Reiki on the Farm

Reiki inspires many voyages in life. I locate a farm-sitting opportunity in a beautiful little outpost in Northern Colorado that is  home to Curly the Horse, Hazel the Mule, Daisy and Molly Brown the blue ribbon Donkeys, Josie and Jenka the Airdales, and Kiki the Cat.

The farm-owners, Jesse and Ken, are a great couple from Santa Fe and this is their second straw bale house. I can tell on the phone that they are old hippies and that they have a good Feng Sui house. They can tell that I’m overly responsible and have taken care of a lot of animals, having been a veterinary surgical tech and dog trainer and student of living beings. We are happy to find each other. The owners are nervous about leaving. They confess that they don’t believe in Reiki. I tell them “that’s ok—everything will be fine.”

They are doing their best to combat global warming. They save all their water—some of it is for washing off the dogs feet (?), some for humans too. I am feeling very lucky to find such solid, nice people. So I ship off a bunch of Usui-Tibetan Reiki manuals and Reiki Healing Dance DVD’s for my Colorado Reiki Classes this month and get ready to take off. Just before leaving I have a phone call from Jesse who says: “I wanted to tell you that if the mule is lying down in the corral with her legs in the air, she has bloat again, and you’ll have to give her medicine by mouth.” I said “I’m not sticking my hand in a mule’s mouth”, and there was a long pause, but then she said, “well, it probably won’t happen.” One of the motivating forces behind compromise is recognition of mutual need. I sent Reiki to the situation and then she called back to tell me she was sending Hazel on up the road to stay with a neighbor.

Everyone complains about the weather. From my point of view here is no point in knowing the forecast unless you have to be out fishing or driving somewhere and even then, it doesn’t make any difference— knowing doesn’t change anything. Complaining is really just a social pastime, a way to communicate when you don’t want to really talk. When I left Maine it was below zero and ice coated every surface. Here in Colorado, it is like being in Baja: the sun is out, Long’s Peak is in full view in a straight shot across the plains from the Farm, and it is 55 degrees. The 60 mph gusts have ripped the covers off the straw bales, and the corral is a little muddy, but otherwise it’s all good.

I take a look around before students arrive for their Reiki 1&2 Class and groan at all the work I have committed myself to do, for just room (not even board). That’s ok, it’s my therapy. This year has been full with losses, beginning with the passing of Willie the Reiki Master Cat, then my boyfriend left, and now my Mom is transitioning. It’s the wheel of life. Deep healing is coming up. Every time I face obstacles and painful emotions, I try to remind myself that they are nothing more than feelings attached to ego consciousness. All life is yin and yang, opposition and conjunction, loss and gain. More to learn.

As a clinical psychologist, in my early years of practice I believed that in order to have true healing it was necessary to have an understanding of what had happened in the past. Later I learned through more contemporary methods such as EMDR and hypnosis that cognition was not necessary. Healing does not come from the mind. The Heart Sutra teaches us that our human characteristics, such as “mind”, stand in the way of nirvana, because without them no fears exist and then we will not magnetize negative emotions. We are but a reflection of ourselves. The goal is not to transcend our thoughts and feelings, but rather to know that they do not define our true being. Our true being is Spirit— we do not stay in this form forever— we exist in many different forms in many dimensions. So it is all a gigantic trip and we are on it.

Once I was attuned to Reiki, I immediately learned how easy it is to bypass the mind. One hour of aura clearing (an Advanced Reiki Technique taught by ICRT as part of Reiki III training, developed by William Rand, which is based on shamanic and neuro-hypnotic principles) can eradicate an entire cluster of painful experiences by releasing unconscious or Spirit-based involvements that accompany negative feelings. I think of it as a giant vacuum cleaner of the aura. The microcosmic meditation circulates clearing Reiki energy through the energetic Functional and Governing Channels, through a closed circuit, I visualize it as an egg shaped essence circulating through my body. I feel wonderful at the end of this meditation.

I have not left my comfortable life because of some notion of divesting myself of all my worldly possessions, or running from pain, or giving up attachments. I have left because Spirit has persistently plagued me to do this for years until I simply could not ignore it any longer. There are some who can live with attachments and not be distracted from their true course, and I wish that I were one of them. I so admire people who can get up in the morning early and sit. Not me, I’m soaking up every blessed moment of sleep I can, because I have stayed up all night dancing. So I’m going on ahead. I’ve got my faith and my music, a healthy body and some good hiking boots, and I can work hard. I’m not standing still for life.

Back at the Farm, I reflect that it is good therapy to tend animals and I am looking forward to having Reiki students here to experience this interaction. I beam Reiki to them in preparation for their safe arrival. Curly the Horse seems sad, so I send Reiki to him too, because the owners say he misses his pal Hazel the Mule. However, it is probably I who am projecting my feelings, replete with losses past, present and future. Curly may simply be simply experiencing every moment as it comes, without evaluation or expectation or emotion. Though his spirit is of a race horse, his real life consists of mundane excursions into the pasture and back. As he stands patiently in the snow, he tells me that he does not mind waiting and not to worry. Animals do not have long cognitive memories like humans.

The routine of the Farm is comforting. Go to sleep early, get up early with the sun. There is no choice: feed the animals, talk with them, clean the stalls, walk the dogs, curry everybody (hey, what about me?), clean the mud off everything, and then do it over and over again. Animals depend upon routine, just as do children. They are so grateful for basics that we humans take absolutely for granted. After a few days I am already in the groove. This helps to remind me to have a routine too. I have set up my shrine for morning and evening meditation and now I incorporate into it hay and oats. One of my favorite things to do is cut the hay bale strings with the big knife and flake it off into the wheelbarrow. The simple pleasures are the best.

Reiki Class takes place today and it is an opportunity for students to practice not only on each other, but if they want, on the animals. There is so much to learn in Reiki 1&2 that we do not really have a lot of extra time. But at the end of training we do go out and beam Reiki to the horse, and he seems to respond, especially to one student in particular. Horses are extremely sensitive. Each animal form has a different response to Reiki, as I am learning. This includes humans. Dogs can only take it in small doses. Cats can do better at longer treatment once their crown charka is cleared and they settle down. The donkeys don’t seem that interested in it for some reason I have not yet discovered. Birds like it. But insects like it best: they come around in droves for that energy, especially the wasps.

Reiki takes place in the strangest ways. I sent Reiki to Daisy the donkey last night when she escaped from the corral. She is a stubborn critter, and was not going to come back in, not even for oats. With a spotlight in one hand and a rope in the other, I sent the power symbol to her and then got the lasso around her neck just like that. Of course, she is a pot bellied little thing who was standing stock still at the time in the door yard, munching down as much hay as she could. So I can’t take any credit for this. Reiki helped to make the situation approachable. It took care of my anxiety, and let me relax and realize that no harm would come of the situation.

The dogs get more mellow every day. The owners cautioned that they might barf or bark or insist on being taken out in the middle of the night. I have had a full night’s sleep every night, found no messes anywhere and they are obedient and they sit and heel. They are happy dogs and I think it might be the presence here of the many guides and angels and spiritual light beings who inhabit this house now because of Reiki. They camp out in the living room every morning and evening where my shrine is set up when I give thanks and burn sandalwood incense. They just lie down and soak up the good vibes. Sometimes I have to check their breathing to see if they are still alive!

The effect of Reiki on the farm animals is fabulous. So far, the horse is the most interested recipient. My Reiki Teacher friends Tom and Sheila White in Glasgow, Scotland (neither of whom have special training in treating horses) have been treating horses and other beings for a few years now. Tom writes here of some of his experiences: “I treated my first horse with Reiki soon after my Master attunement, as a favour to the owner who was concerned that Major, her 27 year old gelding, had developed fairly serious allergic reactions to certain biting insects. I was introduced to him in his stable, and found myself suddenly on my own with Major looking intently at me. Firstly he did not like my camcorder case and tried to take it from me. That was duly handed through the door after which he frisked me from head to feet. Satisfied I was not another veterinarian come to give an injection he stood back but looked interested. I spent some time simply talking to him and stroking him and as Reiki began to flow I scanned to search for “hotspots”. As his back and hips were hottest I worked there, gradually moving up to his heart and head. The change in Major was amazing. Within about 20 minutes he was so relaxed that he was swaying slightly, eyes almost closed. Occasionally he would look to see what I was doing. Finally I reached his head which he eventually rested over my right shoulder as I reached up with one hand at the base of his skull and the other one on his forehead. To finish I swept along his body nose to tail once on each side and he became alert again. I was surprised to find that almost 2 hours had elapsed. As the owner joined us, Major returned to me and placed is forehead against my chest, leaning gently on me and closed his eyes. He remained like this for a few minutes before going out into the field.

After this wonderful experience I obtained a Reiki for Horses manual which explained more about chakra locations and gave valuable advice on horse body language and temperament (see Bibliography). The most rewarding case we have had to date was a thoroughbred Arab stallion, a racehorse owned by a group of business men. He was called “Acceleration” (but rarely did so) and mostly he liked to be in Neutral or Park. Always very fast in practice and training, he was somehow unable to repeat this in a race He caused a lot of amusement when, on a televised race, as the trap wires lifted he trotted forward a few feet and grazed happily at the side of the track. The rider was an agitated blur bouncing up and down trying to make him run.

It took 6 sessions 7 to 10 days apart to completely clear whatever it was that was stopping him. Despite his flighty temperament, once introduced to us and especially after he felt Reiki, Acceleration always appeared to enjoy his sessions. He was very gentle and affectionate to us, gently nuzzling and nibbling our hair or clothes- much to the surprise of the stable staff and trainer. As with Major, he also liked to stand and have his head held gently at the end of a session. During the course of therapy Acceleration steadily improved his performance and after his fifth session won his first race.

As his vet had ruled out any physical or medical problems, we were given permission to offer treatment. As with human clients you must always carry out a thorough initial consultation to check the history and gain as much information as possible, and remember that you may have to get permission from a veterinary surgeon to treat the horse. You may wish to have Reiki for Horses included in your practice insurance cover. Horses are generally much larger than us so always make safety your priority. Pay attention to what the owner or trainer tells you and be alert for signs of trouble. I always check escape routes when in a stall with a horse. If I need to treat a horse on my own, I ask that the owner or someone knowledgeable about THIS horse is present or within sight. As a matter of courtesy I always comply with any request made by the horse that I should leave.

There are many websites offering good advice regarding safe handling of horses and how to read horse body language. If like me, you are not used to being around horses, ask for advice, read up the basics and follow the rules. I am no longer afraid of being in the same room as a horse but have instead developed a deep love and respect for these sensitive and wonderful animals. They are deeply intuitive and can sense your intention to help and will often respond in a wonderfully moving way. If you have not yet given Reiki to a horse I would encourage you to try it. It is a very profound experience to see such a large animal respond in the way I have described, simply by gently touching it and allowing the Reiki energy to flow through your hands. For me it was the clearest and quite unexpected demonstration of the power of Reiki and thanks to the horses I am sure I have become a more effective therapist with my human clients”.

Reiki is an intensely rewarding experience when given in a natural setting such as a farm or stable to animals. As can be seen from the experience of Tom and Sheila, it is a fulfilling interactive experience. There is much to be learned concerning our own energy while working with other beings. It is important to listen to them, allowing extra time for them to respond (or in a sense, translate). They talk to us directly, in clear and simple concepts, without the qualification or obfuscation that is so typical of human communication. They do not seem to have an agenda, and will reply to whatever we ask. It is worth doing—try it with your animals, and listen. There is much to learn.

Website resource: (Jan Barley maintains this excellent website).
Hands on Healing for Horses and Riders. Claire Wilder.
Healing for Horses: the Essential Guide to Using Hands-On Healing Energy with Horses. by Margrit Coates.
Animal Reiki: Using Reiki to Heal the Animals in Your Life. Elizabeth Fulton and Kathleen Prasad.