In 1996 I was in the final stages of completing my training as a Reiki Master Teacher, and had not yet made the transition to working full-time as a healer. At the time I was working at Worcester Magazine, and I had offered Reiki to so many of my co-workers with headaches and other issues that my publisher/boss decided to interview me for their regular feature on people of interest. Revisiting this interview helped me realize that my love for Reiki is undiminished after all these years, and reminded me of how grateful I am for Reiki’s place in my life. I was surprised to see that the seeds of my current mission as Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing were already germinating—planted by the animals and nurtured by the Reiki energy.
The photo that originally appeared with this interview is no longer available, so I reached into the vaults for this photo of my beloved half Irish Wolfhound Cerne making me laugh. I felt that the moment said it all about my love for the animals. And Cerne was one of my animal teachers for the beginning of my journey in Reiki. He was truly one-of-a-kind!
Worcester Magazine, “One on One,” November 20, 1996
by Allen Fletcher
Rose De Dan is a student and practitioner of Reiki, an ancient, natural energy-healing system. She specializes in the treatment of animals. Born in South Jersey, N.J., she came to Worcester to attend Clark University. Since her graduation, she has been a free-lance graphic designer, getting involved with a variety of niches in the printing industry and desktop publishing. She is 37 years old and is studying to be a Level 3 Reiki Master.
I guess we’re going to have to start with what Reiki is all about. What is it all about?
Reiki is a form of natural energy healing. And it works. A lot of people equate it with the chakra system or the endocrine system or the Chinese meridians. Reiki works with universal life force energy, and it removes blockages in the energy centers of your body so that the energy can circulate freely. If there are blockages in the system, then you become out of balance. That’s when people usually experience dis-ease or discomfort or illness. Reiki often does restore the balance. It’s not a cure-all for everything, but it does work very well on an emotional, spiritual, and physical level.
And how did you get involved with it?
I had always wanted, all my life, to be a healer but I thought it was something that you either had to be born with the ability or maybe it wasn’t possible. I ended up taking a Reiki seminar. I didn’t expect anything from it, but I was completely astounded by my experience with it. It really bowled me over. I could feel the energy [during the attunement process].
And what did it feel like?
First of all, I could feel like an electrical charge—you know what it feels like to grab an electrical cord, and not get electrocuted, but just that buzz? It was like that. Not quite as strong, but definitely reminiscent of it. It was slightly rough, like an engine that needs its carburetor tuned.
Where did you feel it?
In my hands. I could feel the energy flowing out of my hands. In the third [attunement] I felt…there must have been a blockage in whatever chakra she was working on [Kathleen Wilkes was my teacher for Level I], because I felt as if someone had lit a blast furnace in my chest. I was hot; I started sweating. Some people see colors; some people have all kinds of different experiences. It’s different for everyone.
And this was compelling?
It was as though a light bulb went on. I found what I had been looking for. I saw a way to follow my desire to heal, to make a difference. It was as though somebody gave me this huge Christmas present. A gift I had never expected, the ability to heal.
When you talk about energy is this literal or metaphorical? What is energy up to in us? How does it flow?
Energy is all around us. It’s all a part of life, and from what I understand it’s measurable by science. I honestly don’t know where the energy comes from. It is said to surround all living things everywhere. The energy that I can feel passing through me, it usually comes in through the crown chakra and then down and out through the hands.
And you have a sensation of it entering you?
Yes. Not everyone draws energy at the same rate. The Reiki is said to have an intelligence of its own. If, for instance, you complain of having a headache and I treat you for headache, you might experience a sensation…of heat in your stomach. You might have an ulcer that you did not know about. We don’t diagnose. The Reiki will often seek out areas that were not necessarily your intention or my intention when we began the treatment. It follows its own path and produces sometimes a very interesting result.
What is your intuitive sense of what the energy is doing? Is it scouring out the pathways?
In some instances, that’s what it feels like. There have been times when I’ve felt a blockage release. The energy flow feels slow or weak, and all of a sudden sometimes I’ll feel a shift. It’s hard to say how I feel that, but it’s in the energy flow, as though something slid away. Then, all of a sudden, the energy comes pouring through. When that happens I get very hot. Most people experience Reiki as heat. A lot of times when I perform Reiki on someone they’ll say, “Gee, your hands are hot.”
I interviewed a Christian healer and he described a sensation of heat and of being a conduit or passage for something. Do you think that’s the same thing?
I think it’s all the same thing. I think everyone has a different way of speaking about it—a different pathway, perhaps, of it getting there or distributing it. The nice thing about the Reiki system is that it imposes no religious beliefs on anybody. For the most part, the practitioners that I have met have been from all walks and all belief systems.
How does it fit into your own belief systems?
Ten years ago, I never thought I would be speaking like this. I had rejected many things when I was much younger, including a belief system as far as the universe was concerned. I make Reiki sound like I’ve become a born-again Christian, which is not the case. But many things began to click into place and I realized I do have a belief system. It is a belief system that is not easily quantifiable, but it involves the unity of life. My belief is that all life is interconnected and related. The web of life—you touch one strand and it has repercussions. Some people think of it as Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. Everything we do touches things in ways that we can’t possibly know.
And the Reiki enables you to pluck it in a positive way?
My reason for becoming [a] Reiki Master is that I work with animals (I also work with humans). Humans and animals are definitely interconnected in this world, and our society has really separated the two, much to both sides’—I believe—distress. What I want to do is to try in any small way, with whatever skills I have, to bring people and the animal world closer together. There is a big split, and I believe that if that split continues to widen—well, I see the pendulum swinging back, but I have no way of knowing if we’ve gone too far or how far back it will come. But I’m trying to point out to people that we are all energetic, spiritual beings. Animals are spiritual beings as well, and they have paths that they are on and—not to get too weird—but each has its own destiny in life.
I bet you voted against steel leg hold traps.
Do they have the same feelings as humans?
Anyone who thinks that animals don’t think and don’t feel has never truly lived with them and attempted to understand them from their perspective. We try too much to impose our views of how a communication should be and what is possible. Animals can communicate on a daily basis. Any dog trainer will tell you that you can communicate with a dog in their language. They do understand a tremendous amount of what we say—not, obviously, in as complex a manner as you or I would.
How can you tell if an animal is getting it with Reiki?
On the animal, try as you might, you can’t use persuasion like you could with a human. You can’t convince your cat, “This will make you feel better.” It has to be real for the cat to experience relief and demonstrate it. They can only respond in a genuine fashion. They cannot lie. All the animals that I have Reikied have been demonstrative in their behavior and how they felt and how they looked. Without exception.
Do you perceive Worcester to be fertile ground for Reiki?
I think there is a renaissance or a building here in New England of openness to alternative therapy, alternative ways of looking at things. Worcester is not as progressive as some areas of New England, but it’s more progressive than other areas of the country. Change comes slowly to Worcester. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think Worcester has held up a lot of more traditional values. I have a positive attitude about Worcester.
© Worcester Magazine
Note from Rose: Since 1999 I now call Seattle home. I began my Reiki training in 1995 and I’ve learned much during that time—as life and the energy teaches me I grow and learn and, like fine wine, hopefully deepen in complexity and ability. But I have not lost my enthusiasm for what the energy can do to help in everyone’s lives—whether you experience a session or take training yourself—it is possible to change your life for the better through energy healing.
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.