Reiki at the Zoo Part 2

2013-08-10 20.31.38 After my last zoo sojourn, I returned to Woodland Park Zoo, this time, in the evening, after all the crowds had gone home.  Rose De Dan lead a dozen of us healers by opening sacred space in her Peruvian shamanic tradition.  I chose this group because I am interested in shamanic ways and highly respect Rose’s work after our collaboration on the Duwamish River healings.

Rose started the journey by advising us ‘not to do Reiki’ but to be witnesses, to listen to what the animals had to say to us.  However, if any creatures wanted Reiki,  she would let us know, but this was a trip to take in their wisdom.  My heart was a little deflated, as  my last experience was so profound with connecting through Reiki.  But I was open to the experience of this other healing modality.

Walking quietly from exhibit to exhibit in the descending darkness after sunset, a meditative state soon set in amongst our group.  Standing before the lions and their cubs, they soon displayed a very relaxed posture, communicating they were comfortable with our presence.  They watched us as we watched them.   I felt I could just be with them through my heart.  The intention of ‘not doing Reiki’ was strong, as if the ability was placed on hold while I was there.

Going into the reptile house, I looked into the shadowy eyes of an alligator.  I felt a lot of sadness, apathy, boredom.  I just stood and witnessed, explaining through my heart I was just there to hold space.

Standing at the fence on the edge of the wolves domain, I gazed into blackness, feeling the eyes of these canines watching us all.  It made my heart race, an ancient instinct of survival activated within me, but I opened to them and said we come in peace.  A white specter appeared, the wolf walked towards us, then a second followed and seemed drawn in by the compassionate group.  Feeling their life force, feeling their solidarity with all the other wolves in the world beyond these grounds.  It was quite an extraordinary display of trust.

When we came to the penguins, Rose guided us that it was ‘alright’ to give them Reiki.  Suddenly my hands heated up and energy was flowing into the whole tank in which the penguins were swimming actively to and fro. This Reiki experience was a stark contrast to the other exhibits of simply standing in silence shamanic presence.

Both ways allow for a connection.  The Reiki way, my default way, if of course, the one I’m most comfortable and familiar with.  It is effortless, it allows for instant connection.  It’s a means of offering support, love, light to whatever the creature needs for their highest and best good.  I communicate through the Reiki vibration, I hear phrases, thoughts and receive images of what needs to be conveyed.

The shamanic way, to me, is more removed. It is colder.  Connecting through my heart did allow love to flow, but not always.  There was darkness.  There was sadness.  It felt hopeless.  The light was removed.  Just holding space to listen without offering a solution.  It was an effort.

By the end of the evening, I started to develop a headache.  This hasn’t happened for me since I was a novice Reiki practitioner.  Getting a headache doing energy work tells me I was ‘trying’…which was true.  I was trying ‘not to do Reiki’. Perhaps that is impossible after 18 years on the path.  Perhaps it’s a reminder I’m a novice in this other modality.

The last part of the night, the zoo guide brought in two reptiles for the group to touch and communicate with.  I looked into the eyes of one and felt the lizard was wanting to climb out of his skin!  I had reached my own limit with this exploration.  I removed myself from the group and sat outside, cradling my head in my hands.  I just waited until that last part was over and Rose performed the ceremony of closing sacred space.

The experience reinforced for me that in order to work with  the solitary compassionate witnessing  we practiced I have to combine the healing light of Reiki at some level.  I can’t just tune in, hear and feel suffering and walk away without offering light to assist in whatever transformation is possible.

A good lesson…to be continued…

Copyright 2013 Eileen Dey

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