the nature of reiki “healing”

what do people mean when they talk about “energy” and “healing” in something like Reiki?

Wulf Rose

Healing is something which interest me, not so much in the medicalized sense (which is of course an entire scientific discipline of verifiable treatments and outcomes), but in the colloquial sense of how we gain wholeness in our lives, reconnect with our vitality and inner resources, heal psychological wounds and oppressions, gain inner strength, coherence, integrity, and come to flourish as the people we really are.

This of course does have a bearing on physical health as well, as everything from stress and worry, to feeling loved and like we belong and have value, all can affect us, including the working of our bodies. That’s before we get onto the consequences of our coping behaviours, like smoking, drug and alcohol consumption, or poor diet.

I’m not much interested in model, “healthy” people, but I am interested in people coming into their own and finding their own choices again. Living their…

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fat happy satanists

Today is Full Moon in Taurus, and I’ve been telling people to take advantage of all the planets in Virgo, and do some clearing out, cleaning, sorting, integrating and getting rid of things, going through stuff, focussing on the daily detail that makes up life.

It was a quite beautiful day today, and the energy is quite rich and mellow. I’ve taken my own advice, and started going through our boxes of packed things to try and clear the hall way. We have a lot of boxes, due to our having had to move every six months to two and a half years in the past, before we came to rest in our present home in Poplar.

I’ve tried getting started on this before, but would give up after about half an hour or so, but today was the day. It was really worth it.

Going through boxes is like biographical archeology, you uncover the remains of previous lives and previous ages; except sometimes you find that you are still back there in the earth, waiting to be returned to a life in the present, or some of your life is waiting to be returned to you.

I found things going back 10 years (and earlier), and some of that stuff did need to be thrown out or shredded. I found our original “wedding invitation” for 3rd June 2006, which we had to revise as some paperwork delayed our Civil Partnership to July. I found a lot of Phil’s old stuff, including his baby shoes, and photos from his childhood (none of these things got thrown out).

I also found the photo of Phil that I kept on my bedside table when we were still working towards living in the same country, and somehow keep our family together, which by that time meant looking into relocation to the UK. It’s in the same photo frame it was then. Good god I love than man so much, and I remember his tireless, optimistic spirit, his bull like strength in the face of adversity, and his guileless faith. I would do everything all over again for him.

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Phil in his room back at Corbett Street, Carson City, 2005

I found some things relating to our therapy business that we set up in 2006, but that folded when the recession hit. I’m so proud of what we made then, but especially what Phil achieved, and again I’m just reminded of the bright, generous and inventive work that Phil did to try and realize such a positive vision.  He worked endlessly to make things work.

There were also things from our eldest daughter, things she’d made out of beads for Phil. She decided against joining us after her return to Nevada in 2007, and since then she has had to concentrate on her life and studies. The separation from her, and the loss of what was our family, were some of the hardest things to go through, and I think they took some of the worst toll, but these stories aren’t over till they’re over. Since my husband went through his severe health issues four years ago now, my only job has been looking out for him though. But he will always be a dad, and he will always love his kids. I love them too, but my man has to come first, because that’s my job and my path. In that way I think I am like  my mother.

Going through more boxes I got to stuff that was nearer in time, a lot of Phil’s ritual things that he had got, and things going back to our time in Bow, before we knew the course our life would take with Phil’s illness then. We were still working towards things then, but it’s difficult to look at that time without some trepidation. But we kept on going, damn right we did. I felt a little clouded with all that though, if undaunted, when I opened a bag, and there were two things I hadn’t seen in a long while. One was my original Thor’s hammer which I couldn’t find for years, a beautiful silver hammer with ring, and the other was a smooth piece of black onyx which Phil had given me in Nevada on probably my second visit, when we were going full tilt to try and still get me there, with all the obstacles that entailed. It was in a little red draw string bag, and I remember Phil giving it to me in the car in Carson City out towards the shop “All Things Mystical”. It was an anchor, and for protection, and overcoming negativity. Here it was, with my Thor’s hammer. It’s almost like they came back to remind me, at just the right time, especially the onyx.

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And then I found the plaque we had made, that we put on the outside of our first home in Carson City, the one I couldn’t legally stay in, where our dream began. And I’ve been putting stuff up today. You sometimes have to go through this kind of sifting and emotional remembrance to understand, with full intention and better realization, that everything you had then still lives, and that your survival, and your changed selves, they include the essence of what you were. You need that to both live fully, and also be able to move on. Returning a piece of yourselves, so you can really be here now.

And this morning, as I was beginning this stuff, I changed the subtitle of the blog to “fat happy satanists”, because basically I want everything, and I want to celebrate and enjoy what is right for me.

You just keep on growing, with the life that you want.

morning rain

This morning there was the sound of rain and sea gulls, which was a relief. It’s also cooler today, which I don’t mind as the temperature will be going up again. A cool spell is ok, as just a spell.

I dreamed this morning of the damaging relationship I had through much of the 80s, even a bit into the 90s, though by then I was largely free*. The worst (and the most spell bound) was about 9 years or so. In the dream I relived rejection, humiliation, worthlessness, loss of self. I was in some expensive, soulless apartment belonging to people I didn’t know, looking out over the Thames, crying. The feeling was anguish. Sometimes I can’t believe I still have these dreams, after all these years, but I feel better for it this morning, all the same. It seems a little trite to say it was something being “released” (how many times would this have to still happen?), but at least made visible, and with acknowledgement things can heal.

I am of course better now than I have ever been. I have a husband I love who loves me, and we are closer than ever. I am stronger, and have more of a sense of self than I have ever had. I have found my path in life, in company with my spouse. The past really is left behind. I think that is why I can have these dreams. I am strong enough to be myself.

We look back on our lives sometimes, and feel like the scenes are indictments, maybe even disasters, pain for which we still bear responsibility, for being there. But these are just lands that belonged to us, indications or our breadth and depth, that if we were unconscious, we were still the irreplaceable experiencers, learning our meaning through the awakening of living. We apparently lived in a muddy field, our feet in a cold stream in Winter. But actually, we just owned that place. We didn’t have to live there.

Mythology, when it isn’t wooden morality tales, is always full of glory and tragedy and meaning, because that is what makes it recognizable, and thus realistic. When you suffer and fail most powerfully, it is not a sign of your smallness, but of the opposite. It is not the only way of course; that should be noted. But deep pain is one way our selfhood hatches from the shell, like a glittering lizard, a tiny mermaid or man, god and demon.

I think when I was a lot younger I once read something by RD Laing where he said words to the effect of “what of the person who literally gets on the boat in search of their Shangri-La, or who takes their beloved as their god, or actually embarks on the quest?”. I don’t remember the words exactly, but I remember the meaning. We talk about symbolic processes, poetic realities, but what about when it is literally real for someone in their life?

Laing was talking about the area of “psychosis” and “madness” and “sanity”, but I think anyone who has deeply lived has touched on this, even the most down to earth and solid of us.  What I understand as the process of individuation involves some of this. For to become an individual, you have to learn how to live, which is a hazardous participation in shared myth and energy, and through that come to live as yourself, which is your real story and meaning.

You lived and suffered in the field and the stream, and had joys that couldn’t belong to you, till you realized that you chose on some level to go where you did in your realm, just as the chick “chooses” to break the egg shell. Then knowing enough of the many lands that you own, you can build your house and live there, and also explore, with choices more consciously and wisely your own.

Rain by Tadam (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

* I should point out that I stayed in this relationship, so it was also my doing.

draining the dam

I think I have spent a great deal of my life in a state of fear, or allayed panic, or dread, or being overwhelmed. And I’ve spent a good deal of it avoiding those states, and situations that might induce them. “Normality”, as I think someone might have once observed, is a near record-breaking act of acrobatic, high wire balance, when you see what is going on underneath.

I’ve been going through a fair amount just recently, one way and another, and I found myself with that frozen out, panicked, unable to cope with what I know, but unable to escape, or really even explain kinda feeling, which is somehow very familiar to me.

I did magic and I asked for help, the way I know how, and help I did get.

Suddenly, obliquely, while watching TV, I remembered the first time I had felt like this (though buried in biographical detail), when I was 10 years old. It was the day I remember my childhood as ending, and it occurred around this time of year, during the Summer holidays in 1969, before my birthday.

Looking back, I realized that of course this was the time in subsequent years, during my teens and twenties, when I would most commonly get this feeling developing. I even came to recognize that fact, that it was around mid-Summer, when the Sun was in the sign of Cancer. But I never made the connection with that first event.

And suddenly, something was released. Not quite like magic (though it was indeed magic), all totally at once, but in principle, like a tap, or a dam, had been opened down stream.

That has kept going over these last few days, and I understand, something is over, but it is like an entire history of emergency, emotional and mental reactions has got unplugged, deactivated, neutralized. As the water level sinks, my flooded life comes into view, and breathes again, almost as if 46 years hadn’t quite happened like that. It can all always have been different now, inwardly, and my islands join up, to make my landscape.

It is funny that this kind of healing should come at the time that I become a Satanist, but not so surprising. About 18 months ago I wrote:

I could see as well, that you need to come down here to do it, to the wasteland, to find the spring, the unsullied brook. That’s why demons are important, because they guard our innocence when the world has taken it away.

Of course that was not quite the sense of demons that I mean now, but it did say something, and intuit something. Healing that is deep and personal enough might not be done by the gentle hand entirely. The part of us that keeps both the wound and the cure is just not like that. The strong hand may be better. That’s why sometimes the soldier understands parts of the heart that the nurse cannot, and why sometimes the beast will love us best. Sometimes our healer must be fierce, otherwise it is no use at all.  Sometimes we need to visit the wasteland and see who has been keeping our innocence for us, and how untouched our brilliant, original hearts are.

So many Summers, never lost again.

Tackleway looking south-west – geograph.org.uk by Terry Head [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

mental hygiene

I had a really rough time over the last day or two, due to people and events I’m not going to go into, but it’s reminded me of a few things which are important for general well being and functioning. Basically it is what we allow into our lives, and what we allow into our inner mental and emotional states. This is the sort of thing which people tend to refer to as “negativity” or “negative energy” nowadays, but what it really comes down to is inner (and outer) conditions or activities that cause you pain and suffering, or predispose you to it. The inner stuff tends to get characterised as things like hatred, fear, humiliation, shame, feelings of powerlessness in general, but as someone who likes to focus on individual experience I have to just say it is whatever does it to you.

Of course we need to sort out our outer lives, take responsibility for them, and either neutralise or remove the pain inducing factor (or remove ourselves from it). Getting shit from a situation is a pretty big message, especially if it is repeated. But there is also the question of our inner states, and our mastery of them. You should not make yourself any kind of victim in life, because contrary to our generally rather Christian derived morality, being a victim is not any kind of virtue calling for rescue (I’m not talking about the genuinely powerless like children and actual prisoners, or animals). Nope, it just makes you a liability in general. But we also become the victims of ourselves, if we don’t take responsibility for our inner states.

The bottom line is you have a choice. If a particular type of thinking, reacting or relating to people fucks you up, then just stop. Learn to avoid it. Learn to catch yourself out, and just let go of it. When you practice intention, you get choices. Meditation can help here (plain old watch-the-breath meditation). Doing things like self-Reiki, or similar energy work can help. Doing magic to “release negativity” can help, and it does work, because it is using intention again*. Meditation works because it assists you in observing your inner states and how they come and go, which helps you to “catch yourself out” and realize that your feelings and thought are not you. The other things work because they focus intention and energy on a specific goal, and intention does work. It’s magick, just not very glamorous magick. But you still have to stop doing whatever messes you up.

And of course if there is someone, or some people, who are giving you this trouble, rather than your own inner susceptibilities, and there is no big reason why they are otherwise worthwhile for you, then fergodsake walk away and don’t invite them back.

In all cases, simplify. It’s just good mental hygiene.

* I used to use black candles to release negativity before, and I still do. Now I’m a Satanist black also represents the purity of the life force, so that also works for me, but I would stick to one focus and intention at a time.

Black candles by Vassil (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

13th June 2015: edit to 3rd paragraph, without change of meaning.

too much to handle?

Something I have noticed over many years is the way our “comfort zone” includes the amount and type of emotional-mental-psychic energy we are able (and willing) to accommodate, and allow to flow through us. I know the use of the term “energy” in this sense sounds very “New Age”, but I don’t have a more readily translatable term for the tangible flow of emotions and sensations which people experience as both atmosphere and internal state, sometimes independent of specific, rationally identifiable causes, such as a nice cool breeze, or that person shouting in the supermarket.

We have what we are comfortable with, in terms of environment, relationships and identity, and those things all have their own kind of energy signatures which we integrate relatively easily. When we are taken outside of that, either through external changes, or internal growth, we can feel very uncomfortable, anxious, uneasy or “out of sorts”. It’s easy to see how this would be unpleasant for us if it was a detrimental change (such as the onset of flu, or starting a stressful job), but even when the change is one of ultimately very beneficial personal growth, or the start of a relationship that we want, we can get the same kind of feeling. When your comfort zone changes, or is about to change, it is still getting out of your comfort zone (the habitual one), just in a different way,

These experiences can be very powerful, bordering on panic for some people, and they can act as brakes on growth, if a person chooses to retreat into their past level of “safety”, rather than relax and grow and let new life in. Of course, one has to be able to tell the difference between an alarm bell about a detrimental situation or state, and the false alarm that goes off, because you are about to pass a threshold in growth and just aren’t used to it. Reason, common sense, curiosity, and the awareness of the possibility of a growth situation are all helpful, as is the awareness that instinct, intuition, emotional prejudice and fear can all look a bit too much like each other at a certain level. But real intuition does develop over time, and it really isn’t that emotional.

With time you learn what passing these thresholds feels like, and probably some people are innately better at it than others, but everyone can learn to relax into transformative experiences, and observe how they go. The sense of panic and discomfort can still be surprisingly strong at times, but when you know what is happening, you can watch the process unfold with increasing gratification, and the satisfaction of a skill being successfully learnt. Remain open to yourself, listen to yourself, examine your objections; it will all be useful material being brought to the surface. But if you are truly living your own life, let life in.

“Stealing off” by James Gillray [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

trouble in the head

If there were a place in human life to identify where our “trouble” is situated, it would surely be the mind. And if there were a place to identify where our talents and creativities and so many of our potentials arise, it would surely be the mind. Our Pandora, our Prometheus, our Lucifer; our Teslas and Einsteins, our Leonardos and our serial killers, it’s all in the electrical theatre of the mind.

Someone I once knew referred to psychedelics as spiritual laxatives, and while I have never taken powerful psychedelics myself, I have done holotropic breathwork, and had experiences that could be described as “psychedelic”, and I would entirely concur. It gets things moving.

Magically speaking, the area that I would find most interestingly relevant here is evocation, as described by Israel Regardie in “The Tree of Life”. Whether or not you use a “triangle of art”, the fact is we are all right in it, with our personal demons, that just might be our daemon, or its preliminary accompaniment.

The mind of course includes many things. In the East the mind is much wider and deeper than it has generally been taken to be in the West (until at least the advent of psychology, and more particularly trans-personal psychology, and even then I’d be cautious to claim too much). In traditions such as Buddhism the mind goes all the way down, and right to the centre. In the West, the profound area of the mind has generally be termed the heart, while what we think of as “mental” has tended to be termed the head. Whether we are talking about the “essence of Mind” in the eastern sense, or “the heart” in the western terminology, it is characterized by peace, bliss, and a resplendent, luminous quality. This is where we experience Oneness of Being, and love in the sense that mystics talk of it. This is where we are who we truly are.

But what then of the “mind”, the “head”? In truth this is surely the whole question, for there is no problem in “the heart”, and indeed no separation.

The heart is in fact the key to the head, but the head must be clear to allow it. Thus the Sufi’s talk of “polishing the heart”, because our thoughts and judgements obscure it. But the head is a wonder, and it reveals to us a distorted mirror show of our own divinity, a blessed freak show which we should honour. Sometimes reversed, sometimes twisted, sometimes heartbreakingly longed for, sometimes feared. It is a wonder, and all we take to be art and science and genius and poetry and vision, if it has any language at all, then it is the child of our head. Demons indeed, illumined by our daemon.

And this is where those psychedelic processes come in, and healing processes too. Between healing, and manifestation, and the tumbling cyphers of questions that we already have the answer for, the language we reach for, that articulates us.

So we can see, with clarity, and with cleansing, with what I call the dispensation of the heart, that all becomes simply mind, or simply heart, according to how it may appear to you. And all in relationship.

All love, or truth, or bliss.