I had the great pleasure of travelling from my native California to the beautiful U.K. this past September, to teach several Reiki classes at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex. Remus is located on 40 beautiful pastoral acres and is home to about 200 farm animals—horses, cows, goats, sheep and donkeys (as well as the resident cats and dogs). Remus’ specialty is in caring for elder animals, and in fact, the world’s oldest horse, Shayne, 52, spends his days very happily grazing there. As an animal Reiki teacher, I find that often, although we come into a class thinking we are going to help the animals, inevitably, the animals find a way to help us, simply by connecting and sharing who they are.
Lesson 1 from the horses:
Let Go … When offering Reiki to animals, the more that we can let go – of our species differences and ego, of our need to “do” or “fix”, of our expectations about how the animals “should” behave during treatment and of our worries and fears about outcome—when we can let go and just “be” Reiki with the animals, the deeper we can go into the healing space of oneness and connection. It is in this space that all healing possibilities exist, and what a joy it is to watch the animals as they come forward to receive Reiki and take charge of their own healing processes. This coming forward might mean an animal comes physically forward to connect during a treatment, or it might mean a deeper heart opening/sharing and trust with the practitioner that can be felt by both human and animal on the emotional level. In Caroline’s story below, she clearly experiences both observational and emotional levels of healing.
During Kathleen’s visit, one of the exercises was to stand in the biggest field, which supports around 15 of the Remus horses. We all found a space and then practised one of the meditations that Kathleen had taught us earlier. We stood for about 30 minutes, far longer than I would normally have stayed if I had gone out there on my own. Standing in my stillness, with no expectation of the horses and just “being Reiki” was very powerful. It felt almost as if I had become one with the herd. There was no time, only just a very peaceful sense of “being.” Within this tranquillity, I observed horses advancing for Reiki who had never been interested before. At that very moment, I felt very tearful as I understood that there were so many animals that I had missed over the years as I had not been patient enough to wait and hold the space—to let them come forward. Standing in your own space, simply holding a space of Reiki and inviting animals into that space, takes practice and patience. It seems that just when you think nothing is going on, suddenly all of the magic happens. This was a huge lesson for me, which has changed my Reiki practice completely. –Reiki Class Participant, Caroline Thomas
Lesson 2 from the horses:
Healing Goes Two Ways…. Reiki is a wonderful way to deepen interspecies communication and understanding, since it builds bridges between species. Connecting and healing in the Reiki space is about remembering that we are all one, no matter whether we are human or horse. Sometimes the animal is healed, sometimes the person. In the below story, a horse decides to communicate very strongly to a student about an area she needed to heal.
Oh, what a beautiful experience I had whilst attending a course at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary. I shall hold this message in my heart as a precious gift given to me from a beautiful mare called Sally. Unknown to me, Sally did not usually join in Reiki. I was standing in the pasture, offering Reiki to any horses who might want some healing. Sally walked firmly up to me, placed her forehead on my chest, and began rubbing. The rub turned to a nudge, then a push, making me step backward. I felt like a child being chastised by its mother, yet I could only feel love from her, her soft kind eyes looking at me at every step backward. Around and around she pushed me. After several moments, and after she had moved gently away, giving me my space again, I realised Sally was giving me a message. “Don’t be afraid to stand your ground.” She decided that I was the one who needed some healing that day. And as I look over my life, I realize she is very correct in her assessment. I thank Sally for bringing this gift to me–it has truly helped me move forward in my life. –Reiki Class Participant, Gloria Thomas
Lesson 3 from the horses:
Allow the Horse to Lead the Treatment Horses are very wise about their healing needs, and they know Reiki can help them. If we can be still, listen, and simply “offer” Reiki, the horse has the opportunity to show us exactly how they would like to receive treatments.
“As I stood in the horse pasture at Remus, we offered some group energy healing to the horses in the same paddock and a little brown pony came up to me. He stood beside me, close to me so that I could place my hands on him. I gently placed one hand on the base of his neck, the other on his left wither and we stood quietly together for a few minutes. He then moved forwards and stopped so that his rump was next to me. I gently placed my hands on top of his rump for a few minutes. When he had taken what he needed he moved on. This was a lovely calm experience to have met this pony and for him to come and show me exactly how he wanted Reiki. –Reiki Class Participant, Sally Nares
Remus is completely dependent on public donations for the care of their wonderful animal residents. Please visit www.remussanctuary.org to find out how you can help them in their mission!
First published in Touch Magazine January 2013.
Photo © 2012