What is Celtic Reiki?
by Susa Morgan Black
Celtic Reiki is one of many modern Reiki modalities of energy healing.
Reiki (RAY-KEE) means ‘Universal Life Energy’ in Japanese, and is based on the teachings of Dr. Mikao Usui. Dr. Usui taught that all living things have the ability to heal. This ability comes from the Universe itself. Reiki is a system so simple and enlightened that anyone who truly desires to heal can be taught and ‘attuned’ to use this innate ability. A Reiki practitioner simply places his or her hands on or above various points on the patient’s body, uses sacred symbols that she has received in her attunement, and holds that position for a certain amount of time. She then opens up to allow the energy to flow naturally through her hands from the Eternal Source, to support the patient’s healing needs and bring them back into a state of balance and wholeness. It is a gentle, comforting, non-invasive, and incredibly effective healing method.
Reiki is used for a variety of issues including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, as well as concerns with prosperity, work, and relationships, etc. In all areas of our lives we need to create harmony and balance for our well-being, and Reiki assists with this endeavour. Reiki can be used on all living things – plants, trees, animals, landscapes, the ocean, etc. Reiki can be used to help heal ourselves, each other, and the environment.
Martyn Pentacost, a British Reiki Master, received a revelation while applying Reiki energy to a dying fir tree (Ailim in Celtic). He felt the healing energy of the tree enter his hands. Although it was universal energy, it was channelled through the specific healing properties of the fir tree. After this initiatory experience, he travelled throughout the British Isles meditating with the ogham trees and shrubs the ancient Druids knew intimately. These trees still have a powerful role in the folklore of the British Isles. Each species of tree has its own unique healing qualities. In fact, all trees and plants do, but as Celts and Druids, we have chosen to work with the traditional trees of the ogham, to recapture the healing knowledge of the ancient Celts and Druids.
Celtic Reiki combines the healing energy of Japanese Reiki and the healing energy British trees. Like traditional Reiki, it involves a course of study and attunements. Although there is no documentation to prove it, I suspect the trees made their healing knowledge available to the ancient Druids, which is why they taught and practiced their arts inside the sacred groves of trees. We do not have to be in physical contact with these trees to avail ourselves of their healing energy, as the energy is universal, transmitted through the earth itself, which we share with the trees. As Druids, we can journey to the Other World and visit the sacred groves, using the ogham symbols as the keys.
The ogham symbols are a sacred Celtic alphabet, used for communication, divination and magic. There are many different ogham systems, including ‘Bird Ogham’ but one of the most powerful is the Ogham nan Crann, the Tree Ogham, which we use in Celtic Reiki. The ancient Celts believed that every tree had a spirit, and every species had an ‘Over Spirit’ or ‘Fairie’ or ‘Deva’ that governed that species. Working with the Celtic Ogham, we are working with the Deva of the tree species.
Storytelling is another powerful way to work with the spirits of trees. Following is a meditation I use with the healing energies of the Blackthorn and Hawthorn Faeries:
Healing with Thorn Trees
Next time you are ill or depressed, imagine lying on your pallet, and in the dark of night, two eldritch sisters enter the room, one dressed in black, the other in white. The dark older sister, Draighean, (Blackthorn), assesses your illness with a calculating experienced eye. She moves her sinewy, dark hands quickly over your body, touching points here and there, causing you acute pain. She mutters strange incantations under her breath in a low, crackling voice, and draws the ogham for blackthorn in the air over your body, then blows through it, and you feel the chill of her breath. She is frightening, but you must trust her if you are to heal. All the negative images you’ve ever held rise out of your subconscious like eerie phantom characters in a Samhain festival. The night grows old and dawn approaches.
Weary, the elder sister steps back and the gentle Huath, (Hawthorn) takes her place. Dressed in white, with long bright hair, she lays a cool gentle hand on your brow, muttering her own incantations in a sweet bell-like voice. She draws the ogham for Hawthorn above your body, and the warmth of her breath caresses you. The phantoms recede with the light, and the pain eases. As she sweeps her pale hands up and down your body, touching the same spots her dark sister had, the pain vanishes and you feel refreshed. You fall into an easy, restful sleep as the sisters leave your chamber, their work done.