Reiki for Animals: Visions of Nestor



In Greek mythology, Nestor was an elder statesman with a penchant for longwinded lectures to youths. In Incline Village (Lake Tahoe), Nestor is one gray-haired bunny with a commitment to serve. When I first encountered her, Nestor had already received first and second degree Reiki attunements. How odd (and intriguing), I thought, for a rabbit to know Reiki! As a Reiki Master Teacher, I understood how someone could have attuned her, but I wondered: what exactly could she do with it? As it turns out, some pretty amazing stuff!

I began tuning in to Nestor as part of my own service to her human companion. Much to my delight, I found a bright, eager intelligence, intimately aware of changes in her household and the world at large. She loves journeying with her homo sapiens and asked how she could best support their mutual growth. According to my favorite shamanism website,

Rabbit/Hare’s Wisdom Includes:

Paradox and contradiction
Living by one’s own wits
Receiving hidden teachings and intuitive messages
Moving through fear
Strengthening intuition

Nestor embodies such gifts, and her gentle yet firm spirit conveys them to her own species and ours as well. I continued occasional communication with Nestor, but always in the context of relaying messages to and from her friend.

Since she had received Reiki certification from someone else, I never thought of evaluating when or if she might be “ready” for Master Teacher training. One day, Nestor’s human companion (my own Level 2 student) asked if I would certify them both to the Master Teacher Level. Implications and “buts” whirled through me. I don’t even invite all my Reiki 2 students to become Master Teachers. How would they feel if they knew I’d certified a rabbit? And what would other teachers think? Even as I explored these ideas, I sensed Nestor’s charges of “speciesism.” I felt like a Geico commercial: “Reiki. So easy even a rabbit can do it!” That’s true, I reasoned, at least for Reiki 1 and maybe even Level 2. As “universal life force energy,” Reiki can certainly flow through more than humans. At one time, only Japanese men knew Reiki and had Dr. Hayashi refused to teach a foreigner named Mrs. Takata, the West would have missed some incredible healings.

I never limit students’ movement between first and second levels, but I deeply respect the title of Reiki Master Teacher. Not that RMT training means one has “mastered” universal life force energy. Hardly! Nor does Master Teacher training require students become “enlightened” or perfect in order to proceed. I love teaching Reiki precisely because it does not require these things. Still, the title of teacher implies a certain degree of understanding and awareness. In order to certify anyone to that level, I need to believe they’re committed to an ever-evolving process of living Reiki as described by founder Mikao Usui: “Just for today, do not anger. Do not worry, and be filled with gratitude. Do your work honestly. Be kind to people.” Simple, yet powerfully transformative principles. I had no problem attuning a rabbit to Level 3, but in order to certify Nestor as a Reiki Master Teacher, I felt she needed further instruction in the potential and subtleties of this energy. Somehow I needed to transfer this information into Nestor’s psyche. But was such transmission possible?

Encounters with animals flooded my awareness. After a 1998 brain injury, I spent six isolated weeks at my parents’ house. As they worked, I longed for someone-anyone-to sit with me so I wouldn’t have to face my broken life alone. One day, heart and mind cried out, and a great horned owl appeared. In the middle of the summer, in the middle of the afternoon, this owl sat with me every day for six weeks, landing whenever I settled on the outdoor chaise. In 2000, I saw a puppy bounding uncontrollably toward four lanes of rush-hour traffic, his frantic human screaming after him. From across the street, I locked onto the puppy’s third eye and sent one simple word-image: “Stop.” The puppy wagged his tail and sat down as his breathless friend caught up and reattached the leash. Traffic had cleared and the man called out in a mix of confusion, gratitude and relief, “Um, Thanks?” “No problem,” I said. I also remembered the many times I’ve “called” animals to pose for my husband’s wildlife photography. They appear, seemingly out of nowhere, and allow photos to document the exchange.

OK, I agreed, I can communicate with animals.

I visualized myself as an external hard drive, uploading files to Nestor’s brain, but she surprised me first with sophisticated questions regarding Reiki 2. She understood and used the distance healing symbol/mantra, which allowed her to think of someone and “send” them energy, but how could she best utilize the other symbols? In telepathic shorthand I taught her subtler uses of other symbols, like clearing auras or recharging crystals. Reiki 3 teaches something known as “The Violet Breath,” and I attuned Nestor’s nose, so she could “violet breathe” all day long. I had scheduled our time together for 11:00 one morning, but decided at the last minute to start early. Nestor’s human friend later asked if I had perhaps begun our session at 10:36 a.m. because Nestor had entered a trancelike state then for about an hour. This was exactly the time of our instruction.

Nestor has proven an engaging and committed student, who mentally “checks in,” as my human students do via email. More amazing, though, she has become a teacher. Nestor’s homo sapiens tells me that wild rabbits now visit Nestor, undaunted by nearby human activity. Like my best students, though, she also challenges me, encouraging me to embrace the Reiki principles on an even deeper level. I often explain “Do your work honestly” as the Buddhist concept of Dharma, telling students, “Don’t hide your gifts! Be honest and creative about the ways you can serve.”

Touché, Nestor. Thanks for the reminder.

* I wrote the above essay in early 2007, and our beloved Nestor has since passed: but not before inspiring many animals and humans to become Reiki Master Teachers! Nestor’s “mom” shared articles about her rabbit’s healing gifts, and those stories resulted in numerous Reiki Master Teachers attuning their own animals to levels one, two or three. I’ve also shared some of her stories and struggles with other pet owners to open their minds to possible communication with their own furry, scaled and/or feathered friends.

On one occasion, Nestor helped me during some intuitive sessions with a brain injured man, and I mentioned this fact to his wife. That same week, a different intuitive told her that “an unknown rabbit and woman with long hair have suddenly appeared in your husband’s sessions. I don’t usually work with rabbits. I have no idea how it got there.” The wife laughed, delighted to find such “confirmation” in a field that seems to lack objective proof. Although I offered under-the-radar animal communication sessions prior to Nestor, this little bunny really nudged me to honor and offer those gifts in bigger ways. I’ve taught animal communication classes, facilitated sessions, and tutored animals in energy healing, including Reiki. Due to Nestor’s persistence, dozens of animals have avoided euthanasia because their owners could explore their true needs and expectations.

Oftentimes, the animals express desires to heal more proactively. Their behavior changes, and humans notice that other humans treat their animal friends differently as well. After Reiki attunements, people start gravitating towards those healing dogs, cats, or other species. Animals that normally shun each other start cuddling or exchanging meaningful stares. Those who knew and loved Nestor may miss her on this earthly plane, but she has certainly left her mark!

Laura Bruno is a Life Coach, Animal Communicator, Medical Intuitive and Reiki Master Teacher. In addition to private coaching and intuitive sessions, she teaches Conscious Eating 101 classes, Intuition workshops and Reiki Certification classes around the US. For more information on classes, raw food coaching, transitional coaching, animal communication, and letting your gifts shine through your career, please see: or call 775-750-9140.

Laura also has also written two books, available here: and In the works as of 9/2008: an animal communication e-book. For more information, please contact Laura.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linette on October 7, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I’m honestly not even sure how I stumbled upon this old post of yours, Laura, but it is beautiful. I have been having trouble with one of my cats, and this have given me several ideas for how to communicate with her, and I will even ask if she would like to become attuned to Reiki, as well. 🙂 It’s also so lovely to have this little glimpse into the special being that was/is Nestor, having heard so much about her from reading Tania’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person


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