The first time I ever heard of Reiki, I was at a local pagan festival. I was helping out a friend with his shop's booth for the weekend. Before we packed up to go home, I did some quick shopping for thank you gifts I wanted to give the family members who had cared for my kids for the weekend. I found some lovely, inexpensive citrine crystal pendants at one of the booths and decided to purchase one for my mother-in-law. The woman who sold it to me asked if she could Reiki it for me. I had seen the sign and books on the subject around her booth all weekend. I didn't really know what Reiki was, but it seemed right, so I said, "Sure, why not."
She held the crystal in both hands silently and after a moment she exclaimed softly, "Oh, this crystal is drawing a lot of energy." The she pointed out that the hair on her arms was standing on end. I was very interested. After handing the stone back to me and I made my purchase, she asked me if I did any energy work. I told her, "Yes, I do. I practice Wicca." She replied, "No, dear, I mean energy work. Wicca is not the same thing." I left feeling a bit confused. I worked with energy all the time, as most Wiccans do. My curiosity was peaked about this Reiki.
Later that evening, the gift of the crystal cinched it. As my mother-in-law put the crystal on, the hair on her arms stood up. Hmm, what exactly is Reiki? She wore it to a job interview that day, and secured a new job. Ok, now I needed to learn about Reiki. I picked up a book on the subject, Reiki for Beginners by David Vennells. I discovered that in addition to learning techniques from books, a Reiki attunement must be passed through by initiation from teacher to student and next thing you know, I was taking classes at my local new age store. As I was quite broke at the time, my mother covered the fee with the promise that someday I would teach her, which I eventually did! I have learned a lot about Reiki since then, becoming a Reiki master/teacher myself, and one thing I have learned is that while, yes, Reiki is not exactly the same as the energy we normally use in magickal ritual, the energies are very compatible and work very well with an Earth Based Faith such as Wicca.
Reiki and Magick Complement Each Other
Reiki is a healing modality, and it is deceptively simple and simply powerful. The first thing you learn to do with Reiki is healing. The hands are placed in positions that correspond with the chakra positions around the body and energy is transferred from the Universal source through the hands of the practitioner to the recipient. The wonderful thing about using Reiki for healing versus other methods that we as Wiccans and Pagans might otherwise use, is that we do not "take on" anything from the person we are doing work for. It allows us to do more healing and deal with severe illnesses that we couldn't do otherwise because Reiki flows from the hands into the body, and never the other way around. I have talked with many Wiccans who do healing work but report that it knocks them down for awhile afterwords. This doesn't happen with Reiki. In fact, giving a Reiki treatment can be good for the practitioner as well as the client. Distance healings can also be done with a Reiki II degree, and can be incorporated into a Wiccan healing ritual with great success! I charge my teas, healing candles, even herbal remedies and medications my family takes with Reiki.
I have learned on my own to use Reiki in most of my magic, I have found that Reiki turbo-charges my magick! I use it to help me cleanse my circle, as the energy has a purifying quality. It is also very beneficial when consecrating ritual tools. It can cleanse an item of any nasty vibes that might have built up and fills it with life force energy. Reiki can fill herbs with life force energy as well, allowing the herbs to reach their full potential. In addition to charging my candles with my magickal purpose, I also charge them with Reiki to add extra oomph to my spell work. I even carve them with both magickal and Reiki symbols. When I am at work or somewhere where I can't just do magick easily and a situation pops up that I know requires some kind of spiritual intervention, I use Reiki. Quite simply, I write the situation or problem on a slip of paper and excuse myself for a few minutes to the restroom or other quiet place and using the distance symbol, I send Reiki to the situation. You see, Reiki can only be used for the higher good, so it easily fits right in with The Rede, in harming none. I continue to send Reiki until I get a chance to do some magick. Sometimes Reiki has already ironed everything out by then! Reiki and magick are used together to cleanse and charge my stones, protect and bless my home, I have used them together for so long now, they seamlessly integrate with each other for me.
Following the Path
I have wished in the beginning of my Reiki studies that someone had been able to tell me how to use Reiki with magick. My Reiki master wasn't Wiccan, and nor was anyone from my class. I had read in many books that Reiki was complimentary to any form of spirituality but no specific ideas about my chosen path were given. After many dead ends, I just started to experiment and found success. I felt that the woman at the festival didn't give the use of energy in Wicca enough credit. The fact is, I don't think that she knew, being of a more New-Age background. Her comment did, however send me on a journey to learn Reiki and to discover the similarities and differences between the energies I use. For that, I thank her. Along the way, I have discovered that there are a lot of magick users that incorporate Reiki. And I even recently discovered a book on the subject, Magick of Reiki by Christopher Penczak! Through his book, I have learned even more theories about Reiki. His book included so many new ideas for integrating Reiki with magick and some new Reiki symbols I have been experimenting with. I'm sure I will always be learning with both Reiki and magick. After all, if we are wise, we never stop learning and trying new things.