This article dates back to March 2004. Its a classic piece of Chaos Heathenism, well before we here at Elhaz Ablaze actually coined the term: extremely syncretic but a) not pretending to be otherwise; and b) nonetheless remaining true to the Heathen spirit (if not its form). As always when I post dated stuff, I make an extra disclaimer that my views have probably evolved a lot since this was written…
Reiki & Runa
I recently completed Level I and Level II training in Reiki, an energy healing art developed in Japan in the 19th Century.I have also practiced runic magic for years.Naturally I began to wonder whether some fusion of these techniques could be possible.
For years I have mouthed the attitude that one should not ‘mix up’ different magical traditions until one is well grounded in both.I believe I have this grounding.It will be interesting to see whether this experiment is still attacked as a ‘watering-down’ of both traditions.I would guess that any such accusations would be driven by an aggressive and idiotic spiritual isolationism, and not a genuine desire to preserve the integrity of the traditions at stake.
Without wanting to give away its ‘secrets’, Reiki is the skill of inviting ‘universal energy’ through oneself, into one’s hands, and then into the body of the patient. I found this to be a fresh and amazing approach to energy transfer, having only encountered the onerous notion that one MUST sacrifice one’s own energy to heal others. In Reiki, the practitioner is merely a conduit for the essential energy of the universe – a force which I believe corresponds in some ways to the Old Norse Önd, the divine breath that moves within all things (more on that below).
More advanced Reiki techniques utilise sigils and magic phrases to further empower the basic energy transfer process, and in particular enable transfer of energy to the past, future, or other locations. Transfers to the past are generally for a healing purpose; to the future and to distant locations are like any other spell cast to steer causality, and are not limited to healing purposes.
However, Reiki is bounded by an ethos of healing and non-violence, and it is argued that using this energy to harm others is dangerous (a common story, but not one that I feel the need to test). My Reiki teacher recommended that at the end of any kind of Reiki session, one should blow on the palms and rub them together to close the energy flow, and then declare “to the highest good and harm none.”
It is also central to Reiki ethos that one ask for permission before providing healing energy. A person should always have the right to decline energy gifts, no matter how sure you are that they should have it.
When I learnt these more advanced techniques I felt great difficulty in connecting to the sigils. I was already steeped in rune lore, and it seemed that runes, as symbol-word-sound complexes, could easily be used instead of the Reiki symbols. I am therefore talking about bringing the runes to bear on a form of magic that combines energy work, channelling, and visualisation. While Reiki is billed as a healing technique first and foremost, the runes open up limitless possibilities. Perhaps the Reiki Master training emphasises more options in technique (I believe it teaches more sigils), but even so I feel much more at home with Runa.
Of course, writers have talked about ‘signing and sending’ the runes for years, and techniques such as runic hallowing rites employ energy transfer, visualisation, and sigils (the runes). What discovery would I really be bringing to bear here?
I think there are some subtle touches to the Reiki approach which command respect – in particular, the very simple but powerful method of making oneself an energetic channel or vessel. I believe that Reiki techniques are refined and perfected for energy projection and channelling; authors on rune magic, on the other hand, are covering a wide array of disparate techniques and in my experience don’t provide comparable advice on runic energy work.
In particular I tried to work with some of Edred Thorsson’s Rune Guild energy techniques for years, and found most of them disappointing.
As such, I came to the point of feeling it necessary to experiment with fusing runic force to Reiki technique. More detailed outlines for how to try these techniques, along with the question of Reiki initiation, are discussed below.
The first experiment was very simple. I am informed that the word Reiki implies all energy, both horizontal and vertical. I immediately associated this with Jera – the runic map of horizontal or cyclic causality and energy; and with Eihwaz, the runic map of the world-column, the channel of vertical or linear causality and energy (incidentally, when combined, Jera and Eihwaz energies form the spiral, the whole and original energy structure of the Northern Tradition in my opinion).
OK, so I have correlated the idea of Jera-Eihwaz and the basic Reiki energy. I therefore attempted a simple healing energy channelling as is the basis of Reiki practice. However, instead of internally calling and visualising ‘Reiki’, I invoked Jera and Eihwaz. I then laid on hands as normal. This method is at least as effective as invoking Reiki energy, plus I find it easier to perform. Ultimately, I can see it being a much more effective basic energy healing method for myself and other rune wielders.
I attempted to adapt the Reiki technique of sending energy into the future. This technique basically entails cupping your hands, visualising the desired outcome in the future, making the relevant sigils, and then channelling away.
All that I needed to modify was to channel runes relevant to my intent for the future.
As it happens, I was having some money difficulties (‘cash flow problems’) at the time. So I let Fehu be the rune of choice, letting it symbolise my receipt of money in the near future with no harm done to anybody for it.
Voila! An email 3 days later and a verbal discussion three days after that produced a situation in which unexpected benefactors came forth with monies that had been lying in stasis for me. Suddenly I found more than a thousand dollars winging its way to me. In both cases the benefactors contacted after I pondered these monies and more or less decided that they either might not come through or that I would forget about pursuing them.
In both cases the money had come from stagnant stores out of my immediate reach – , in one case held by the Rental Bond Board. From these sources the wealth was converted into, Fehu-style wealth – cash. One could joke that Sigurd was a Reiki master and Fafnir a particularly difficult patient.
Authors on magic often use wealth winning spells as an example of why one needs to take care in framing one’s magical intention. I like Phil Hine’s example best – the magician who enchants for money without specifying a possible source and without specifying that the winning of this money not harm others. The spell works alright – when an older relative of the magician drops dead and wills them the cash desired! I doubt this is a true story, but the point is well made.
The Reiki approach of saying “to highest good and harm none” at the end of the ritual therefore seemed a simple and elegant insurance policy against accidentally causing trouble from the main statement of intention. It is cheesy I know, but it seems like a useful safety catch if you aren’t in fact looking to cause harm! Of course, I’m sure these techniques would also effectively convey aggressive or so called negative intentions.
What about sending rune energy to the past? When I was taught how to send Reiki to the past, it was framed in terms of healing the memory of past wounds. Practicing this skill was for me at the time quite emotionally fraught, as I have a few old but still rather open wounds from my childhood.
The method is similar to sending energy to the future. We cup our hands and visualise the past situation to which we desire to send the healing energy. When I have done this it has become a totally immersive experience – even entering the scenario as a magical persona or projection to personally deliver the goods.
I suppose it might be appropriate just to send Jera-Eihwaz energy for this technique. However I have also experimented with sending a runic formula tailored to a specific and very sad incident in my earlier life. Clearly great care should be taken to send the Well of Mimir (Memory) the right forces.
We can also use Reiki techniques to send energy to a person or place in the present – for example, for distant healing. The method is essentially the same as for sending energy to the future or the past.
For general purpose healing one could just send Jera-Eihwaz energy. If one has a more specific will, one could determine a statement of intention and encode it in runes to be sent. I must confess to not having actually tried this experiment, however extrapolating from the other experiments I do not see how it could fail.
So we can see that Reiki techniques can easily provide new options for applying runic power. There is one difficulty worth discussing however: Reiki initiation. Part of each stage of Reiki training involves an energetic initiation by a Master. Now, maybe this is just a device to keep people shelling out for the training, and maybe it actually does help one channel the energies. I don’t know – perhaps both theories are correct. With luck I will eventually become a Master and be able to find out for sure – in the meantime I can only speculate. Certainly, I find channelling runic energy to work better despite any comparable initiation. Then again, I have years of working with runic energy, so you would expect that something would rub off!
The other issue I feel I should address before turning to more useful technique outlines for runic channelling is that of runic stances. These have an odd history – as far as I can tell they were developed by rune magicians in the early 20th century who were as much interested in yoga and hermetic traditions as they were runes.
These days the Rune Guild is their most ardent promoter, arguing that they are a good method for channelling runic energy (as opposed to using galdor to project it). I believe the techniques discussed in this paper are a better alternative. They are no more anachronistic or historically implausible than the runic stances, which are after all a bad parody of yoga. However, these techniques are practical, don’t require you to stand in stupid looking postures, can be applied anywhere, and won’t hurt your back like some of Edred Thorsson’s recommended stances hurt mine. While it is clear that some postures are relevant to rune magic – notably the Elhaz stance for invocation of gods and other beings – others seem arbitrary, and from my experience none are that effectual compared to meditating, singing, or energetically channelling runic force.
Below I have provided practical discussion of the techniques in this paper. I hope you find some use for them. I recommend undertaking training in Reiki as a useful experience – even if you use runic energies exclusively once the training is done. I’d love to know what your experiences using these techniques have revealed.
1. Basic rune energy channelling (via hands).
a)Find yourself a patient (or yourself). Make sure you have permission to apply the energy.
b)Unless you intend to apply undifferentiated Jera-Eihwaz energy, you will need to work out and appropriate statement of intention and the appropriately corresponding runes. This can be accomplished by a few means – talking with the recipient to find out what they feel they need; divining with rune staves; meditating; or otherwise listening to your intuition. You might like to experiment with bind rune visualisations or melding several rune names into one to focus your concentration.
c)Touch the recipient. State in your mind “Jera-Eihwaz” three times, visualising the might of all the worlds’ energies – horizontal and vertical – streaming down into your head and up from your feet, into the vortexes of your hands and then into the recipient.
d)Once this connection has been established, call each rune in the same way, visualising and feeling its energy also. I also visualise the rune shapes and ‘hear’ the rune sounds.
e)Remember, you are just a conduit. Reiki practitioners claim that sometimes they experience clairvoyant insight about the recipient while providing the energy. I recommend circumspection about such insights – it has been found that some are true, and some are very false. The longer you apply your hands, the stronger the effect – an hour’s energy can be great, 15 minutes may well suffice however.
f)That’s about it for the technique! Don’t forget to rub your hands together and make a closing statement of will and the end of the session (e.g. the statement mentioned above, “to the highest good and harm none”, or another).
2. Sending rune energy elsewhere in time or space.
a)Again, you will need to determine the appropriate statement of intention and runes to be used and gain permission to send the energy if appropriate.
b)Cup your hands so that inside is a closed space. Visualise the target situation, time, place, or whatever, inside your hands. It may help you to let your visualisation become totally immersive.
c)State in your mind “Jera-Eihwaz” three times, visualising the might of all the worlds’ energies – horizontal and vertical – streaming down into your head and up from your feet, into the vortexes of your hands and then into the visualised scenario. I also visualise the rune shapes and ‘hear’ the rune sounds.
d)Once this connection has been established, call each rune in the same way, visualising and feeling its energy also. The longer you apply your will, the stronger the effect – an hour’s energy can be great, 15 minutes may well suffice however.
e)That’s about it for the technique! Don’t forget to rub your hands together and make a closing statement of will and the end of the session (e.g. the statement mentioned above, “to the highest good and harm none”, or another).
This paper won’t give you everything you need to start providing energy healing sessions to folk on the street – I have glossed over a lot of practical details that a good Reiki course should fill you in on. However, in day to day life you might just find these techniques bring a little more edge to your magic.
Finally, you may find that each hand seems to key to a different energy – in my case, my left hand keys to ice and my right hand to fire. This seems to be a normal thing, but I wonder how it could be used to make these techniques more effective still. Nothing about this kind of differentiation seems to be noted in normal Reiki lore.