any questions about Reiki, or how I go about it, ask in the comments on my website or on Green Mountain Mage’s Facebook page. I’m always happy to talk shop.
Until next week
-The Green Mountain Mage