For those who engage in ritual work, spellwork, or even physical forms of detox and clearing, this may also be familiar to you. As I’ve been writing the Reiki Master Training Manual I’ve been reflecting more on some of the topics that increasingly arise in Level 2 classes and advanced workshops.
Usually it’s something along the lines of “so reiki can do no harm, and Energywork is safe but…do you think there are harmful forms of energy? Is that something we need to worry about?”
The simple answer is “Yes” and my more nuanced answer is that all energy in its raw form is inherently neutral, it just IS.
But energy can effect physical matter, and for us living in physical human bodies there are definitely energies in existence that are not great for our physical and mental health. This is a meaningful distinction even if you aren’t working on the practitioner level because I don’t think it’s wise to look at the world in black and white terms, and approach energy in the context of a power struggle. All energy has its place in the multiverse. Even chaotic, heavy, “low vibrational” energies are a part of it. Creation and destruction go hand in hand. Grief and love, hope and disappointment, joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure are all a part of the spectrum of experience. One cannot exist without its opposite.
And yet…that doesn’t mean that we can’t be harmed or even just get bogged down in heaviness by the presence of certain energies. So where does this come from?
Let’s acknowledge the exceptions to the rule. There is a LOT of, shall we say, chaos energy coming from within the spiritual world in the form of fear-mongering about entities (and they can clear it for you for $199.99! Or when you take this workshop!) as well as total denial of anything harmful in the form of Love and Light Supremacy (if you’re high vibration enough you won’t ever get sick, you’ll be a magnet for money, you’ll find your soul mate! Positive vibes only!). These extremes are not helpful.
I do believe sometimes we need some assistance from someone else if there is an energy pattern or presence that is restricting you from expansion/movement, but this cannot and I believe does not work without active collaboration. It involves making changes in your life and relationships (and your mind). More on that later…let’s step back for a moment.
How would you know, or what does it mean, to have an entrenched energy pattern, or a heavy, trauma-induced or outside energy presence that is affecting you?
I think the simplest answer is that when you’ve been working quite hard to change a pattern or shift your mindset or even your emotional state, and it either doesn’t seem to budge or it quickly returns to the way it was, there might be an energetic component.
On the linear level, emotional experiences carry energy, and patterns of experiences, especially if they begin when we are young, create an energetic resonance and changes in your personal energy system to respond adaptively to the moment. These patterns can become quite resilient even as circumstances change, and begin to create serious barriers to forward movement and change. After all, patterns are about easy repetition rather than creative expansion. The point is to quickly identify a situation and seamlessly execute a response.
Let’s simplify this to a more physical example: When I was going through my initial wrist fracture and reconstructive surgery, I was having a lot of problems with swelling. I was militantly following all the suggestions but it wasn’t helping, the doctors kept saying “are you elevating, using ice packs, taking ibuprofen?” And I would be so frustrated because I was doing everything I was supposed to do but it just wasn’t working. Then I had this thought: swelling is our body’s way of immobilizing an area that needs healing, my body is trying to heal itself right now.
It’s actually pretty phenomenal when you think about it, that fluid can seemingly materialize out of nowhere and then you can’t bend that area and nothing can move. How else should a body respond to physical trauma and the sudden MOVEMENT of something that’s not supposed to move, like a bone? It’s true that it can create problems and should be temporary, but it’s actually the body working perfectly. Getting in a power struggle with the body creates its own suffering. Meditating on this and thanking my body for working so hard towards my healing is the only thing that really helped me manage the pain psychologically; I spoke to my body to try to reassure it that I was trying to support as best I could, asking my nervous system to try to cool down a bit. Sometimes I also find it helpful to remember that pain can be a portal if we are willing to face it.
Energy stagnation, restriction and “blocks” are very much the same principle as that swollen joint, or even paralyzing fear.
They are incredible, alchemical responses to threatening and upsetting situations that are motivated towards your healing and more-so your protection. But sometimes we do get a bit stuck there. Those intrusive negative thoughts we can have about ourselves, narratives and beliefs rooted in trauma and dysfunctional, oppressive culture? I might say that is an example of a low vibrational energy that can cling to you and make it difficult to make changes, it can wield huge influence even when you don’t consciously believe it. Especially because we often can’t directly change the environmental aspects of this energy experience and its origin and we certainly can’t go back in time or change other people.
You could even consider projection, passive aggression, interjection, and (therapist favorite) “splitting” as forms of chaos energy: A dispersing of energy that is creating problems for the individual to the expense of whoever is around. I say this with some hesitation, but sometimes we experience these disturbances in ourselves more on the physical/medical level.
I definitely don’t believe that people cause their illnesses psychologically, and I think a lot of that talk is quite ableist. AND, we also know for example that those with chronic and repeated traumatic experiences are at higher risk for autoimmune disorders, inflammation, stress-related illnesses. And we could consider that in addition to physical aspects directly related to the nervous system there could also be an energetic component causing an entrenched physiological pattern.
All of these patterns and experiences I’m speaking to here are in the context of this present lifetime. But what if we consider karmic energy patterns? For those who believe in past lives, we can explore the idea that frequently our unresolved conflicts re-emerge in future lives. And so these energetic patterns may predate this current experience, and require an energetic response to resolve them. This is no small matter, taking actions to resolve karmic patterns will cause big changes and frequently not the ones you might “expect” to occur; it is a true surrender to your soul purpose, a blank check for what needs to move out of your life to make those changes.
Also, before we risk “victim blaming,” it’s important to remember that everyone has karma and karmic contracts. So yes, sometimes our karmic patterns are at the root of some of our unconscious leanings, and also other people’s karma that they’re working out in this free will universe can adversely effect us. We can’t change or direct the energy of others (or we shouldn’t imho), but we can clear and protect ourselves because this is a free will universe and you have free will too! Often we might question ourselves in heavy conflicts and say “what am I supposed to learn from this, what is the point?” and it’s useful to consider that sometimes it’s not your lesson.
On the mind level, and somewhat on the body level, many of us do various kinds of clearings (expression) and protection (boundaries) in therapy or self-care even if we don’t call it that. There’s no “one way” to clear, shift, and release energy. A limitation of that work though is that without energetic awareness there is a high risk of those patterns establishing themselves, sometimes in new ways. You know what I’m talking about…the same type of relationship you keep getting into and it always seems a surprise, or a pattern of overworking, or not caring for your body.
Energetic awareness allows us notice earlier on when those patterns are reforming. That heightened nervous system is a perfect tool alongside this if we can learn to interpret the information accurately. This is another reason why we may want to begin that work with an objective other who can guide and assist us, and work together to identify and move energy that is not in our best service in this moment. And over time we can do this for ourselves, seeking assistance occasionally when we need it.
Honestly sometimes I go to my own sessions these days not even because I “need” another person’s help but more because it’s an act of love to myself to not do it alone just because I could do it alone. It’s nice to have a witness! It’s a karmic contract I’m rewriting. And it’s especially helpful when there’s a lot of fear involved.
The other essential piece to clearing is protection, or filling that void space with what you would like to experience instead. Just like when you weed your whole garden, mix in some beautiful and rich compost, and prepare for planting you have also created the ideal conditions for ALL plants to grow there (including more weeds!), you need to pay attention afterwards to make sure your new plantings get a good start.
It doesn’t mean you did a poor job, but it does take maintenance. Energetic clearing takes maintenance too. Depending on how old and resilience those patterns are, it may take quite some time of painstaking awareness until something new is more established. Again, I would venture to say in gardening that it’s just a part of the process, it’s part of growing plants intentionally. And I believe clearing, release, and protection are just a part of what healing often is. You could fight it and say “but why do I have to keep doing it, does this mean I’m failing?” or you can accept it and perhaps learn to enjoy the process.
Finally, we need to extend that to our to our space where we live/work/play as well. Protecting our space is a natural extension of protecting our energy. After you’ve spent all this time and effort clearing and releasing, you want to be thoughtful and clear about what you want and what you don’t want around you. Often times in fact, when clearing is very effective we are soon presented with opportunities in our environments to either continue the pattern change or revert back. Sometimes this is quite unpleasant and can even feel like a test. Examples in my own life include doing intensive cord cutting with someone causing me a lot of harm and mere hours later getting a vitriolic email from that person; another time I literally experienced the sudden onset of severe digestive upset moments after a clearing ritual. It can be intense!
This is where maintenance is key: connecting to your protection work and barriers, and taking the time to respond differently than you normally would. For the curious, in this instance it looked like allowing my feelings about it to flow freely, but responding to that message from a place that sought to neutralize the contact rather than defend or argue; my intention was to end the draining, abusive relationship rather than to get my point across or make them understand my experience. I have not heard from them again.
In the second example, I did some deep breathing, drank a bunch of water and supported my body as it recalibrated. I said thank you, for this release.
Depending on the degree to which there is a conscious intention on the other end of energy intrusion, we may need to do this a few times or regularly for a period of time. With practice this starts to become more unconscious, to shift your energetic boundaries in response to certain feelings or sensory data. And if that sounds a lot like aspects of trauma response- it is! But unlike something that developed and is maintained unconsciously, this type of pattern setting starts with intention from where you are today. And can be adjusted as you grow and change.
Everything I have just shared is an integral part of my own daily life, and it’s been a long time coming to highlight it directly in the work I offer to others. A few of you have noticed that I have quietly added “energetic clearing and release sessions” to my online booking, and this is what that is! Each session is unique to you and your needs, but includes collaborative energy movement, and a plan for maintenance and protection which can also be extended to your home. After much encouragement and a bit of a harder push from those I’ve been practicing with, I’ve also decided to include a brief psychic reading in the clearing and release sessions, to help deepen insight and hone in on the changes that may be necessary to continue the energetic shift. The emphasis is placed on how you can continue the work when our session has ended.
I believe emphatically, as many of you already know, that all healing is self-healing, and I want you to walk away from sessions feeling confident and empowered to heal yourself. I am merely a guide, a witness, and objective other with the tolerance, grounding and awareness to hold that space for you, whether you “need it” or simply desire not to do it alone.
And for those wanting to explore this more on your own, I’ve made you this recording of a visualization for energetic protection ⚡️🕸