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Friday, October 01, 2010

Part three of a series, Common Sense, Animal Sense, Reiki Sense - Reiki and wildlife and first aid Reiki

editor's note: Click here to read part one of the series. Click here to read part two.

Reiki and Wildlife

A classmate in the Reiki level two class I attended several years ago arrived and announced that on her drive in, she’d seen a bear. I thought how interesting it would be to offer Reiki to a bear. The teacher, however, had a different take on the situation. She told the student that in case she saw a bear again that she should imagine herself surrounded by a pink bubble. By doing so, she would be completely protected from the bear. This unexpected response threw me off guard, but apparently, the bubble concept stuck with me.

During a conversation with my next teacher, he asked me how it was that I practiced Reiki. I explained the process in which I worked with animals. I sat down with the animal. I drew the symbols and said the mantras. I enclosed myself in a pink bubble, for protection. But I hadn’t left the ritual at that. This bubble was creating a barrier between me and whichever animal I was working with. Feeling sorry for the animal, who might need some protection too, I imagined a pink bubble around her, as well. This solution, not feeling quite right either, inspired me to improve on the bubble ritual even further, and I imagined one giant bubble that enclosed both of us within our individual bubbles so that we would both be safe and together as much as we could possibly be, considering our own respective bubbles. As I uttered the last of this explanation, the absurdity of what I was saying hit me. My teacher pointed out tactfully that assuming a need for protection was in direct conflict with the first Reiki precept: Do not worry. I abandoned the bubble ritual.

Can you offer Reiki to wildlife? Of course you can. Squirrels, deer, skunks, pigeons, and rats to name a few are all “fair game”. (Bedbugs, anyone?) Many practitioners concentrate their healing work with animals in wildlife sanctuaries, rehabilitation centers and zoos, where the animals could surely use some balancing.

You can practice Reiki on wildlife in sanctuaries or in nature, and do it worry free as well, as long as you use some common sense. (Just because you are not worried does not mean that if you stumble upon some cubs in the wild that their protective mama bear will not charge.) If you believe in bubbles, I recommend you imagine one immediately when you begin your Reiki session with wildlife – and then make sure that you are in a safe place to prevent it from being burst.

First Aid Reiki

Reiki is often used as a first aid protocol. There’s no reason that this can’t be applied to the animal kingdom as well as in hospital emergency rooms and at disaster sites. But as noted in Heather Alexander’s July 29, 2010 article, Reiki moves into emergency planing - support without fear,  it’s also highly beneficial to first responders. If you work with animals, this includes you.

Although I live in a well populated town in New Jersey, one short hour from Manhattan, my back yard has been home to newly born fawns, a family of skunks, possums, assorted birds, squirrels and field mice. Living in proximity with such a wide array of creatures would seem ideal to any nature lover, unless, like me, you also happen to live with two very motivated, highly prey driven dogs.

Over the years I’ve had the heartbreak of discovering among other things, the corpse of a cardinal who happened to find his way into the back porch (and subsequently the jaws of one of my dogs), and the body of a chipmunk on the hallway carpet. Insult was added to injury when upon summoning the wherewithal to scoop up the carcass, I found that the tail had been severed, requiring a second scooping.

I’ve been to the emergency veterinary clinic at midnight after Bella had a run in with a skunk. I wasn’t interested in the bath they gave her so much, the one that left her smelling like skunk plus fabric softener, as I was in  making sure that the spray hadn’t damaged her eyes which were running and tearing after the critter made its escape. (It appears to be true that a good spraying does not cure dogs from chasing skunks but makes them only more determined to get the intruder next time.) And I’ve been witness to the great groundhog wars.

In my yard, the scenario plays out almost the same way every time. The groundhog, going about his business on what he considers his normal route, is discovered by my dogs, who have usually just been let out into the back yard. The dogs corner the groundhog, and bark ferociously. Bella, leader of the assault, tries valiantly to attack, while Dasher awaits the right opportunity to assist. The groundhog growls and hisses; occasionally striking out at the dogs with its razor sharp claws or with its two-inch long, yellowed and filthy teeth.

As onlooker, I have a couple of choices. I can, as I have in the past, grab a shovel and run to the scene of the incident. Not capable of bashing the groundhog over the head, I use the shovel to try to drive the dogs back, allowing the groundhog some time and space to escape. Sometimes this works, most times not.

If it doesn’t work, I can then take the shovel and hit the ground with it in an attempt to distract the dogs and break their concentration, again, allowing the groundhog to escape. This tactic has never worked, although that fact has not stopped me from trying it more than once. I am fully aware that my participation in either of these shovel wielding activities might just be construed by my dogs as an enthusiastic encouragement to continue what they are already doing; yet, humans are sometimes very slow to change their ineffective behavior, especially in light of the neighbors gathering at the top of the hill behind the house to see what all the fuss is about.

If the groundhog makes a run for it and makes it to the corner of the yard where there’s a hole under the fence (left there deliberately to fulfill this purpose,) he escapes.

If the groundhog does not manage to get away, Dasher, upon finally seeing her chance, grabs a leg, usually the foreleg, and the hapless groundhog is flipped onto his back. Bella will either try to strike at its middle, or go for the other foreleg. This is the ultimate game of tug of war, in which the dogs cooperate to literally tear apart the intruder. If you have dogs who engage in a similar game of tug with a stuffed toy, cheers! This is what they are actually preparing for in real life.

My other option, whether I hold the shovel or not, is to remain calm. (Did you know that a groundhog is capable of killing a dog? They go for the jugular vein. I’ve seen it.)

Worrying won’t help. Anger won’t help. All I can do is to offer Reiki. But the dogs are otherwise engaged in their pursuit of killing the groundhog. I’m not sure they can hear me asking for permission. Likewise, the groundhog has enough on his plate just trying to survive.

When an animal situation seems to be spinning out of control you simply do what you would ordinarily do in a situation over which you have no control – self treatment to the best of your capability. Focus Reiki First Aid on Number One – Yourself.

Of course, you shouldn’t wait for an emergency to practice self treatment. The more you practice self treatment on a regular basis, the more able to deal with emergencies you will become. To function at the best of your ability in any situation, in life in general, you need to practice regularly. I’ll admit, I’m far from achieving perfection in maintaining complete composure, especially when dogs and groundhogs decide to mix it up. And when it does happen, it’s a not so subtle reminder of how little control we actually have over anything - in our lives with animals, or without. Practice, anyone?

The Reiki Digest welcomes articles about your Reiki experience with animals. Please send your article via email to


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