My Reiki Path

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Spirituality has been an important part of my life since childhood. Even as a kid, I loved going to services at the Episcopal Church my family attended! In college I began exploring a variety of religions and spiritual paths, always searching for something that could bring me closer to the Divine while fitting practically into my everyday life. In 1991 I began a more focused and in-depth study of practices for personal development and spiritual growth, specializing in energetic and esoteric modalities with an emphasis on tarot. Integrating my theatre background with my new studies, I began designing and leading transformative group rituals.

Theatre, tarot and transformative ritual were my life for the next dozen years. In 2003, two of my theatre colleagues began practicing Reiki. I had heard of Reiki before and read a little about it, and, although it had captured my imagination, I hadn’t pursued a study of it. One of my friends, Trish Edwards, currently of OM Mountain Yoga in Loveland, offered to do a session with me. She was fairly new to Reiki herself at that time, and I remember she didn’t have a massage table yet so she set up a chaise longue lawn chair in the living room for our session. I was lying quietly with my eyes closed when all of a sudden I felt this immense surge of energy. She matter-of-factly said, “I just drew the symbols in your aura.” Each symbol felt like it was six feet tall. I needed to find out more about this!

I found an ad in a local metaphysical newsletter for a Reiki class that weekend. I called and said I wanted to learn Level 1. The instructor told me that she taught Levels 1 and 2 together in a weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money to do both. However, she suggested I sign up anyway, and we would see what would happen. A few days before the first class, another theatre colleague and tarot student of mine called and said that she was scheduled to read tarot for an art opening that Friday night, but something had come up and she couldn’t do it — would I fill in for her? I worked the gallery opening and made enough money to pay for the Level 2 training! I walked into my Reiki class the next day and told this amazing story to my teacher, who wasn’t the least bit surprised!

My teacher, Cathy Cole of Energy Medicine Arts (now Spontaneous Shift) in Fort Collins, was wonderful and encouraged us to experiment to see what worked best for us. At one point she said, looking at me, “I’m not going to teach you the hand positions, I think you’ll work intuitively.” To this day, I’m not certain if she always taught that way or if that remark was specifically for me. It was very empowering to be told to trust my intuition!
I loved the sense of spiritual connection I felt when practicing Reiki — it was very similar to the ritual work I had been doing for so long. I also noticed how significantly my intuition was increased when practicing Reiki – especially my clairvoyance. Although I’d seen clear visions with my inner eye before, now I seemed to have an increased capacity for receiving these symbolic images. Reiki fell right into place for me as another energetic modality for personal development and spiritual growth.

I continued with my Teacher training in the Usui Tibetan style of Reiki, taught by my friend Trish who had also advanced within the system. By now I had moved to Denver and Trish was still in Northern Colorado, but I searched out Reiki circles in my area and began attending them monthly. I always sought out other Reiki practitioners to work with who, like me, had an emphasis on Reiki as a meditative spiritual practice.

In 2008, I was in Loveland and met up with Trish. She said that she had just been trained in a different Reiki lineage and that she was teaching a class in it that weekend. She invited me to join them and I received my Shinpiden (Teacher level) initiation into the Usui Reiki Ryôhô lineage, through IHR, which emphasizes Mikao Usui’s original teachings of Reiki as a spiritual practice. The additional meditations and techniques for raising spiritual energy resonated with me because this was the way I’d always experienced Reiki. I’d finally found a style that not only shared but emphasized the same philosophies of Reiki that my own practice had shown me to be true.

I now teach Usui Reiki Ryôhô and lead the Denver Reiki Co-op with two meetings a month, one open to anyone who would like to experience and share in the beauty of Reiki and one open to Reiki practitioners for exploring and practicing Reiki as a spiritual path.

Joy Vernon is a Reiki Practitioner and Teacher in Denver, Colorado. She is trained in both the Traditional Japanese Usui Reiki Ryôhô and the Western-influenced Usui Tibetan traditions of Reiki. To schedule an appointment or for information on upcoming classes, please visit

© 2011 by Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five 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 grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit

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