I made this essential oil blend to help practitioners and their clients connect with the reiki energy on both a physical and spiritual level.
I’m an aromatherapist who has studied reiki both here and in Japan and know how powerful both these therapies can be. For me, Japan is the place where Reiki began and so it was only natural that I would want to use Japanese essential oils in a special reiki blend. I also feel a connection with Kannon (Quan Yin) having experienced a heartfelt connection to her while participating in the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. I also listened to her mantra being chanted while making this blend with the intention that this too would enter the blend. Finally I allowed the oils in each layer to blend by using the reiki symbols rather than the traditional way in a single blend which is shaking the bottle.
I made a four layered blend with one or more days between each layer, which gave the oils and energies time to blend. It reflects Reiki’s journey with the first layer being the foundation layer – the time from Mikao Usui’s birth until his enlightenment on Mt Kurama. The bottle sat next to a tiny statue of Kannon that travelled with me to her temples in Japan and absorbed the energy of those places. Statues of her are also inside the entrances of both Mt Kurama and Saihoji where Usui is buried so I feel it is very fitting that she is in this blend particularly as she is the Goddess of compassion.
Layer One – The Foundation Layer
Mikao Usui was born in 1865 into a samurai family. This was a time of great change in Japan. The country had only recently reopened its borders after 200 years of isolation to all except a few selected Dutch and Chinese merchants but even these were restricted to Dejima in Nagasaki bay.
He was a Buddhist but would have also held Shinto (native Japanese religion) beliefs, which is still common today. We know very little about his early life but he was well read and travelled to Europe and America and studied in China according to the memorial stone erected by his students at his gravesite. I think it was his ability and interest in the martial arts with their strong emphasis on spirituality as well as his interests in medicine, history, religions and Taoism that led him to begin teaching his method of spiritual practice and healing which included the five precepts. By the time he came to Mt Kurama he had been teaching and following his own spiritual practices for a while which allowed him to be open to the enlightenment he was to receive and to establish his reiki practice and school.
Interestingly enough the word reiki as it is applied to this therapy is not so well known in Japan except to the people who practice it. I remember writing to a friend in Japan saying I was going to be doing a course there and she wrote back asking what I was doing.
Layer Two – Mt Kurama
For those who have the chance to visit Mt Kurama I highly recommend that you do. There is such a peaceful feel to the area and if you go early you can almost have the mountain to yourself.
According to the memorial stone at his gravesite Usui meditated and fasted for 21 days and on the final day he attained enlightenment and the Reiki ability (Reiki Ryoho).
Although most Japanese don’t know about Reiki they do visit Mt Kurama to soak up the peaceful atmosphere and ask for blessings as it is considered a sacred mountain. It is probably for this reason that Mikao Usui went to Mt Kurama. It is also possible that there are no records of his time there because he didn’t inform the monks of his plans.
I caught the local train at Demachiyanagi station to Kurama. I think it must have been the school train as children got on at each station loaded down with their backpacks which seemed almost as big as them. The mothers said goodbye at each station leaving them in the care of 2 or 3 other mothers or maybe they were teachers.
Once we reached Kurama station I followed them through the village and up the steps to the temple entrance. Here I paid my 200 yen entrance, greeted Kannon and continued up the mountain enjoying the peace. The children meanwhile had stopped to acknowledge the statues of the Six Jizo before entering their nursery school.
At that time of morning there was hardly anyone else around. I passed a monk setting up his stall for the day and another man coming down the mountain but apart from them I didn’t see anyone else until I reached the main temple and even there I had the place to myself for a short while.
On my way to the main temple I was able to enjoy the sounds of waterfalls and the birds singing. I could well imagine Mikao Usui coming here to meditate.
Once at the main temple I stood in the centre of the mandala and each of the four points. I had read that you can feel the reiki energy differently depending where you stand and I found this to be true for me.
Up to this point it had been very peaceful but soon there were other people visiting and the high school students crossing the square on their way to somewhere so it was no longer quiet. I stayed a little longer and then went down the mountain again and back to Kyoto as I was having a reiki lesson with my Japanese teacher.
Funnily enough it was on that day that I bought the first of my Japanese oils. I was a little early for my lesson and noticed an aromatherapy school with its shop on the ground floor of my teacher’s building and so as I had the time I went in to look.
While adding the second layer I was thinking of the above while also listening to the sounds of the monks chanting Kannon’s mantra and the sounds of Mount Kurama.
For anyone interested in learning more about Mt Kurama I can recommend Jessica A. Miller’s book Reiki’s Birthplace. I wish I had had it when I visited Mt Kurama and I’ll certainly take it when I go again. It is full of pictures of Mt Kurama and some interesting reiki facts.
Layer 3 – Saihoji
Mikao Usui received his enlightenment in 1922 and died in March 1926 in Fukuyama in Hiroshima prefecture. He was travelling to teach another class in his healing art. It is remarkable that in four short years he was able to reach enough people who were interested in his teachings to carry on his work and for it to spread to the west. I think Reiki is better known outside Japan than in it but hopefully that is changing.
The day I visited it was overcast and had been raining. I was up early in order to avoid the crowded trains and also because I wanted to visit one of my favourite temples in Tokyo, Sensoji or the Asakusa Kannon Temple in Asakusa. The entrance is lined with many shops selling all kinds of knickknacks, but once past these, the temple grounds themselves are very quiet even though they are surrounded by noisy traffic. It’s an oasis of peace among the chaos. If you are in Tokyo take the time to visit as it is one of those rare popular temples where you don’t need to pay an entrance fee.
After spending time there I caught the subway to Shin-koenji station but took the wrong exit. I followed what I thought were the right directions but couldn’t find the temple. Having spotted the local fire station I went in and asked directions. Luckily I had the address written in Japanese and after some discussion among themselves the firemen were able to locate the address on their huge map on the wall and give me directions.
Once pointed in the right direction I realised my mistake. I should have come out of the entrance on the opposite side of the street. I continued on but once again I thought I had made a mistake and turned back the way I had come. I checked addresses of houses to make sure I was in the right chome. Street addresses are not always straightforward in Tokyo and so I asked a few people but they didn’t seem to know where it was. Finally an older gentleman shook his head no but must have suddenly remembered because he called me back and started leading me in the right direction. He then checked with a lady on a bike and she took me a little further and showed me the grounds explaining I’d need to follow the street around to the entrance. It was at this point that I realised I had been right before and had only to follow the street around and I would have been there but then I wouldn’t have met those kind people.
I entered the temple grounds. A school on my left and a large temple bell on my right. Kannon was also there to greet me. Saihoji is a temple with a graveyard attached for the local people. The locals perhaps wonder why foreigners visit as they don’t know about reiki or that Usui founded reiki unless they take the time to read his memorial stone. It is very large and can easily be seen from the end of the path.
Saihoji itself is very peaceful with only the sounds of the crows flying overhead. Usui was cremated as is the usual practice in Japan and his ashes lie with those of his family. There is a tree shading the plot which dripped raindrops as I stood underneath it taking photos and thinking of the man who gave reiki to the world. Eventually it was time to go but I would like to return again when the weather is fine.
Layer 4 – Reiki Practitioners
As I added the final layer to the reiki blend I thought about the many people who have continued on Usui’s work, for without them reiki would not be known or helping people today.
First and foremost is Dr Chujiro Hayashi who developed his own style of reiki, something that continues today. He taught reiki to his Japanese students who in turn taught their students. Many of these current reiki masters are unknown outside Japan but a few such as Tadao Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Doi and Hyakuten Inamoto are known in some reiki circles. There are still many more Japanese practitioners who practice reiki but do not teach foreign students or other Japanese outside their circle.
Dr Chujiro Hayashi’s most famous student Hawayo Takata singlehandedly brought reiki to the West. Although she told many myths about Dr Usui this is understandable given the times in which she lived. Without her and her students reiki would probably be unknown in the West.
There are also those who chose to look beyond Hawayo Takata’s teachings and travel to Japan to bring back knowledge of the Japanese teachings including Frank Arjava Petter, William Rand and in Australia Frans and Bronwen Stiene. These among others have enriched our knowledge of Reiki.
Reiki continues today because of those mentioned above and the many thousands of reiki practitioners and students worldwide who continue to use it on themselves and others. There are now many different forms of reiki, some of which Mikao Usui would not recognize, but all are done with the intention of bringing healing to the person receiving the energy. Intention is the most important aspect of reiki and the one thing that all reiki practices have in common.
Essential oils and in particular this blend coupled with intention create a strong connection between the person receiving reiki and reiki itself. Both Reiki and this blend work for the highest good of the person receiving them.
The blend is used as an anointing oil. One drop of oil is placed into the palm of your hand and then both palms are gently rubbed together. Both the giver and recipient can inhale the blend from the giver’s palms, a drop can also be placed on the receiver’s body or feet if that seems appropriate. It can also be used in distant healing.
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or prescribe for any medical condition. It is not meant to replace the care or advice your doctor gives you. If you have any concerns please consult your doctor, or professionally trained aromatherapist.
About the author: Carole Hodges is a professional aromatherapist and massage therapist who has trained in Australia and abroad. She has been using essential oils with her clients for over 15 years and continues to update her knowledge. She uses reiki in her work and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
©Carole Hodges, The Fragrant Bridge