Reiki (pronounced “ray-kee”) is a form of healing that uses divine energy to heal on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Reiki is a Japanese word meaning “divine life force energy”. A Reiki practitioner acts as a channel for reiki energy, offering healing by laying on of hands. Reiki practitioners of level 2 or higher can also give distance healings.
An attunement is the process that creates a Reiki healer. A Reiki Master opens the student to the Reiki energy through attunements, preferably after teaching a class or series of classes on Reiki. However, even if no class is taught and the student only receives the attunement, s/he is still open to the ability to channel Reiki. From then on, all the person has to do is hold their hands on someone with the intent for Reiki to flow and it will flow.
I met my Reiki Master in 2003, I believe, at a Unity church I was attending. I grew up in Asheville, which is a pretty energetic hot spot and has become something of a new age-y town. I'd seen reiki fliers all over the place, but I never really knew what reiki was. K'Sitew was able to explain it to me. He told me he had founded the Medicine Reiki tradition, and briefly explained how that differed from Traditional Reiki. K'Sitew had been attuned to Traditional Reiki long ago, and after living with the Cree for twenty years, he saw how reiki energy and Medicine wisdom could be really complementary.
I was very intrigued. I knew we had Cree blood on my mother's side, though it's lost in the pale sea of strong Irish blood. It was more the energy work part that drew me, and I felt a wonderful energy from K'Sitew himself. I'd always been very open to energy, but I kind of floundered around trying to uncover what that meant. Having a teacher would be a dream come true. And then K'Sitew told me he happily offers scholarships, and I embarked on my reiki journey.
I received my Reiki I attunement in March 2004, about a year after the birth of my first child. In Reiki I, you learn the history of reiki and the Reiki Principles. Reiki I opens you up as a reiki channel and enables you to give hands-on healing. It's primarily for self-healing. While reiki itself is a soothing, healing energy that is often used for physical illness, people who receive the actual attunement process usually find that their lives change much more drastically when receiving an attunement. It brings you into better alignment with your life path, and sometimes this includes things like physical detoxification and past traumas being brought into the present to work through and heal.
I had a minor detox that many Reiki I's say they experience. They were mostly cold-like symptoms – a runny nose, feeling tired, using the bathroom more often. It didn't last long and I knew to expect it, so I counteracted it by drinking lots of water and resting for a day. I did have a lot of issues come up with my then-stepfather, with whom I'd always had a problem. I had to rededicate myself to cutting him from mine and my daughter's life, even if it meant hurting my mom. We stopped visiting. Mom could come out to us if she wanted to see her granddaughter. This was the last time I had to make that stand – mostly because I stuck with it this time, fully committing myself to my vow that my children would know only a family of love, and also because they ended up finally divorcing some time later.
I immediately felt a difference in my energy work. I felt things more clearly, and I understood them much better. I became confident in my abilities, because my intuitions usually seemed correct. I practiced on Josh, who was a great sport. He'd lie on our bed while I fumbled my way through the worksheets, trying to remember all the hand positions. I did my two daily self-healings, happily went along offering even just a moment of reiki to random strangers (we're supposed to practice on others). I reiki-ed our car, our dog, our baby, stoplights. Just to see, you know. One of my very favorite activities was nursing Eden while I opened up to reiki energy and did a chakra meditation with her. I've always intuited with colors, and I'd practice beaming different colors to her when she was tired, cranky, or sad. I'd hold her and fill her with pink mommy-light, or rock her with a soothing sleepy blue, pour in a healing green when her tummy hurt. The more I used reiki, the more it taught me.
I took my Reiki II in May, just two months later. I was an eager student and signed up for the very next class. Reiki II was just wonderful. I learned distance healing, which I had already done my whole life in my own personal energy work. I applied reiki to my own techniques after Reiki I, and I found it quite effective. Still, there was no denying an increase of power after my Reiki II attunement. I was not just holding a person in my hands, mind, or heart; I was often feeling a definite and powerful connection, especially if it was someone I loved.
During this time, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. He was so far away in Illinois. With his permission, I made distance healing for him my daily practice. I included any and everyone who wished or could be talked into it. I applied my distance healing practice to the prayer list I was on. It was anonymous, through the church, so I was able to practice settling into Sacred Space and connecting with strangers, asking permission to do the reiki work. I find asking the 'Higher Self' to be perfectly acceptable if one can't literally ask permission, but I find that too many healers misunderstand or abuse that practice. They'll use “asking the Higher Self” as a way to circumvent permission from someone they know would be uncomfortable with reiki energy. I always include the caveat that I intend the energy to go to Gaia if someone prefers not to accept it. Our Earth needs healing, and she has never said no.
Only once did I get a strong and emphatic NO. Reiki II's distance practices also urge us to move beyond space and time to heal old emotional or karmic wounds. I had been doing a lot of healing and releasing work with my issues with my stepfather. Eventually I got to the point where I felt like I could joyfully offer him healing for our relationship as well. He and mom had split, and he'd long since fallen off the wagon and no one knew where he was. I did some self-work too, making sure I could offer with a light heart. I connected with him and told him I was working on forgiveness, that I wanted to move on and was offering what I could if he wanted it. Not only did I get a NO, but the NO was in big bright red and slammed up in my consciousness on a thick stone wall. Point taken.
I had to wait a while before Reiki III was offered. Reiki III is the Master/Teacher level, which enables the practitioner to teach each level of reiki and pass attunements to others. By the time the class was offered in February 2005, I was three months pregnant with my second child. I wondered if the attunement would have any effect on the baby. From both my doula and reiki backgrounds, I feel pretty emphatically about informed consent. It was my child though, and I'd been waiting eagerly for a Master class. I figured it was meant to be the way it would be. I asked K'Sitew if he thought the baby would be attuned too, and if so, would it be a level one or a Master attunement? He said he had no clue, but it would be interesting to find out what happened.
My attunement to energy was much stronger by this time, but my Master attunement was really indescribable. It was so strong, and I felt a bit dizzy and lightheaded for some time after it. I was in a sparkly haze. I remember things only vaguely after that, but the power of it stays clearly. I was so thirsty. I drank a lot of water. I remember smiling a lot.
K'Sitew said that he had seen four hoops. Medicine Reiki is also sometimes called Hoop Reiki, because we utilize Medicine Hoops in our practice. K'Sitew said he felt I received my Master hoop and the baby received hoops for all three levels.
I had been throwing myself head first into my new reiki practice, but I had never lived with the Cree. I didn't understand Medicine energies, except for what stories I picked up here and there from K'Sitew. I always invited any guides and totems into my work, but I'd never had a clear awareness of them. That is what changed with my Master attunement.
Within a week, three different people (one was a stranger) recommended Sandra Ingerman's Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner's Guide. Listening to Universe, I went and bought it, and thus embarked on my shamanic journeying path. I did a whole lot of reading after that, but I also started journeying and asking different energies themselves what they were and how they related to me and my path. It was truly an awakening. I was able to actively connect and work with my guides, and I have done successful journeys for others.
When I went into labor with my little Reiki Master (we still did not know the sex), it was also exceptionally powerful. I passed my very first attunement while I was in labor. I wanted reiki, and I wanted it from Josh. That is what I remember most from Ivy's birth – the cool, blue-green waves of reiki that Josh held me in during my hour of active labor.
It was over two years before I felt comfortable enough with reiki to hold my first class. That was done with my mom and sisters, and it is a memory I will forever cherish. I finally opened my own reiki school in January of this year, when I felt ready to devote much more of my life to my reiki path. That was derailed after mom's accident, but after several months of actively healing, I'm ready to start picking up the pieces again.
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