The Horse Named Blue
I had done a Reiki demonstration and met many wonderful people who were living the life of Spirit. Some took Reiki training with me, and one of them, a nurse, called me for help with her horse. This whole experience turned out to be very rewarding and educational. I saw Blue more times than some of my human clients! He was committed to his healing, as was his caretaker, L.
Blue had broken his right shoulder. There was nerve damage and he could not bend the right knee. In short, his right front side was damaged. I had not been around horses or too many large animals at that time, and had never used Reiki extensively on an animal. L. and I first talked by the barn; Blue was grazing outside, at a distance. L. was heavily emotional and determined to heal her horse. She was using acupuncture, ultrasound and bluegreen algae. She and her husband had two other horses. To her credit she had resisted putting Blue down after the accident.
They lived on a large property with a well. The friendliest of several dogs had greeted me when I first arrived. Upon approaching the barn area, Blue was instantly aware of my presence. While we talked, he gazed and surreptitiously observed me. Reiki had started flowing as I talked to L., for she needed it too; it had been a long road for her and her husband.
When we moved toward Blue in an attempt to start the session, he went in the opposite direction to his stall. He had been ornery the whole time and throwing me attitude, eyeing me and also pleading in a way. His pride was hurt.
We followed him in. I was amazed how big he was. I can't say that it was the most comfortable situation to be in. L. was with us, but I was keenly alert of Blue's mood and actions, and our safety.
He was quite resistant at first. I could not touch him. I raised my hands toward him and spent some time Reiki'ng his energy fields and entire presence. I talked to him mentally and verbally . When he dropped his defenses one notch, and the stall was filled with a loving feeling generated by Reiki, I gently approached and touched him. It was obvious that Blue was willful and somewhat stubborn. He was also unhappy and uncomfortable.
As Reiki flowed, he relaxed his stiff posture, became very calm and did some long, deep stretches. He would do these stretches in future sessions, which always gave us hope. In that first session he kept his head straight and down a little, keeping track of me with his eyes. In future sessions he would often turn and look, or acknowledge how good Reiki felt by bobbing his head and making sounds. I was able to touch all parts of his dynamic body.
Even in that first session he started to lean into my hands. Later he would often become so relaxed and comfortable that his eyes would start to close, his head would nod and his knees would almost buckle!
When we were done that day, the horse who had initially turned away from me, gave thanks by tilting his head into me in the sweetest way, rubbing my whole left side. He wanted hay after and was very affectionate to me.
L. who had several cats, dogs and the horses, had a special talent of understanding animal communication. Her dogs and cats would not leave me alone whenever I was there. They knew about love and could feel it coming out of my hands. L. often said this or that animal is usually suspect of strangers. She would actually sit and watch in wonder how they all gathered around me.
When I left that day, I counseled her to allow Blue more room and less pampering. He needed to get his confidence back and master his body. The two other horses were somewhat neglected and I felt that their attitude toward Blue was not helpful. L. also felt much brighter and calmer.
The second time, I took another Reiki Master with me. Blue knew what we were there for and welcomed us. We could touch him right away and he took an active interest in the healing. Another time a massage therapist friend who has much experience with horses and who is also a Reiki practitioner, accompanied me.
Blue became increasingly affectionate, thankful and upbeat. Four days after the first treatment and only after two sessions, L. called to say that he had walked the best she'd seen since the injury. Blue and L. demonstrated for her husband, and Blue really performed.
I also practiced nonlocal Reiki for Blue and L. Throughout our healing relationship, his spirit contacted me often and helped me in certain ways. Blue would appear in my dreams and meditations with appropriate messages for my growth. He also communicated that he is proud and the injury makes him self-conscious; that he is willing to heal. This was not an anthropomorphic projection of my imagination, but a real communication of the intelligence found in the world around us, especially nature.
Blue and I met perhaps a dozen times, over several weeks. I got distressed phone calls from L. a couple of times when he fell. Each time he recovered from the falls and became stronger and stronger in the areas of injury. Reiki also did much for his attitude too. Eventually, he was put down because of intestinal complications. However, a healing had occurred regardless. Blue and I had touched each other in deep ways, and L. was in a greater state of acceptance.
I also Reiki'd the land and the well. After a few visits the entire property had a more uplifting feeling. I miss the cats and dogs, and I will never forget the horse named Blue.
This article is necessarily from a personal viewpoint because I am neither a formal shaman initiate nor a scholar on the subject. However, as a broad-based experiential approach to embodying Reiki Mastership, and with the influence of globalization, fostered by communications technology, I have been exposed to shamanistic teachings. I have been exposed also through inner experiences and spontaneous initiations. For example, out of the blue one day I was instructed to make a crystal wand, and this learning still continues. My ancestors are from Central Asia, one of the hotbeds of shamanism, many memories and journeys in tribal settings have awakened, and much of this approach to spirituality is so useful. Oddly, I follow a path of Yoga and Reiki.
Traditionally a shaman is one in an indigenous culture who has the knowledge and power of healing. It can also be anyone who has the ability to create an altered state of consciousness (ASC) in oneself or another. That makes Reiki practitioners shamans in one sense. Shamanism is the first expression of humanity's religious, spiritual as well as healing practices and knowledge. Historically, all spiritual teachings have roots in shamanism. Modern anthropologists have done much to reveal the cross-cultural evidence of common practices. A meditation done to awaken the Warrior, which is done standing up, placing the hands one over the heart, and the other between the ribcage and navel (Reiki!) has shown up in Uzbekistan, NW North America, Arizona, ancient Europe, modern Africa, and the Olmecs in Central America.
Healing is essentially the ability to change consciousness and maintain the new state. This is best achieved when the rational mind is bypassed and inner work is done in a nonordinary state of consciousness (NOSC). Drumming and breathwork, or a combination is time-honored ways of doing this. Reiki is another.
The mind even in its highest aspect has to be bypassed because it is only an instrument of the soul, and it is the soul that the shaman is concerned with. Soul loss can happen at any age, under any circumstance. Journeying to various "worlds", the shaman finds the lost soul part and brings it back to the person in a process called "soul retrieval". This is the same as the universal healing principle of wholeness and harmony. Reiki also works on this principle, and contemplating the symbols can lead to a similar process as the shaman's.
When a soul part (or any part of our psyche or soma) is lost, stolen, denied, abandoned or abused, it creates an energy and power deficiency in our overall system. Either the fragmented part takes a certain unit of power with it, or some of our energy continues to be fed to it, even though it no longer serves a purpose. So there is this disembodied entity that either needs to be brought home, or released completely and transmuted. Otherwise it literally causes serious problems in the availability and management of personal power. Are you in full possession of your entire presence? Above I said that healing is the ability to change consciousness. It is the consciousness of disempowerment that has to change first. Choice is the switch that controls our energy. Once choice is aligned with harmony and wholeness and we dispense or preserve our energy with higher, discriminative will, then consciousness can be refined and stabilized in a new, healed state.
Other shamanistic tools are shape-shifting and being the trickster. Whether we have the ability to actually change our appearance is unimportant in Reiki healing work. The use of the trickster does not need to follow strict shamanistic dictates either. Both of these are useful concepts to develop and use in ways that work for us.
Often the healing dynamic with a Reiki client requires that we drop our own limitations and judgments. We may be lead by the client's needs to spaces that are as yet unfamiliar or uncomfortable. It requires a great amount of flexibility to be able to answer the call of many types of healing. Since our essence is the vastness of the soul, and not the circumscriptions of the personality, we do inherently have the resources to accompany the client to any inner landscape and face any demon. In other words, shape-shifting is useful to us to change our own self-defined mold and outer limits, to plunge ahead with confidence and faith. Shape-shifting is a way to allay the fears of our own perceived inadequacies.
The shaman often has to "trick" a soul part to return to the life experience of the healee and complete it. This is not an act of dishonesty, but a viable method with highest good as the objective. It also says much about our various levels of resistance to healing. When there is fear, trust issues, pain, established coping mechanisms and a host of other blocks in place, the healing can get stuck. To lubricate the process requires a bag of tricks: reason, revelation of truth, love, relaxation, cajolery, ASCs, music, inner-search questions, humor, mirrors, etc. There is also the overall stance of the healer. This is a broad spectrum from compassion (feminine) at one end, to firmness (masculine) at the other. All this is to help the healee create a personally meaningful experience that will be transformative and lasting.
There are now urban or contemporary shamans, as well as indigenous ones in most cultures. Their techniques are being used in psychotherapy, medicine, and spiritual and personal growth work. As the world shrinks due to instant communications, we are bound to see more and more blends. It is up to us to discriminate and choose what may very well work together. More importantly, a cross-pollination of systems and teachings has always existed; we are now able to connect the dots. This points, once again, to a common, shared, essential oneness and source-beingness. As such it is worthy of celebration.
There is no escaping the simple beauty of the oneness of our own and the universe's essential structure and nature, over and above millennial dilutions and intellectual meanderings.