Reiki and shamanism: a delicate balance

Traditional Reiki practice straddles shamanistic practice, having come out of a Japanese culture that merges Shintoism (a form of Asian paganism/respect for nature) and Buddhism…so it’s in the system we work with, and every so often, we as the practitioner delve between worlds.

Not always, and not in the way a traditional shaman does, we don’t have the training for it (as in true in shamanism the training is quite extensive and dangerous) but when we cross those worlds, we can ‘work’ with them to assist our clients.

There are various kinds of shamanism, Native American, South American, Euroasian, Asian, Australian, basically connected to each continent where people have inhabited for thousands of years.

Each form has it’s own unique practices and rituals.  In Reiki, what we usually become exposed to is the merging of realms of reality (past/present/future), meeting beings of light (and sometimes dark) in those worlds, and time-traveling across space to perform distant healing.

The difference in our practice is that we aren’t seeking to manipulate the environment (i.e. perform extractions, retrieve souls or discarnate entitites, etc.) but to offer the vibration of light into the circumstance.

Keeping Reiki practice on ‘this level’ generally allows us to navigate these realms without dangerous repercussions or threat.  I say generally, because I have heard from practitioners over the years who have encountered phenomena that has them emotional and spiritual distress.

How do you prevent this from occurring?  I always emphasize the basic principle in Reiki of ‘not being attached to result’, or, another way of saying that, is ‘not trying to force an outcome’, not manipulating.

When we enter manipulation into the equation, we are inserting ego.  A practiced shaman has worked on this element of the personality for many years, and is able to totally set it aside and work with their ‘allies’ (spiritual/animal) helpers to facilitate change.

For Reiki practitioners, especially those starting out on the path, this is really challenging to do.  So I don’t encourage delving into this realm.  Those that are interested, however, I always refer to Michael Harner’s work.  He is is the author of the Way of the Shaman.  Michael was a traditionally trained academic anthropologist (grounded in mainstream reality) and switched over into spending his life learning, practicing and teaching a form of shamanism.  His techniques and methods are safe for Westerners.  I have yet to hear of any ill coming forth from his students.

Another shamanic practitioner I admire, Rose De Dan, of West Seattle, also integrates Peruvian shamanism into her Reiki, and she also has spent years cultivating and teaching her practice.

So, in closing, yes, as Reiki practitioners, we will see elements of this world, but to fully explore them, we need further training.  If you don’t feel called for that (and I have not), the world is a vast and abundant place and I refer to my colleagues and mentors who do practice this art.  It is a delicate balance and one to be respected.

Photo credit.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rjonm
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 19:45:42

    Eileen, everything you said about ego feels right on. Here is how I understand it. Harner identified fundamental principles that exist in all Shamanic traditions he studied, despite their ritual and practice differences. He termed those Core Shamanism, which is what he teaches.

    One of his principles is that everything you see when your eyes are closed, in the dark, is Spirit. It’s showing up for a reason – either to answer what you have asked, or what it knows you really want to know.

    Everything we do metaphysically is either divination – gathering information – or, manifestation – magic, healing, goal achievement. A Shaman can take divination journeys or visits to the Upper and Lower worlds on your behalf, or you can go yourself with a question. In those worlds, all you meet are benign teachers who want to help. There are techniques for safe travel, mostly to make sure you end up where you’re going and get back as intended.

    Issues arise in the middle world – our world – where mileage varies in terms of the intentions of the non-physical entities around, and where our ego leads us to believe that “we” are doing the healing.

    Also, teachers in non-ordinary reality do not necessarily suggest things that are practical in the middle world. Trying to walk across the Grand Canyon may work during a Shamanic journey, but is not advised in the middle world. We have to use our judgment in interpreting these experiences, and applying what we learn.

    Since we Reiki practitioners know we are conduits for Universal Life Energy, which will go where it’s needed once we get our egos out of the way, we can accept whatever we see as information, share it as our wisdom guides us, and continue to learn.

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