In Memory of Harley: Reiki Hog, Teacher and Ambassador of Joy

Harley, BrightHaven’s beautiful 800-lb. black and white pig, passed away on July 11, 2012. He will be so missed by everyone at BrightHaven, by me, and also by so many of my students. My sincere sympathy and love to Gail, Richard, Fray and all the BrightHaven family. He was such an amazing soul; I wanted to write a little about him for those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to meet him in person.

Reiki With HarleyYou may remember Harley from his appearance in my first book Animal Reiki. When I first met Harley, in 2005, he was still up and walking around, but a bit unstable on his feet. For the last few years he has been a paraplegic. So many students would come to work with him and think, “Oh that poor pig can’t walk.” But over and over again after sitting with him for a Reiki treatment they would come back and say, “Oh this may sound a bit strange but I feel so happy after sitting with that pig. Something about him, he is just so joyful.” Yes so many people felt so happy after being with Harley. This was one of his biggest gifts to this world, I think.

Harley and IndigoI’ll never forget the day when I brought my daughter Indigo to visit Harley (she was then about 2 and ½).  We went out into his pasture, and of course when he saw us he began his series of welcoming oinks and snorts. He was always so social and happy to have visitors! Indigo was just enthralled! She immediately sat down a few feet away from him and began singing. I had never heard her do this before—she just made up a long song with lovely lyrics such as, “I love you Harley,” “You are such a nice pig,” “It’s fun to sit here with you Harley.” She would sing her lyrics and then take a break—and Harley would oink back to her appreciatively, as if he too were singing to her some special pig lyrics. We sat there for over an hour together with him that day; it is such a beautiful memory, I will never forget it. To see his beautiful heart touch a child so much; what an amazing pig!

I have been offering Harley Reiki treatments since we met (oh he just LOVED Reiki treatments!), and I have to say that each time I came away wondering who offered whom the healing??!! Sitting with Harley was like sitting in a joyful space with a good friend who showers you with gratitude, who laughs at all your jokes, who listens to all your concerns and who is never in a hurry.

Another fond memory I have is of watching BrightHaven staff member Fray with Harley. Feeding time was something else! Harley ate a healthier diet than most people, I think—the variety of fruits, veggies and other healthy foods he ate was quite impressive, and, I admit, looked delicious even to me! His favorite treat, though, was red apples, and every morning Gail would go out and feed him one for the day.

Over the past few years, Harley has slowed down very gradually. In early June I sat and offered Reiki to Harley and felt him saying goodbye to me. Felt that he was ready to let go. Although it was another 6 weeks before he passed, I think he was beginning the journey to transition already back then. But even in that weakened state, his energy was so peaceful, so gentle, so loving.  Ready for whatever challenges the future held.

Countless Reiki students over the years have practiced Reiki with Harley—for some students it might have been their first Reiki treatment ever, or at least their first ever with a pig. And over and over again they would describe the feeling of joy and happiness that they experienced while connecting with him.

For this pig, whose energy was bigger than life—it’s amazing how far he came from being a simple 4-H project meant for slaughter at age 1, to becoming an 11 yr. old Reiki teacher who touched so many lives, an animal friend to so many.

Thank you Harley for serving as a model for love and joy in this world.  It’s my wish that pigs and humans all over the world can share love, joy and compassion with each other. Let’s create a new vision for the future—pigs as friends and teachers, how about that?

Kathleen Prasad

21 comments to In Memory of Harley: Reiki Hog, Teacher and Ambassador of Joy

  • I am so sorry to hear he passed away. I only meet him once very briefly and never was lucky enough to have a Reiki session with him. But he touched my heart deeply, he was an ambassador for his species.His spirit toughed me and I never bought any ham/meat again, that was due to him. I told everyone how sweet/smart and what a beautiful soul he was.
    I am writing this with tears in my eyes I didn’t know he passed over. I know he would not want any of us to cry over him but remember him for who he was and what he teached us and for the joy he brought to everyone that came in touch with him.
    Thank you Kathleen for writing this tribute to him.

  • Thank you Kathleen for this lovely tribute for Harley. I’d not been blessed to know him personally, but after your tribute, I felt as if I did know him. His vibration is still recognizable.
    I’ve worked with animals that have been amazing teachers, but unfortunately never a pig or hog.

    Thanks for sharing and I extend my love and condolences to all who will miss him in their lives.
    Reiki Blessings, Lea Alexander

  • Hi Kathleen, Gail, Richard and the rest at BrightHaven,
    Sorry to hear about Harley’s passing. I remember meeting Harley a couple of years ago, what a wonderful character. He surly will be missed.
    Love to you all

  • Kathy Davis-Tower

    Dear Kathleen, Gail, Richard and the other wonderful people at BrightHaven. I, too, write this with tears in my eyes, and am so saddened to hear of the passing of Harley. I was one of the fortunate ones to be able to spend time with him. I will forever remember his kind and gentle soul. As well as the variety of very interesting sounds he made! He brought so much joy and his Spirit remains with all of us. God bless Harley. And hugs to all of you who are there.

  • Linda Patrick

    I am sorry to hear the Harley is no longer a Reiki teacher at Brighthaven. I know that he will be missed very much. I worked on Harley several times when I was at BrightHaven and he was always so happy to connect with you through Reiki. Harley always had the happiest grunts and snorts when I offered Reiki. He always seemed to create a happy space for Reiki to flow.
    Gail, Richard and the BrightHaven staff thank you for the caretaking you gave Harley over the years. Angel Blessings to you and to Harley.

  • Camille Pukay

    It’s funny I would think I be crying over Harley’s passing, yet I’m sitting here laughing because of my memories of him and Fray over feeding time. Yet I know I will have a moment come when I will cry because he touched so many lives especially his daily caretakers so he will be greatly missed by everyone who met him. Thanks for this great tribute, Kathleen.

  • Kathleen what a beautiful tribute.

    Harley certainly was my first reiki teacher…and he sure must have had a sense of humor as he let out soft oinks while I sat there with my hands out struggling as I thought…”Is reiki there…knock…is it working…does he feel it…I dont feel it…am I doing this right?” He..He…

    Namaste Harley :-)

  • Kathleen – what a beautiful and moving tribute to such an amazing pig! Though I never had the pleasure of meeting Harley in person, his kind and gentle energy always flowed distantly through all the many photos of him that I worked with in doing numerous graphic design projects for you. I am saddened by the loss, but happy that he lived such a remarkable life filled with so much Reiki (as both a giver and a receiver of the energy,) and that he touched so many lives in a deep and profound way. Reiki blessings to his lovely spirit and to all who will miss him… Sheryl

  • Kathleen Prasad

    Thanks everyone for your beautiful words. It is so touching for me to hear from those of you who remember him for the amazing pig he was, as well as those of you touched by words and photos of him. with love and gratitude, Kathleen

  • Harley is a special spirit who has taught me a lot about life and Reiki. My heart goes out to Gail, Richard and the rest of the BrightHaven gang for the loss of Harley. While I know his spirit is soaring with the angels, his physical presence will be deeply missed especially by me.

  • kathi richards

    Though I met Harley at one of your classes at BrightHaven, I did not sit with him, I was with the goats. But he was so impressive, and I don’t mean his size even though that was impressive, but in his spirit, his soul. Thank you Kathleen for letting us know of his transition. Funny how some are on their way before we realize it. He knew he wasn’t going to see you again here. Blessings and piggy love.

  • As others have said, Kathleen, thank you for this wonderful tribute to Harley. His beautiful spirit shines through in this article. What wonderful memories he must have left with those at Brighthaven and the many others whose lives he touched.

  • Leah D'Ambrosio

    What a beautiful tribute to such a special being. Brighthaven will not be the same without him. Thank you Kathleen for writing this for those of us who knew him and those of us who wish we did.

  • Kathleen,
    Thank you for the beautiful tribute.
    Here’s a memory from Jan. 8, 2007:
    One lovely autumn day, I offered Reiki to Harley. Frogs sang. It was so peaceful that I wanted to stay there forever. I know he sent me healing and joy. It was an extraordinary gift.

    I asked him, what can you teach me?
    His answer: Not to fear! Look at me, I was going to be food and now I’m living in this beautiful place. Look at Fray–she loves me. Even the goats love me, though they pretend not to.

    Harley inspired me to become a vegan.
    Thank you!

  • Caroline Thomas

    Such a beautiful memory of Harley and wonderful tribute. Although I have never met him, I can really connect to everything you have written. RIP dear Harley and thank you for being such a good Reiki teacher and for being so patient with us. xXx

  • Mike

    I was taking Reiki II and Animal Reiki training with Kathleen at Brighthaven and was practicing with Harley…Sitting quietly next to him, I heard this gruff voice inside my head…”I’m really glad that you’re here but…do you have an apple? ‘Cause I’d really like an apple”…I had no experience with animal communication at the time and didn’t know what to think…the group gathered in a while to discuss their experiences and I told them about what I had heard…Gail looked at me and said, “Mike, apples are Harley’s favorite food”…Harley, enjoy your apple orchard…

  • Robin Skov

    Kathleen – thank you for writing this beautiful tribute to Harley! I met him during a Reiki III class and what an amazing being! Thank you also for creating the vision of all animals as our teachers… especially those who are often overlooked and thought of as only food. Harley (like so many other animals who were destined for the dinner table) teach us that we all have value, we all have worth, we all deserve dignity and respect, and, yes, we all deserve a lovely red apple. :-)

  • Michele Franko

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for sharing such a special experience with Harley. What a blessing he is to have taught and touched so many. Many glad tidings to you and all who bring such healing and recovery to the world, love & trumpets, Michele

  • Kathleen Prasad

    More beautiful posts…. thanks everyone for sharing your memories and loving thoughts…they mean so much to me, and i know also to Gail, Richard and Fray at BrightHaven. with love and gratitude, Kathleen

  • What a lovely and loving story! Thank you for sharing this Kathleen. Pigs are such intelligent, amazing creatures and I love that your daughter Indigo sang to him! Made me weepy. It so touches my soul to read stories like this. Reiki has been such a blessing in my life and the animals we work on are the greatest teachers I have ever known. I am hopeful that more and more people will come to realize our great connection with them for there is so much more we need to learn.
    Harley will be missed by you and every member at Brighthaven…but as you know I’m sure he won’t wander too far away and will come to visit and shine his light for all to feel.

  • dear Kathleen,
    Harley’s story reminds me of the good we are — the good we do — simply by being. thank you for telling it. now all of us who missed the joy of sitting with Harley can know his heart.
    somewhere, maybe — somehow — your words resonate farther than anyone might imagine, all the angel beauties, no matter in what surprising form, shining that much more brightly because of them.

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