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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reiki and ... Smudging

Dear readers,
This week we have guest author Dave Bause, introducing our new intermittent series, "Reiki and ..." If you'd like to submit an article for this series, just email with a brief description of what you would like to write. The idea behind Reiki and ... is to discuss modalities that can be used to complement Reiki. Thanks for your article, Dave, and thanks also for the photos.

Reiki and Smudging

Reiki Masters Jack Lupas, M.D., and Judy Lupas, R.N., demonstrate smudging in these photos by Dave Bause. See Dave's article below.

By Dave Bause, Reiki Master/Teacher

Smudging is a cleansing process, which many associate with Native American healing practices. It is frequently used to heal negative thoughts, emotions, energy, within ourselves, others, office buildings, crystals, etc. Reiki Masters Bronwen and Frans Stiene, Reiki researchers and teachers, define “smudging” as a “non-traditional technique using the vibration of smell to affect the energy”.[1]

Barbara Ann Brennan writes in her second book, “Light Emerging”, “Simply let the smoke (from the smoldering herbs)...diffuse through your auric field. It will take the dead orgone energy out of your field”.[2]

When I first began to smudge I thought the practice to be simply a new age ritual. Two things quickly changed my mind: Reiki class members who enthused at how great they felt after being smudged and a very high, integrous level of calibration for smudging by Dr. David Hawkins (Nobel Prize winning Psychiatrist, and author of Power vs. Force). He calibrates smudging at 520, very close to “unconditional love” (540). [3]

Smudging dates back thousands of years to China, India and Tibet, where incense was burned and its smoke used to spiritually alter, align and cleanse the energy.

Herbs used

White (desert) sage, not the green garden variety, is one of the most widely used, along with cedar, sweetgrass, and lavender. Driving out negative energies and “evil spirits”’are the chief reasons white sage is burned. Cleansing our aura, or others, or homes, offices, etc., is made easy with sage.

Native Americans recognize sage’s healing of negative energies and often follow with cedar and/or sweetgrass, in a sacred ceremonial process.

Herbs grown for smudging are available on many websites, and in some health food stores, as loose leaves, smudge sticks or stemmed pieces -- which I prefer, for safe, easy igniting.

Reiki applications

Just as neither Usui Sensei, Dr. Hayashi or Ms. Takata taught chakras with Reiki (they were probably integrated in the West by one or more of Ms. Takata’s 22 masters), smudging also became popular with many Reiki practitioners in the 1980s and 1990s.

Like many teachers of Reiki, I begin Level Two classes sometimes Level One, also) after a brief explanation of smudging, with class members smudging each other in pairs.


Before lighting the sage, fill a bowl with sand (herbs can become very hot!) for quick and easy extinguishing.

Check with class members for those who may be allergic to smoke, and insure adequate ventilation is available. Many community ordinances (and landlords) do not permit open flames inside a building. And take into consideration how others in your building may be affected by the smoke flowing through the
ventilation system.

Use a flame lighter, and apply it, holding the sage near the base of the twig, allowing the flames to ignite the topmost edges of the plant. Keep away from clothing and hair, as it burns.

After the flames have strongly ignited the leaves, gently wave the plant to extinguish the flames and fan the glowing embers to emit smoke. Many believe that using your breath to blow out the fire is not a good practices, as it may transfer your negative energy into the smoke.

When you have lots of smoke flowing, ask the person you are smudging to stand, facing you, with their feet shoulder width apart, both arms fully extended to their sides.

You may choose to begin with a brief cleansing prayer, expressing your intention silently or out loud.

Explanation for “first-timers”

Explain to those unfamiliar with smudging that you will be cleansing their aura’s energy, by outlining their body with the herb’s smoke, starting at the crown and moving across their shoulders, extended arms legs and under each foot. (Balance while standing on one foot may be a problem for some folks!)

Then, ask them to turn 180 degrees as you again outline and fill their aura with the herb’s smoke.

Hold the herb in your dominant hand, using your non-dominant hand to flow Reiki for your partner or student. This will enhance the cleaning energy, both on the front and back.

For self-use, move the smoke around your own aura, both sides, as you flow Reiki and say a positive prayer that your energy field be cleansed for the Highest Good of All.

When finished, please fully insert the herb into a container filled with sand, as some embers may continue to burn, risking fire hazards.

Cleansing Home/Office

Flowing Reiki with my non-dominant hand, I ask Source, as I draw the power symbol* in the four corners of a room or office, to cleanse away all negative energies.

Guide the herb’s smoke toward the ceiling and floor, as you prayerfully state your intention.

[1] The Reiki Sourcebook, Bronwen & Frans Stiene
[2] Light Emerging by Barbara Brennan
[3] Truth vs. Falsehood: How to tell the difference, David R. Hawkins, M.D., PhD.

*Editor's note: The term "power symbol" is used in some Reiki lineages to describe the symbol also known as CkR.

There's no Reiki Roundup this week, but you can always check The Reiki Digest Live Feed for the latest headlines.

Autumn in New York: There are still a few spaces available in the Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) course with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki, sponsored by The Reiki Digest, October 19, 20, and 21, 2007. Contact for details.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Balance

Dear Readers,

We're away this week for a very good cause: my daughter's wedding in Ireland. As we pause to celebrate on the autumnal equinox, we offer the shortest edition of
The Reiki Digest ever: a waka, written by my husband Michael Dagley:

On Balance

The pendulum swings,
Slicing time into moments,
Arcing from extreme
To midpoint, as a mind drifts
From passion to reflection.

Wherever you are in the 68 countries we've reached so far, whether it's the beginning of autumn or spring, happy equinox!

There's no Reiki Roundup this week, but you can always check The Reiki Digest Live Feed for the latest headlines.

Autumn in New York: There are still a few spaces available in the Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) course with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki, sponsored by The Reiki Digest, October 19, 20, and 21, 2007. Contact for details.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Introducing The Reiki Digest Live Feed

As you may have heard, The Reiki Digest staff includes a couple of robotic reporters who scour the Internet 24/7 for news about Reiki. Their names are Google and Yahoo, and now one of them is getting its own regular column. In the left-hand column on our web site, there is now a window with The Reiki Digest Live Feed from Google News. That is the raw, unedited feed of news items that our star reporter, Google News, is finding, and it will be constantly changing as the news breaks. Now you can keep up with developments in the world of Reiki in between weekly editions of The Reiki Digest just by checking the feed on our web site.

Or if you prefer, you can read our feed on its own web page.

Either way, you can see some of what we have to work with as we put together each week's edition, and you can see for yourself how accurate -- or not -- the reports about Reiki are.

Our first item didn't make the Google News, however. If you subscribe to The Reiki Digest by e-mail, you may have been accidentally unsubscribed after last week's article about Mega Millions winner (and Reiki Master/Teacher) Bunky Bartlett. I discovered the problem when our emailing service sent back a report saying that I had unsubscribed myself, so I had to resubscribe. Apparently some email filters are allergic to words like "lottery" in mass mailings. If you aren't receiving our mailings as usual, please let us know at

Megamillionaire Bartlett makes the headlines again this week, in interviews with his local newspapers the Dundalk Eagle and the suburban Baltimore Times-Herald. He tells reporters about winning the lottery again -- only $25 this time -- and about his future plans. After being interviewed ad nauseum by CNN, the BBC, the Today Show, and reporters from all over, he said he's taking a break from that. We hope it won't be permanent, as we'd love to talk to him about how Reiki fits into his plans.

That makes Bartlett our first Celeb-Reiki to be held over for a second week.

Reiki made the popular blog The Huffington Post this week in a post titled "The Real Alternative Medicine" by acupuncturist Karen Kisslinger.

In Springfield, Illinois, the State Journal-Register has a nice piece by Dave Bakke on Reiki distance healing headlined "Woman helps send good vibes to those in need."

In Bucyrus, Ohio, Reiki gets a mention in an article about a polarity therapy practitioner who also practices Reiki, written by a reporter who bravely undergoes a session.

In Detroit, Michigan, Reiki is one of the therapeutic extras being offered to patients at a new Center for Joint Replacements. That could be a growth industry as the baby boomer generation ages.

Next stop, Asbury Park, New Jersey, where the organizers of a walk to benefit autoimmune disease sufferers lament the fact that many of them don't know about Reiki and similar modalities. Unfortunately the article describes Reiki as "a form of gentle massage," which is not quite accurate. Gentle, yes, massage, no.

Then there's the article from Lakeville, Massachusetts on a pagan festival where Reiki was available that takes that mistake a step further, calling it "Reiki massage."

There are quite a few Reiki news items from Scotland this week, including this item about an insurance company that set up a wellness club for employees offering, among other things, Reiki.

In Glasgow, a "holistic sanctuary" for cancer patients also offers Reiki, among other modalities, while in Edinburgh, an article about Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) also mentions Reiki.

Our last stop this week is India, where Reiki sessions helped executives of the magazine Maxim come up with a new digital edition, eMaxim, on CD, that even has virtual pages you can turn. Who knows? Maybe The Reiki Digest will be able to follow suit someday.

Autumn in New York: There are still a few spaces available in the Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) course with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki, sponsored by The Reiki Digest, October 19, 20, and 21, 2007. Contact for details.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

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

(Baltimore Sun)

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

Gods-on winner

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.