Today I wish to share the history of Reiki practice and the state of Reiki community in Poland, a proud country in Central Europe, a member of the European Union.
Learning about the history of Reiki in your country is a first step towards creating a strong community. From history, we can learn about the sources of common, current problems that hinder the community unification, but we can also honor those, thanks to whom we practice Reiki today. I hope this article will inspire you to research and publish the history of Reiki in your own country, and that for many of you, this reference work will be useful.
Reiki is present in Poland for about 25 years by now. In the past 25 years, Reiki in my country evolved through many stages, from classic Takata’s teachings through New Age revolution up to this day, as I try to return the Five Fundamentals of practice to its true importance.
The History of Reiki in Poland
Rumours says that Reiki arrived to Poland in the early 70s, long before Mrs Takata has passed away, and years before teachers begun to initiate new practitioners here on Polish land. These rumours has been passed to me through older practitioners. It is possible that some practitioners were arriving to Poland to practice and share their spiritual knowledge, Reiki along with it. How true is that, one could only speculate.
The true beginning, that which can be proven, would be the 80s, when the first practitioners, taught mainly by German teachers, were making their first steps in Poland.
Hidden behind the Iron Curtain for many years, under oppressions from Soviet ideologies, Poland had poor access to anything spiritual but Catolicism. My friend, Goya, shares her stories of the old days, when putting your hands on a book about Tarot cards was like touching a Holy Grail. Purchasing a whole Tarot deck was impossible, so people drawn their own cards, turning them into complete decks. It all changed in the 90s, when the social and political transformation begun. The borders were open, and democracy entered Poland, and along with it came the New Age shock – thousands of techniques, hundreds of paths and traditions – Buddhism, Native Americans beliefs, New Age, Yoga and more – most of them were nothing new, but the scale of the New Age wave that hit Poland was great.
With opening of mental borders and changes in political system, introducing Reiki to people of Poland was made possible. Officially, the first initiations took place between 25-30 of April, 1988, and they were performed by Brigitte Muller at the “Week of Wholeness and Healing for Love, Light and Life” festival, which focused on exploration of other faiths and New Age ideas. It is said that during that event, Muller initiated between 150 and 260 people into the practice of Reiki.
While the early 80s see the first practitioners of the first and second degree, the October of the 1988 sees one of the first polish Reiki Teachers – Mr Jan Peterko received the teacher degree from Mrs Brigitte Muller and begun to share Reiki with others through initiations. He received both the first and the second degree of Reiki from Muller. Quickly, after teaching first and second degree for many years, Peterko became a member of the Reiki Alliance. Few years later, he begun to teach new teachers on his own.
Yet, Peterko wasn’t the only Polish teacher operating in Poland in the 90s. Few years after Peterko begun to teach his first students, in the early 90s, between 1992 and 1995, a Catolic nun, sister Mariusza, returned to Poland from her trip to Canada, where she received the teacher degree from a student of Hawayo Takata – Wanja Twan. Sister Mariusza’s work focused on popularizing Reiki among Catholic circles, and what’s interesting, all the income from her Reiki workshops was donated to her Order. Her own teachings came from the pure heart, and not from the commercialized aspirations.
Both teachers – sister Mariusza and Peterko – begun to initiate students to Reiki on public workshops where dozens of people were receiving teachings and initiations in a couple of days. At this time, it is unsure if Peterko still practice Reiki – his website is long off-line, and it was impossible to trace any of his activity in the recent years. It is possible that the first two teachers of Reiki in Poland ended their “career” – Peterko in the early XXI century, silently, and sister Mariusza a lot earlier, in about 1995, with a “boom”, after dropping her Reiki practice due to the strong attacks from the Church, which I shall not mention here in details.
Sister Mariusza, who passed away in the late 90s after being ordered to stop practicing Reiki by the heads of the Polish Catolic Church, among many practitioners, trained only two teachers. One of them was Mrs Krystyna Wlodarczyk-Krolicka, who, for this day, continue to teach and practice Reiki. Although her teaching is limited by providing little theory, none traditional techniques and very little information about Reiki, she continue the path of sister Mariusza. Mrs Krolicka runs regular free open Reiki sessions for anyone who needs healing. Only those who actively participate in her open sessions as volonuteer practitioners are allowed to learn the third degree, and eventually to become a teacher.
Between 1995 and 2005, dozens of books about Reiki were published in Poland, but it was only in 2012, when with my own effort, I have published the very first book that shared modern knowledge, real history and traditional Japanese practices with Polish readers for the first time. Up to this day, rarely anyone maintain an active website about Reiki, and there is little activity in the publishing field. But the knowledge is available to those who seek it, fortunately. Our country just never expressed the need for too many Reiki books and publications of different sort.
Reiki in the XXI century
In the late 90s and in the early XXI century, more teachers arrived to Poland, and many different lineages can be found today in our country. Personally, I have neither sister Mariusza nor Jan Peterko in my lineage, but I have Mrs Furumoto and William Lee Rand, whose students of his students taught my Polish teachers and they have taught me.
Even the Reiki Alliance has made its way to Poland, whose teacher, Jacek Skarbek, promoted the idea of 10 thousand zloty for the teacher degree. 10 thousand zloty is an equivalent of 3000 $, but for Polish standards, it’s as difficult to obtain as 10 000 $.
Beside Reiki Alliance, which presence is small in Poland, no other Reiki organization exists. Jan Peterko created a circle of practitioners around his center in Gliwice city, and Mrs Krolicka organized a free and open Reiki shares – but that is all, and it cannot be defined as any form of organization. There are no societies, big Reiki centers or any organized groups that could help promote Reiki in a far more organized way.
And in the end, in the XXI century, the popularity of Reiki dropped in Poland.
Current State of Reiki in Poland
Although detailed statistical research were impossible to be done, I may say, based on the stats of Reiki teachers I approached that there may be about 5 thousand Reiki practitioners in Poland right now. Most of them practice Reiki as an individual healing path – they share Reiki with their friends and families, instead of coming out with a public practice.
Unfortunatelly, the popularity of Reiki dropped a lot in the last 10 years. I suspect three reasons why this happened. First, the lack of the strong fundamentals like the one taught with traditional Reiki, made the entire practice of Reiki “empty” for many. When Reiki was introducted to citizens of Poland, it was made so in the “Takata style” – or should I say in a “New Age style”, as a form of energetic healing and energy of love, and not as a spiritual practice. People learned that Reiki was a form of energetic massage and nothing else. It was only in recent years that I managed to write few articles and a book which introduced Polish Reiki practitioners into a deeper understanding of the Reiki art.
Great commercialization of Reiki practiced made people perceive Reiki as yet another New Age way to make money and nothing more – it’s another reason why Reiki seems to lose popularity over the last few years. I count, generally, a few thousand Reiki practitioners in Poland, and maybe two, or three of them manage an active website sharing free articles on regular basis. The rest of them own a static commercial website advertising treatment sessions and Reiki workshops. Commercial sessions and workshops are the primary focus on the current Reiki community in Poland. Yet, after careful research, I’m happy to write that few new free and open Reiki circles were launched in the recent years, so there’s hope that the situation is about to change in the next few years.
And finally, strong destructive sect activity, of which name I dare not to write, hindered the good name of Reiki practice. The cult in question was the only source of information regarding Japanese approach to Reiki, which makes my own work of introducing people to a far greater spiritual perspective a lot more difficult. Shaking the “feel” of a cult when sharing modern knowledge is difficult, yet not impossible.
Poland is also a place where many modern “Reiki schools” have gained popularity – Gold Reiki, Kundalini Reiki and other forms of Reiki, a lot of them commercialized, gain popularity either because the lack of the Five Fundaments in teachings is causing the general perception that Reiki is “weak” and modern schools are far more powerful. Although I understand that the need for more “powerful” spiritual stuff is a common problem among modern New Age practitioners.
There is almost none Reiki activity in hospitals or other medical care facilities – personally I do know about two or three Reiki practitioners who practice Reiki in hospitals, and they do so in secret, in agreement with families and patients, and not with the facility staff. But generally, Reiki had not yet found its way to hospitals, and neither to the general public. For this very day, after nearly 25 years of presence in Poland, Reiki is still considered a spiritual “mumbo jumbo” without a real value.
For this day, the Legend of Usui, as repeated by Hawayo Takata, is being shared as a complete truth. For some reasons, a lot of polish teachers show no interest in updating their knowledge. Even if we can say for sure that we cannot say for sure how the entire Reiki history looks like, we do know few things for sure – like the one that Usui was not a Christian, for example. And yet, the Takata’s version of the story is still taught today, as being true, and when the old teachers are provided with the actual, researched version of the story, for some reasons they deny it and they stick to the original, false legend.
And to this day, the Catholic Church warns against Reiki practice as of a dangerous cult movement. All these elements do not make the practice of Reiki in Poland easier.
But even with all these problems which I perceive around me, my heart warms as I see, as well, more good things that are happening to Reiki. People that I taught return to me to share how Reiki changed their life; I see practitioners opening their own practices and working towards improvement of Reiki popularity among citizen of Poland. As I mentioned earlier, more and more Reiki circles and open shares are being launched and organized. And as I reach more and more people, who practice Reiki – psychologists, doctors and nurses, I see hope, and I believe that Reiki will become far more popular in the coming years in the country that I belove.
Reiki practitioners in Poland come from different envoirnments, and show different perspective upon Reiki. Their history teach us that it is possible to share Reiki with pure heart, and survive against strong attacks from religious groups, without losing the idea of Five Ideals. But the core of Reiki practice – self-growth and helping others – remained strong, and it’s the primary force that drives Reiki in Poland today.
Wojciech Usarzewicz (penname „Nathaniel”) is a Reiki practitioner and teacher, who teaches Reiki levels 1 and 2 in Poland. He is an author of numerous books, three of which discuss the subject of Reiki. His Polish website about Reiki is http://reikowisko.org and his English books can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005B63BDQ
–– Sylwestrow, K., Reiki odczarowane. Krakow, 2004.
–– Mozdzynski, P. Duchowosc ponowoczesna. Ruch Reiki w Polsce. Krakow, 2004.