I began my Reiki journey studying with Virginia Samdahl for a week at a Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship conference in the summer of 1978 at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. As one of the intuitive readers at the international conference, I got to pick which class I wanted to attend the week of the gathering. Although I had never heard of this "Reiki" thing, I was intrigued, and chose that.
As it turns out, it was a perfect match. Virginia was the first occidental master attuned by Hawayo Takata, the person credited with bringing this energy healing practice to the west. Virginia and Ethel Lombardi, another Takata Reiki Master, were both teaching at that conference. And a third Takata Reiki Master-to-be, Barbara Weber, was in Virginia's class with me, also being attuned to Reiki Level 1. She later added "Ray" to her name.
One thing that really stays in my mind about that week -- a lot of people were apparently questioning the validity of this new "Reiki" thing. Ethel told people if they wanted PROOF, they were to join her outside at a specific time, on a specific day. A large crowd assembled at the appointed hour. Ethel told everyone to look at the sun, and wait. Since I have a sentimental attachment to my retinas, I chose to observe the crowd instead. After a few minutes people started gasping...apparently some felt it looked as if the sun was pulsing. And apparently that silenced the doubters.
I don't remember Virginia being part of this "proof" event. Rather, I vividly recall her honest enthusiasm and joy at sharing this new modality. She told us repeatedly that some of us were going to go on to do great things with Reiki. She also agreed to let me interview her for a magazine article which is also included on this website.
Reiki Rocks My World
Reiki opened up a whole new world for me. It boosted the depth of my intuitive readings, and made me increasingly aware of the deep consciousness of all things. When I had a near-death experience from a brain aneurysm in 1989, I required a craniotomy to cut off the top of my skull so my neurosurgeon could put a clip on the ruptured vein. I was not expected to survive the complicated surgery, and if I did, I was expected to be paralyzed, or mute, or both. I was completely fine. But what astounded the doctors even more was that I refused morphine post surgery, and opted instead to use Reiki.
When my husband was diagnosed with metastasized melanoma and decided to endure a week of intensive chemotherapy in 2000, he had to be admitted to the hospital because of the strength and toxicity of the drugs. I was constantly bombarding him with Reiki. He felt so energized that during the actual chemo treatments, he and I would be walking up and down the halls of the hospital, talking and laughing, with him pushing the IV pole along beside him. When the doctors and nurses would come into his room and ask him if he felt like he was going to throw up, he brightly answered he felt like he wanted a hamburger. He had NO ill effects. Instead of asking why this patient was having such a completely different experience, the medical team chose to ignore the elephant in the room, and Paul's unique response. I'm happy to say hundreds of hospitals now incorporate Reiki healers into their medical teams.
Achieving Reiki Master Teacher Level
It wasn't until after Paul's death in February of 2001 that I decided to go on to Reiki Mastery, and did an intensive study with Reiki Master Phil Vande-Riet. I still didn't feel called to begin teaching Reiki until 2008. That's when I contacted Reiki Master Teacher Jeni Prigmore, who is also the co-founder of Universal Brotherhood Movement, the church that ordained me as a minister-director in 1984. I repeated Reiki levels 1 and 2 with Jeni, and began teaching. Because I was unable to locate my Reiki Master certificate from Phil, I was attuned to Reiki Master a second time in 2017 with Reiki Master Wendy Nethersole. Wendy and her husband Jay Whitham are the founders of Anam Cara Foundation, Illuminating Soul Path and Purpose.
Since 2008, I have attuned hundreds to Reiki Level 1, the youngest being just 6 years old, and Level 2. To date, I have also attuned 28 Reiki Masters.
Historian Bradley Quick, himself a Reiki Healer, did extensive research to create my complete Reiki Lineage chart. Bradley used the traditional Japanese terms to indicate specific levels of study:
I really appreciate your work on this project, Bradley! Thank you.