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Reiki For Pets – Visions of Nestor
In Greek mythology, Nestor was an elder statesman with a penchant for long lectures to the young. In Incline Village (Lake Tahoe), Nestor is a gray-haired rabbit with a commitment to service. When I first met him, Nestor had already received first and second degree Reiki attunements. How strange (and intriguing), I thought, for a rabbit to know Reiki! As a Reiki master teacher, I understood how someone could have attuned it, but I wondered: what exactly could she do with it? As it turns out, some pretty amazing stuff!
I began attuning to Nestor as part of my service to her human friend. To my delight, I found a smart, eager intelligence, aware of the changes in her family and the world in general. She likes to travel with her homo sapiens and asked how she could best support their mutual growth. According to my favorite shamanism site, geocities.com/~animalspirits/:
Hare/rabbit lore includes:
– Paradox and contradiction
– To live according to your own mind
-Receiving hidden lessons and intuitive messages
– Quick thinking
– Moving through fear
Nestor embodies such gifts, and her gentle but determined spirit conveys them to her species and ours as well. I continued the occasional communication with Nestor, but always in the context of forwarding messages to and from her friend.
Since she had received her Reiki certification from someone else, I never thought to assess when or if she might be “ready” for Master Teacher training. One day, Nestor’s human companion (my Level 2 student) asked me if I would certify them both to the Master Teacher level. Implications and “buts” swirled through me. I don’t even invite all my Reiki 2 students to become Master teachers. How would they feel if they knew I was going to certify a rabbit? And what would other teachers think? Even as I explored these ideas, I felt Nestor’s accusations of “speciesism.” I felt like a Geico commercial: “Reiki. It’s so easy even a rabbit can do it!” This is true, I reasoned, at least for Reiki 1 and possibly Level 2. As “universal life force energy,” Reiki can surely flow beyond humans. At one time, only Japanese men knew Reiki and if Dr. Hayashi would refuse to teach a stranger named Mrs. Takata, the West would have lost some incredible heals.
I never restrict the movement of students between the first and second levels, but I deeply respect the title of Reiki Master Teacher. Not that RMT training means one has “mastered” the universal life force energy. Hard! Nor does Master’s teacher training require students to become “enlightened” or perfect to proceed. I love learning Reiki precisely because it doesn’t require these things. However, the title teacher implies a certain degree of understanding and awareness. To certify anyone at that level, I have to believe that they are committed to an ever-evolving process of living Reiki, as described by founder Mikao Usui: “Just for today, don’t be angry. Don’t worry and be be filled with gratitude. Do your work honestly. Be kind to people.” Simple but powerfully transformative principles. I had no problem attuning a rabbit to Level 3, but in order to certify Nestor as a Master Reiki Teacher, I felt she needed further instruction on the potential and subtleties of this energy. Somehow I had to transfer this information to Nestor’s psyche. But was such a transmission possible?
Encounters with animals flooded my consciousness. After a brain injury in 1998, I spent six weeks isolated at my parents’ house. While they worked, I wished someone—anyone—would sit with me so I wouldn’t have to face my broken life alone. One day, heart and mind screamed and a great horned owl appeared. In the middle of summer, in the middle of the afternoon, this owl stayed with me every day for six weeks, perching every time I sat down on the deck chair outside. In 2000, I saw a puppy bounding uncontrollably across four lanes of rush-hour traffic, his frantic human yelling after him. From across the street, I closed in on the puppy’s third eye and sent him a simple picture-word: “Stop.” The pup wagged his tail and sat down as his breathless friend caught him and reattached the leash. The traffic had cleared and the man called out in a mixture of confusion, gratitude and relief, “Um, thanks?” “No problem,” I said. I was also reminded of the many times I have “summoned” animals to pose for my husband’s wildlife photography. They appear, seemingly out of nowhere, and allow photos to document the exchange.
OK, I agreed, I can communicate with animals.
I visualized myself as an external hard drive, uploading files to Nestor’s brain, but she surprised me first with sophisticated questions about Reiki 2. She understood and used the distance healing symbol/mantra, which allowed her to think of someone and “send” energy to them, but how could she best use the other symbols? In telepathic shorthand I taught her more subtle uses of other symbols, such as clearing auras or recharging crystals. Reiki 3 teaches something known as “Violet Breath” and I adjusted Nestor’s nose so she could “breathe” all day long. I had planned our time together for 11:00 one morning, but decided at the last minute to start early. Nestor’s human friend later asked me if maybe I had started our session at 10:36 because Nestor had been in a trance state by then for about an hour. This was exactly the time of our instruction.
Nestor has proven to be an engaging and dedicated student who mentally “checks in” as my human students do via email. Most amazingly, however, she has become a teacher. Nestor’s homo sapiens tell me that wild rabbits now visit Nestor, undaunted by nearby human activity. Like my best students, however, she also challenges me, encouraging me to embrace the principles of Reiki on an even deeper level. I often explain “Do your work honestly” as the Buddhist concept of Dharma, telling students, “Don’t hide your gifts! Be honest and creative about the ways you can serve.”
Touche, Nestor. Thanks for the reminder.
* I wrote the above essay in early 2007, and our beloved Nestor has since passed on: but not before inspiring many animals and people to become Reiki Master Teachers! Nestor’s “mom” shared articles about her rabbit’s healing gifts, and those stories resulted in many Reiki teachers attuning their animals to levels one, two, or three. I have also shared some of her stories and struggles with other pet owners to open their minds to possible communication with their furry, scaly and/or feathered friends.
On one occasion, Nestor helped me during several intuitive sessions with a brain-damaged man, and I mentioned this fact to his wife. That same week, another intuitive told her that “an unknown rabbit and a woman with long hair have suddenly appeared in your husband’s sessions. I don’t usually work with rabbits. I have no idea how it got there.” The woman laughed, delighted to find such “confirmation” in a field that seems to have no objective evidence. Although I offered animal communication sessions under the radar before Nestor, this little bunny really pushed me to honor and offer those gifts in bigger ways. I have taught animal communication classes, facilitated sessions and taught animals in energy healing including Reiki. Because of Nestor’s persistence, dozens of animals have avoided euthanasia because their owners can explore their true needs and expectations.
Often, animals express wishes to heal more proactively. Their behavior changes and people notice that other people treat their animal friends differently as well. After a Reiki attunement, people begin to gravitate toward those healing dogs, cats, or other species. Animals that normally avoid each other begin to embrace or exchange meaningful glances. Those who knew and loved Nestor may miss her on this earth plane, but she has certainly left her mark!
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