Reiki is a traditional system of healing in which the practitioner channels energy.
Rei is universal energy, and ki is our energy.
Reiki harmonises the energy of the person receiving it, and raises their vibratory level, thus assisting self-healing. It can be used on animals, plants, and crystals. You can reiki your food, what you drink, the place where you live, and situations you face.
Energy has no limits, so neither does reiki. There are no side-effects or contraindications.
A reiki practitioner is someone who has been attuned to reiki by a reiki master (teacher). We all have the ability to channel reiki, but we just need to be tuned in. Reiki is not just a tool for healing oneself and others; it is an important personal spiritual journey. Each of the four degrees takes one further along that path.
Some reiki masters attune to three degrees and others to four. (I attune to four.) At the first degree, a person becomes an effective energy channel. (This is a level at which people often become more grounded.) At the second degree, their vibratory level increases further and they receive three symbols that can be used in their practice; they can send distance reiki to people and situations. At the third level, the vibratory level increases further and the person has access to the master symbol. At the fourth degree, people learn how to attune others.
The person who developed reiki was Mikao Usui, who lived in Japan from 1865 to 1926. After a lengthy fast and meditation on Mount Kurama, he discovered the healing power that he then decided to teach to others. He started a reiki organisation called the Usui Reiki Ryohô Gakkai where people could learn and practise reiki.
Reiki was brought to the west by by Hawayo Takata in the 1930s and there are now a mind-bending number of styles and schools of reiki. I personally feel no need to add on to or transform the traditional form of reiki to which I am attuned. I never cease to be amazed by its healing power (how deep it goes and how far it reaches).
There are many books about reiki. For me, the best one for English speakers is the revised edition of A Modern Reiki Method for Healing by the Japanese master Hiroshi Doi, who wishes to create a bridge between traditional reiki and western approaches that have developed since the practice was brought to the United States. It was published in November 2013.
Hiroshi Doi has also produced a book in French, which I highly recommend: Gendai Reiki Hô (Quintessence de la méthode traditionelle et des pratiques occidentales du Usui reiki).
The Spirit of Reiki (The Complete Handbook of the Reiki System), by Walter Lübeck, Frank Arjava Petter, and William Lee Rand, is one of the best-known books in English about reiki.
William Lee Rand is also editor of Reiki News Magazine, produced in the United States. The very western approach to reiki which dominates in the United States is a little too business oriented for my taste, and I don’t wish to complicate something whose simplicity is, for me, one of the best things about it. However, Reiki News Magazine often contains very interesting and inspiring articles and the International Centre for Reiki Training does some wonderful work.
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