Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December 2016 / Gift Guide Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Where the Paths of Paganism and Reiki Meet

This article was written by Christopher Penczak
posted under Pagan

As a practicing witch, I stand between many worlds. One of the first definitions that I learned from my teachers for a witch is a walker between worlds, like a shaman with one foot in the material and one foot in the spiritual. This is interpreted to be a bridge between worlds, bringing healing to people, the land, and the spirits. I accepted that role as part of my path, and have learned that I stand between many worlds. Witches often feel separate from the mainstream world when topics of religion, holidays and general life views come up, because our differences are more apparent. One bridge I didn’t intend to cross was that of the world of holistic healing.

Holistic healing and alternative therapies also stand on the edge. More value is given to them, but they are not universally accepted as a complementary form of treatment. Like the shaman, they often stand outside of the village, ready to offer help.

One form of alternative healing that initially attracted me is called Reiki. Reiki means “universal life energy,” and is actually a system of hands on and distant energy healing that comes to us from Japan, though spiritual lore claims Reiki has a much older lineage. The revival of the tradition, from the modern founder, a man named Dr. Usui, brought this healing energy to our current community.

I was attracted to Reiki because it is a healing art. One of my motivations to study witchcraft was its healing aspect, both magickal healing and herbal healing. I had continued my study of holistic and healing arts, from shamanism to flower essences and yoga. I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience. While I loved the practice of Reiki, I wasn’t quite prepared for my journey into the Reiki community.

In an effort to gain wider acceptance in the West, many people explained Reiki as the energy that such spiritual masters as Jesus used to heal. That made the idea of hands-on healing more palatable, and even desirable to a mostly Christian audience. Though I have no doubt that the man we know as Jesus might have used the energy of the universe to heal, like many healing traditions, he was not using the Japanese system we now know as Reiki. Reiki comes out of a Japanese-Buddhist background, but in truth anyone from any spiritual tradition can practice. Having a spiritual tradition is not a pre-requisite, as well. You don’t have to believe in anything, as long as you are open to the experience. Others present Reiki in a very clinical and semi-scientific way, removing any mystical or spiritual aspects to it, to make it more acceptable in the secular environments of hospitals and medical schools.

Unaware of this background in the community, I was surprised to find that many of my fellow Reiki practitioners were aghast that I was a witch practicing Reiki. Some felt the two were incompatible, inherently misunderstanding the healing and spiritual nature of Wicca. I found myself explaining witchcraft, magick, and ritual to many mystical healing people who were never exposed to the true nature of such topics, only the propaganda condemning them.

In 2002, I found myself in the position as a controversial lecturer at the New England Reiki Conference, speaking on the similarities and differences between magick and Reiki. Many of the attendants were witches, magicians, and pagans who had similar experiences to mine, but many were also Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, New Age Practitioners, and Christians. There, I outlined many of the similar points, including:

  • Both connect to a divine, limitless energy.
  • Both use symbols to channel energy and intention.
  • Both have codes of conduct regarding how they should be used on others. Reiki is also guided by the five Reiki Principles, while magick systems such as Wicca are guided by the Law of Three and Wiccan Rede.
  • Both are divided into levels of training, called degrees.
  • Both use rituals to transfer someone into the tradition. In magick, there are initiations. In Reiki, such initiations are often called attunements.
  • Some practitioners in each tradition use ritual, whether they realize it or not, using candles, incense, oils, and lighting to set the tone for a session.
  • Some practitioners in both traditions call upon spiritual entities—such as spirit guides, deity(ies), angels, ancestors, and ascended masters.
  • Both traditions often attract those with psychic gifts and abilities.
  • Both traditions have been influenced by “New Age” practices, such as crystals and chakras.
These are only a few of the similarities, without getting into specific principles. To me, Reiki is a form of magical tradition. It has its own codes, lore, myths, and techniques. The paths of magick and Reiki are not so different. They are both traditions available to all to enhance, heal, and empower yourself, no matter your personal path.

Christopher PenczakChristopher Penczak
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...  Read more


Magick of Reiki
Magick of Reiki
Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, & Spiritual Development
Christopher Penczak
$19.99 US,  $22.95 CAN | Add to Cart
Reiki for Beginners
Reiki for Beginners
David Vennells
$14.99 US,  $16.95 CAN | Add to Cart
Sacred Path of Reiki
Sacred Path of Reiki
Healing as a Spiritual Discipline
Katalin Koda
$21.99 US,  $25.50 CAN | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
Four Mysterious Monsters of Which You've Never Heard
Four Powerful Ways to Live a Joyful Life Today
A Tarot Built for Magick: Modern Spellcaster's Tarot
Exercise: How to Feel Good
Investigating Haunted Bridges

Most recent posts:
This Samhain, Visit the Cemetery and Make a Gravestone Rubbing to Honor Your Ancestors
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Natalie Zaman, author of Magical Destinations of the Northeast. One of my favorite sections of...

The Biggest Challenge
Psychic Tarot by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie Howard In Psychic Tarot, Antenucci and Howard tell us that integrating the wisdom from a reading...

Author Michael Newton Has Passed
Today we sadly mark the passing of author Dr. Michael Newton, who authored several bestselling books, including Destiny of Souls, Journey of Souls,...

Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN