This is not a traditional book on Reiki. It’s an intriguing and empowering book unifying the concepts of Reiki and magick from a practitioner’s point of view. The book compares and contrasts the two disciplines and encourages areas of crossover. Although many shy away from the word magick because it evokes negative associations, most of us are comfortable with the use of language involving the power of intention. The conscious use of intention can manifest inwardly or outwardly, both affecting our reality. This is magick. Most of us recognize magickal practices including spells, rain dances, healing songs, and protection blessings. But magical practices also include affirmations, prayer, creative visualization, positive thinking, and the biggest buzz word of all— co-creating. Shockingly simple and… unifying.
Although the author points out that the roots of Western magick and Eastern Reiki may seem like a wide gulf to bridge, they are really two disciplines providing paths up the same mountain. Both use symbols, initiation (called attunement in Reiki), spiritual lineage, energy work, and the mystical path of personal experience. Magick does differ from Reiki in how it creates change. Magick releases a well-considered intention into the world whereas Reiki practice does not focus on outcome. Reiki energy is understood to be intelligent and works for the higher good. The energy flows where it is needed.
The book includes a brief history of what we know about the history of Reiki. Many of us realize there is a lot of misinformation floating around. Stories and legends about the founders proliferate. A really good history of Reiki can be found in Penelope Quest’s, Reiki for Life. The three levels of Reiki are outlined in subsequent chapters of Penczak’s book. Most fascinating was the description of the entire ritual for attunement found in Chapter 5. The author is a firm believer that once you have your first attunement, the door to Reiki is open. Use of symbols and even doing attunements is possible.
The remaining chapters of the book explore healing with symbols, working with Reiki spirit guides, using crystals, and plant magick. There is also a chapter on some of the new lineages and practices emerging post-Usui. Overall, a creative, empowering and helpful book.
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In February, I received Reiki level I training. It was taught in a typical two-day environment and left me feeling like I had more questions than answers. Searching for a good book that would help guide the practice, I found this gem. I read the e-book cover to cover and for anyone wanting an easily accessible manual on Reiki, this is a great one. When I get back home, I’ll definitely be buying the physical book for reference.
Before talking about the book, I think a brief discussion about what Reiki is for those who may have heard the term, but who are not sure exactly what I’m talking about may be in order. Reiki is described as a high vibration healing energy, a specific frequency of chi. Reiki is one of perhaps thirty or so different healing frequencies. Reiki energy stimulates and accelerates the body’s natural ability to heal. The energy is intelligent and works for the highest good using its own timetable. Reiki can affect the physical body, the mind, and the spirit. Developed in Japan by Mikao Usui in the 1920s, practitioners receive attunements to open a channel to allow the flow of Reiki energy.
Although we don’t know exactly how Reiki works, Penelope Quest does a good job providing background information on how science is moving forward with quantum theories and interconnectedness. She points to some tantalizing research done by Valerie Hunt at the University of California on high frequency energy fields. While the average human field is 250 cps, those who use or receive Reiki have a field of 400- 800 cps. I would have liked to have seen some studies on plants or bacteria using Reiki in this book because I have seen them elsewhere. It also begged the question about human studies (you’d think we’d have something by now??). Hopefully, books focusing on the science will emerge over time and Quest’s book is a manual geared to practitioners. (See below for an article citing human studies where Reiki has been effective for treating anxiety and pain.)
Short Reiki trainings do not give a lot of background on Reiki’s developer, Mikao Usui. This is an area where the book is wonderful. Due to a lot of recent research, much of the myth and distortion surrounding Usui is being cleared up. Although we will never have a truly complete picture of this man, we know much more than an epitaph from a gravestone which is all the class alludes to. Quest also goes into meticulous detail over the lineages that developed after Usui’s death and how Reiki in the East is far different from what is taught in the West. I was very captivated with the traditional way Reiki is given time to develop in Japan. The West could learn a lot if we could slow down and step away from the money making paradigm.
photo: Andy Beer
Reiki for Life is divided into useful sections so that Level 1, Level II, and Level III are discussed separately. Anyone interested in Reiki, can quickly find out what is covered at any given level and what the requirements are for practice. Additional chapters offer insights in to how to creatively use Reiki in every area of life. Those wishing to open a Reiki practice in the UK will find very specific guidance on legal requirements, but there’s nothing for anyone who wants to do so in the US or elsewhere.
I wanted to share one jaw-dropping moment I had reading the book. This applied directly to me and occurred at about 70% through the book. Remember I outlined above that Reiki was just one of the healing energies. Well, it turns out that many Western Reiki masters are attuning to Kundalini energy and not the gentler Usui Reiki energy. The lineage that includes William Lee Rand introduced Tibetan Reiki symbols that channel this fiercer (serpent) energy. So, the dragon sleeps no longer. I was shocked. Still am. I think this needs to be disclosed going in. Gulp.