The Reiki lottery winner
Congratulations to Reiki Master/Teacher Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett of Dundalk, Maryland, USA, on being one of four winners of the Mega Millions jackpot last week, and on being one of this week's Celeb-Reiki's. The Rev. Bartlett (he's a Universal Life Church minister) also is a one-man Reiki Roundup, since most of the news stories mentioning Reiki recently are actually about him.
The Mega Millions weekly drawing had gone unwon for weeks, swelling the prize for the multistate jackpot to a whopping $330 million as lines to buy tickets also swelled around the block. A student of mine, a bus driver, got in line to buy a ticket as he paused at one end of his route, and would have gotten a parking ticket except that the policeman understood when he explained he'd been in the lotto line. Everywhere you went in the dozen or so Mega Millions states, everybody was talking about the Mega Millions, and there must have been at least one lotto dream for every dollar in the jackpot.
Finally, there were four winners in the August 31 drawing, and the first to step into the spotlight was Bartlett, who brought both Reiki and his Wiccan faith into the public glare with him. The first news reports the day after the drawing mentioned that he "teaches Reiki and Wicca" part time at a local New Age shop called Mystickal Voyage. The wire services soon added a pronunciation guide (RAY'-kee) for those unfamiliar with the word, but as the coverage continues the reports haven't made a clear distinction between Reiki and Wicca. So for the record, Reiki is, as the news stories say, "a form of Japanese energy healing." Wicca is, as the news stories say, "a nature-based religion." Reiki is practices by people of all faiths -- including Wicca -- as well as agnostics and atheists. Only some Reiki practitioners are Wiccan, and only some Wiccans practice Reiki, just as only some Reiki practitioners are multimillionaires, and only some multimillionaires practice Reiki. Similarly, only some Reiki practitioners live in Maryland, and only some Maryland residents practice Reiki. We could go on, but we hope the point is made.
Here are some of the headlines:
Wicca teacher claims 1 Mega ticket
(Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, Pioneer Press and others)
Wicca teacher says he has 1 of 4 winning tickets
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution and others; original Journal-Constitution headline was "New Age teacher says he has 1 of 4 winning tickets")
Dundalk man says he's a winner
Wiccan wins lottery
MD Teacher Claims to Have Mega Millions Ticket
Maryland man says he's a Mega winner
Mega Millions lotto winner says Wiccan gods helped
Wiccan gods thanked for lottery win
Ticket holder believes in magic
Reporters praised Bartlett for everything from the courage to use the nickname "Bunky" to the pragmatism of announcing "I'm not giving any of it away," not to mention the audaciousness of walking into a dealership with a photocopy of his winning ticket and driving away in a new SUV, no money down. They applauded him for not only announcing his plans to continue teaching, but going ahead with a scheduled talk at Mystickal Voyage days after his life-changing win. (Since he's planning to invest some of the winnings in the New Age shop, it does make sense for him to continue his affiliation with the place.)
Bartlett was, of course, besieged by people offering advice or asking for handouts, but he has held firm. We at The Reiki Digest understand that the Mega Millions winner isn't asking for our advice, either, but here it is nonetheless. As this is The Reiki Digest rather than The Wicca Digest, we'll stick to the subject of Reiki here.
Free advice for the Reiki Mega Millions winner
1) Subscribe to The Reiki Digest (it's free)
2) Go on Oprah -- and give her a Reiki session on television. In fact, if you'd like to expand that to include everyone in the audience, we've got plenty of Reiki-practitioner readers standing by to assist you.
3) Since you'll have plenty of time for studying and teaching, you might want to sign up for the Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) course with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki, sponsored by The Reiki Digest in New York City this October (at press time, there are still a few spaces left).
4) Visit Mt. Kurama, the legendary birthplace of Reiki.
5) Start a health insurance company (as an accountant, you know what money-makers they are) that covers Reiki and other natural healing practices.
6) Set up a nonprofit to promote causes you believe in -- such as Reiki.
7) Establish a research institute to study the effects of Reiki.
8) Set up a prize to be awarded to the first person who can prove scientifically that the "putative biofield" actually exists.
9) Buy yourself a really nice seiza bench to use morning and evening when you repeat the Reiki precepts.
10) Just keep on doing what you're doing -- it seems to be working!
The lucky winner has done a lot of interviews in the past week, so The Reiki Digest will give him some time to ponder his good fortune and make some plans before seeking out our interview with him. If any of our Maryland-area readers happen to run into him at his favorite shop, please pass along our congratulations.
The man called Bunky isn't our only Celeb-Reiki this week. We also congratulate U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) on his triumphant return to the Senate this week, months after undergoing emergency brain surgery late last year. While the senator was unable to speak for himself, others requested Reiki for him, and while we can't prove that it helped, it doesn't seem to have hurt.
That's all for this week. We're off to buy another lotto ticket -- the lines are much shorter now. Odds are the next winner won't be a Reiki practitioner, but as with anything else in life, you can't win if you don't play.