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Monday, December 14, 2009

2009: The year in Reiki

Note to our email subscribers: you'll receive the email version of our year-end edition on Tuesday, December 15.

Welcome to our special year-end edition of The Reiki Digest, in which we look back at the year's most notable events in the world of Reiki as well as some of the highlights from a year's worth of Digests. If you missed any of those highlights, just click on the name of the month in each item below to see the archives.

This year we'll also be including a couple of new features: the Reiki Story of the Year and the Celeb-Reiki of the year.

There's no question on what the story of the year has been: the denunciation of Reiki back in March by a group of men who seem to know little about it except for some popular misconceptions. That attention only raised Reiki's profile all over the world.

And while we've had many exceptional Celeb-Reikies this year -- a Celeb-Reiki is a celebrity somehow associated with Reiki -- one in particular stood above the rest. He's the world's best-known Reiki-practicing athlete, and we're happy to report that he's NOT Tiger Woods.

So let's get started by rolling the calendar back to January, when our readers had some great, wide-ranging discussions on Reiki and personal responsibility, nonduality, and the Law of Attraction. And when an airplane landed in the river outside The Reiki Digest's world headquarters, we discussed how following the Reiki precepts helped everyone on board survive. We also reviewed some great Reiki meditation CDs and talked about our favorite Reiki music.

In February, we continued our discussion on Reiki and oneness (and our differences on that topic).

We spent much of March discussing what it means to be a master, but the year's biggest Reiki story broke at the end of that month, when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops suddenly issued guidelines denouncing Reiki. Subsequently, although Reiki training and services were eliminated at most Catholic health-care facilities, more people than ever began asking, "What's Reiki?" And that in turn led to a surge in demand for Reiki treatments and training -- perhaps not the result the bishops had expected.

In April, we met Reiki's ambassador to medicine, and we held our first annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which included a cherry-viewing gathering and Waka Fest, a celebration of the 31-syllable poetic form that is an unheralded part of the system of Reiki.

By May, the fallout from the Bishops' guidelines was affecting many Reiki practitioners and clients. Reiki made the pages of Time magazine, but unfortunately the article misidentified Reiki as "faith healing" and included other misinformation. Also in May, We discovered that although it was widely reported that actor Matthew Broderick was a Reiki master, he told an interviewer that it wasn't the case after all. A small study found distant healing to be effective for chronic pain, and we began our Reiki Update Training online classes to help Reiki practitioners bring their training up to date without starting over in a new lineage.

In June, this publication celebrated its third anniversary, and we heard from a Reiki practitioner in New Hampshire who felt she should send a thank-you note to the bishops even though her Reiki program in a Catholic health-care facility was discontinued in the wake of their new guidelines. We published several other responses to the bishops' guidelines, and a study found Reiki effective on cells in test tubes -- presumably none of the cells had any expectations about the treatment so the placebo effect wasn't a factor.

July's Tour de France three-week bicycle race saw a great performance by Hayden Roulston of New Zealand, the world's best-known Reiki practicing athlete and the 2009 Celeb-Reiki of the Year. Thanks to Reiki, Roulston came back from a life-threatening heart condition to win Silver and Bronze medals in the 2008 Olympics and distinguished himself in his first Tour de France, placing third in one stage after leading the pack most of the day. Days after the tour ended, Roulston became a father. Just a few days ago, he talked to a television reporter about how he first laughed at, then tried Reiki, and began feeling beneficial effects right away. You can watch the video online and see Roulston receiving a Reiki treatment.

In August, we launched our Global Reiki Census, and since then more than 400 Reiki practitioners have submitted their information for our count. But we know there are far more than 400 people practicing Reiki on this planet, so if you haven't done so yet, click here to include yourself in the census. Also in August, we published the first installment in an ongoing series, Mikao Usui: In Context. And we participated in Mari Hall's Virtual Reiki Retreat, led this year by Pamela Miles. We also learned a little about the art of Japanese calligraphy.

In September, we established our Reiki Events Calendar, and while we've had a few glitches, it has been a popular free service and continues to grow. One of the glitches is that for some, the calendar displays only Greenwich Mean Time, so if it appears that some events are taking place in the wee hours of the morning, look more closely at the listing or contact the organizer for the correct details. We also learned about spiritual self-protection for Reiki practitioners, and published the second installment in the Mikao Usui: In Context series, this time focusing on Christianity in mid-19th Century Japan. To our surprise, we discovered that tens of thousands of Japanese people were openly practicing Christianity, even though it was officially outlawed there, months before Reiki founder Mikao Usui was born.

And in December, we found some poinsettias that received Reiki as part of the care they got from master gardener volunteers, we went shopping, and we discovered that Santa Claus was visiting Japan years before the system of Reiki was founded.

Barring any breaking-news developments in the world of Reiki between now and the end of the month, we'll be taking some time off for an end-of-year retreat until the New Year! Happy holidays to all, and thanks to all our contributors, our readers, and our advertisers for your support and participation in our 5,000+ global community of Reiki practitioners.

Holiday flowers with some extra-special energy

In Rhode Island, some of these seasonal favorites have been treated with Reiki
Photo of poinsettias by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Every day for more than 20 weeks, master gardener volunteers have been nurturing more than a thousand poinsettia plants at the University of Rhode Island's East Farm in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. In addition to water and nutrients, some of the plants have also received Reiki. Nearly 200 of them are now on display at the Roger Williams Botanical Center in Providence through Jan. 3, and the rest are now bringing holiday color and cheer to private homes, businesses, nursing homes, and other locations.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy holidays!

Santa Claus makes a visit to Japan, 1914 (about 8 years before the system of Reiki was founded)

Year end specials

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Holiday schedule

The next edition of The Reiki Digest will be our special year-end roundup. Look for it here, and in your inbox, on December 14.

After that we'll be taking the rest of the year off. See you then!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The weekly waka

Fear not the winter
Barren trees and sleeping soil
Fear not the coldness
It is time to dwell within
Peaceful pursuits; Gratefulness

By Julia Hall Allen in Toronto

(Waka wanted: If you'd like to contribute a waka to our regular series, check out these guidelines, write your waka, and email it to editor @

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