I was privileged to return to Essex, England this year to teach Reiki and celebrate Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary’s 30th year. Sue Burton, the sanctuary’s founder, has dedicated her life to helping horses and other farm animals in need. Remus provides excellent care and rehabilitation to over 200 horses, ponies, donkeys, sheep, goats, cows and cats. Remus is an amazing place, being voted The U.K.’s #1 Horse Sanctuary and recently honored by a personal visit from the Countess of Wessex. Remus is truly a one-of a-kind sanctuary, in that it emphasizes not only the physical health and wellbeing of its residents, but also nurtures their mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well. Holistic in its approach, Remus uses many therapies to help its animals, including offering a complete Reiki program, based upon the ethics and principles of The Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA).
When I was little, one of my favorite picture books told the story of Urashima Taro…
This is an old Shinto story that tells of a kingdom of serpent people under the sea, where the Dragon King, Ryu-wo, ruled in a spectacular palace of crystal and coral. He was said to have a human body, and a serpent entwined in his crown. Known for his nobility and wisdom, Ryu-wo was a guardian of the Shinto faith. People who had fallen into the sea were said to have lived on forever in the kingdom of Ryu-wo. In the story, Urashima Taro goes to live at the bottom of the sea with the Dragon Princess, and while there he experiences perfect balance, wellness, harmony, and a timeless, ageless space. To me this undersea kingdom is a great metaphor for the Reiki space—a space beyond all boundaries—boundaries of species, boundaries of life and death… a place where all is one and we can open to all possibilities.
Compassion and Reiki: Where does one end and the other begin? A recent trip to Apopka, Florida, to teach Reiki at the CARE Foundation, a sanctuary for exotic wildlife such as alligators, bears, tigers and panthers, helped me to understand more fully compassion as a concept within the system of Reiki.