Spending an afternoon with my friend PoetWoman is always wonderful. We eat lunch together, we go for walks, we share poetry, and we talk about all kinds of stuff. Several years ago, she and I took classes in reiki together so sometimes when we get together, I set up the portable massage table at my house, and we do reiki.
Reiki is both a healing method and a spiritual practice, a centuries-old practice that resurfaced in Japan in the 1800s and came to this country much later. Loosely, translated, reiki means universal life force energy. The energy is channeled through the hands of the reiki practioner, who holds them just above or sometimes rests them on the other person.
A reiki session is usually quite relaxing, much like getting a massage. I always keep a candle burning nearby, and I rub my forearms with essential oils like ylang ylang or lavender. Reiki is done slowly, peacefully, gently. When I do reiki, my palms usually get so warm that they tingle.
I've had a bad cold all week, with a cough that keeps me awake all night, and I've been really overtired and miserable, in need of some healing energy. So yesterday after a walk in the woods and a nice lunch, we set up the massage table. I stretched out with my eyes closed, and PoetWoman did reiki on my sinuses, which felt just great. I could feel all this heat coming through her hands. Soon I was feeling all peaceful and zenlike.
"Wow, I can really feel the warmth," I said to her. It was relaxing to feel that warmth, and smell the candle burning. For some reason, the burning smell was especially strong.
"Yeah, I am getting really hot," she said, "The energy is really --- AAHH!"
I sat up quickly, and saw flames shooting from her long black t-shirt, which had been dangling near the candle. PoetWoman had backed into the candle and caught on fire.
So the reiki session ended with wild screams, hurried attempts to douse the flames, her stripping the shirt off and tossing it into the sink, and then both of us laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.