Magick of Reiki Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, and Spiritual Development by Christopher Penczak. 2005 Coalition of Visionary Resources COVR Winner for Best Alternative Health Book
What is Reiki? How has this Japanese healing tradition evolved over the years? How are modern magick practitioners using Reiki energy in their spells and rituals?
Christopher Penczak answers these questions and more in his groundbreaking examination of Reiki from a magickal perspective. The history, mythos, variations, and three degrees of Reiki are discussed in depth.
Penczak also suggests way to integrate Reiki and magickal practice, such as using Reiki energy for psychic development and with candle magick, crystals, herbs, charms, and talismans.
Magick and Reiki
This is not a traditional Reiki book. Although you'll find much of the basic information about what Reiki is as a healing art, including history, hand positions, and the like, you won't find a conservative view of the art of Reiki. Magick of Reiki is an exploration of the many systems of healing now called Reiki, viewed as a magickal tradition. Most people in the traditional Reiki community would not consider Reiki a form of magick. Most practitioners of true magick would not consider Reiki a relation to their craft.
I have used both in my practice, and find them incredibly healing, valuable, and spiritual. To me, they are facets of the same force, simply using a different mechanism, and the mechanisms themselves are not that different when closely examined. As I explore both communities, there is far more crossover between the two than most believe, but no one is talking about the similarities between Reiki and magick. So now we begin a dialogue that many may find controversial. Now we bring together two worlds that have always overlapped.
Through this work, we'll explore many aspects of Reiki, and give applications of its use for the traditional Reiki practitioner as well as those involved in the magickal arts. If both topics are new to you, this book will give you a simple, firm understanding of both arts and how they relate to each other. Magick of Reiki is not a Reiki teaching manual for the average Reiki class, but it could be used as a manual by those teachers discussing these complementary topics along with the traditional Reiki material, or by those with a strong interest or background in metaphysics and magick. Ultimately, this book is a starting point for further discussion and experimentation.
What Is Reiki?
When I first learned Reiki, it was described to me as universal life force or universal energy. That seemed pretty vague at the time, but the concept behind those lofty words is the fundamental energy that creates and sustains the universe. The ki in Rei-ki refers to the energy component. Different cultures recognize life energy and call it by different names.
Ki is used in Japan. Chi is another name for basic life energy, also used in the East. The discipline of tai chi is learning how to work with this force. Hindu traditions call it prana. Hawaiian shamans call it mana. Rauch is the Hebrew term for this force. Numen, odic force, and orgone are all variant names. The different cultures have different definitions, interpretations, and cultural associations for it, but basically they are all talking about the same life energy.
This life force is found everywhere and in all things, including people, animals, and plants. It sustains us. The energy is universal, denoted by the rei in Rei-ki, not personal. The universal part of the Reiki definition signifies not only that this basic energy is found in everything, universally, but also that as a system of healing, we are drawing upon this energy from the universe, which is limitless and ever abundant, rather than drawing upon our own personal ki or that of another person, animal, plant, or object.
Reiki the System versus Reiki the Energy
But I already do Reiki. I didn't take any classes. I don't need to learn it from anyone. I hear this statement or something similar from many people, and it causes great debate among many in the Reiki community. The essence of the controversy comes down to a misunderstanding of terms and words. In my magickal training, I learned how important it is to say what you mean, because of the inherent power of words.
Unfortunately, for most of us, English can be an imprecise language and is particularly limited when explaining mystical and Eastern concepts. Because our language often lacks the subtlety needed, we must explain things clearly.
When people say the word Reiki, some are referring to the energy of the universal life force, which is ever abundant and available to everyone. We already have some of it flowing through us every day. If we didn't, we wouldn't be alive. We take it in with the air we breathe and the food we eat, and subtly exchange it with the environment around us, including the Earth, Sun, Moon, stars, plants, and animals. There are many mystical ways to access this energy, which some people do intuitively, with little training. Many healing and magickal arts call upon this energy of the universe. Prayer, meditation, ritual, visualization, affirmations, and intent are all methods to connect to it, and they all come with their own techniques, strengths, and drawbacks. I'm sure that many people are already using this universal life force in their own way, even if they have never even heard the word Reiki.
Other people use the word Reiki to refer to a formal system of healing, originally called the Usui System of Natural Healing by its modern founder, Dr. Mikao Usui. This system has a fairly modern history, and practitioners of it have a lineage where they can trace their teachers back to Usui. The system uses specific symbols, hand positions, philosophies, and techniques, and is said to have a great many personal benefits and safeguards built into it. Although there are many variations and additions to it, Reiki as a system is a tradition. Without learning the tradition from a qualified teacher, you do not receive the same benefits and safeguards. People will talk about Reiki as ancient, and the energy itself is ancient. Many people throughout history, known and unknown, have tapped into it. It is a part of life. But as a specific tradition as we know it now, Reiki is fairly modern. Perhaps its modern form is a revival of an ancient system of knowledge, as suggested by many teachers, but we have no definitive proof of this.
When people already do Reiki but have not studied the system nor been initiated into the tradition, they are using the energy, but are doing it in a different way than a Reiki practitioner. Sometimes that can be wonderful, and other times less so. Often there is a greater need for intense concentration, and without the safeguards, there is more of a chance that they will use too much or too little energy, or even start taking on the symptoms and illnesses of their clients, particularly if they are strictly intuitive and haven't learned a tradition of healing. Many lack the training and awareness to regulate the energy, while others do it quite beautifully on their own. It is different with each healer. But when one is a part of the tradition of Reiki, one has the ability to regulate the energy and be protected from the client's illnesses and issues.
Medical Reiki and Mystical Reiki
Medical Reiki and mystical Reiki are emerging as the two strongest schools of thought in the healing community today. Some practitioners and teachers are focusing on the medical legitimacy of Reiki in the scientific community. They participate in research projects and lobby for Reiki to be brought into the hospital and doctor's office. They teach it to healthcare practitioners, nurses, and doctors. They lobby insurance companies to cover the costs of Reiki sessions. They see it as a complementary practice to traditional and alternative medicine and seek legitimacy in the way acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Aryuveda, yoga, and some aspects of herbalism have been accepted by modern medicine.
I agree that Reiki is a wonderful complement to modern medicine. It works. If it didn't, I wouldn't be using it. But some people feel the need to take out all this mumbo jumbo in the Reiki community and divorce it from talk about spirituality, enlightenment, spirit guides, angels, and magick. I disagree with this approach. I can completely understand the desire to remove less mainstream ideas from Reiki when presenting it to the medical community, but Reiki as a system of healing from Japan was born out of concepts of Buddhism, a spiritual path. Although a lot of non-Buddhist philosophies have been grafted to it, the concepts behind it are essentially spiritual healing, not medical healing. For many, Reiki is not a religion, it is their spiritual path. It is the path of exploration. Reiki is a path of the mystic. And I hope in the search for legitimacy in the straight world that it never loses its mystical roots. Magick of Reiki is an effort, in light of the scientific studies now available on Reiki, to show that the foundation of many mystical traditions can be found in Reiki.
What Is Magick?
Magick is a word that evokes many reactions. For some, it evokes a sense of childhood mystery, from timeless stories and fairy tales. It conjures a belief in the endless possibilities of an innocent wish. Most think of it as make believe or fantasy, or associate it with sleight of hand stage illusions. Practitioners of the spiritual art of magick use a k at the end to differentiate it from stage magic. I've even seen some spell it as magik or majik. But to many, the very thought of magick as a reality is a fearful prospect, drawing images of evil witches and wizards casting curses and creating harm with the wave of a hand. The remnants of magick have become our jumbled superstitions. The very concept of magick has been misunderstood for centuries by the modern culture, but it is making a resurgence in the world as we look to the ancient wisdom of the past. All ancient cultures had some form of magick as a part of their society and spiritual path.
Ultimately, magick is the power of intention. Through the use of intention, we create a change in our reality. Some magick affects our inner reality, and goes unseen by most. Other acts of magick affect the outer reality, and make things happen, although these events are most often chalked up to coincidence. You do magick to get a new job, and suddenly you get a call back for an interview and the job turns out to be perfect for you. Magick or coincidence? I was inclined to believe it was a coincidence when I started, but after repeated personal experiences involving many bizarre coincidences, I have found that there is something very real about magick. You send your intent throughout the universe, and those who can help respond to it.
Magick often takes a more ordinary approach to reach us, because that is easiest. Nature seeks to conserve energy. Water flows down mountains, not up. Magick flows down to us via the easiest path possible. We must still follow up with some real-world action. We won't get that job if we don't send our sum and go on interviews. We must open the doors to magick. We must create that change internally, and be open to the energy, as we open to change externally. To the magickal practitioner, there is little difference between the inner reality and the outer reality. They are simply different viewpoints. To make a change in one, you must make a change in the other.
In a formal magickal tradition, practitioners focus their intention and will to create a change through the acts of ritual. Each ritual is used to create a spell or a specific act of magick. Rituals vary from tradition to tradition, but this type of magick is found in many different cultures.
These magickal rituals can be found in the traditions of witchcraft throughout the centuries as well as the modern revival of witchcraft and paganism. But they are also found in early forms of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim mysticism. A tradition of magick called ceremonial magick blends aspects of Judeo Christian mysticism with philosophies from the ancient pagan civilizations, particularly Greece and Egypt. Practitioners of ceremonial magick are called magicians or mages. Rituals are also found in the shamanic cultures, among the medicine men and women of existing tribal cultures. Although they might use the word medicine instead of spell or magick, in essence they are practicing magick. A rain dance, healing song, or blessing for protection are all forms of magick.
Some spells in the form of specific acts, words, or formulas are passed on from one practitioner to another. Certain spells use very simple words and gestures, and household items. Many spells use herbs, talismans, and symbols to focus and evoke the power. They can be complicated or simple, depending on the practitioner. But the heart of magick is creating a connection to the universe, to the divine, however you envision it, and then through that connection, focusing your intention to create a change.
We all do magick all the time. We don't call it magick, but if we live with intention, any intention at all, we are doing magick. Certain forms of magick have been popularized in our modern culture and are considered somewhat respectable. Creative visualization is a form of magick. Most magickal traditions teach visualization in detail not only to help you master your mind and thoughts, but also to help you create magick.
We also call magick the power of positive thinking. Affirmations are a form of magick. The power of our thoughts and words is a basic component of spells. Most people think that their words are powerless, but good magickal practitioners always watch what they say and think because words have power. Even if you aren't doing a formal ritual, if there is enough emotion, intent, and energy behind your thoughts or words, the universe will respond by creating a change within you. So be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it, even if you didn't really mean it.
Prayer is another form of magick. Certain people pray in a give and take fashion: God, if you give me this, I will give up that. That isn't really magick, and doesn't often work. Others will ask for things, but focus so hard on their lack of what they want, or feel so unworthy to receive anything, that they don't have any energy behind their intent. Then there are those people who pray in a confident manner, feel connected to their source through unconditional love, knowing that the divine is abundant, and believe that if it is for the highest good, their prayer will be answered. And it is. They are doing magick.
Ultimately, magick is partnering with the universe to create change. Some people call it co-creating, and that's a good name. It's a blend of your will and intent, and the universe's will, or divine will. According to magickal philosophies, what you do comes back to you stronger. That is the heart of magick. It's not a moral or religious judgment, but simply a mechanism of energy. When you put out an intention, it returns to you.
Magickal power is neither good nor evil. It is simply energy. Performing magick is manipulating this energy through the power of your intention. According to the ethics of magick in its various forms, you send out only what you would want to receive, so you do no harm to others, because you would want no harm done to you. This is a variation of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In witchcraft, it is called the Wiccan Rede: An it harm none, do what ye Will. People talk about white magick and black magick, but most practitioners do not use those words. If they do, they are dumbing it down and explaining it in simplistic terms to those who don't want to see the complexity of intention and thought.
Magick is like electricity, without moral value. It can be used to light a room or to electrocute, depending on the intent. Magick is a part of everyone and everything, like the universal life force. To me, magick is the universal life force. It is divinity in motion. In the end, whether we are engaged in ritual, prayer, or even day to day action, every thought, every word, and every deed is an act of magick. Our whole life is a prayer. Our whole life is magick. Those who understand this take responsibility for their thoughts, words, and deeds because they know the power and responsibility we all have in creating reality. Everything we do affects everything else. We are all connected in the magickal web of life.
The Intersection of Reiki and Magick
Most people would assume that there is little common ground between magick and Reiki. Magick is most strongly associated with the occult and with the Western mystery traditions. The word occult simply means hidden and comes from the word ocular, referring to the eye. Occult subjects are those not seen, or studied, by everyone. They are obscure, and usually hidden by mystery and symbolism. Reiki comes to the world from Japan, rooted in the Eastern traditions and philosophies. On the surface, there seems to be a great division between Eastern and Western knowledge, and truly, there are many differences. But essentially they can be looked at as two different paths up the same mountain.
Magick is strongly associated with the use of magickal symbols and alphabets. Even the word spell denotes the power of the written word, when intentions are spelled out in letters and words. Magickal alphabets, symbols of power and creation, are found in many traditions. From Egyptian hieroglyphics and ancient Hebrew and Greek, to the Norse runes, Celtic ogham, and the script of the alchemists, symbols carry not only meaning, but also power inherent in their name and shape.
In Reiki, as one continues on to the second level of traditional training, the student is taught three practitioner symbols used to enhance and facilitate the practice of healing. Even though Reiki is said to be guided by the higher intelligence, and we have no control or attachment to the outcome, we do have intent when using a symbol, since we pick the symbol we are using, intuitively or logically, based on the intention behind the symbol. The first symbol is used to increase power, the second symbol is used for healing on the mental and emotional levels, and the third symbol is used for distance healing. The use of Reiki symbols in healing, by either visually drawing them or chanting their name, is like using magickal symbols and words of power.
The tradition of Reiki is passed on not only through oral or written material to be learned by the student, but most importantly through something called an attunement. Initiation is another word for attunement. The Reiki Master, or Reiki teacher, creates an energetic connection to the student, through intention and symbol, to pass on the ability to effortlessly and safely tap into the universal life force. Side effects of the attunement can be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual cleansing and purging, awakening of intuitive or psychic abilities, and a greater awareness of spirituality and the call to higher service.
This creates a spiritual family or lineage of teachers and students who are all connected and can ultimately be traced back to the modern founder of Reiki, Dr. Usui. If the teacher is not attuned already, then the connection cannot be passed on to the student. In very traditional Reiki, the sacredness of the symbols is maintained by keeping them secret from the unattuned, and the ritual of attunement is kept secret, even from lower initiates. I remember asking my Reiki Masters, after my first attunement, what exactly had happened. How did they attune me? They would not tell me. They didn't mention symbols or anything else. It was only thanks to my more open and modern Reiki Two teacher that I understood the mechanism of attunement.
In many magickal traditions, a key component to the experience is an awakening through initiation. Through this initiation, the teacher awakens the students to the energy the teacher holds from his or her own attunement in the tradition. Initiates report an awakening of their third eye to psychic vision and increased spiritual awareness, or a strengthening of their magickal abilities to both manifest and receive information. Many feel a stronger connection to the divine, often through a particular patron goddess or god.
Through the initiation, the student is connected to the spiritual family of the tradition, a magickal lineage that can be traced back to the modern founders. In the tradition of Wicca called Gardnerian Wicca, initiates can trace their lineage back to Gerald Gardner. Not only do practitioners of magickal traditions often keep their lineage a secret to the uninitiated, but the rites, symbols, and rituals of the order are also shrouded in mystery. Initiation, awakening, spiritual lineage, symbols, energy, and secrecy are all common points in the history of magick and Reiki. Both are seen as esoteric or mystical arts that are not easily understood by the general public. Most people in the general public have no interest in these topics. Those who are seekers find the arts of magick and Reiki. Neither art is a religion in the strictest definition of the word, but both have religious aspects to them, having roots in religions. Both are mystical paths that anyone from almost any religion can practice, if they are open to the mystical path of personal experience.
Reiki and magick differ in their approach to creating change. In most traditions of magick, you form an intention and reflect upon it. You reflect to make sure that you truly desire the potential outcome. You reflect to make sure that this outcome is for the highest good, harming none. Ideally, you reflect on the effects and repercussions of magick. Then you send the energy of that specific intention out to the universe through magickal ritual. You release the intention and assume that if it is for the highest good, then the magick will work. You can follow up the magick with real-world action to open the doors to the results of your magick, but you must fully release your intention. By releasing your attachment to the result of your intention, you send the energy out to manifest the intention. If you don't release it, you will constantly pull back the energy you sent out, and it will never manifest. When the energy does return to you, as all things return to their source energetically stronger than when they left, it will return as a manifestation rather than an intention.
Reiki, on the other hand, focuses much less on outcome. The practitioner is unattached to the outcome, and simply offers Reiki energy to the recipient for his or her highest good. The recipient uses the energy to heal according to his or her own divine wisdom. Reiki is said to be regulated by the divine intelligence, the universal intelligence of this life force energy, which knows infinitely more than our conscious ego selves how to work. We simply offer ourselves as vessels through which the energy flows, and it works as needed.
Reiki energy flows where it is needed. If a practitioner's hands are on you and you need Reiki for the highest good, the energy will flow. If the practitioner is touching your chest, but you really need the energy in your toes, it will flow to your toes. If you come in for a backache, but the energy serves the highest good by going to your emotional body to help heal an unresolved childhood trauma, it will go there. There is no controlling or predicting the results of Reiki. Practitioners release attachment to the outcome. The recipient and practitioner may have a specific intention in mind before the session, and that may set the tone for the session, but there is no guarantee of the results. Reiki energy goes where commanded by one's higher intelligence in concert with the universal life force.
Magick originally evolved out of the desire to heal and meet the needs of the tribe. Traditions of hands-on healing can be found in many ancient and modern magickal and shamanic cultures. The practice was so widespread that it found its way into the teachings of Jesus and early Christianity. In Celtic traditions, people gifted with the ability to heal through touch are said to have the faery touch or faery hands. Reiki's primary way of directing energy is through touch, and practitioners are known for the heat and energy that radiates from their hands.
Reiki and magick have much in common, particularly in regard to letting go. Western esoteric traditions aren't all that different from Eastern mysticism. In magick, one seeks to consciously partner with the divine. The contemplation, reflection, and intention of the highest good are to align with what magicians call divine will. When Wiccans and magicians say Do what ye Will, they mean do your higher will, what the divine self wants and not necessarily what the ego wants. When the conscious mind is aligned with the divine will, magick can do anything. But there must be that alignment.
If our intention is not aligned with the divine, we ask that it not come true. In Reiki, there is not as great a need to have a specific intention. Ideally, there is no focus on the outcome. There is usually an intention, conscious or unconscious, but it's not the primary focus. In magick, the tradition involves becoming consciously aware of your desires, needs, and intentions. Both Reiki and magick are paths to awareness and openness to the divine. Both are paths of healing and wholeness. They don't need to be mutually exclusive in our lives, just as we don't have to focus strictly on left-brain or right brain talents, or on male or female traits. We are an amalgam of both approaches to life, as found in Reiki and Western magick, and those on the balanced path will see the wisdom in both approaches.
In this one of a kind guide, popular Wiccan author and Reiki Master Christopher Penczak presents a groundbreaking exploration of the complementary practices of Reiki and magick.
Insightful and positive, Magick of Reiki describes both magick and Reiki, including an in-depth discussion of the history, mythos, variations, and degrees of Reiki. This book offers ideas for integrating Reiki and magickal practice, such as using Reiki energy for psychic development, and to empower herbs, crystals, and talismans. More than seventy new Reiki symbols are revealed and fully illustrated, with diverse purposes ranging from aligning with nature spirits to healing your car or computer. Instructions for performing various Reiki attunements are included. Also in this innovative guide are exercises to help you develop your own unique style of Reiki magick, as well as a look at the future of Reiki.
The Paths of Reiki and Magick
New Worlds Isse: NW046
By: Christopher Penczak
As a practicing witch, I stand between many worlds. One of the first definitions that I learned from my teachers for a witch is a walker between worlds, like a shaman with one foot in the material and one foot in the spiritual. This is interpreted to be a bridge between worlds, bringing healing to people, the land and the spirits. I accepted that role as part of my path, and have learned that I stand between many worlds. Witches often feel separate from the mainstream world when topics of religion, holidays and general life views come up, because our differences are more apparent. One bridge I didn't intend to cross was that of the world of holistic healing.
Holistic healing and alternative therapies also stand on the edge. More value is given to them, but they are not universally accepted as a complimentary form of treatment. Like the shaman, they often stand outside of the village, ready to offer help.
One form of alternative healing that initially attracted me is called Reiki. Reiki means universal life energy, and is actually a system of hands on and distant energy healing that comes to us from Japan, though spiritual lore claims Reiki has a much older lineage. The revival of the tradition, from the modern founder, a man named Dr. Usui, brought this healing energy to our current community.
I was attracted to Reiki because it is a healing art. One of my motivations to study witchcraft was its healing aspect, both magickal healing and herbal healing. I had continued my study of holistic and healing arts, from shamanism to flower essences and yoga. I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience. While I loved the practice of Reiki, I wasn't quite prepared for my journey into the Reiki community.
In an effort to gain wider acceptance in the West, many people explained Reiki as the energy that such spiritual masters as Jesus used to heal. That made the idea of hands on healing more palatable, and even desirable to a mostly Christian audience. Though I have no doubt that the man we know as Jesus might have used the energy of the universe to heal, like many healing traditions, he was not using the Japanese system we now know as Reiki. Reiki comes out of a Japanese Buddhist background, but in truth anyone from any spiritual tradition can practice. Having a spiritual tradition is not a pre-requisite, as well. You don't have to believe in anything, as long as you are open to the experience. Others present Reiki in a very clinical and semi scientific way, removing any mystical or spiritual aspects to it, to make it more acceptable in the secular environments of hospitals and medical schools.
Unaware of this background in the community, I was surprised to find that many of my fellow Reiki practitioners were aghast that I was a witch practicing Reiki. Some felt the two were incompatible, inherently misunderstanding the healing and spiritual nature of Wicca. I found myself explaining witchcraft, magick and ritual to many mystical healing people who were never exposed to the true nature of such topics, only the propaganda condemning them.
In 2002, I found myself in the position as a controversial lecturer at the New England Reiki Conference, speaking on the similarities and differences between magick and Reiki. Many of the attendants were witches, magicians and pagans who had similar experiences to mine, but many were also Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, New Age Practitioners and Christians. There, I outlined many of the similar points, including:
Both connect to a divine, limitless energy.
Both use symbols to channel energy and intention.
Both have codes of conduct regarding how they should be used on others. Reiki is also guided by the five Reiki Principles, while magick systems such as Wicca are guided by the Law of Three and Wiccan Rede.
Both are divided into levels of training, called degrees.
Both use rituals to transfer someone into the tradition. In magick, there are initiations. In Reiki, such initiations are often called attunements.
Some practitioners in each tradition use ritual, whether they realize it or not, using candles, incense, oils and lighting to set the tone for a session.
Some practitioners in both traditions call upon spiritual entities such as spirit guides, deity(ies), angels, ancestors and ascended masters.
Both traditions often attract those with psychic gifts and abilities.
Both traditions have been influenced by New Age practices, such as crystals and chakras.
These are only a few of the similarities, without getting into specific principles. To me, Reiki is a form of magical tradition. It has its own codes, lore, myths and techniques. The paths of magick and Reiki are not so different. They are both traditions available to all to enhance, heal and empower yourself, no matter your personal path.
Using Reiki Magick
Date: 2005-01-10 By: Christopher Penczak
Reiki is the power to heal using universal life force. Reiki itself is a system of natural healing coming to the west from Japan. A trained practitioner of Reiki healing has the ability to channel pure life force - what is known as ki, chi, or prana - and gently allow the recipient to absorb this life force. The recipient's own body can use the energy to heal, gently removing any blocks to health and increasing the flow of life force to areas that are ill or injured. Reiki also works on the energy bodies. Healing can occur on an emotional, mental, or spiritual level. Reiki differs from other forms of energy healing, because the recipient is said to be in charge of the transfer of energy. The recipient's higher self or body wisdom controls the flow, preventing any overload from too much energy. The Reiki practitioner is like a straw, the recipient sucks energy through the straw, and just like having a drink, when you've had enough, you stop drinking. The recipient cannot choke or overload on the healing energy.
As a practicing witch, I use healing magick in my life all the time. I was interested in learning how Reiki and magick were the same and how they were different. Although there are many traditions and teachings of magick, anyone can learn to use it. With some very basic knowledge, or even by closely following a spell recipe book, you can have successful results working magick without a lot of training. Magick is a method of speaking your intentions to the universe, and by using the symbolic language of ritual, you can speak your intention very easily. Tried and true ritualists know magical theory well enough to design their own rituals and spells, but anybody can learn a few basic techniques. Traditional spells become traditional because they work for a variety of people and get recorded in someone's spell book.
To practice Reiki, technically you must be initiated into the tradition. To do this, you must receive what Reiki Masters call an attunement (so called because your body is attuned to the natural flow of universal life force energy) through a ritual and variety of symbols. There are a variety of healing energy techniques that are similar to Reiki, but without the attunement, you are not practicing Reiki. The benefit of doing Reiki healing specifically is all the safeguards that come with the system. Not only will you never overload the recipient, but you cannot take on the illness of the recipient. The flow of energy is one way. Other forms of energy healing do not have these built in benefits.
I know quite a few witches who get initiated into Reiki to supplement their magical energy. These witches use Reiki, not just for healing, but also for many purposes. They use Reiki energy to charge candle spells, to consecrate herbal potions, and to cast the magick circle. The Reiki energy will flow wherever it's needed, not just into the body of one who is ill.
I've also found those who are versed in magick, but not initiated into Reiki, using the symbols associated with Reiki in magick. Originally the symbols were kept secret from the uninitiated. They were passed on and memorized, with few written copies preserved. Later, when Reiki became more mainstream, the symbols appeared in books and online websites. Now anybody can find them.
Although these symbols were kept secret to prevent people from using them without an attunement into Reiki, some believe they were kept secret so Reiki teachers could charge huge amounts of money to reveal the secret symbols in class. Lore about the danger of using them when you are not attuned to Reiki grew, and tales of how the Reiki symbols were misused in Egypt or Atlantis became a part of the teachings. Personally, I think they can do no harm. They convey healing energy that is guided by the higher self of the recipient. I think the danger is in thinking if you know the symbols, you have been attuned to Reiki, and have all the safe guards to do healing work with others. Someone using the symbols without an attunement may mistakenly use their own personal energy to heal, and become sick, taking on the illness of another. Or they might overload the recipient with too much energy. That's the only danger.
The benefits of using the symbols, even without having an attunement, can be great. I've given clients symbols written on paper to meditate on after a healing session. The names of the symbols can be used like mantras, to evoke their healing power personally into you. I even know someone who, before coming to a workshop, read my book, Magick of Reiki and found the symbol Cho Ku Ret from the Seichim Reiki traditions, which is used to heal inanimate objects. Her car broke down and she used the symbol on it, drawing it and chanting its name. Her car started back up again and she got to my workshop on time. I found that quite amazing.
I think chanting the names of the Reiki symbols in meditation is one of the easiest and safest ways to work with them if you are not attuned. Different teachers pronounce them slightly differently, so do your best and see what effect each has on you.
Cho Ku Rei - increases energy and power in general
Sei He Ki - for emotional and mental balance
Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen - to heal karma, healing the past
Di Ko Myo - to connect with the higher self
Raku - for grounding
Nin Giz Zida - to align the chakra, to active energy
Zonar - to heal on a multidimensional level
Shanti - creates a sense of peace
Gnosa - clears the mind
Cho Ku Ret - heals inanimate objects and helps make connections to rituals tools and crystals.
Lon Say - creates a sense of love
Explore working with Reiki through chanting. If you find the energy it evokes speaks to you, explore learning more about Reiki, researching the symbols, and even taking a class with a certified Reiki teacher to become attuned to it yourself.
Christopher Penczak is an eclectic witch, writer, and healing practitioner. His practice draws upon the foundation of modern Witchcraft blended with the wisdom of mystical traditions from across the globe.
Formerly based in the music industry, Christopher was empowered by his spiritual experiences to live a magickal life, and began a full-time practice of teaching, writing, and seeing clients. His other books include the The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation, and Psychic Development, The Inner Temple of Witchcraft CD Companion set, City Magick, Spirit Allies, Gay Witchcraft, the newly released The Outer Temple of Witchcraft:Circles, Spells, and Rituals, The Outer Temple of Witchcraft CD Companion Set, The Witchs Shield, and the forthcoming Magick of Reiki.
The Gods of Witchcraft
Date: 2005-05-17 By: Christopher Penczak
When I got involved in Wicca, I found that most of my teachers emphasized the Goddess. Many people have been raised with traditions that emphasized the male aspect of divinity. These same people often come to nature based religions with a desire to reconnect their spirit to the divine feminine, the Mother principle. I know I did. I came from a strict Catholic background, so I found the idea of the Goddess both intriguing and comforting. I always liked the Virgin Mary, and found the multifaceted images of the Goddess quite a wonderful challenge. It was hard to look at the feminine as not only virgin mother, but also sexual mother, warrior, crone, witch, healer, and reaper. Though it was a challenge, I found a building a relationship with the God to be an altogether a different experience.
Though many people think Wicca and Witchcraft are only about the Goddess, the God plays a pivotal role in most traditions. Most groups celebrate the union of Goddess and God. And while many emphasize the Goddess, and some exclude the God all together, most will look to both the Goddess and God of Witchcraft. Wicca and Witchcraft are traditions of balance, of both masculine and feminine energies. Practitioners are encouraged to recognize and develop both.
I had always had the image of God being a bearded man in the sky - distant and remote, ready to punish us at anytime. I read a lot of the Old Testament in Catholic School. Intellectually, I understood that God as a creative force, but this image was what I had for a personification. When I learned about the Witch's God, I got some very different images. Sometimes they were frightening, other times fatherly. Some were remote sky figures, others were earthly and sexual.
The God can be seen with three faces, much like the Goddess, but he has two dominant aspects. In fact, the God, is often strictly described as a dual god, a god of light and of darkness. The light god rules the waxing half of the year from Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice. The light god is sometimes called the Oak King. The dark god rules the waning half of the year from Summer to Winter Solstice. In Celtic traditions, the dark god is the Holly King. The Oak King and Holly King are said to fight at each solstice for control of the year. The Green and Red Knight legends, in which one battles the other, can be seen as a variation on this myth.
Sun King - The Sun king starts as a small child at the Winter Solstice, but is associated with a mature man by Summer Solstice. Most pagan traditions look to the Sun as male while the Moon is female, and associate the growing light with waxing God.
Green Man, During spring, the God takes on an emerald hue, as the light of the Sun is photosynthesized in the green of the land. This God is one of vegetation, of the forest and the plants. Many believe the Green Man faces depicted in European churches were part of an effort by pagan craftsman to keep pagan traditions alive while the Church was in control.
Sacrificed God, The Green God or Solar God is brought to a peak of power and then sacrificed on or after the solstice. This God is associated with the harvest of either grains or fruits such as grapes. When the harvest is cut, the waxing god is done and yields his power to the dark half. The sacrificed god is the light god with the darkest aspects because he represents the transition from one side to the next.
Sky Father, The Sky Father image is one of either the benevolent father, or the distant patriarch. The figure of Zeus is probably the most well-known Sky Father from pagan mythology. The Sky Father doesn't partake in the light/dark cycle in the same way as the gods described above, but rather is the father figure who gives birth to the Sun God/Sacrificed God.
Horned God, The Horned God, from the Greek Pan to the Celtic Cernunnos, is the most beloved and misunderstood image of the Witch's God. He is the animal lord, a fertility god and the guardian of the gates between life and death. The Horned God was long ago corrupted into a fearsome image, but gods of horn were well loved throughout the world before the advent of Christianity.
Underworld King, The Underworld King or Lord of the Dead is found in many mythologies, ruling over the unseen kingdom of the ancestors. Some, like Pluto, are also gods who rule over the riches of the underworld, making them patrons of wealth as well.
Sea King, Many traditions look to the ocean as the underworld, or one gateway to it. The Sea King is not necessarily a dark figure. But, esoterically, water deals with the emotional realm. So does the underworld. This creates the link between these two kingly archetypes. In Roman mythology, Pluto and Neptune, Gods of the Seas, are brothers.
War God, The Warrior Gods are not necessarily dark or underworld gods, but they are associated with some of the darker emotions we feel, including fear and anger. The true warrior path is one of discipline and courage, and some of these gods can teach the skills necessary to become a spiritual warrior.
Many gods don't fit either the light or dark aspect. They are neither waxing nor waning forces. These gods are the male archetypal beings of the places in between. They are the bridge between the light and the dark. They are connective force. In myths, they often act as either guides to the gods, or instigators of their problems. They are the gods who are magicians and tricksters. Figures such as Hermes, Mercury, Thoth, Anubis, Odin, Loki, Gwydion, and Merlin would find their home in the places in between.
Meditation on the God
Get comfortable and set the mood for this meditation. Light some candles and incense. Sit in a comfortable position. Think of your intention to connect with the energy of the God, in whatever form he takes. Take a moment and ask for guidance and aid from your spirit guides and higher self. If feel connected to a particular form of the God, ask that aspect of the God to be present with you.
Close your eyes and count backwards from twelve to one. Twelve is a solar number, and associated with the god force. Imagine yourself before a tall hill or small mountain. See, feel, sense, and know that the hill is there. It's OK if you can't visualize things clearly. Just imagine it and go with your impressions. Sense that the hill of the Gods is there, and it will be.
Its height is a challenge, but not insurmountable. There is a pathway that guides you up, winding around the hill. Follow the pathway up. Climb higher and higher, taking notice of any rocks, plants, or animals that you encounter on your way. Each can be a sign for your journey. Certain stones can act as future talismans for you to work with this god. Plants may be in harmony with his energy, and help you reconnect. Animals can act as a guide or totem for you to return, and symbolize your connection to the God.
When you get to the top, you might find the God waiting for you on the summit. If you are meeting with a light god, or even an in-between god, he will usually meet you on the top of the hill and have a conversation with you, or guide you on a journey. Use your intuition and have confidence in your first impressions. Trust yourself, and trust your experience with the God. Let his words and pictures enter your consciousness effortlessly.
Or you might find a barrow, an opening that leads inside the hill - as if the hill was secretly a cavern, with a winding tunnel leading to its heart. There waiting for you in the center will be the dark god, in one of his many forms. He will speak with you and share his inner-world mysteries. Again, use your intuition and follow your first impressions. Open your heart to feel his message, in addition to processing it mentally. The dark god teaches on many levels.
When done, thank the God for whatever the experience was. Sometimes it is loving and gentle. Other times, it might force us to see things that we don't wish to, but need to witness for our own growth. (I know the God has been both for me.)
Return down the path and come back the way you entered. Retrace your footsteps. Do you see any of the same stones, plants, or animals? Take note of the ones that feature prominently in your perception. When you reach your starting point, count up from one to twelve and ground yourself. Open our eyes, stretch, and eat a little something if you need to. Write down your experience in a journal.
Many think the Goddess is always loving and gentle while the God is a stern taskmaster. But many times I've found the reverse is true. Simply let go of your expectations and know that the God is equally available to you in your path of spiritual development. He is simply waiting to be asked into your life.
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