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Good Vibrations

Relaxing with a Reiki Master The room smells of lemongrass. Someone is lying on a padded table, hands hovering close, almost cradling their head. They are breathing deeply as Guadalupe Vanderhorst Rodriguez feels the person’s chakras surge with energy. She is performing Reiki. She taps into the client’s feelings and anxieties and, with the power of Reiki, tries to release their burdens while making connections with the past. Reiki is a Japanese treatment of body, mind and spirit to reduce stress, promote relaxation and aid healing. It is administered by a Reiki master laying hands over a person and sensing…

(DoNorth/Jacob Elsbree)

Relaxing with a Reiki Master

The room smells of lemongrass. Someone is lying on a padded table, hands hovering close, almost cradling their head. They are breathing deeply as Guadalupe Vanderhorst Rodriguez feels the person’s chakras surge with energy. She is performing Reiki. She taps into the client’s feelings and anxieties and, with the power of Reiki, tries to release their burdens while making connections with the past.
Reiki is a Japanese treatment of body, mind and spirit to reduce stress, promote relaxation and aid healing. It is administered by a Reiki master laying hands over a person and sensing their energy. The parts of the word have their own significance: “Rei” means spiritual wisdom, and “Ki” means life energy. It is known to increase Chi (energy) flow within people which lends balance to mind and body.
People see Reiki as an alternative medicine to heal their emotional and physical pain through the transfer of energy from a Reiki master.
Guadalupe Vanderhorst Rodriguez is a Reiki master in the North Country who takes pride in her power to connect people with family, ancestors and their true essence. She does this at The Rodriguez Wellness Center located on South Platt Street in Plattsburgh. Here, Rodriguez treats clients and teaches her practice.
Standing at just over 5 feet, Rodriguez says she was born into Reiki because of her intuitive nature, which shows in her eyes. She says she notices things about people that others overlook. When someone is silently struggling — even if they don’t know it — she can pick it out.

Rodriguez’ Native American roots led to her discovery of her healing purpose. One day, Rodriguez had a vision, or a conscious dream, as she described it. She was approached by a Hado’ih mask, an Onondaga symbol of a great healer in the False Face Society known for its wooden masks. Rodriguez was intrigued by the appearance of the mask because only men are allowed in the False Face Society as healers.

“All of the limitations in society are not for me to look at. I am supposed to go beyond that.”

She consulted an Oswegatchie chief, and together they interpreted the vision as the Hado’ih saying she should become a healer.
And that’s what she did. Rodriguez became a Reiki master in 2008 and opened the first Rodriguez Wellness Center in New York City. In 2014, she came to the North Country and brought the center with her.
We scheduled our own Reiki session on a Saturday at 5 p.m. Gina Agnano, the editor in chief of DoNorth, accompanied me to witness Rodriguez’ expertise first hand. Gina, who may not have completely known what she was getting into, kindly offered her chakras for examination so I could observe the whole experience.
Before the session begins, hours before the client arrives, Rodriguez prepares the space. She cleanses the house with sage, scents and candles. She rings a bell adorned with Ganesh, the Hindu God of wisdom, success and good luck to disperse any lingering spirits.
After a short conversation with Gina to let her know what to expect, Rodriguez (or Guada, as we are now comformtable enough to call her by her nickname) asks her to remove her shoes before lying faceup on a table fashioned with purple and red ornamental cloths. She cleanses and prepares Gina’s aura by waving a feather and rattle down her body. With calm, closed eyes, she then starts laying hands, although she’s hovering them a few inches above Gina’s body to avoid any discomfort for the client. She starts at the head and works her way down, taking her time at each chakra. When she feels something, her hands tremble the slightest bit. It almost looks like she is stirring something in the air as she works with the energy.
“I sense fear,” Guada said to Gina, who is new to this and is feeling some sort of apprehension.
Eventually, about 5 minutes into the session, Guada’s eyes light up and her arms start shaking.
“Oh, we have a spirit here.”
Gina gulps, not knowing who it could be. Guada tells her to ask the spirit who he is. After a mousy inquiry from the table, Guada lets her loud Long Island accent show: “Just ask it ‘Hey! Family!? C’mon, let’s get on with it! Show me!’” The three of us chuckled and calmed any lingering nerves.
Guada later comments on speaking with spirits, “There isn’t a right way, there isn’t a wrong way. Just talk to them.”
The spirit, as Guada described him, was a short, bald man with a pudgy-looking nose and a long olive-green jacket. Gina recognized this description as her grandfather. Guada could see a crowd behind her grandfather that exuded positive energy toward Gina.
In this particular session something caught Guada by surprise. She spoke in “light language,” channeling messages from the cosmos. To me observing, it sounded like gibberish, but to Guada, in tune with the spirits, the words made sense.
Gina felt cozy and relaxed after the half-hour long Reiki session. Guada told Gina to look out for a sign relating to her grandfather’s presence. This sign would show itself in a casual way, the Reiki Master said, like reading his name in a book, or meeting someone who shares his name. After returning to her home, Gina’s phone lit up with a notification from Vincent, which happens to be her grandfather’s name.
“For each person I’ve done a session with, its been different,” Guada said. She felt relaxed after the session which was particularly exciting for her because she had the rare experience channeling light language, or having the cosmos speak to her.
Whoever, or whatever, comes through in a session, Guada works with the client to figure out the significance of its presence.

“When I perform a Reiki session, I am able to see something — something comes to my mind, and I tell them ‘it’s up to you to figure out what that means.”

Her whole mission is for the client to understand the significance. Whether she is connecting a client with family, an ancestor or even helping them tap into their own spirituality, Guada gets her fulfilment out of bringing people together.
“It doesn’t matter what I call myself. I am connecting people. Connecting them with their true essence, the common denominator is connecting.”
Guada was attempting to make a connection between Gina and the spirit in her session by having her speak up to get some answers. Although the spirit didn’t speak directly to Gina, Guada was still thrilled.
In short, Reiki is the transfer of energy. Guada tries to practice Reiki in small ways by bringing her positive energy to the North Country. This can be done, she says, by simply smiling at someone in the grocery store.
It doesn’t take a Reiki master to see that the energy coming off of Guada is love. Love for her work, love for her spirituality and love for her clients. As she says: “Love is a vibration that sustains our well-being here on Earth. Because love is an energy, it can never die; it can only be changed into a brighter light.”

Issue: Winter/Spring 2019

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