New feature on Completely Joyous! I’m now going to be offering short answers to questions that you ask! Students and colleagues ask me questions about tarot and Reiki privately and I’ve often thought that other people might want to know the answer, but it doesn’t take a whole blog post to explain the topic. So now you can find short and sweet answers to common questions right here!
Q&A with Joy
Nina, from one of my Okuden classes, asked this question. My answer was not as short as it might usually be–the topic let me explore some other ideas I had been thinking about opening up for discussion with my current Okuden class. I’d love to hear your thoughts and responses in the comments!
This is Nina’s question:
Remember the other night when I worked on your feet and I sensed that maybe you needed grounding (which may or may not be true but doesn’t just everybody anyway?) I thought what would I do in that situation which happened to be run red roots from each foot down into the soil and breath the energy up into the body.
This occurs to me to be that that was not really Reiki as Reiki energy goes where it needs to go not where I boss it around for it to go. If it wasn’t Reiki, what modality was it or was it something I just made up?
And here’s my answer:
Hi Nina! I think this is a great question!
There are a lot of layers to this and I think it’s important to dig down fairly deep to find the best answer.
First, utilizing visualizations for healing is an age-old energetic practice. That was actually one of the first healing practices that I learned, although it wasn’t something I had practiced very regularly before I learned Reiki. You could have learned this spontaneously (made it up as you say) because all knowledge is out there for any one of us to tap into when we need it. Or maybe you picked up the kernel of it from me at some point through the energetic exchange of the Reiki initiations. Doing a tree visualization is something that I learned for grounding back when I was in college, and I used to lead a tree meditation (roots, branches, trunk) for the Okuden class as one way to approach the idea of the three diamonds. I’m not sure I did it for your Okuden class though, since we’d moved on to the new syllabus. Maybe I should reinstate it!
Certainly tree meditations are not a part of traditional Japanese Reiki, so in that sense, no, this isn’t a traditional Reiki technique. But what is a part of the traditional style is working intuitively, and that’s what you experienced during the session, an intuition to add a visualization to reinforce the hands-on work you were doing at my feet. Prior to learning traditional Japanese Reiki, I used to do a lot of visualizations with the sessions, as that is always what came to me. If I were to do a visualization for grounding someone, and I’m not sure how you did it, but instead of seeing the roots come from their feet, I would see the roots going from my feet into the ground, and invite the recipient energetically to share in that experience–to me it’s less bossy, as you say. It’s the difference between saying, you should do a root visualization to ground yourself and saying, when I need to ground myself I like to do this.
The other thing to point out is that there is a traditional Reiki visualization you can use: the symbols. And since symbol 1 is earth energy, drawing or seeing that symbol and feeling the associated energy of it in your body would be a traditional way of adding a visualization into your session.
The next layer is, when are we being intuitive and when are we being bossy, or imposing our own limited understanding of what is best for the person? Of course, the intention that Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki teaches is “may this person receive what they most need at this exact moment in time.” I utilize this intention throughout the session, but specifically if I ever do a visualization, I add this intention as well so that what is most needed comes through, regardless of whether or not I have the capacity to perceive or understand it.
The last layer that I see arises from the question of engaging with the recipient intuitively and not from a place of ego-involved authority. The more we think about our session and the more we place our awareness in the mind in order to do the work, the less we are engaged with Spirit, or the Source of Life, or the Great Bright Light, which is the place of Reiki healing. In many ways, I think it is best to do sessions completely disengaged from mental analysis. But that’s not always easy to do. And sometimes there can be benefits to engaging our sense of perception, as we learned on Thursday with the Biosen Reikan Hô technique. As I see it, the trick is to allow the mind to become engaged without employing judgment. The acts of analyzing, qualifying and assessing are highly prized in our society and those processes are instilled and reinforced in us throughout our lives. So to be able to sit back and observe without judging can be difficult–but that’s one thing we practice when we do our meditations. And this is why we teach Biosen Reikan Hô together with Reiji Hô. The key to working intuitively is to be guided by Spirit, and Reiji Hô is exactly that, saying, I bow my mind in respect to the higher truth of Spirit.
So to bring this back to your question, I think what is really at stake here is the ability to translate Spirit. When we do our work purely in the space of the great light, no translation is needed and the energy does what it needs to do and goes where it needs to go. But sometimes we receive the intuition to take a certain action or perform a certain technique. In that case we are translating from Spirit, unlimited and perfect, into our own understanding or interpretation of Spirit, resulting in a limited and imperfect action. As long our intention for the recipient to receive what they most need is clear and our connection to Source is clear and unencumbered by our personal junk, then our imperfect actions reflect the perfection of Spirit and we allow Spirit to work through us. And the way you translate Spirit might not be the same way a modern Japanese person would translate Spirit nor is it how Usui-sensei would have translated Spirit. But that doesn’t make it wrong or untraditional or an error. You’re doing a translation from Spirit, not adding your own personal commentary. But sometimes doing the translation requires us to use our own vocabulary when there is a choice of several ways to express what is being said. So when Spirit says some Spirit-language vagary that might translate as “ground” or could be “like roots into the earth” or maybe something totally different, all you can say is, this is how I understand this to be, and I want to share with you what I’m receiving from Spirit. And sometimes things are lost in translation. And sometimes things are gained.
If you want to ask a question about any tarot or Reiki technique or metaphysical philosophy, please feel free to ask it in the comments! You just might see an answer from me in the very near future!
Joy Vernon is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and Reiki Teacher in Denver, Colorado. Her specialty is the Empyrean Key Transformational Guidance, which combines energetic and esoteric modalities to help her clients break through blocks and align themselves with their higher purpose. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2013 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.