Magick of Reiki: Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, & Spiritual Development

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9780738705736: Magick of Reiki: Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, & Spiritual Development

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.

2005 Coalition of Visionary Resources (COVR) Winner for Best Alternative Health Book!

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About the Author:

Christopher Penczak is an award-winning author, teacher, and healing practitioner. He has studied extensively with witches, mystics, shamans, and healers in a variety of traditions from around the world to synthesize his own practice of magick and healing.

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. He is the author of the award-winning Temple of Witchcraft series: The Inner Temple of Witchcraft, The Outer Temple of Witchcraft, The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, and The Living Temple of Witchcraft Volumes 1 and 2.

His other books include City Magick (Red Wheel/Weiser), Spirit Allies (Red Wheel/Weiser), Gay Witchcraft (Red Wheel/Weiser), Magick of Reiki, Sons of the Goddess, Ascension Magick, Instant Magick, The Mystic Foundation, The Witch's Shield, The Witch's Coin, and the forthcoming The Witch's Heart. Christopher Penczak resides in New Hampshire. Visit him online at http://www.christopherpenczak.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

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 résumé 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 ...

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