Is Reiki Magic?

Photo by Christopher J. Hopper
Photo by Christopher J. Hopper

Recently, this question has come up in a variety of settings: Is Reiki magic? When I first heard the question I was startled. To me, Reiki seems so natural, innate, and pure. Calling it “magic” seemed to have a negative connotation for me. When I use the Reiki symbols, in an attunement or for a session, am I calling on something otherworldly? At Mass this past weekend, Father John said in his homily, “Baptism is not magic.” To call upon the Holy Spirit is not magic. To welcome a baby, or adult, to our community of believers is not magic. It is life and it is love. I am not equating Reiki and Baptism, because they are certainly different. However, I am noticing how when we are faced with something we cannot see, like universal life force energy or Spirit, we question it. Sometimes we may even fear it. I can’t touch it, but that doesn’t make it magic.

There is an energy inside us and all around us that can’t be seen or touched. However, it is felt. It is Reiki. It is universal life force energy. My teacher, Libby Barnett, says that prior to attunement in a Reiki Class we sometimes tap into universal life force energy but that we do so in an inconsistent way. After attunement we are able to consistently pick up that radio station. Hands on, Reiki’s on. So simple and so instinctive.

Sometimes though Reiki’s simplicity seems to be one of its shortcomings. Our minds want to know how it works. Our minds seek evidence — proof that we’ve been healed and changed. However, Reiki is an offering. As a Reiki practitioner you are a conduit. You offer and allow the healing to happen as it will — outside of your control, outside of your will, outside of your mind and ego.

Perhaps it is exactly this “unknown” aspect of Reiki that makes it seem so magical and mysterious. As we release our need to know, as we open to the unknown and a place of innate knowledge, we experience Reiki and all its goodness. This opening can be scary and certainly are minds protest not being at the forefront of our experience. However, as we allow Reiki into our lives we allow healing and experience fully the universe’s love and light.

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