Sarah Gregg - The Reiki Drum Technique

The OmAbout twenty five years ago I sat in a yoga class and chanted my first Aum (Om) repeatedly with a group of yogis until my whole body was pulsing with the powerful vibration of the Om sound.    The profound effect it had on me at the time was such that I have been drawn to mantra, chanting, toning and sacred songs ever since.   Working with the voice in this way has numerous benefits.  When we make vocal sounds in this fashion we can incorporate breath control and as we deepen the breath, we start to relax and relieve tension.  Using the voice as a self-healing practise in any of the above methods is good for relieving stress, can heal at a deep cellular level, clear the energy body of accrued negativity, raise our own vibrational frequency and that of our environment, connect with higher spiritual powers, help focus the mind and put us into a meditative state.  It can bring about certain desired energetic states through intention, elevate our moods, open up, align and balance the throat chakra primarily, but all of the energy centres in reality and is a wonderful mode of self-expression.  When we do voice work in a group situation, the effects are amplified. 

Japanese Buddhist Monks ChantingngSo when I discovered during my Reiki training that the traditional system of Reiki incorporated sacred chants as part of its healing methods, I was overjoyed!  I was introduced to the Usui Reiki Kotodama meaning “words carrying spirit” by one of my teachers during a Reiju empowerment in a Master Teacher class.    I had received Reiju before in a group situation, but found that the whole experience was so much deeper and again, quite profound as she toned the Kotodama into my energy field.

It is more usual for the Kotodama to be taught in traditional Eastern/Japanese Reiki teachings and not so much in the classes which originate from a Western lineage, although some teaching Masters have incorporated them into their classes.  As with many things “Reiki” there are many different stories of why and how the Kotodama came to be introduced into the system, but most Reiki scholars agree they were introduced by Mikao Usui as a way of working with and differentiating the different vibrations of the energies used in the system of Reiki.

Hidden-Messages-WaterOriginally a Shinto discipline, the term Kotodama refers both to the spiritual power of a word and also to the fact that spiritual power can be manifested by intonation of certain words.  The Japanese people believe that positive and beautiful sounding words can create a positive effect on something, whereas negative sounding words would have a negative effect.  The late Masuro Emoto  demonstrated this effectively in his research with water and ice crystals.  In his work he subjected different samples of water from a single  source to a variety of different vibrations in terms of words and music.  Freezing the water, he then photographed the ice crystals which resulted.  His findings showed that the water exposed to lighter, purer vibrations created more beautiful ice crystals than those subjected to heavier, denser vibrations.

When attuned to the traditional Reiki symbols or energies, all Reiki students are taught the unique mantras or names of the associated energies they have been attuned to and how to pronounce them.   These mantra are known as Jumon which means “magical spell or mystical incantation” and each of the four traditional Usui Reiki Shirushi (symbols) have their own unique Jumon or mantra which differ to the Reiki Kotodama.    All of the Reiki symbols have had different characteristics assigned to them over time, but the most important aspect pertaining to each one is their own particular vibration.  Using the Kotodama, the practitioner works with the vibration of the energy in a slightly different way.

The Usui Reiki Kotodama practise use both vowel sounds and primary consonant sounds and can be used in a variety of ways.  I have chanted, toned and sung the Kotodama, as well as working with them silently.  Following the ethos of Reiki as a system of self-healing primarily, I personally like to work with the Kododama for my own spiritual well-being, incorporating them as part of my own personal practise by working with them for around 20 minutes. I have also used them whilst giving Reiki treatments, distant healing, Reiki drumming and creating sacred space.

Buddhist Healing ChantsWhen I started teaching Reiki Drumming and Karuna Reiki, and began to meet more and more people from other lineages, I realised that the Kotodama were barely touched upon during the Usui Reiki training and certainly not afforded a large portion of time.  I was guided to develop a day’s workshop which allowed students of Reiki to come together to work with these sacred chants in a group situation. Working with the Kotodama for personal spiritual use is amazing, but working in a group energy makes for a very deep and powerful experience.  During the day we work practically and experientially with the Kotodama for deep and insightful personal healing.  We work with the sacred chants in a variety of ways and I have incorporated other healing Buddhist chants which are introduced throughout the day and which can be used for one’s own healing or for the healing of others.  Working in the group in this way is hugely transformational.

Please visit the Usui Reiki Kotodama Workshop Page for further information.  This year the workshop is being held on Sunday June 7th and I have started to take bookings.  Because of the benefits of working in a group energy in this way, it is not uncommon for students to come back and repeat the workshop.  Because we work with the Level Two/Okuden energies, students need to have at least trained to this level.   For those Masters who join the training, we will also be working with the Kotodama of the Master energy.    If you would like to learn more about the sacred chants of the System of Reiki, then please come and immerse yourself in this beautiful group energy.

Here are some comments from recent workshops: 

“Thank you for arranging a wonderful day yesterday. I feel cleansed and cleared in some places and enlightened in others!  Would happily do another.”

“Heartfelt thanks for creating such a lovely space in which to deepen my connection to Reiki and express myself yesterday.  Pure joy and lots of fun.    I shifted some old and more recent “stuff” and cleared several layers”.

“Thank you for an amazing Kotodama day yesterday. The sacred sounds and the vibrational energy relieved tension I had been carrying around. I will try to do more chanting at home for my well-being.”

“Thank you so much for a great day!  It’s very helpful for us to revise and learn new techniques and to have a fun day with such a great group of Reiki people from far and wide!”

© Sarah Gregg 2015

Forthcoming Highlighted Events

  • 31 January/1 February – Reiki One (Shoden) – Sawbridgeworth
  • 5 February – Monthly Reiki Share (no booking required) Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall 7-10 pm £5
  • 7 & 8 February  – Reiki Two (Okuden) – Sawbridgeworth
  • 21 & 22 February – Holy Fire Karuna Reiki  I & II Practitioner – Sawbridgeworth
  • 5 March –  Monthly Reiki Share (no booking required) Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall 7-10 pm £5
  • 7 & 8 March – Reiki Drum Practitioner Training – Sawbridgeworth
  • 13-15 March – Holy Fire Karuna Reiki Master Teacher Training – Sawbridgeworth
  • 22nd March – Annual Spring Equinox Reiki Drum Share, Sheering, Essex 10:00-16:30 pm £20
  • 2 April – Monthly Reiki Share (no booking required) Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall 7-10 pm £5
  • 11 & 12 April  – Reiki One (Shoden) – Sawbridgeworth
  • 18 & 19 April -Sacred Sound & Light Immersion Training – Sawbridgeworth
  • 7th June – Usui Reiki Kotodama Workshop – Sawbridgeworth
  • 13th-17th July – Annual Reiki Retreat, Glastonbury, Somerset



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