I wasn’t looking for a dog. I was quite happy and content with seven unique cats. (Yes, you could say I live in a cathouse). I certainly didn’t anticipate a little dog to come into my life, teaching me to look at my Reiki practice and The Precepts in ever new ways. But let me back up a bit.
I had been volunteering Reiki at a wildlife refuge, for almost two years when Beth, the founder, came up to me and said, “I was at the shelter and one of the people said he was trying to use more natural and holistic ways of calming the dogs down and I told him about you and Reiki. Give him a call”. So I did.
Mike had two particular dogs in mind to work with; Serafina, a very sweet, incredibly shy lab mix, and Frosty, a Jack Russell Terrier/Chihuahua mix, who would nip at people and would circle her kennel endlessly.
After working with Serafina for two visits, she was less shy and was adopted by a nice family. Frosty, who had been in shelter/foster environments for almost two years, was still there. I was warned when I went to work with her” “Don’t pet her, even if she jumps in your lap, she’ll bite”. Volunteers were afraid of her. At one point, one person mentioned that someone recommended having all of her teeth pulled so she would be more adoptable. As it was, she could not be in a home with children or other dogs. For a couple of sessions I worked with her right outside of her kennel. Then we moved into a room, away from the barking and distractions of all the other dogs. She would circle the room and then settle in my lap, sigh and fall asleep. She would put her head under my hand and stay very still.
As the weeks went by, I offered Reiki to all the animals and watched as many were adopted. I wasn’t tempted to adopt any of them because, 1) the shelter was very careful about who adopted, so I knew they would be okay and 2) it is a No-Kill shelter, so there not a deadline, so to speak. Still, it is hard on animals to be a shelter, no matter how kind the people are.
Frosty started to be more affectionate to me and I started to have a nagging thought to maybe adopt her. (I’d have to make sure my landlord wouldn’t mind, that she and the cats would get along, etc.). Then Frosty went into a foster home. I asked how it was going and it sounded like he was going to adopt her. He had one cat and a bird and I thought it would be great for Frosty. And I didn’t have to disrupt my calm little life.
Then, after a month in the foster home, I came to the shelter and Frosty was back in the kennel. For personal reasons, her foster dad was unable to keep her. She looked heartbroken. I was heartbroken for her.
I kept working with her and learned that she didn’t just bite or snap out of the blue, she gave very clear warnings, if you were paying attention. I began to think about adoption becoming a reality.
I checked with my landlord (he said okay) and we had several home visits to see how Frosty would be with the cats and vice versa. So far, so good.
I adopted Frosty at the end of November.
So this 5-7 year old dog, who had been a stray, then in a kill shelter, rescued to a no-kill shelter and had been in two foster homes, with back and knee problems, was now my dog. I had not had a dog before.
Thank God for The Precepts! For Today Only is the only way to live when everyone is learning to adjust to changes in household! I learned that I have to get up a bit earlier so that Frosty can have her morning walk and take care of bathroom issues. (I recently saw a cartoon with a dog talking about its person saying: “She seems nice enough, but when we go on a walk, she steals my poop!”) The cats learned they had a new housemate, and tried to graciously welcome her. Sometimes Frosty was equally gracious, sometimes, not so much. A couple of times she chased a cat into another room and then I’d hear a hiss, followed by a yelp and Frosty running back with a scratch across her nose. Another time, Frosty was trotting thru the house, leash trailing behind her, when she came to an abrupt stop. I investigated and there were seven cats all sitting on her leash. Frosty doesn’t hold a grudge, doesn’t plot to get those evil kitties. In fact, she will sometimes give them a big, sloppy kiss. And I will often find them all curled up on the bed together.
Frosty, with all of her past pain, lives each day without worrying or fear. There is only today. What happened a month ago is over. How she ended up in the streets doesn’t matter. And there is not the slightest sign that she is concerned about the next minute, let alone the next day. She savors each moment, with a look of “Isn’t this the most amazing day ever– don’t you see it”?! She is a very happy dog; she will come in after a walk and roll around on the floor in sheer joy!
One day, coming home from a walk in the neighborhood, I heard a low growl and looked up to see a very big dog loose, with no owner to be seen. The dog looked at Frosty and charged. I got Frosty up onto my trash can, opened my door and got her inside while holding off the big dog. (The dog was not the least bit interested in me, I was in no danger, Frosty was). The dog took off and I went inside to a concerned Frosty. I sat down and started crying from the stress, and Frosty came over and started licking my face and sat in my lap. She showed me such compassion and simply was present with me and let me be, as she simply was herself, fully present to me and fully present with me.
Frosty shows me The Precepts in being fully present in the moment. I realized I was more rigid than I had thought, attached to a particular way of doing things (or to sleeping an extra hour). She teaches me to let go, to breathe, to dive into the now. I look at the snow falling in a different way; I always thought it was beautiful, but to see Frosty dive into the snow and tunnel her way out makes me laugh out loud. There is newness in everything when you see with fresh eyes. The Precepts tell us that, that’s why “For Today Only” is so important, it is the only time, the only moment, so it is ever new. Frosty lives this, without pretense, in an utterly free way; no worries about if it is correct or if she is correct. She simply is; no worries, no apologies, no angst. And I am learning and feeling lighter and freer as I continue to learn from Frosty, Reiki Dog and Teacher.
Kris Azzarello – Shelter Animal Reiki Association Teacher
I remember as if it was yesterday, sitting in a room listening to Frans Steine talk about the city of Paris. This may seem strange to you but what he said was so profound and life changing. He said there is a huge difference between going to Paris and describing Paris. What he meant is that there are lots of information in books on the internet about Paris, which of course you could share but unless you actually went to Paris and experienced it, you would be describing something second hand. Now you may be thinking what can this have to do with Reiki? It is the same for Reiki as there are many books out there but unless you experience Reiki, your description will only be judged on someone else’s experience. This is so important when you teach Reiki, as you need to use your own experiences to explain. Last September, when Kathleen came to the UK and spoke about Animal Reiki. It was by using her own experience’s that made her teaching come alive. She was able to draw on all of the amazing understandings she had learnt from the animals and to share it with us.
Recently I taught Reiki at two SARA Sanctuary’s, the first at Remus Horse Sanctuary. For over 7 years I have been offering Reiki to the animals there. I learnt from Kathleen last September, the importance of being in the Reiki space for longer, to allow the animals who were nervous to come into the Reiki space. This had a huge shift in my own Reiki practice. It really made me reflect on the discipline of Reiki and how by being in that space for longer. Of course my ‘ego’ had said that there is nothing happening, so I should move on. In fact when nothing is happening everything is happening. By allowing the animals to come into the space in their own time, it allowed animals who had never had Reiki to come forward. We offered Reiki to the horses, goats and sheep. What happened in the workshop was that we were able to work with the cows at Remus,
Remus Level 1 Students
Hector’s Gate Level 1 Students
Blossom and Amber. This is the first time ever that I had been able to work with them. Due to the cold weather, they had been brought into the barn in the evening. I spoke to Vicky and asked her, if there was anything that I should know about working with the cows. She said it was important that we did not get in between them, as they do not like to be separated. I took the students into the barn and we stood in the middle. What happened next was totally amazing, as Amber left Blossom and came around the back of us. We were sandwiched in the middle of them. It was almost as if they had heard the conversation that I had with Vicky. Standing in the middle and being in the space was very powerful. It was such an honour that they could teach my students. As we had our photograph taken by Vicky, Amber came to have her photo taken too.
Just a few days later, I was teaching at Hector’s Gate, this is a new SARA Sanctuary. I arrived on the Friday morning and just had a ‘knowing’ feeling that the animals would come forward to teach these new students. As I taught, Lottie who was a Hector’s Gate Rescue dog had been circling in the field outside the barn where I was teaching. She jumped over the gate and sat on my feet pushed her whole body into me and showed the Hector’s Gate students what animal Reiki was all about. I offered her Reiki and everyone was totally amazed, as she had never before gone to someone that she had never met before. It was an insightful moment for both me as a teacher and for the students. We worked with the horses, dogs and then worked with the chickens. As we entered the chicken pen, it was very noisy. We stood in our own Reiki space and I taught them about not judging but ‘being’. In that space, there was total quietness, the chickens just became silent, as they, for the first time experienced Reiki. Afterwards they all gathered together and slept. Again the students watched on astounded.
What I learnt is that it is the animals that are the teachers and by letting it unfold and not worrying the animals were able to come forward and to show what Animal Reiki truly is. It is also important to teach from experience as you can let go of any worry and ‘just know’.
Can or should animals receive reiju, the spiritual blessing ritual? Let me recount what happened recently and then you decide.
Charlie, a handsome white cat with bright jade eyes, came into my family’s life last summer. His owner, an aged German lady named Millicent, refused to be taken to the hospital by the town ambulance service unless she was given assurance that her cat would be taken care of. The managers of the service, Lisa and Jerry, both animal lovers, agreed to take care of the kitty and went to the house to feed him daily. But neither of them could take another animal into their homes. Looking for a solution, Lisa turned to my partner Carol, a part-time medic, for ideas. The upshot was that Carol and I agreed to foster the cat and adopt him if Millicent didn’t return home.. We dubbed him Charlie, got him a collar and tag, and welcomed him into our home. He immediately took over and proved to be a people lover, if not a lover of our other cats. Several weeks later, Charlie had a forever home with us.
The little guy wanted to be a part of our daily routine, inquisitively following us about and climbing up on everything. Part of my routine as a Reiki and Animal Reiki teacher is to practice Reiju regularly, usually to an empty dining room chair. Usually I imagine someone sitting there. That is, a human sitting there. While I regularly offer Reiki to my critters, I hadn’t given any thought to whether animals could or should receive Reiju. One morning as I faced an empty chair and began the ritual, Charlie jumped up and sat there attentively. It seemed to me that he wanted whatever I was offering. So I went ahead and completed the ritual.
While I think the ritual itself is for us and that animals don’t regard that aspect quite the way we do, I believe they can benefit from receiving such a blessing, just as they can benefit from a Reiki treatment. Charlie seemed to enjoy it. Possibly he passed the word to the other cats, because soon afterwards Becky my supersized tiger jumped up on the chair as I prepared to offer Reiju.
Have any of your readers offered Reiju to a pet or thought of doing so? I’d like to hear the experiences and opinions of others.
Shelter Animal Reiki Association Teacher
8 years have passed since I rescued my beloved dog, named Deeds, from the Tulsa Animal Shelter. Inspired by him, and the benefits of offering Reiki to shelter animals, this time I returned to teach my very first SARA Level I Reiki & Animal Reiki class.
It was the end of the second day of our class. Here I stood outside with my 7 students circled around me. This group of open and compassionate people included the Shelter Director, Veterinarian, a Vet Tech, the Adoption Coordinator, a Shelter Volunteer and 2 of my dear friends who have supported through my own Reiki journey.
The sun was setting; my student’s eyes were closed in meditation, as I was performing my 4th initiation with them. One by one, I peered into their faces. Something had changed, shifted. There was a visible peace and calm about them, about me, in the midst of the sounds of barking dogs playing outside beyond the chain link. Along with the muffled sounds of dogs barking in the shelter building, I was reminded of where I was and of so many homeless animals in need. I depended on all the Reiki breathing techniques, symbols and mantras I had learned and practiced to keep me focused and grounded. Calm and balanced, we all had created a space to allow healing to occur in this moment and we were holding it for one another. I experienced a beautiful connection with my students, despite the distractions.
Our faithful class dog, named Nolan, was resting on his bed in the center of the circle. A recent pit bull stray, brought in with a broken leg, his ribs were visible and his face was scratched. Yet, in this Reiki healing circle, I only felt his balanced state of being as he rested there among us. His blue cast was decorated by a green heart, which had lovingly been taped on by the staff. His grateful presence and loving spirit humbled me. He had soaked up all the Reiki love and healing created by our group during both days of our class. In return he was opening up our hearts for healing and supporting me as a “newbie” teacher!
Nolan was truly my co-teacher this weekend, showing the students on day 1 the peaceful effects that Reiki had on him. He took in Reiki like a sponge and showed them what a “Reiki nap” truly looks like. My teacher, Kathleen Prasad has continued to tell me, “ The animals will come to you, Karren. “ Nolan was another validation for this truth…
Now that the Reiki seeds of hope have been planted, I trust that these seeds will bloom and grow in me, the staff, volunteers at the Tulsa Animal Shelter and people of our community. As one of my students wrote to me after our class, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going!” Reiki to the Rescue!
Shelter Animal Reiki Association Teacher
This is a blog that has been waiting for me to write but life and all that it had thrown in my path. Has meant that finding the time and the space, to recall this event with the dignity it deserved. Has taken almost 5 months. The experience I had with Esther, was so special.
It was a normal Saturday afternoon at Remus Horse Sanctuary. Myself and one of my reiki students Tracey had been busy offering Reiki to the animals that had needed reiki that day. As usual I was armed with my healing list from Sue and the afternoon was bright. We had already experienced some beautiful reiki lessons from Sophie the horse, the Shetland ponies in the barn, the herd in the field and now we were on our way to the sheep in the shed.
We stood outside and offered reiki to the sheep, there is nothing more amazing, than to watch sheep receive reiki. The first thing you will notice is, the ‘sheep effect’ ooh, ohh, I am scared, not sure! What is going on? I kind of like it but ohh, ohh, I don’t now what to do… That is until one brave sheep, steps forward and says ‘ OK guys this is great’. Then you will see them line up one by one for their reiki session, then they merrily trot off chilled and spaced out.
On that Saturday though, something very special happened. As we stood outside and offered reiki, the sheep parted in the middle leaving a pathway. Right at the back of the shed were these little eyes, just starring back at us. As we stood mesmerized by this little, sheep who gradually moved slowly, slowly up to where we were standing. Both of us knew, that something very special was happening. Bit by bit she edged towards us until Esther stood in front of us. She stood there receiving reiki for about 10-15 minutes, then the sheep closed the pathway, Esther again blended back into the flock and everything seemed to go back to normal. Myself and Tracey were amazed by the experience. We nodded quietly to each other, both thinking ‘what just happened’?
I had put this to the back of my mind until the next time I was at Remus, which was the next Saturday. This happened to be when I had a reiki share and there were about 8 other reiki practitioners there. Half way through the share, Sue called me to one side and said that a vet was on his way and would be at Remus any second. Could I go and offer reiki to one of the sheep, who was very poorly and was being put to sleep. Of course, I could I said, as I had done on many occasions before, offering reiki to other animals at Remus in their last moments.
As I entered the stable, I recognized the sheep immediately as being Esther, I was shocked, it knocked me off my feet. I quickly composed myself and stayed with her for an hour and while the vet put her to sleep, it was very, very peaceful. Afterwards, I shared my story from last week, with two of the Remus staff, who were with me. They looked at me and said, No way! that could not be possible, as Esther was absolutely petrified of people and would NEVER EVER make her way forward to stand in front of two strangers!!
In 2012, I twice had the honor of sharing Reiki with a sweet 10 year old Shetland pony named Pete. Through a beautiful two-way connection each time, Pete gave me a gift; he taught me the power of the “circle of healing” through Reiki.
Pete lives at a barn near Green Bay, WI, with a wonderful family, about 10 horses and a couple of mini horses, a place where he receives a lot of love and attention. Pete’s life has not always been so idyllic. Pete came to live with Diane from a place where he was most likely abused and not well-cared for. It seems that Pete received little attention; he was kept in his stall most of the time; and his stall was rarely cleaned. These people really did not want Pete, and luckily for him, Diane was willing to give him a loving home. As a result of his past, Pete had lost trust in humans and responded very cautiously and fearfully when people came near him or tried to ride or interact with him.
I offered Reiki to Pete in the pasture he shares with the two mini horses. At first, Pete was very shy and guarded around me. As I created the Reiki space and invited him to join me, he moved away from me towards the edge of the bubble, his tail swishing. But, Pete stayed; as we shared this beautiful space of Reiki energy, I could feel Pete become more and more relaxed and mellow. At one point he did move away for a minute, but he soon came back and stood next to me. His head dropped, he began chewing and his eyes closed. Then, he gently leaned his body against mine. Pete was totally relaxed and part of the energy; he was no longer concerned about what was happening around him. There was just a beautiful energetic connection between us, which we shared for a few minutes.
As I was talking with Diane after the treatment, Pete came over to stand by me and to nuzzle his face against me. Diane commented, “He really likes you!” A couple days later, Diane reported that she was playing with Pete in the arena with all of the horse toys. For the first time, Pete was not scared and thoroughly enjoyed himself. I was honored to have this opportunity to connect with Pete and assist him on his journey to overcome the fears of his past.
But the story does not end here……
About six months later, Alan and I were asked by a friend to come to the same barn to offer her horse a Raindrop treatment. On that particular day, I was not in a good state of mind; I was stressed and overwhelmed; I was definitely not following the five precepts. I even forgot to bring my barn boots and didn’t have shoes appropriate for the barn. I told myself that I should have stayed home. Our friend suggested that she would bring her horse outside for the treatment since it was a nice day; I asked Alan to apply the Raindrop treatment since I was not prepared. We happened to be right next to the pasture that Pete shares with the mini horses.
When Pete saw me, he quickly came over to the fence, looking very intently at me. I didn’t go over to him right away, but he stayed there grazing. After a few minutes, I realized that Pete was calling me to come over to him, so I approached the fence to say “hi”. As I stood there with him rubbing his nose and muzzle, I felt this warm energy surrounding me; I felt my demeanor shift; I felt the stress melt away; I felt calmer; and I felt this strong connection with Pete. We stood there sharing the Reiki space for about 10-15 minutes. It was so peaceful!
Pete gave me a beautiful gift that sunny fall day, a gift that definitely was not expected. Pete created a Reiki connection with me, he offered me that space of balance and harmony that I so needed. He helped me to feel better and happy that I did not stay at home (and happy that I forgot my boots!).
Reiki really is a gift, a two-way gift. When we truly connect with animals and open our hearts, we have the opportunity to experience the “circle of healing”, either in the same treatment or over multiple treatments. We not only help the animals through Reiki, but they in turn help us. I want to thank Pete for trusting me, for connecting with me and for giving me this beautiful gift.
Ann Noyce, Animal Reiki Teacher
The following is a letter from one of the attendees at a recent Animal Reiki class conducted by Bill Stevens. Bill had posted earlier about the first visit to the Popcorn Zoo. This is an account of a return visit by the same two people.
Again I want to thank you for an amazing day at Popcorn Zoo and especially for asking that we be allowed to go into the enclosures to see Princess the camel and the mountain lions!
I know you tried to be with us as much as possible, but I wanted you to get the “inside” story according to me!!
Seeing Caesar the tiger strong and healthy’ still pacing, but chuffing and purring each time he reached the fence where we were standing. He seemed to rub his face against the fence to let us know how content he was. He did not mention feeling stressed about the noise of children to M at all this time;
The parrot in the cage at the office seemed sad, but he did not repeat his story about how someone “took” his wing, so he must have understood the last time we talked to him and explained to him that he was in an accident and it was injured and had to be removed;
There were 3 amazing highlights to our visit:
M and I were standing next to the indoor bird cages and she was giving Reiki to the small female white bird. She said she was not doing well and was taking in a lot of Reiki. One of the birds in that area was loudly squawking and we were telling him to be more quiet and that he was going to be ok. I walked around to the other side of the cages and one of the birds said “hello” – that was a shock because none of them were talking “out loud” before..then I walked around to see the squawking bird and he stopped and also said “hello” to me. Then I walked around to check on M and the sick bird and she was feeling much better and doing a little dance and also said “hello”. I was shocked! M said they talk when I am around.
When I went in with Carol to see Princess the Camel I was in awe of her size and a little intimidated! I have always loved camels and could not believe I was going to see one that close and with no fence! When Carol walked right up to her I was shocked because I had no idea she actually can touch her! Princess was lying down with her legs tucked under her and she still was the size of a car to me! Princess reached up her massive head and began to rub her huge head against Carol’s body while Carol rubbed her. I stood at a distance and was more than happy to just be there, but when Carol said I could come up to Princess and actually touch her I thought it was too good to be true! To actually have contact with such a huge, beautiful creature was humbling..that she would actually allow a stranger to touch her. I wondered if she remembered our animal communication session the last time I saw her! I told M that if she had stood up I would have passed out from sheer excitement of being that close to her!!!
Another highlight was when we were allowed to go into the inner cage of 2 of the mountain lions. The male (non dominant one) named Lance immediately ran up to the fence where M was kneeling down and began rubbing his face against the fence and making a lot of happy noises, He immediately began telling her how happy he was and how wonderful it was to be fed and that he is not hungry anymore, on and on..Then the dominant female Gwen came up – she had been hanging back as would be her dominant nature to check things out from a distance at first before approaching. When she came up to M she did the same face rubbing on the fence, but the male got a little possessive of his conversation he was having with M and slapped the dominant female a few times. It got a little tense and we backed away. It was amazing how the male was so happy to be able to find someone who could hear him talk that he was willing to show aggression against the dominant lion! He kept saying to M ”oh, you can hear me?” and then told her how happy he was over and over.
And the 3rd treat of the day for me was Pixie the little monkey! When we saw her the last time she was shy and told us she did not like children and if we could please throw the peanuts on the top of the cage so they fall down into the cage instead of throwing them against the front of the cage, where they bounce off sometimes and fall to the ground and she can’t reach them! She was very cute and sweet when we saw her then. But this time she gave us an amazing gift! We walked up to her cage and M called her name. She came running over and really did seem to be thrilled to see us! So much so that she sat down right in front of us and began to “perform”! She would raise her eye brows up and down and with her flat top that alone was adorable!! But she added a little tongue wiggle and placed both of her arms across her chest and stood on her hind legs and did a little dance which included ducking her head and putting it to one side and made a cute little noise. This performance went on and on and it seemed the more we talked to her the more she played!
At one point I called Brother Bill and asked him to come over to see her and as soon as Pixie saw him, she stopped everything and turned into a very normal little money and walked to the back of the cage and started grooming herself. She would not make eye contact and stayed there while we walked away. Later before we left I walked up to her cage and there was a girl there who was also getting a “performance” and Pixie continued to perform when I walked up so we started talking and it turns out the girl used to work at the zoo and knows Pixie well and continues to visit her when she can. She said Pixie does her act for people she knows and trusts, so she much have remembered M and I and that was our reward!
There was a sad moment when we were in the kennel and a very sweet looking younger yellow lab with cuts on his face was trying to tell M that a door hit him in the face, but she told me he was actually hit in the face with the door by his owner.. It broke my heart that he did not even know that his owner caused his pain, but I guess that is better for his heart in the long run. I hope someone takes him home soon…
So again, thank you for allowing us to go with you and your animal Reiki class. It was a privilege and an honor to be there.
Originally published in Reiki News Magazine – Reprinted with permission
When an early morning request arrived with an urgent plea for Reiki for a parrot, I had no idea what an amazing journey was in store for me for the next several weeks. Even though the parrot would ultimately transition, Reiki would provide peace and comfort as well as a temporary rejuvenation for him.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Mills
Sydney was a 13-year-old Quaker parrot that was quite ill. His person, Elizabeth, explained that he had pneumonia, had been having difficulty breathing in the last few days, and that his overall health had taken a downturn several months back.
He was currently being treated with antibiotics and other conventional veterinary medications at one of the local animal clinics, where the vet was somewhat experienced with avian cases. The veterinarian was not sure what had caused the pneumonia and wanted to find out. Further testing may have given more insight into this, but it was quite likely that in his present condition, Sydney would not survive. So Elizabeth hoped the Reiki would be beneficial. If there was no improvement, the vet had already discussed the option of euthanasia within the next few days.
Elizabeth asked if I would meet her at the clinic to give Sydney a Reiki session. I met her there and was appreciative that the staff was accepting of a holistic practitioner coming in to work with the parrot. In fact, they had graciously set up a small, unused exam room that we could use. The parrot was in a glass habitat that kept the temperature comfortably warm for him in order to aid his ability to breathe and hopefully recover.
I explained to Elizabeth that since energy knows no bounds, it would flow to Sydney even if I did not touch him. She was understanding of this. Elizabeth stayed with me. We each sat in a chair nearby. I spoke softly to the sweet Quaker parrot and explained that I would be offering him Reiki, which was healing energy for his Highest Good. I let him know he could take as much or as little energy as he wished.
He seemed very open and receptive to the energy, and stayed on his perch, calmly watching and soaking up the Reiki. He kept an eye on me, and relaxed into the session. He appeared to be dozing, yet still his eyes would curiously blink open to check on me. At one point, he became more alert and did a bit of grooming with his feathers, but then relaxed again. That first session was quite powerful, and I could feel he was drawing in so much energy.
There was a time toward the end of the treatment that I felt as if my heart was suddenly connected to his. Tears welled in my eyes as I felt an intense surge of emotion. It was a beautiful sensation. I thanked Sydney for allowing me to connect with him in this way, and for being a partner in the healing process.
As I stood up to leave, Elizabeth played a bit of “peekaboo” with the parrot and he happily replied, saying “peekaboo” back to her. I could see that he was a little more energetic. Later on that day, Elizabeth reported that Sydney had shown definite improvement, was playing and dancing, and had taken a very exhilarating bath.
I went back the next day, and Elizabeth stopped by to give me an update and set me up in the same room. She had to return to work so it was just Sydney and me for this session. Sydney seemed happy to see me. As soon as the energy started flowing, he became quite relaxed and receptive. He snoozed while still keeping an eye on me. I believe he almost went into a meditative state, and I could clearly feel that he was drawing in much healing energy.
Toward the end of the session, Sydney became more alert and began to eat several edamame beans that had been provided for him. Then he went back to his relaxed pose. When I stood up to leave and say good-bye, he became more awake, and I spoke to him for a few minutes. He seemed quite intent and focused, almost as if he understood my words.
Elizabeth called me the next morning, relieved that Sydney was going to be able to come home! She asked me to come to the house that same afternoon for an additional session. You can imagine my astonishment and delight to find that Sydney had a feisty, youthful female parrot partner named Coco. Coco is about three and is quite exuberantly vocal with parrot calls and communication. Elizabeth had explained that prior to my arrival, the two had just shared a warm and joyful reunion after this week apart. It was clear that they were extremely bonded, nuzzling and grooming each other, and chattering happily.
A spare bedroom had been optimally set up climate-wise at a temperature of 80 degrees with a humidifier providing moisture. There was even some soft, new age music playing! (Elizabeth is such a devoted and loving parrot parent.)
I sat on a chair near the cage, my hands palms-up in my lap. I called in the flow of Reiki energy, and then imagined myself in a sunlit jungle sitting amidst the trees with these beautiful birds perched nearby, and went into a light state of meditation. Both parrots watched me intently. Sydney was knowing and welcoming to the energy, confidently coming to the front of the cage. Coco was curious but stayed up on the perch further back. She was screeching loudly every few seconds.
At one point Elizabeth removed Coco from the cage, thinking the session would be more focused and peaceful for Sydney with Coco downstairs. But the amount of squawking that took place let us know in no uncertain terms that the Quakers wanted to be together. So Coco was returned to the cage.
Sydney relaxed into the Reiki, staying at the front of the cage. After a little bit, Coco joined him and for the last part of the session became calmer, gently nuzzling Sydney and relaxing by his side. I could feel the energy flowing particularly strongly.
Overall, I felt such a sense of peace and happiness emanating from the pair of parrots that my own spirits were uplifted and soaring on light, joyful wings!
After the session, Elizabeth helped Sydney onto my finger so I could hold him for a moment, and I was delighted with this little physical connection. She then took him and asked him to give me a kiss. As she brought him close to my face, I received the sweetest little parrot kiss and was so touched.
I heard from Elizabeth at the end of the week and she was concerned because Sydney was again having some breathing difficulties. Since it was near the weekend, she brought him into the animal hospital (her regular vet was closed) so he could receive additional oxygen and get his injections of antibiotic for the weekend.
On Sunday night, I offered Sydney a distant healing session, which I felt him strongly accepting. The next morning he was able to actually go back home with Elizabeth, and she requested that I come for a fourth in-person session. However, at this time, Elizabeth kept him in his own cage because Coco’s youthful exuberance seemed to be too much for him. So, Sydney was in his cage on top of a dresser and Coco was in her cage on the floor. Sydney was happy to see me. Though he seemed a little weak, I sensed his very strong and joyful spirit. Elizabeth had informed me that he was not eating or drinking very much, but he did eat a little bit toward the end of his session. He accepted much healing energy, remaining at the front of his cage, very calm and relaxed throughout. Afterward, Elizabeth offered him some berry juice, which he sipped quite eagerly.
The next day, Elizabeth wrote to me with some good news: Sydney was much improved and eating and drinking normally. She had taken him to the regular vet to continue with the vaccine antibiotic, and the vet was quite amazed with how energetic and talkative Sydney was, compared to the previous week. He still detected some congestion in his lungs.
Elizabeth had already been interested in learning Reiki herself, and had planned on taking my Reiki Level I class the previous Saturday. However, since Sydney had ended up on oxygen, she had postponed it. She now wished to take it as soon as possible so she could continue helping Sydney on her own. After I had shared the teachings and attuned her, we both worked with the parrots. We sat on the floor in their room and offered them healing energy.
Elizabeth continued with daily Reiki sessions and even sent me some uplifting videos she took of Sydney happily playing and building with little wooden sticks! It is remarkable the way Reiki helped Sydney rally for several weeks to have some additional quality time with Elizabeth and Coco. Though Elizabeth was secretly hoping for a miracle of complete recovery, I also know that in her heart she was preparing for however Sydney’s journey might unfold, as I think she suspected it might be his time to pass.
At one point Sydney began to be in distress again. The regular vet was not available so Sydney was sent to an avian specialist in New York City, where an X-ray revealed that he had an extremely enlarged heart, a congenital physical condition that was not curable, and minutes after the X-ray, Sydney made his transition. While there, Elizabeth made the acquaintance of a recently rescued male Quaker parrot, who had been found in very bad shape somewhere in Manhattan. He had been nursed back to health by the veterinary staff, and was now ready to be adopted. His story touched Elizabeth’s heart, and she decided that she would be his new mom, and that Coco would benefit from the companionship of another parrot to help ease her sorrow about losing Sydney. Though Elizabeth knew she would grieve for Sydney, she felt it would be a special tribute to him to give another parrot a loving home.
Elizabeth shared with me that she truly felt that having Reiki in her life at this particular point in time helped her handle this challenging end-of-life stage of Sydney’s with greater ease, understanding and peacefulness. For me, this entire odyssey of offering healing energy to a sweet winged creature showed me once again that Reiki works in such remarkable, mysterious and heartwarming ways.
Sheryl Schlameuss Berger
Apollo receiving Reiki
Last week I taught Animal Reiki Level 1 and used the techniques and meditations I had learnt from Kathleen’s Reiki Workshops here in the UK. I cannot emphasize highly enough how Kathleen’s teaching helped me grow as both a teacher and in my reiki practice. The biggest thing and most profound thing I learnt, from Kathleen was ‘patience’ this may sound easy but actually, it is hard and takes much practice and discipline. Why do I say profound? Kathleen made me think about all of the animals, that I had missed over the years by not giving them the extra reiki time to come forward into the reiki space. When I thought nothing was happening, it was exactly when everything is happening. By letting go of my ‘ego’ and not judging the animals that I knew better and just ‘being in the reik space’ allowed for amazing things to happen.
Teaching my students last Saturday, we walked out into the big open field at Remus. The field had around 15 horses, grazing quietly. My students found an area in the middle of the field and meditated in their own reiki space. What happened next was truly amazing. Apollo, who is the head of the herd, the matriarch, approached each of us for reiki and stood for about 20 minutes. She then walked off into the field, Dolly, her pair bond then came up to me for reiki and placed her head in my hands. Two by two, Stanley and Casper, Sally and Casey, Thomas and Daisy, formed a que and waited patiently to receive reiki and to wait their turn. They formed their que in order of their herd status, they were tolerant of each other, the energy was serene and beautiful. This in it’self was truly magical but what happened next was amazing, Trojan who is a white pony and has always stayed away during reiki sessions came over to one of my students and stood in front of her to take his reiki. By meditating in our own reiki space we allowed Trojan the confidence to come forward. Being patient and having a basic understanding of horse behaviour and how a herd works makes for a truly miraculous reiki afternoon.
Being able to share Kathleen’s teaching’s with my students and being able to improve my own reiki practice showed me that you have to be able to teach from your own experiences and not to teach from what you think the experience will be like.
Reiki has taken centre stage at Remus this month, as Kathleen teaches her first ever UK Animal Reiki Class. She has taught over 30 students, over 5 days, with people travelling from literally all over the world; Portugal, USA and a vet from Japan. Kathleen has transformed people’s lives and left us all with a true feeling of optimism and hope.
Kathleen’s visit to Remus had firstly been a dream, a thought, a vision and then finally it became a reality. I had spent the last two years, talking to Sue and my students about how brilliant Kathleen was. At each of my Reiki SARA group meetings at Remus, I would day dream about actually meeting her and drift off into my dreamy world. Now that the day had truly arrived, I could hardly contain my excitement and was so nervous. Meeting Kathleen, I was also blessed to meet Leah too and yes! they looked exactly like their photo and how I expected them to be. ‘Just lovely’. We shared some precious girlie moments and had a good giggle. Below, I have shared some of my highlights from Kathleen’s visit although there were, many, many more.
Arriving at Remus, they too could see what I have always seen. This beautiful Animal Sanctuary, at that very moment I was so proud of Remus and felt a deep wave of emotion pass over me. Sue showed us around Remus, where we were able to meet all of the animals. The sun was shining and the animals opened up their hearts to Kathleen. It was almost as if they too had been waiting for her to come, so they could help her to teach.
Kathleen taught Level 1 Animal Reiki on the first day, she took the lesson in the big Remus field. I have worked with the horses there often offering Reiki to them and I watched intently as Kathleen taught her students. One of the Remus horses Sally made straight for one of the students and started to push her around in circles. This is something she has never done before and it was not aggressive, it was just a definite push. Kathleen, spoke to the student and said “It is OK to have boundaries and to say no” with that Sally trotted off, as her message had been understood and the effect on the student was life changing as this was an issue she had been dealing with all her life.
The next day on the Equine class, again we were standing in the field and there were 18 students standing in a line. It was so funny to watch, as Stanley, one of the horses came to stand with the students to listen to what Kathleen was going to say. Then Thomas another horse walked up to Kathleen, placed himself next to her and allowed her to show us Reiki Hand positions, if an animal so chooses. I have to say, watching Kathleen with the animals, was so special. She lived up to everything I thought she would be and much more. She was able to put up with my ‘ditsyness’ as on one day I actually managed to lose all of the Shinpiden students, yes! that is true.
Kathleen finished with her 3 day Animal Reiki Teacher workshop and it was here that Apollo the head of the herd came to teach the students. As they meditated in the middle of the field, she came over to be part of the Reiki energy and to show that she was definitely the Matriarch . She taught many of the students about what Animal Reiki truly is, it is not about placing hands on the animals but it is about the animal having the choice. For me this class was by far, the most life changing for me, as a student and a SARA teacher. I have still, so much to practice on a daily basis and cannot wait for her return next year. The Remus animals will be ready and waiting to help Kathleen to teach, they so enjoyed teaching us so many lessons, if we would just listen.
For anyone wishing to do Animal Shinpiden Level 3 Reiki, my advice would be to start saving now, as Kathleen is light years ahead of truly understanding how to offer Reiki to animals. I myself, have been so inspired to take my SARA group to the next level and have lots of wonderful ideas for for supporting SARA/Kathleen’s students here in the UK.