While many zoos do an exemplary job constructing habitats that closely mimic their animals’ natural environments, zoo animals basically live their lives in captivity to entertain and educate humans. Are these entertainment and educational benefits worth more than the animals’ stress from living in captivity and their constant exposure to humans?
Meet Major. He is one of the beautiful therapy equines in a herd of six that I have the honor to offer Reiki to each week. I have been offering Reiki to animals for two decades now and each and every time I am in awe when they are able to help themselves. When they are able to ask for help, to trust, to be still and quiet to connect with the Reiki energy and me, and to let go of whatever they need to.
Aren’t there all those things we learn not to do in an Animal Reiki class? Been there, done all those things I was told not to do! And weirdly in some ways, these are memorable and often entertaining lessons that I will not be forgetting any time soon.
The cats have been my toughest disciplinarians when it came to practicing Animal Reiki. I could have sworn that they have a secret book – “How to teach Reiki to Humans”. And if I dare stray again, they are there to remind me what Animal Reiki truly is about.
And of all the wayward stuff I have done, these three remain on the top of my list:
The Let Animals Lead® method is a transformative way to offer Reiki to non-human animals while fully manifesting interspecies respect. Because this method refrains from using touch unless the non-human animal initiates, it assists in eliminating challenging aspects of the human ego—pressures, expectations, agendas—and recognizes the perfection of the empowered animal.
We are all animals, and non-human animals do not need human “help” in the realm of energy. They elevate our energy and we learn from them. This method always supports the animal to move freely about so their physicality is never restricted. They can communicate their preferences in any way, and these preferences are always honored. They can engage with the energy or reject it completely. We listen to the animal and ask for nothing in return—the Reiki is an offering, not a requirement. The animal is in charge. As such, the Let Animals Lead® method not only epitomizes Animal Reiki in and of itself, but also inherently advances human to non-human animal relationships.
Have you wondered what the distinct traits of Animal Reiki are and what exactly is the need for specialization? Is Animal Reiki different from traditional Reiki? The elementary answer is that Animal Reiki is also Reiki. The universal energy is the same – there is simply one universal energy. And at the same time, Animal Reiki is about the animals and is practiced honouring the unique sensitivities of the animal kingdom.
Just before Christmas we received some bad news about Chili.
The diagnosis is bone cancer, with only one option of curative treatment which is amputation. We decided we did not want to put her through that, so palliative care and pain relief became real. But oddly I already sort of knew. I saw it in the vet when she referred us for the scan. And certain things were adding up. I knew.
I adopted Freedom, a rescue dog, about 3 years ago. I describe her as a cat in a dog’s body because she is not very social and doesn’t need a lot of attention. She just sleeps, eats, drinks LOTS OF WATER, and walks to me when she wants a minute of petting/playing. When I adopted her, I worked full time, so she was a perfect fit for my home.
Does the idea of animals leading reiki sound surprising?
Have you ever wondered how ancient practices such as yoga, herbalism, and tai chi were created?
Reiki is a Japanese healing energy system founded by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century. It uses Ki, the natural life force energy, which flows inside us and around us to offer healing for the higher good of all. Traditionally there are 3 levels of Reiki training, and it can be used with both humans and animals. Human Reiki often focuses on hand positions and moving around the human client who is seated or lying down. This may not always be relevant when working with animals however as they don’t always want or are available for a direct connection. This is where The Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki comes in.
The following story inspired me to extend my Reiki training and become an Animal Reiki practitioner. The story highlights how Kathleen Prasad’s Let Animals Lead® Method nurtures the agency and autonomy of the “neighborhood cat,” particularly in the heart of the 6th Pillar. Here’s the scoop from Snoop.
Despite the rain and the chill one late April morning, my husband and I headed over to our city zoo so I could meditate with the animals for the first time using the Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki. What’s a little rain? I’m a newbie to LAL and eager to develop my skills.
Adopting a shelter pet is an exciting and fulfilling experience. Not only will you be helping an animal in need of a loving home, you’ll be gaining a new family member. However, it’s important to pet-proof your home, get their space set up with the essentials, and do a little research before bringing home a rescue pet.
It was our final Reiki meditation of the day and a storm was brewing. Gretchen and I settled in, offering Reiki to both her dogs. Bindi wandered around a bit, stopped, and offered Gretchen her front paw. It was beautiful to see Bindi stand there with her paw in Gretchen’s hand…so beautiful I could not interrupt the moment to snap a picture though I wanted to. The love between them radiated. Bindi sat back and put both paws in Gretchen’s hands. Gretchen sat teary eyed, holding her best friend’s paws.
As 2020 comes to an end, I have been reflecting on the good that came to me during the difficult past months. What we focus on grows stronger so I have been choosing to turn my attention to my blessings instead of what I always felt that I lacked.
Bruno is loving walks and belly rubs these days. And he took his freedom ride to his foster home this past weekend! For months, Bruno cowered in the back of his kennel at the shelter, growling at staff. He had been there almost six months, surrendered for killing a chicken and a goat. Terrified, he would not let anyone touch him and it was difficult to clean his run. Leah, a shelter worker, knew they couldn’t keep him much longer if he couldn’t be handled, cleaned up and vetted. In a last-ditch effort, she reached out to me to share Reiki with him. I also asked Animal Reiki Source’s Animal Reiki Healing Circle to share Reiki with Bruno.
This beautiful deaf boxer girl had come over to the UK from Romania at approximately 6 months old, her history not clear, and was first fostered by a couple with a handful of other dogs. It quickly became very obvious and worrying that she was a very anxious girl around dinner times, guarding her food and showing aggression towards the other dogs and the humans in her foster home. It became so severe that the couple had to take the heart breaking decision of handing her back to the rehoming organisation and, due to her aggressive behaviour, sadly she had to be looked after at a rescue boarding kennel while the organisation began the responsible and stressful task of finding the next right home for her. Prospects were unclear… who would take on a deaf dog who literally might bite the hand that feeds her?
A few months ago, I felt a strong calling to begin volunteering Reiki with shelter animals. I had shared Reiki with rescued animals before but was not officially “in” with a local rescue as a regular volunteer. I wanted to put myself out there, but during these COVID times it has been challenging to meet face to face.
Dusty was found after wandering the Arizona desert as a pup without identification or microchip. After a week of no one claiming him at the Humane Society, he was adopted by SARA member Gerianne. He lived a very happy 15 1/2 years with his special Reiki mom and family. He was a devoted family dog, meditation partner and lover of Reiki. Thank you so much Gerianne for honoring SARA with a donation in his memory. Fly free and in peace, Dusty!
It was a warm August evening, among the last few left before the cool Canadian weather would start creeping up and swallowing the summer bliss. I was walking with my husband and our faithful dog through the fields, where we go to watch the sun set almost every night. We were noticing how the sun rests earlier every day, subtly announcing that winter is not far away.
Hermione is a premature fawn left by her mother. Mulan was a sickly, newborn kitten dumped at the animal shelter. Both are being loved and rehabbed at Forevermore Farm, a peaceful, quaint little farm where I teach Reiki & Kathleen Prasad’s Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki.
We rescued “Belle” from the wonderful shelter Homeward Bound in Middlebury, Vermont where I volunteer, about two and a half years ago. She had been surrendered in South Carolina and moved to our shelter in Vermont. She had only been in Vermont for about two days before I discovered her one Saturday while sharing Kathleen Prasad’s Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki. By the following Friday, she had claimed our bed and hearts. The people at our shelter said, as she wiggled and wriggled on the way to our car, “bet she is going to get lots of Reiki!”; and she has. Her name was immediately changed to Addie and she was often referred to as Mrs. Wiggles in those early days.
Ever since I can remember, my life was all about animals and nature. As a child, these were the things that helped me survive through difficult times and made me believe that God, or some form of Supreme Being, really exists…
SARA Practitioner Deanna Sava shares a little background on the video:
“I don’t remember Stuart’s whole story, but he came into The Buddy Foundation with socialization issues. He was feral or semi-feral. Volunteers have been spending a lot of time trying to socialize him and they discovered that he loves to be brushed. He was okay when other cats came up to his cage–even when his cage door was open so he could roam around the large cat area if he wanted to. However, he only tentatively came out after most of the volunteers left and it became really quiet. He recently started to come out of his cage when the volunteers were around, but as soon as anyone walked toward or past his cage, he would run back into it.
Today I went to an animal rescue sanctuary. I decided to sit down in an enclosed area that had pigs, chickens, roosters and two dogs roaming free. There were not any animals around me when I started, but I knew who ever needed the Reiki would partake in their own way. When you use Kathleen Prasad’s Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki, that is what happens.
Sharing Reiki with an animal doesn’t have to mean sitting in mediation with them. Experience the wonder of moving meditation with your animals. Here I am in the Lolo Forest in Montana with peaceful horses and dogs. A true Zen moment!