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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Special issue: Animal Reiki

This week we focus exclusively on Reiki for animals, with articles by animal Reiki specialists Kathleen Prasad in California, and Beth Lowell in New Jersey. Beth contributed a few on-topic waka as well. 

Since this is a special issue, we'll save the usual Reiki Roundup and Celeb-Reiki features for next week.

Also next week:  Susan Mitchell discusses her time with Hawayo Takata, a day with the precepts, and further discussion on permission, secret symbols, and more.

Coming soon: A great big special issue on gratitude for Thanksgiving, a special waka issue, and a new service for our readers.

Reiki for shelter animals

Introducing SARA: the Shelter Animal Reiki Association

SARA is dedicated to the memory of Dakota Prasad, adopted from Sacramento County Animal Control in 1992. Dakota spent 16 and 1/2 years at Kathleen's side, and was her very first Animal Reiki teacher. This photo was taken the day after Kathleen adopted him.

The din of the barking dogs deafened me. Time to put in my earplugs! There were several dogs jumping, barking, screaming and snarling on both sides of the dog kennel run at the SPCA that afternoon. I quietly chose a space in the middle of the room, knelt down, and placed my hands in gassho to set my intent.

As I felt the Reiki energy begin to flow, I saw at first no visible reactions from the dogs. I quietly moved on my knees from cage to cage, settling slowly and quietly just next to the cage door and offered healing energy for whatever the dog might be open to. I was careful not to maintain eye contact or come too close physically, as I knew that could make some of the dogs uncomfortable. I tried to let go of my expectations about what this treatment would bring and trust Reiki and leave it in the paws of the dogs to decide what to do with the energy.

I began to go very deeply into the treatment, and the sounds of barking began to feel far away, as if I had created an insulated bubble that was cushioning and protecting everything around me. After a few moments I realized it wasn’t my imagination, the barking and other sounds from the dogs actually were lessening. In fact, within about 15 minutes, the entire kennel (about 15-20 dogs) had become completely silent.

Around that time a volunteer came into the kennel, opened a cage and took out a dog to walk, leading him on leash down the long hall before they left the area. Amazingly, none of the dogs chose to break the beautiful and peaceful Reiki silence we had achieved together, and the kennel remained quiet.

As I left the kennel after 30 minutes of treatment, you could hear a pin drop. Some of the dogs were sleeping, others were simply lying down or sitting: all were relaxed! It was an amazing change from the energy of stress and upset of the dogs just 30 minutes before, and just a small example of the benefits of using Reiki in shelters.

In volunteering Reiki in shelters and sanctuaries over the last ten years, I have seen so many animals benefit from the peace and harmony that Reiki brings that I was inspired to create a national (and eventually worldwide) group of volunteers to help Reiki spread out to as many shelters and the animals therein as possible. After meeting Johanna Campbell and Leah D’Ambrosio, the team was complete, and so in May 2008 the Shelter Animal Reiki Association, or SARA as we have nicknamed it, was born.

The mission of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA) is to raise awareness of the benefits Reiki for animals can provide for shelter and rescue animals, to teach and foster an understanding of energy healing and the best ethical approach to use when working with Reiki and animals, and to promote the highest standard of professional Shelter Reiki programs around the world. Our goal is to create a healing and harmonic energetic space within the shelter environment, which in turn will promote stress-relief and relaxation for the animals as well as their human caretakers, supporting healing possibilities on all levels (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) as well as higher adoption rates.

We will accomplish this mission by supporting Reiki practitioners in implementing professional, effective and ethical Animal Reiki programs in their local shelters, and by extensive documentation (in a secure online database) of Reiki effects on individual animals, as well as Reiki’s possible effects on shelter statistics as a whole.

SARA will also hopefully grow to become an information and referral resource for Reiki practitioners and animal lovers throughout the world who wish to support their local Reiki Shelters, who have questions about Reiki for animals, or who wish to join with like-minded Animal Reiki Practitioners to raise awareness and support energetic harmony and balance for shelter animals.

SARA currently has 18 members across the United States. We have recently incorporated as a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation and are waiting for final approval of non-profit status so that we will be able to accept donations. We are also currently in the midst of final design of the online database, the Catalog for Animal Reiki Education (CARE) database, which we hope will serve as a way to document Animal Reiki case studies, paving the way to future publication and education of the public about the benefits of Reiki for animals.

SARA will provide members with an extensive manual that will guide Reiki practitioners in the best ways to approach animals with Reiki. In a nutshell, our unique approach details how to allow the animals to be the leaders in the treatment, and to take a respectful step back, realizing that our role as practitioner is merely to facilitate a healing possibility.

Once we have finalized our program and curriculum we will be opening up SARA to Reiki practitioners everywhere and it is our hope that Reiki will someday be offered in every shelter around the country. Hopefully too, with the information captured in the CARE database, we will be able to open doors to Reiki in many other animal places of need, so that Reiki becomes a well-known and widely used holistic therapy around the world.

If you would like to learn more about SARA and stay updated on our progress, visit our website, and sign up for our newsletter.

Reiki Master Teacher Kathleen Prasad of Marin County, California, is co-author of the book Animal Reiki: Using Energy to Heal the Animals in Your Life

Attuning animals: Yes or no?

Beth Lowell writes:

When I took my first Reiki workshop, I told my teacher that I wanted to practice Reiki for animals. She thought that was kind of a cute idea, but encouraged me to work with humans. As I pursued my study of Reiki specifically for animals, I was relieved to find a large and supportive community in various online groups whose members live and practice all over the world. One thing I never learned about though, was attuning animals.

The subject of attuning animals started to crop up here and there, and then more and more – usually as a casual remark that was part of an aside to whatever topic was being discussed. I didn’t know what to make of this. I asked around about it. I heard that many people attuned animals for a variety of reasons, but that it was still a controversial practice, even in the animal Reiki world.

From what I read on Google, it seems almost mainstream. I googled ‘attuning animals to Reiki’ and found several links that talked about it, described the process and even offered classes in which participants could bring their animal companions so both could receive attunements. So I was just curious – whether you practice Reiki on animals or not, what do you think about attuning animals? Have you ever attuned an animal?

To contribute your thoughts on this topic, add a comment to this post on our web site, or email 

Monday, October 27, 2008

The weekly waka

I knew nothing
and I knew everything
as soon as I forgot
where the dog left off
and I began

the countries
that lay between us
are bound
inextricably by the river
that runs through us

beneath the linden
my hands on fur
I felt the sun
we became the fields
and dwellers of the wind

the cat lay dying -
hadn’t moved since yesterday
I offered my hands
she turned around just once
to show me where it hurt

hand body hand and rump
like two cans
and a piece of string
except there is no talking

content -
the furnace
when the spirit moves
we often call it purring
(by Beth Lowell)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Readers speak out on permission issue

Do you need permission to give, or send, Reiki to someone? If so, how do you get it? We've received a record number of comments in response to last week's post on the subject of permission. Here are all 17 of the comments we've received so far. But due to the asynchronous nature of cyberspace, the discussion will continue indefinitely. Even if someone comes across this discussion months or years from now, they can still add comments.

Olga said. . .

I was also taught to seek permission in the three lineages I have studied, although for many years, if I could not contact someone directly, I would "check in" - "higher self" to "higher self" - and would offer the Reiki energy if that was for the person's highest good. I still like to offer Reiki in this manner, though now I am more careful to seek actual permission if possible, and certainly before posting any requests to my Reiki List.

- Olga Rasmussen

John Sawyer said. . .

Hi, Janet,

I recall reading and hearing from teachers that it was polite, if not mandatory to obtain permission before giving anyone Reiki. I take that not quite literally in the sense of actually having a conversation with the person about the subject. I work mainly with animals and since I am not an animal communicator (yet) I can't ask permission in the sense we tend to think of it. Instead, my approach is to offer Reiki with the intent that the recipient is not obligated to accept it.

With animals, this very often involves simply sitting or standing and opening the Reiki channel, intending that the recipient may draw as much as they wish. If Reiki begins to flow, I take that as their acceptance of it.

I had an experience early on in my Reiki practice where a friend asked me to "send Reiki" to a young girl relative of hers. I went into meditation and got a very vivid image of an elderly woman cradling the little girl. The old woman simply looked at me and put her hand out palm facing me. I read that as "Thanks, but it's under control."

Animals indicate with body language when they've had enough or want more, as they case may be. It's the practitioner's role to be open to those signals and act accordingly.



Janet Dobbs said. . .

Hi John,

I wanted to comment on your comment about permission and animals. You don't have to be an animal communicator to ask an animal permission for a Reiki treatment. The first thing that I do before beginning a Reiki treatment with an animal and the first thing that I teach my Reiki students to do is to always ask permission and the wait for the answer. If the animal says no or physically shows that they do not want a session at that point in time I always respect their wishes and come back another time. The animals must always be in control of their Reiki session. If you don't feel that you can 'hear' the animal saying yes or no, there are clear physical signs that they will give. You have mentioned many of them.

I have seen people giving Reiki treatments, forcing hands on treatment with the animals, making them stand or lay down on a massage table (this is too much like a vets office and the point of a Reiki session is to help them relax and heal on what every level that they may need in that point in time.) force a horse to stand in cross ties not allowing their head to lower, etc. i will not go into giving a treatment, but stay with the topic of asking permission.

It sounds to me that you are open to 'listening' to the animals and that you are hearing them give their premission.

Keep up your wonderful work with the animals. - Janet

Kaddu said. . .

Brilliant topic for a post! A similar issue cropped up in my Reiki practice recently, and I had been thinking of writing to you about it, but it kept getting postponed for various reasons. Today, when I saw this post in my "Google Reader", I recognized it as a "sign from the Universe" that I should put my views down on the webspace!

Yes, I was also asked by my Reiki teachers to seek permission first IF POSSIBLE. Yet, there are cases when a relative is so badly injured/sick that we cannot communicate to him/her directly. The person maybe in unconscious or even in a coma! Or, like I have this aunt, who is Schizophrenic.

She is no mental state to make the right decisions for himself.What I do in such cases is that at the time I invoke Reiki in the beginning of the session, I mentally state that I thank the person concerned "FOR ACCEPTING REIKI AT HIS/HER OWN FREE WILL".

My logic is that since REIKI IS NEVER SENT and always ONLY DRAWN, if the person needs the energy and WISHES to use it for healing him/herself, the energy will be taken. If not, then I don't feel any flow even after trying several block removal methods.

I personally feel that this asking for permission thing has been blown severely out of proportion. I mean, does our mind really know what the REAL us wants? Most of us spend our entire lives living a "program" that has been conditioned into us by our family and society!

How many of us really know at all times (on a mental level that is) as to what is the most life-supporting choice for us at any given point of time? We keep making decisions through our ego, and those decisions lead to disastrous consequences most of the times. Had it not been the case, then we wouldn't be dis-eased in the first place!

I feel that by asking a person's permission before starting a Reiki session for him/her, we are actually giving permission to his/her ego to interfere with the healing that their real self might desire. The inner child remains frustrated, the body remains ill, our life remains a mess... and all because we allow the MIND to interfere with the healing!

I have realized with experience over the last 11 years of Reiki practice that whenever I channel Reiki to someone without their explicit knowledge that I'm doing so, it works faster and better! I have also discovered that plants and babies accept Reiki most freely. . . 'coz their minds are not contstantly acting as "censor boards" in their healing!

Lastly, since we all our fragments of the same Universal consciousness, doesn't that imply that we are the various different body parts of the same single entity (which we may call the Divine)? Then why does the hand need permission from the eyes to channel healing to the eyes? Earth is also a fragment of the same Divine consciousness -- and millions of energy workers are channeling healing to Earth even as I type this post! So do they have permission from the Earth to channel Reiki to her?

I just want all Reiki communities to think about this topic with an open mind -- try to understand the "big picture". The rule that "Reiki should not be sent without permission" was made by a MIND. And nothing good ever comes out of the MIND! Laying such a maniacal emphasis on "asking permission" is denying the various basic principle of Reiki -- that it CANNOT BE SENT; it can ONLY BE RECEIVED!

Once again, thanks for bringing up this topic here for discussion. This is one of the most useful Reiki blogs that I am subscribed to -- keep sharing all the good information.Regards and love.

Janet said. . .

This is a great discussion, and it seems to be just getting started. Several people have submitted their comments by emailing , and I'll post each one separately here and look forward to more.

Thanks to all,


Pat Convery wrote. . .

I too was taught by my Reiki master that you need to ask permission to send Reiki to someone however, she felt that there some allowances with distance Reiki and when Reiki was being sent to someone who was in a disaster situation such as a hurricane. She felt that that the practitioner could send the Reiki to the person but qualify it with the rider - if the person was not able or willing to receive the Reiki , the energy should go to a receptive source in the universe.

I feel that this believe has allowed me to send Reiki to people who have not given specific permission but knowing that the energy will "do no harm" and will have a positive benefit somewhere in the universe.

Thanks, Pat!

Jeanne Boyce wrote. . .

I have been a Reiki Master Teacher since 2001, and a few times felt that it was okay to direct the reiki to the person's Higher Self, with the intention that the Reiki energy only flow if the Higher Self accepted it. I was taught that in special circumstances, the appeal to Higher Self works out and is not a violation of integrity. But it is always best to have permission if the person is able to give it.

Now I always ask if the person wants it. I have never had anyone turn the offer down. In a recent incident, my baby Granddaughter was hospitalized for a prolonged time after birth because her biliruben count was too high to go home. Her parents were distraught having had problems with their son at birth at well who was a first child. I asked my daughter if she's like me to send Reiki to Riley and she said "Mom, send anything you have..." It worked. Within 5 hours (the time of the next test) the baby's count was down and she went home with her family.

I believe that William Rand is the most accurate and thorough Reiki Master in the US, and think that everything I have learned from my own teachers was based on his teachings. So, I ask permission.

Looking forward to the article!


Jeanne Boyce

Patsy Guglielmo wrote. . .

Dear Janet,

Funny you should ask this as I have some strange stories to relate regarding permission. My master only stressed asking permission when doing distance healing and then to ask 3 times (which I always do). In the course of doing this I was requested to do a healing on someone's mother, who absolutely insisted "NO". Of course I wanted to assure my friend that I had given her mother the healing she requested but had to relate that I had failed because of her mother's insistence not to bother her. The next day, my friend called to relate that her mother had died shortly after the time that I was attempting to give her Reiki.

I assumed she was in transition at the time I was trying to give her Reiki.

The other incident relates to animals. My daughter, who lives in Italy had requested that I give her pet Reiki. She must have used a name, but I heard her say Sydney (her dog) or I assumed her dog since she is diabetic and not in good health. Well, here I was trying to get permission from Sydney to give her Reiki and she is telling me "no" in her doggie way. As a matter of fact she jumped down from the couch and left. Then she came back when i asked a 2nd time and still really didn't want it. On the third time she finally layed down and accepted Reiki. After the 3rd time I asked her, Sydney gave a long sigh, layed her head down and let me know it was alright The next day I received an email from my daughter saying thank you forgiving the cat Reiki. She is much better. You can imagine my surprise that even though I thought I was giving the dog Reiki, some how Reiki ended up at the right place in spite of me.


Dee Hucks wrote. . .

Hi I’m new to this ‘sharing Reiki knowledge’ and am very excited by it all. You asked about the permission issue, well in my teachings and when I practise Reiki I find that if the intention is good and you actually get permission then all is well.

I have had a time with a lady who I asked permission from to send Reiki to but when I sent it that night it came back in what I call “bounce back”. I know when the Reiki I send isn’t being taken in. So I spoke to a few people who knew this particular lady and they told me that it didn’t surprise them in the least that she really didn’t want anything that might help her as she thrived on getting peoples attention and pity, so if anything is done to help her then she will no longer be sick and get the attention and pity she craves. Apparently this has been happening for quite a few years, when she really wants sick at all, just mentally disturbed I think. Anyway I later heard that she really was very sick and was asking for help. When I try to send people Reiki and there is no way I can get their permission, I actually ask for help from the powers that be, and I would say that 9 out of 10 times I get answers. People might call it gut instinct or whatever they might be comfortable with. I call it God’s helping hand.

I meditated on that question of why would someone be like that, then not accept help when it’s offered? The answer I received back shocked me greatly was “The sickness for these people is like an old friend, they are comfortable with being sick, they actually will it that way. They get attention that they otherwise wouldn’t have”. That was so sad for me that I cried. Poor people my heart went out to them.

Anyway back to permission. I honestly get a definite ‘NO’ and a feeling like I have thrown a ball at a wall and it comes back to me, just not that hard. It’s one of the hardest things to describe. I just call it “bounce back”. Even if the intention is good but the person is either scared witless by the thought of Reiki (being some sort of ‘voodoo witchcraft’ or ‘the devils work’ is what some misinformed person called it) or flatly doesn’t want it for whatever reason of their own, then the Reiki won’t work on them.

Then I have had the experience of giving Reiki to someone who couldn’t answer and is in a world of their own making with Alzheimer’s. That was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry. It made me feel very uncomfortable, like I was doing Reiki to the shell of the human being because the real person had departed a long time ago. Very strange feeling for me.


Beth Lowell wrote. . .

I always ask permission when the recipient is present. I ask animals the same way I ask humans - by talking to them. If I have treated dogs before, they usually understand the word "Reiki" and respond enthusiastically by approaching and wagging and sometimes moving into their favorite Reiki position. I'm not sure if the cats respond necessarily to the words but they know why I am there and often jump onto their favorite Reiki chair or perch.

If the treatment is long distance I can ask a human being for permission ahead of time but since I can't get a clear sense of what the animal is doing or communicating without seeing him or her, I set my intention that the animal take what he or she needs. If the animal doesn't need or want anything he or she is free to not take it. On occasion I will also send to the animal's situation with the same intention.

If an animal appears unsure, rather than just assume that the answer is no, I send a little Reiki into the room so that he or she can test the water. A common challenge I face is actually with the humans even though many of them are familiar with energy work. They feel that they must call the animal or entice with treats so that they are right next to me despite my explaining that it's best to let the animal do whatever he or she wants.

One time I was treating a pair of birds. I felt the Reiki flow, but the more stressed of the pair who was a self mutilater became agitated. I left the house and later I sent Reiki to the other bird and the situation from a distance with the intention that each could take what she needed.


Olga said. . .

I agree with the comments posted and also feel that sometimes this permission is blown out of proportion. For example, when we pray for others - we don't ask permission to do so - at least not most of the time - yet we do pray - for people, for situations, etc.

- Olga Rasmussen

Kaddu said. . .

Hi all! I would like to give an example of how irrational Reiki practitioners can become for laying emphasis on the "asking permission" thing!

Recently this story was narrated to me about how this wife gave Reiki to her husband without his permission for his upset stomach. The husband was a non-believer in Reiki and other such alternative healing methods. The husband woke up feeling completely fine the next morning and had to leave for work, contrary to his plans of taking a couple of days off. He worked at the World Trade Centre and the day happened to be Sept' 11. So apparently, the Reiki that his wife sent him without his consent led to his death!

Now what kind of Reiki practitioners would narrate such stories! Reiki is not some kind of magic or voodoo witchcraft! Reiki is the INFINITE WISDOM! It knows all -- even things we don't know about! If the husband was not supposed to die that day, his stomach upset would not have been cured. Maybe his work in this incarnation had been finished and it was time for him to move on!

Circulating such stories among the Reiki communities is completely belying the basic prionciples of Reiki -- that it works for your Highest good, and nothing wrong can ever happen due to Reiki.

My Schizophrenic aunt told me not to send any Reiki to her when I asked her. But her husband was so worried for her, I started channeling Reiki despite that - requesting Reiki to do whatever was best for her. It's been 4 months now, and she has shown remarkable improvement!

That is why, I request all Reiki Masters here to please take up this issue in their classes, blogs, forums, books or any other channels available to them -- and help remove this myth surrounding Reiki. The very basic concept is that Reiki is always drawn, and if we keep that in mind and do what our heart tells us to, we can never do anything wrong.

Many regards and lots of love.


Ariel said. . .

My general approach to the permission issue with Reiki is I will get permission (verbal or written) from the recipient before channelling it to them. If it's a situation where I can't get permission, particularly if Reiki starts flowing spontaneously, I will send it to that situation, not the individual.

With animal recipients, I will offer Reiki and withdraw it if not immediately accepted. I usually won't even offer Reiki unless my hands "light up" first. (And yes, it becomes obvious very quickly if the Reiki is NOT acceptable.) :D

Ariel followed up with . . .

I would also like to comment on the "attunement without permission" issue.

Considering how much of a change it can be for the attunee, regardless of whether they're ready for it or not, it seems to me to be an aggregious and hugely egotistical invasion of boundaries. It also seems like an irresponsible use of one's abilities.

Attuning an individual to Reiki is quite a bit different from channelling for a treatment.

Kevin wrote. . .

I send loving healing Reiki to my friends dogs who have been ill. I send Reiki to my family, clients and friends.

Reiki is much like love. We need to get over ourself s and get out of the way to be in the way of Reiki.


CeCe Inwentarz wrote. . .

As I share Reiki, I often feel the vibrational energy strongly leaving my hands. During my morning self-care session, I decided to share Reiki with my husband while he was sleeping,but the energy level felt very low. After I asked his permission, the energy level leaving my hands increased by at least triple. Lesson learned!

CeCe Inwentarz, RMT

Many thanks to all who have contributed to our discussion so far. If you have something to add, whether or not you've already commented, please keep the discussion going.

Prominent web site publishes Reiki symbols

If you've studied Reiki at Level 2 or above, you learned some version of the Reiki symbols. You also may (or may not) have been taught that the symbols are secret, sacred, or both. Some teachers even go so far as to make students sign a written pledge not to reveal the symbols to anyone other than students who reach the appropriate levels. There's a wide spectrum of opinions on the subject, but regardless of what anyone believes, Reiki symbols have been widely available online for years now, and they were also in a book from a major publisher that came out in the mid-1990s. I just did a quick Google image search on the words "Reiki symbols" and got more than 55,000 results. There are T-shirts with the Reiki symbols emblazoned on them, jewelry with the symbols cast in metal, stones with the symbols engraved in them. So the question of whether the symbols should be kept secret has already been answered: they're public now.

Last week the Reiki symbols became even more public when Reiki Master Phylameana lila Desy,'s guide to Holistic Healing, published the symbols on her site. Phylameana, author of The Everything Reiki Book, followed up with an explanation titled, "Reiki Symbols: Secret or Sacred?" She told her readers that she'd been "on the fence" for a long time, but she finally chose to go public with them. Not surprisingly, she's received a flurry of comments in response.

What do you think? Does publishing the Reiki symbols diminish their effectiveness in practice? Does an untrained, uninitiated person who runs across them online have any way to use them?

To add your thoughts to the discussion, post a comment on this post on The Reiki Digest web site, email them to, or add them to the discussion on Phylameana's web site.

Leap of Love lands Celeb-Reiki in O magazine

She's "been working on myself from within," says this week's Celeb-Reiki, Reiki practitioner and mental health therapist Anjuli Sherin of Berkeley, California, and that work has obviously paid off.

Sherin is one of 80 women featured in the November issue of O Magazine, all of them winners in the first-ever O-White House Leadership Project. Chosen from more than 3,000 applicants, the winners got to attend a 3-day "Women Rule!" leadership development camp in New York earlier this year.

Sherin's project is Leap of Love, a nonprofit dedicated to providing mental-health assistance to third-world women and children, particularly those affected by disasters.

Even those who didn't get to go to the camp can still learn from the course materials and other resources available on O magazine's web site, including hints on fundraising, networking, and public speaking.

Rest in peace

Reiki Master Joyce Elaine Rouse, of Saginaw, Michigan, died October 16, 2008.

Reiki practitioner Thelma Van Alstyne, 96, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, died August 24, 2008.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The weekly waka


Brilliant deep blue sky
Stretching to infinity
Clouds dance on the wind
Only their shadows reach us
Fleeting hints of worlds beyond
(by Janet Dagley Dagley)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I've been through three Reiki Master trainings (so far), and from each one of my teachers I was taught that we need to get permission when we give Reiki, whether in person or over a distance. As with most things, each of those teachers put a different emphasis on that issue, and that has me wondering what you learned from your teacher about permission, and how you go about getting it (if you do). Do you get it in writing? Do you need a signature? Do you simply follow your instincts? Or are you among those who believe it isn't necessary to get permission? Maybe your teacher never even mentioned it.

Aside from anything any of my teachers said, I learned about permission during my first year of training when a friend of mine was kind enough to let me give her a Reiki table session as part of a student clinic. Being a friend, she was also kind enough to give me some helpful feedback afterward. Since it was her first Reiki session, she didn't really know what to expect, and she was a bit surprised when I put my hands on her head as the session began. I did it somewhat abruptly, and she told me that I'd been a little too quick. From that session, and my friend's good advice, I learned to begin hands-on treatments more slowly, waiting until I felt I had permission on an energetic level to move into the client's energy field, and then wait again before I felt energetic permission to touch.

I learned another lesson when I wanted to help a cousin with terminal cancer who lived hundreds of miles away. I hadn't seen her in years, but when I heard she was sick, I naturally wanted to help. But in keeping with what I'd been taught, I had to get permission first. I was sure she wouldn't mind, because I knew she was also a practitioner of holistic healing, but still, I waited to get permission. The next time I was visiting her area, I made a point of going to see her. We had a nice visit and I was able to give her a chair session. She was in too much pain to lie down. She found it helpful, and of course she agreed when I asked permission to continue sending her Reiki. Rather than just general permission, we made a plan: at a certain time every evening, when she was finished with whatever therapies or tests or other activities she had scheduled for the day, she would take a break and relax while I also took a break and sent some energy her way. I can't prove it helped her, but it didn't hurt. She only survived a few months after I saw her, and she said several times that the Reiki had been a comfort to her. I'm so glad I made a point of getting her permission.

A few months ago, I ran across a discussion among Reiki practitioners online about people who were reportedly sending distance Reiki attunements to George W. Bush, presumably without permission. And then there was the web site, which urged people to send Reiki to the Obama family. That site isn't active today -- maybe it's just down temporarily, or maybe it was taken down. In any case, I wouldn't send Reiki to either of them without permission.

So how do you handle the question of permission? You can answer by posting a comment on our web site, or by emailing

Reiki Roundup

Animal Reiki makes headlines from coast to coast in the United States this week. First stop, New York City, where a reporter for not only observes a Reiki treatment on a cat from Reiki Master Johanna Campbell, he does more extensive legwork on the story by experiencing it himself.

And on the other coast in San Rafael, California, we find Reiki Master and author Kathleen Prasad, who addressed the 33rd Annual American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Conference earlier this week. A growing number of veterinarians around the world are opening their minds and even offices to Reiki, according to the association, with nearly 100 veterinarians are listed as Reiki practitioners in the U.S. alone.

Racine, Wisconsin: Reiki will be among the services offered at the soon-to-open HOPES Center, a multipurpose community center organized by five Dominican nuns.

Bradford, United Kingdom: Reiki gets a brief mention in an article on hospice and palliative care headlined, "People don't just come here to die."

Darlinghurst, Australia: Reiki practitioner Kerry Isabel Downes draws on her own experience to help lesbian mothers who have lost children to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or stillbirth.

Liverpool, United Kingdom: "I will beat cancer for my daughters," says a breast cancer patient who finds Reiki and other natural modalities helpful in her battle.

Salt Lake City, Utah: The proprietor of a massage center offering "sensual Reiki" has been arrested and charged with raping two women who applied for jobs there. Legitimate Reiki practice has no sexual aspect or contact.

Morris, Illinois: A group of women gathering at a weekend retreat for some "me time" will be learning about "Creating Loving Boundaries" from Reiki Master Teacher Linda Herrick.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire: We all need a little stress in our lives, but not too much, says Dr. Jerrold Pollack, who recommends Reiki and other methods to reduce stress levels.

The Celeb-Reiki Report: A different Dexter-Jones

Reiki Master and socialite Ann Dexter-Jones has made The Celeb-Reiki Report a record seven times so far, not only for her own fame but that of her grown children, three of whom are veteran celebrities in their own right: son Mark Ronson and twin daughters Charlotte and Samantha Ronson. Then there's Samantha's constant companion, actress and frequent headline-maker Lindsay Lohan.

This week, a new Dexter-Jones makes headlines: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, in a New York Observer article headlined, "Ten Things We Learned About the 'Other' Ronson." That article turns out to be derived from a Black Book interview with the young Ms. Dexter-Jones.

Congratulations to the second Dexter-Jones to become a Celeb-Reiki. She has a brother, so she may not be the last.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rest in peace

Editor's note: Beginning this week we are expanding our coverage of Reiki obituaries by including reports from many more news sources, including

Reiki Master Steven K. Van Dyke, 63, of Bonita Springs, Florida, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, died October 11, 2008, having survived more than a decade after receiving a heart transplant.

Reiki Master and animal communicator Judi Jean Byers, 63, of North Augusta, South Carolina, died October 6, 2008.

Reiki practitioner Candace "Candy" Egert, of Green, Ohio, died September 30, 2008.

Reiki Master Terry Norman Cripps, 47, South Portland, Maine, died September 28, 2008.

Reiki Master Mary Jane Massey, 73, of Eustis, Florida, died September 19, 2008.

Reiki Master Beverly J. Turner, 72, of New Philadelphia, Ohio, died September 18, 2008.

Reiki practitioner Germaine B. DuBois, 91, of Slatersville, Rhode Island, died September 14, 2008.

Reiki Master Lisa Marie Knight Dunlop Broy, 37, of Scarborough, Maine, died April 15, 2008.

Reiki practitioner William Lloyd Brown, 60, of Poole, United Kingdom, died in a traffic accident in January, 2008.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The weekly waka


Ripening acorns
Fall each year to loamy earth,
Where squirrels steal them,
Thorny weeds choke tender sprouts,
And few find good soil for roots.
(by Michael Dagley)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Changing the channel with the Reiki Precepts

The financial reporters on television don't look surprised anymore: they just look weary. The numbers that control our lives keep dropping lower, despite the billions being spent in hopes of saving the economic system from a complete shutdown. By now, we get the idea, even without hearing all of the latest details: Things are looking bad, and it's going to be awhile, maybe a long while, before they get better. And who knows how much worse they'll get before they start improving. People all around the world are frightened, angry, distrustful.

So let's change the channel. Next?

"If you're not afraid right now, you should be," Dr. Phil tells us. And he advises us to buy cheaper groceries, cut our phone bills, and even take in boarders if necessary. "What will hurt you the most is to feel like you're helpless," he says. Thanks, Doc, but we sure hope we don't have to resort to renting out the living room. Next channel?

There's Oprah, coming to us live with a celebrity financial expert and thrifty families demonstrating the rewards of coupon-clipping and budget-slashing. "Cut out everything that isn't absolutely necessary," the experts advise. Next?

On yet another channel, a famous comedian somberly declares that a new Great Depression is beginning. Whether or not that turns out to be the case, we are all going through tough times, and we have to adapt.

Unfortunately we haven't seen any Reiki experts on any of those panels, but if there had been one, here's what we might have heard:

Reiki expert: In addition to being careful and smart in spending our limited financial resources, we also have to focus and direct our own personal energy during these difficult times.

Interviewer: Please tell us what you mean by that, and do our viewers need to become Reiki practitioners themselves in order to do that?

Reiki expert: They do not need to become Reiki practitioners themselves. This is something everyone can do. Anyone can have more access to their own energy by following a few simple guidelines:

For today only,
Do not anger,
Do not worry,
Be humble,
Be honest in your work,
Be compassionate to yourself and others.

Interviewer: But that's so simple! And it's just common sense. Anyway, how can a few phrases make much difference in anyone's life?

Reiki expert: Yes, they are simple and sensible phrases. But let me give you some examples of how they help.

If we focus on today only, we have access to more of our own energy because we're not letting it drift off into the past or the future.

If we are angry, our attention focuses on the past, because we get angry about something that has already happened: it's in the past. If we learn to avoid anger, we have our energy with us in the present, rather than in the past.

If we are worried, our attention is focused on the future, on what might happen. If we can avoid worry, we keep more of our attention, our energy, with us in the present, rather than in the future.

Interviewer: That makes sense. But what about the rest? How can it help to be humble, honest, and compassionate?

Reiki expert: If we are humble, we are also grateful. And we realize that whatever is going on, it's not about us. We're just a small part of the big picture. Being honest also helps us keep our energy with us, and it keeps us on our true path. Being compassionate, whether to ourselves or others, also leads to a better quality of life.

Interviewer: When you think about it, a lot of the problems we're going through right now are the result of people not following those guidelines.

Reiki expert: That's right! But it's never too late to start.

If you're reading this, you're most likely a Reiki practitioner yourself. But if you're not, you can still practice the precepts.

Aniston and her dog: Celeb-Reikies

Actress Jennifer Aniston and her dog Norman made headlines around the world this week after a report that Aniston pays "nearly $300 a week" for Reiki and other therapies for her aging and ailing corgi terrier. That makes them this week's Celeb-Reikies.

Reiki Roundup

Penang, Malaysia: The National Stroke Association of Malaysia now offers Reiki for stroke patients, to "help them heal themselves," according to an article in The Star.

Washington, D.C.: "A hard look at soft therapies" is how Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs, describes the Pentagon's $5 million plan to study the use of such modalities as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, qigong, and Reiki to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, and other problems.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Reiki practitioner Charlotte Ewer gets a nice writeup in the Inquirer about the gardens she created and maintains at the retirement community where she lives.

St. Petersburg, Florida: Uncertain economic times will be the focus of the annual Day of Prayer at the Esperanza Interfaith Center. Reiki practitioners will be among those offering advice, meditations, and healing services at the gathering.

Freehold, New Jersey: A clinical psychologist who also practices Reiki offers an intriguing statistic in a local newspaper feature: 35 U.S. hospitals now have "full Reiki departments," Dr. Madhu Sehgal is quoted as saying. We have to follow up on that and find out what constitutes a "full Reiki department." (Does it include a Reiki ward?) The article is mostly accurate, although it does credit Hawayo Takata with bringing Reiki to the west more than a decade after she died.

Santa Ynez, California: Reiki is one of the modalities used by dressage trainer Susan Derr Drake to help riders and horses connect.

Southampton, New York: A Reiki practitioner and her husband are starting a new business based on story sharing.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The weekly waka


Small divided creeks
Flow in diverse directions,
Yet moving upstream
In search of their simple source,
All seekers come together.

(By Michael Dagley)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Just in time for troubled times: Corporate Reiki

Has there ever been a more stressful time to be in the corporate world? As the current economic crisis continues, everyone wonders what's going to happen next, and even many of those whose positions -- and investments -- were secure have discovered how quickly things can change. It's harder than ever to live by the Reiki precept "Do not worry." Here in New York, Wall Street workers show up for work each morning, day after stressful day, and wonder whether they will come home that evening with the contents of their desks in a cardboard box.

That's why we were happy to learn about a new corporate Reiki service by an American Reiki Master based in the Netherlands, thanks to a press release published in Italy.

The new service, called Inner Wellness at Work and founded by the Rev. Barbara Rogoski, "a spiritual teacher in a business suit," seems like such a good idea that we hope other Reiki practitioners and teachers will try something similar. In fact, The Reiki Dojo in New York City is developing a pilot project to address the stress for workers on Wall Street.

As the economic crisis is global, I urge my Reiki colleagues all over the world to think outside the traditional one-hour session, and outside the traditional Level 1 and 2 classes, to be able to help people during their working days. Busy businesspeople don't necessarily want a Reiki certificate, and they probably don't have a whole hour to spare. They don't have time or need to learn the history of the practice. But if they have 15 or 20 minutes to spare between meetings and deadlines, they can benefit from Reiki. And if they have a few more minutes, we can teach them a relaxation technique or two -- EVEN IF IT'S ONLY THE PRECEPTS -- to help them when they go back into the fray.

Meanwhile, I'm glad that I've been in the habit for several years now of reciting the Reiki Precepts to myself morning and night: it really does help in these troubled times. You don't need a Reiki attunement or a certificate to practice this aspect of Reiki. Just say to yourself:

For today only,
Do not anger,
Do not worry,
Be humble,
Be honest in your work,
Be compassionate to yourself and others.

(Or whatever version of the Reiki precepts you prefer.)

Repeat as necessary.

Bowing: An Energetic Transaction

Our Korea correspondent, Reiki practitioner and English teacher Michael Swerdloff, checks in again this week with two blog posts that have a Reiki connection.

In the first, Bowing: An Energetic Transaction, he talks about the custom of bowing common to many east Asian cultures, including Japan and Korea, from his own experience. One of my Reiki teachers has a cameo role in the post, and it leaves me eager for more details about Michael's visit with Hyakuten Inamoto.

On my first morning here in Korea, I entered a local “deli” to buy something quick to eat before starting work. I had arrived in my room around 1:00a.m. and did not go to sleep till nearly 3:30, with a wake up time of about 8:30a.m. The “deli” is not what I would typically call a deli but do not know the correct name for it. The woman prepares and sells different kinds of Kimchi and stews, hot and ready to go. I did not know what I was thinking when I walked in the door of her place, she bowed and said some kind of formal greeting that I know now as “Annyeong-haseyo”, good morning/afternoon/evening. But the bow is what caught me in my tracks. I had been given the information that many Koreans still bow before I left the states. I was a little excited but did not really grasp what bowing really is till that morning of little sleep after a twenty-four hour flight and a long ride from the airport to my new place in Cheonan. She bowed as casually as someone who has done so without thinking thousands of times. She did not know how strengthening and affirming that common gesture was for me. I knew I had reached my destination and was in the right place. My trip to Korea was where I supposed to be.

For the last two months I have reflected many times on what actually happens during the process of bowing that is so powerful. Is it the honoring of another person’s Self? The honoring of the Self? . . .Click here to keep reading Bowing: An Energetic Transaction.

Michael's second Reiki-related post this week tells us about a Reiki experience in a coffeehouse.

Thanks, Michael!

Correspondents wanted: If you'd like to become a correspondent for The Reiki Digest, begin your correspondence by emailing and introducing yourself.

The Reiki Roundup

Westville, South Africa: "Reiki Master found her 'calling' after car smash" in The Times tells us the story of Wendy Ramsamy, a former personal assistant who discovered Reiki, and a new side of herself, after a car accident eight years ago. Ramsamy practices a variety of other modalities, including hypnotherapy, angel workshops, and mediumship, but the reporter did keep the Reiki part of the story distinct from the rest.

Chandigarh, India: In "Computer professional turns reiki healer for asthmatic daughter," we meet Shivi Dua, who now has a new profession as a natural healer.

Kennebunk, Maine, USA: the University of Southern Maine College of Nursing will be conducting a study focusing on the use of Reiki with older adults who experience pain, depression, and anxiety.

Cleveland, Ohio: WCPN-Radio's David C. Barnett, who shares his experiences dealing with prostate cancer in the series Prostate Chronicles, experiences Reiki -- and sensations that defied his skepticism.

Reiki sports update

As regular readers know, our sports coverage is not comprehensive: we cover only athletes with Reiki connections. And our top Reiki sports star this year is cyclist and Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston of New Zealand. With the help of Reiki, Roulston came back from a life-threatening heart condition that had forced him to retire in 2006 to win Silver and Bronze medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Roulston made headlines again this week when he signed a one-year contract to ride in Europe with the new Canadian team Cervalo. His next contest, however, is closer to home in the Nov. 3 Tour of Southland. We wish him success, and we hope he keeps talking about how much Reiki has helped him.

Familiar Celeb-Reiki faces

We find some familiar faces in this week's Celeb-Reiki report.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, Oprah's favorite doctor, has been a Celeb-Reiki before: he mentioned Reiki on Oprah once, and his wife, Lisa, is a Reiki Master (and a prior Celeb-Reiki). This week we discover that he mentioned Reiki again in a June interview with the blog Canadian Medicine, thanks to another familiar name here, Reiki teacher, author, and Celeb-Reiki Pamela Miles, who spotted the interview and shared it with us. Pamela has even done Reiki in the operating room with Dr. Oz. We hope he mentions Reiki again on Oprah, or on the new television show he's developing with her.

And here's another familiar Celeb-Reiki face: Lindsay Lohan, on the cover of this week's OK! Magazine with her constant companion, DJ Sam Ronson. Ronson's mother, and possibly Lohan's soon-to-be-mother-in-law, is Reiki Master Ann Dexter-Jones.

Rest in peace

Reiki practitioner Diane Marie Bending, 67, of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, died September 24, 2008.