Monday, June 23, 2008

Beginner's Guide to Reiki by David F. Vennells

Beginner’s Guide to Reiki: Mastering the Healing Touch by David F. Vennells is a decent introduction to Reiki. I had hoped it would be a good choice of text to share with people who are curious about Reiki, something I could recommend. I especially hoped that I could give it to my mother so she could read up on it. Unfortunately, the volume I have is poorly edited, there are pages literally missing, and the Vennells is a little too New Age for my taste.

I appreciate his choosing to share the history of Reiki as well as the now disproved story behind Reiki’s roots. Many texts written about Reiki after the false history was shown to be erroneous will allude to the history but not share it. I found it interesting to read and agree with his theory as to why this story was created. I also appreciate his choosing not to share the symbols, which some Reiki texts will do. Although these symbols are not considered sacred, there is something to having them not revealed until the right time.

Unfortunately, the erroneous information shared is frustrating. On page 121 Vennells says that the Reiki practitioner can do a distance healing after the First Level Attunement. However, this not traditionally taught until the Second Level and I am surprised that Vennells suggests that this is taught so early.

But more frustrating are the numerous grammatical errors. Here are just a few examples:
• Sometimes when we are setting intentions, . . . it may helpful to say or think the intention three times (172).
• You may find it helpful to practice while treating yourself sitting in a chair, as it easy to fall asleep when laying down (174).
• A mantra is a special word or group of words that, when spoken or thought, have a positive effect on the mind and body (175).
• Buddha Avalokiteshvara had such a great wish to help others that he blessed his own name so that when anyone one said it three times they should receive relief from fear (176-77).

So what am I going to do with this book now that I have finished it? I am going to throw it away. After all, it is missing pages (publisher’s fault), is filled with grammatical errors (editor’s fault), and does not explain Reiki correctly (author’s fault).

(The book cover I used is not the same volume because the one I have is apparently out of print. This is possibly a good thing and hopefully the new edition makes up for the mistakes in the previous one.)

Quotes from the book that I found interesting enough to want to remember:

Reiki Intentions (based on Reiki Principles)
Today I am peaceful.
Today I am relaxed.
Today I am grateful.
Today I work hard (meditative/spiritual practice).
Today I am kind to others. (139)

How do you relate to each principle, and what do they communicate to you? Which are particularly challenging and which particular situations or people come to mind with those principles? Regular meditation on a particular principle, and self-treatment with the appropriate Reiki intention, are the best ways to develop the qualities we need to transform our personal issues (141).


  1. Well my dear, I don't think I would want you reviewing anything I wrote. Have you understood what Reiki is? Do you practice it at all? Are you a beginner, or practitioner, or teacher of Reiki?
    I find it rather insulting to degrade this valuable book for its grammatical errors (I am sorry to say that I could only agree with the first one you pointed out - my grammar must be awful!!) Rather than highlight the fact that David Vennells has written this book on a great subject, has included many wonderful techniques. I have it as a must in my library and recommend it to my Reiki Students.

    1. "My dear" is one of those wonderfully condescending terms, isn't it? Any time I've heard or read someone using it, inevitably what follows is unkind and lacks compassion.

      If you had read my blog and/or my book review blog you would see I adore Penelope Quest and the Stiene's books on Reiki. William Lee Rand is praised as well.

      You know what is lovely about the publishing world? They understand that there are a plethora of people in this world and not everyone reads the same books or even enjoys the same ones. This is why, and maybe you have noticed this, more than one book on any given subject is published because some people prefer different reading resources.

      Sandy Cee, I never encourage anyone to ask me to review their books because I certainly don't hold back when I do so. What I adore, as I do The Japanese Art of Reiki I recommend to anyone and everyone. What I find dull and uninspiring, I will likewise explain as such.

      And I am not answering your questions because I don't believe they are asked out of any genuine love, certainly the cannot be asked of me in the spirit of Reiki, because you clearly want to see it as insulting that I don't like something you like. I also don't like yellow mustard. I hope you don't find that insulting. I don't like chick flicks.

      I'm not you.

      If you disagree with my review, as you clearly do, I invite you to write one of your own so that others can read it. But why must I agree with you and your preferences? And why, if you feel differently about this one book, can you not consider that there are other areas of life and even Reiki with which we would agree?

      You found what you wanted and left your mean-spirited comment. I chose to publish it so that others would know that there are people who like this book. But you could have said as much without being condescending or rude and I feel that your comment reflects poorly on Reiki in general and if I were David Vennells, I surely would hope that anyone who praised my book on Reiki would reflect a more loving Reiki attitude towards one and all. In truth, your comment is perhaps a more telling review of the merit of his book than my book review.

      So write a review praising it to the heavens. You sought out my blog, this review. I did not seek you out. If you chose to be angry, perhaps you need to ask yourself the second of your confrontational questions. Or at least review Dr. Usui's principles just for today.

  2. "What I adore, as I do The Japanese Art of Reiki I recommend to anyone and everyone." Would this be a bad time to point out that you are missing a comma in this sentence? And before you jump down my throat, this is just a bit of light-hearted teasing. We are all human. Not a single one of us is perfect. Remembering that and doing so with grace is never going to be a bad thing. Peace . . .

    1. Elizabeth, Why would I jump down your throat? I find nothing more annoying than seeing I made a grammatical mistake and its going overlooked and/or uncorrected. Unfortunately, blogger doesn't allow me to edit my own comments, otherwise I would happily do so. That's the sort of mistake I would have caught had I cared to reread the comment. I probably didn't because I am always surprised when people only choose to leave critical or unkind comments rather than taking the time to explore my blog more fully. Goodness knows there are enough posts to find something worth commending, I would think. But usually, someone like the previous person who left a comment, prefers to dive bomb and then fade into silence. They never ever comment on anything positive. It makes it very difficult for me to ever post anything but a positive book review. My negative ones get so much more attention from people which, and correct me if I'm wrong, says more about the internet and what it brings out in people than it does about people in general. Or at least, that is what I like to think.