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Anatomy 101

The levels of Reiki


Traditionally there were three levels of Reiki.

1. Beginner's level, now called First Degree or Reiki 1

2. Advanced level, now called Second Degree or Reiki 2

3. Reiki Master, still called Third Degree in some associations or Reiki 3

There have been three Grand Masters: Dr. Mikao Usui, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who introduced it to the west. Mrs. Takata did not appoint a successor although there are quite a few who claim to have been secretly appointed or who claim lineage by blood lines.

Since her death the various groups and associations have created many systems in an effort to improve the training and classification of Reiki practitioners. Some systems designate three levels and some as many as ten. We are sure all these groups have good intentions and are sincere in their efforts to present Reiki well.

The Reiki Network has evolved a system of classification close to the original system, but with a few changes. We feel these changes were a natural evolution and the following pages will explain why. At no stage do we claim that our classification is the only way or superior to that of anyone else. It is simply the system that suits the members of the Network, based on our collective experience and the way we teach and present Reiki to the world.

First Degree

The First Degree is the original seminar during which one receives Reiki energy for life. The student receives four initiations spread over two days or three nights. This is obviously the most important part of the seminar and is what makes the First Degree the most important level of Reiki. For a Reiki practitioner, nothing can be more important than being initiated to Reiki energy for life.

Besides the initiations, the student is given talks on all the subjects covered in this book. They are taken though the science and metaphysics of Reiki with plenty of case histories to back up the theory.

They are also taught how to give self-treatments, to treat animals and plants, and to treat others in both crisis and chronic situations. Interspersed with this are practical sessions wherein the students are given the opportunity to put things into practice and experience the Reiki firsthand.

Informative and enjoyable, the First Degree workshop lasts a minimum of 10 hours. There are no examinations or tests because there is little to learn or know. There is really no need to give a lot of explanation because what really counts is the receiving of Reiki and using it by placing your hands on the body. Many Reiki Masters adhere to this philosophy and teach very little in their workshops choosing to focus primarily on practical application.

Nevertheless, the Reiki Network has found that in this day and age people are more likely to utilize a technique if they receive a good explanation of its dynamics. Otherwise evidence indicates that students often don't end up using it to its fullest capacity. For example, we have met Reiki practitioners who did not understand the concept of regular self-treats as a form of preventative medicine.

As a result, all Reiki Masters who are members of the Reiki Network give a required minimum amount of theoretical training. The format of this training and the other aspects of the workshop can vary according to the background of the Reiki Master and the culture they are teaching in.

Second Degree

In the Second Degree workshop the students are taught advanced techniques involving the use of symbols. These are essentially energy patterns that, when utilized by someone initiated to them, enable practitioners to influence their lives in very powerful ways. The student is initiated to the symbols and then taught their many uses.

One of the most exciting Second Degree techniques is the treatment of people (and in fact any energy blueprint or energy field) at a distance. This is, of course, very different from the hands-on application of Reiki in First Degree, and has obvious practical benefits if you have loved ones who live overseas.

The principles on how and why this works are explained and many different ways of doing it are also explained. Second Degree practitioners can send the equivalent of one hour of First Degree Reiki in fifteen minutes, and can send to more than one person at a time. This is very time saving if you have a lot of people to treat. Once the principles are understood, the practical is easy.

Because the Second Degree technique enables treatment of any energy field, plants (crops etc.), and animals may be treated as effectively as people. The symbols have other individual uses, such as potentizing energy fields, harmonizing people and places, providing protection, and developing intuition. The level of Reiki energy in the hands is also increased.

Whereas First Degree Reiki is very straightforward in its application, Second Degree has an extremely eclectic and expansive array of applications. With the copious amounts of information involved, students usually leave the seminar enthusiastically planning enough projects to keep them busy for a lifetime!

Everyone who attends the Second Degree workshop will leave with certain skills. In First Degree, everyone leaves the workshop with the same amount of Reiki. In Second Degree the skills learned can be developed further. There are good practitioners of Second Degrees, very good ones, and great Second Degree practitioners according to the knowledge and development of skills such as intent and focus.

The degree of information imparted in Second Degree seminars varies significantly. Many Reiki Masters choose to impart only the basic information regarding distant treatment of another person. The Reiki Network has a set teaching program of ten hours minimum duration, that ensures that all students receive a uniformly high standard of teaching and seminar content.

Third Degree (3A)

This is the level where the Reiki Network has broken from tradition. Normally Second Degree is as high as you can go in Reiki unless you want to become a Reiki Master and teach Reiki.

One of the problems that many Reiki Masters have observed is that very often Second Degrees have gone to the time, effort, and expense to become Reiki Masters only to find that they are not suitable to teach Reiki. This is evidenced by their own feelings about the subject once they become Masters, or by the fact that they do not attract students. Experience has shown that only about 30 percent of Reiki Masters are actively teaching.

There are also many students who would like to go as far as they can with their Reiki but have no desire to teach Reiki (or so they think at that time). For these reasons many Reiki Masters saw the need for an intermediate stage between Second Degree and Masters'.

The Reiki Network members (and many other Masters and associations) now teach Third Degree Reiki. (Often called “3A” so as not to confuse it with the Reiki Masters who refer to themselves as Third Degrees). This Workshop is a three-day intensive program during which advanced theories and techniques of Reiki are taught. The student also receives a traditional Master's initiation that has a dramatic affect on the students personal growth and life awareness.

The Third Degree student is taught the first of the four Reiki initiations/attunements. This enables the student to experience the joy of being able to initiate someone to higher levels of awareness and development as well as experience Reiki in the hands. The Reiki energy is not permanent because it will only be permanent when all four attunements are performed. The patient can experience the Reiki for a few weeks and even use it to treat themselves.

The Third Degree practitioner is also taught many other applications and knowledge that they can use for personal growth or to help others on many levels.

The Third Degree student, once in touch with the higher levels of Reiki, can use them for the rest of his/her life. The student is then able to make the decision with clarity, whether or not he/she wants to go on to the level of Reiki Master. In the Reiki Network, we choose all our Reiki Master trainees from Third Degrees. As a result, all the “screening” process seems to work very well.

Reiki Master

To qualify for Reiki Master training in the Reiki Network you must demonstrate a very strong desire to teach Reiki as well as have a sound background in the practical application of Reiki. You cannot become a Reiki Master simply because you are interested in it, or for intellectual reasons only. We do not accept people who just believe in Reiki. They must know Reiki works from personal, hands-on experience in their own lives and from practical experience and observation of patients they have treated. Academic qualifications are not necessary, but can be helpful in the learning processes involved with lecture content.

The trainee must learn all the necessary theoretical knowledge taught by the Reiki Network and be able to present it well. He or she is given a series of assignments that involve studying the separate subjects taught in the seminars, and then presenting them orally on cassette tape for the Reiki Master Teacher to listen to and give feedback on. A trainee will be expected to repeat the assignments until the teacher is satisfied the student can meet the requirements of the Reiki Network and the individual Reiki Master Teacher. There are also about six days of intensive lectures and discussions spread out over the training period.

More important than the theoretical side is the development of the Reiki Master trainee as a person and as an initiator. The initiation process requires the Reiki Master to be in a certain stage of development personally. Each initiation activates certain chakras and other energy centers of the body that involve transformative processes to occur in the energy field of the Reiki Master. During the training the trainee receives the knowledge and ability to perform each of the initiations individually. Each initiation must then be practiced and synthesized into the energy field of the trainee. This whole process varies between trainees according to their individual backgrounds. The average time taken is about one year.

The Reiki Network insists that Reiki Masters are trained over a minimum nine month period. (Some take longer.) We have found that Reiki Masters who are graduated too quickly (some are trained in weekend courses!) still have to go through the synthesizing process and will have difficulty attracting students until that process is completed. There are also Reiki Masters who are able to activate the Reiki energy in the hands of their students but don't necessarily initiate them to as high a level of awareness. Others do so because they are trained to observe the metaphysical laws involved in the induction of a `Master Initiator'.

Most major associations insist on a minimum one year training program. Unfortunately, there are still a few individuals giving `quickie' courses. Although it is their right to do what they want, it may not be in the best long term interest of their students or Reiki. There are Reiki Masters who claim five years of training or longer. They have chosen to count the start of their training from the day they received First Degree. This is fine but it is not what we are talking about in the above system.

Reiki Master/Teacher or Grand Master

A Reiki Master who has been successfully teaching Reiki First and Second Degree for about three years can qualify to be trained as a Reiki Master/Teacher. This means he/she can train people to Third Degree and train other Reiki Masters.

Further training is given and the traditional Master's initiation procedure is taught to the student. As this is a privileged appointment, there is no charge for Master/teacher training.

Since the death of Mrs. Takata, there is no one Grand Master. Anyone who is trained in the complete system of Reiki may be called a Grand Master of Reiki, not the Grand Master of Reiki. In some associations the title Grand Master is reserved for the President or Figurehead of the association and any other Master who knows the complete system calls themselves a Reiki Master/Teacher. The Reiki Network does not recognize any one as the Grand Master and allows its members, who know the whole system, to call themselves Reiki Master Teacher or Reiki Grand Master. Recently, the Network has been encouraging members to use the standard title of Master/Teacher.

It should be emphasized that the system used by the Reiki Network is the system that its members have found works best for them and their students. We do not claim that it is the only system and will always be open to improvement and counsel as the knowledge about Reiki and its inner workings unfolds.