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Ray Baskerville is tall, lean, articulate and easy to talk to, and his hands weave mysterious patterns in the air as he heals clients back to physical and spiritual well-being.

“I have no control over my hands. They move of their own volition, drawing healing energy from higher planes and directing that energy to holistic effect.”

Ray will be in Tokyo next month, where he will talk about his work as a healer, lead two weekend workshops under the heading “Alchemy of Liberation,” teach what he calls “Yogaia classes,” and be available for private healing sessions.

He first came to Japan in his capacity as a healer and teacher in March last year, when he was due to run workshops at The Museum (International Yoga Center) in Ogikubo. His background is essentially dance and yoga, after which there followed a period when “healing and physical practice developed simultaneously.”

Now based in Sydney, Australia, he finds himself here more and more often. “I find people very receptive. As everywhere, they are searching for answers in an increasingly desperate world.”

He names his workshops “Alchemy of Liberation” because they involve a form of meditation that connects the human body — not physically but metaphysically — with its place in the wider dimension of spiritual evolution.

Their development is the result of Ray’s own search for stability and a usefully enlightened life.

Growing up on the borders of Shropshire and Wales in the U.K., visual arts were a passion, and performing provided a life-saving sense of freedom and expression.

“I was exceptionally introverted; even as a child I was always ‘somewhere else,’ largely because I didn’t like ‘being here.’ I always felt a reluctance to live in my physical body.”

With the fine arts in focus, he headed for a college of music, art, and drama in Yorkshire. Torn between the disciplines, he realized he was not ready to study. Needing to figure out who and what he was, he left, and went to Hull where he wrote and staged a play about gender and gender roles.”

In spring 1986, he experienced “an awakening.” Looking up into the sky, he saw rays of energy creating a vortex that spun down into his body. “I was terrified. Suddenly the blinkers, filters, were off: I could see and feel waves and lines of energy connecting everything — points and threads leading to events and individuals. It was like seeing the weaving of the tapestry of life.”

Initially overwhelmed, Ray began the slow process of integration, starting to work with the “light” through meditation and then practicing yoga. He also began dancing, which in 1988 led to studies in visual arts and dance at what was then Brighton Poly (“It’s a university now.”).

Here (“full of ill-conceived ideas”) he experimented with butoh; he had read that it was a meeting of metaphysical and physical reality as experienced through dance, “which in a fumbling kind of way was what I was already trying to do.” He began working energetically with chakras and took a summer break in Poland, performing in a street theater festival, where “every night was a party!”

After a young drunken Pole attempted to rape a participant Ray channeled energy to the victim. “I became aware of a dark energy over her lower body, which I was able to draw out of her.”

Afterward she said, “I don’t know what you did but thank you. I felt as if a boulder was lifted off me.”

After exploring this gift, Ray felt it needed a framework of training to develop. “The two-year course (1992-93) at the International College of Crystal Healing was a great grounding in energy work — learning techniques, investigating case studies.” He also worked at a healing center in London.

Ray first came to Japan in 1994, to perform in an international dance festival. This past February, he talked at The Circle of Light in Tokyo about his “Alchemy of Liberation” workshop.

“It offers nothing unique, but combines six components in a new form arising from what I have learned in my own spiritual journey in an ongoing process of revelation.

“We are all limited in that we all have places in our psyche where we have been wounded.”

In his seminars, Ray helps people turn that pain into something else: the process of liberation — the ultimate healing. As he declares with passion: “No one else is like you or me; we can each make our own special contribution to life. Of course the ego continues to try and tell its own story, arising from that place in such pain for so long. But there will inevitably be an awakening of liberation, so completing the human journey.”

Up until 1997, Ray was thinking he was the healer. Then he underwent another shift. “I developed a compelling need to go to India; I felt I would die if I didn’t. In one way it was untimely because I’d just begun to develop a reputation.”

Still he sold everything and started over. Now he works peripatetically, accepting that he is merely a facilitator for healing.

He always begins sessions by asking people why they have come. Often it is due to repressed unhappiness. An American woman was hardly able to walk. What emerged was the emotional release of a memory from 25 years before, when she broke her back.

The pain was not due to this accident, however, but the sense of abandonment she felt when her husband was less than concerned. “After one session she stood up and walked away. She was able to release the whole thing — physical and emotional — in just one go.”

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