Reiki and The Burning Bowl Ceremony

by Colleen Benelli

The New Year is upon us and offers the promise that we can leave behind that which no longer serves us, and it gives us the opportunity to begin fresh and new. Winter will always bring the North, the cycle on the Medicine Wheel that compels us to look at our core, to give us the chance to release unwanted conditions in our life, to die to the old self, and make room for our new beginnings. Many of us can feel the need to heal through releasing old patterns of some kind. It may be a quiet tap we can hear, and it may be the loud and obvious need for change.

Reiki offers gentle and easy healing when we listen to those taps on the shoulder. Our Reiki Guides whisper in our ears and invite us to grow and offer their help. They participate in our healing efforts according to what we ask for help with. The clarity with which we ask creates the possibility for our Guides to help us manifest what we ask for.

A Reiki Ceremony can open us so we can listen to our hearts and gain clarity. We can then focus on our true intentions and ask for help from our Reiki Guides in a clear and powerful way. A Reiki Burning Bowl Ceremony is a fire ceremony designed to help us listen, become clear in our intentions, release the old habits that get in the way of those intentions, and bring in new habits that can help us accomplish our intentions.

Thich Nhat Hahn teaches us, "If we face our unpleasant feelings with care, affection, and nonviolence, we can transform them into the kind of energy that is healthy and has the capacity to nourish us."

What is a Burning Bowl Ceremony with Reiki?
The Burning Bowl ceremony is a style of fire ceremony that has been a tradition of the Unity Church for about 50 years. According to Rev. Mary Lacalle, a Unity minister who officiates at Burning Bowl ceremonies, "This ritual provides a sacred way to release old, unwanted conditions or events in our lives and clears the way for new beginnings… It’s a very freeing experience that I look forward to every year."

The Reiki Burning Bowl ceremony involves using Reiki while writing the negative conditions that you would like to release from your life on a piece of paper, the paper is then burned in the bowl, which turns your prayers to smoke and sends them to the Creator on the Reiki Bridge of Light. Its purpose is to release old patterns, beliefs or experiences, or anything that impedes you from realizing your true self. By sending the old unwanted conditions up to the Creator in the smoke, you clear the way for beginnings. Then you can focus your attention on what you would like to create in your life, write those intentions on paper, burn that paper, and send your prayers to the Creator.

Using Reiki to empower you and the Burning Bowl ceremony invites the conscious loving universe to the ceremony to assist you. Reiki can help you focus on your enlightened heart to see what is truly in your way of living your best life. It helps you become still so that you can hear your authentic self and create intentions that are meaningful and filled with purpose. Reiki will also assist you with your commitment to your intentions by giving you gentle reminders from your Reiki Guides throughout the year.

There is a place where words are born of silence,
A place where the whispers of the heart arise.


I use Reiki and Burning Bowl Ceremonies as a healing tool for many different reasons and I adapt it according to my need. Sometimes it is a group ceremony, sometimes I use it for myself, and sometimes I use it for a client during a Reiki treatment.

Here are a few reasons to hold a Reiki Burning Bowl Ceremony.

I have had Burning Bowl Ceremonies at a rehearsal dinner before a wedding. The couple burns what they are leaving behind from their single life, what they do not want to take into the marriage. The wedding ceremony then is clear and open for the couples new vows and intentions to be brought forth.

I have used this ceremony as a rite of passage for birthdays, change of job or career, graduations and childbirth. It is also a great ceremony for a teenagers 16 th birthday to let go of childish ways and bring in the new age of maturity.

This ceremony can help with ending of relationships; releasing people or events we have an unhealthy attachment to, troubling world events, sadness, childhood trauma, accidents, or the loss of a pet.

Sadly, one of the reasons I have used the Reiki Burning Bowl Ceremony lately is for clients, friends and myself to heal from the death of a loved one. I have had each person burn away the hard memories of the passing, and ask for the return of their loving memories.

This ceremony is also perfect for New Years resolutions as I describe later in the article.

There are many reasons to use Reiki and a Burning Bowl Ceremony. The format is always the same, but it can be modified to fit your purpose.

The Burning Bowl
I made the Reiki Burning Bowl that I use most often for my ceremonies. I use it for individuals or small groups of people. It was an easy craft project that was fun and inexpensive to make. First, I used self Reiki and the Usui Distance symbol to ask my Reiki Guides what the bowl was to look like. Then I went to a thrift store, bought an old wooden salad bowl, cleared and cleaned it, drew the Reiki symbols all over, and painted it and filled it with the Reiki again. I have included free instructions on how to make a Reiki Burning Bowl my website,

Or you can use any kind of a bowl that is safe for burning paper. The ceramic bowl in the photograph was a gift to me from one of my students. It is also perfect to use as a Reiki Burning Bowl. Always fill your bowl with rock salt or earth to stabilize the candle and give a safe place for the paper to burn to ashes.

If I have a larger group for my Reiki Burning Bowl Ceremony then I create the bowl as a bonfire or use a patio fire pit. I have read some of the Unity Churches use the bottom half of a barbeque for their Burning Bowl because their ceremonies are so large. It is appropriate to use any style fire container, just prepare and imbue it with Reiki to make it sacred.

Your ceremony can be held indoors or outdoors. If you have it indoors, consider fire safety as a priority. Use heightened attention to the fire, be aware. Ask people to burn their prayers one at a time and wait until the paper is mostly burned before the next person burns their prayers. Have a fire safe stand or a tile under the bowl to protect your carpet or other surfaces. . Make sure you are not underneath your smoke detector during the ceremony. Have water ready in a container or a fire extinguisher available in case the fire gets too big.

Be prepared to dispose of the ashes appropriately after the ceremony. They will be mixed with the salt or the earth. I usually bury them, spread them or let the wind take them, after I am certain that the ashes are cold.

If you intend to have a Reiki Burning Bowl Ceremony for many people prepare for it appropriately. Write the prayers you will use for the ceremony in a book. You may want to dress in ceremonial clothing, set an altar, have flowers and music, make the room feel special and have a potluck feast of gratitude after the ceremony.

Set the space for the ceremony by drawing the Reiki symbols around the room. In particular, invoke the Usui Mental/Emotional symbol “to create a new habit,” and the Usui Distance symbol to create the Reiki Bridge of Light. Then strengthen your own light by drawing a large Usui Power symbol over your body and on each of your chakras. If you are Reiki I, intend and ask Reiki to fill every part of the ceremony for you.

Have the people attending form a circle around the burning bowl or fire. Give the people a pencil and two pieces of paper, one for what they want to get rid of and one for what they want to bring in. If they have Reiki ask them to activate their hands, if not invoke Reiki on their behalf using the Usui Distance Symbol.

Reiki Burning Bowl Ceremony
1. Place a candle in the center of your bowl. Fill your burning bowl with rock salt or earth to secure the candle.

2. Draw the Reiki symbols over your bowl, using all the symbols you are attuned to. Beam Reiki into the bowl with your hands. Fill your breath with Reiki and the intention that the bowl is sacred and blow Reiki into the center of the bowl. Intend that the bowl and the fire receive the prayers of the people and send them to the light.

3. Make an invocation to invite Reiki and your Reiki Guides. Invoke the Usui Power and Mental/Emotional symbols. If you have Karuna Reiki ®, use Zonar and Halu to release the old cellular connections and state the intention of the ceremony.

4. Have the participant take a quiet moment to connect to their heart and write what they are leaving behind, their release declarations, on paper.

5. Beam the Usui Distance symbol to create a Reiki Bridge of Light to the Creator, burn the paper with prayer, and send it to the Creator on the smoke.

6. Invoke the Usui Mental/Emotional symbol and Harth from Karuna Reiki®. Have the participant take a quiet moment to listen to their heart and write their new intentions, empower the new intentions the Usui Emotional/Mental symbol and burn the prayer, sending it to the Creator.

7. Close the ceremony by thanking Reiki and your Reiki Guides. Say an ending prayer. Seal the healing with the Usui Power symbol.

8. Spread the ashes on the ground or bury them, and ask the earth to transform the ashes into nutrients for the earth. Thank the earth for receiving your prayers and what is no longer needed. Be careful about fire safety. Use water to wet the ashes or be certain they are cool before you spread them.

9. Reiki your Burning Bowl to clear it of unwanted energy. Be grateful for its service and appreciate it for its work. Take care of your bowl as it is an important healing tool.

This is an excerpt from the complete article that appeared in the Winter 2006 issue of Reiki News Magazine.