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Me receiving reiju from Hyakuten Inamoto-sensei. Oct 2011. Photo by Dennis Lander.
Me receiving reiju from Hyakuten Inamoto-sensei. Oct 2011. Photo by Dennis Lander.

Nicole, a regular participant in the Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup Reiki Shares, emailed me with a question about the different rituals used for Reiki initiations, commonly called reiju in the traditional lineages and attunements in the Western lineages.

Here’s the question:

Hi Joy,

Here are the two types of Reiki attunements that I was advised to give.

One of my teachers said the procedure involves:

  1. Contract Hui Yin (perinaeum). Place tip of tongue on alveolar ridge (I think that’s the roof of your mouth). Hold contractions throughout all the attunements, even for a large group.
  2. Take three or more kidney breaths (sapphire blue energy inhaling, white energy exhaling).
  3. White mist breath all the way down to your root chakra. Hold your breath. The white light come up through the nerve bundles in the center of your spine. Your brain turns white, sapphire blue, royal purple and gold.
  4. Draw symbols of DKM, both CKRs (regular and reversed), Halu, and Raku. Breathe into crown, spine, and left/right palms. Balance each occiput with OM.

This is the procedure from my other teacher:

  1. Spiritually cleanse the room where the attunement will take place
  2. Practitioner needs to turn the Reiki energy on and set up some kind of self-protection
  3. Help the student feel relaxed and ready to receive the attunement
  4. Set the intention for what level of attunement the student is receiving
  5. Draw or visualize pressing the symbols into the crown, third eye, heart, and hands (CKR, SHK, HSZSN, Tibetan Master symbol, and Usui Master symbol)
  6. Imagine student and master being surrounded by gold or white light
  7. Draw/visualize Raku grounding symbol going from the top of the student’s head to the ground
  8. Give the student a few minutes to let the energy ground into their body

Which approach do you think is best? Does it really matter? Whatever feedback you can provide will help greatly.

Here’s my answer:

Hi Nicole!

Thanks for sharing this. I really appreciate your dedication to your ongoing study and practice.

What I’ve learned from my own practice, and what I teach to my students, is that the attunement process basically has three parts. The opening, the ritual, and the closing. You can add in personal preparation for four parts if you like. I’ll break each of your attunements down into those processes so you can understand them better.

Following is more info on how I view it. These ideas are not necessarily taught in Reiki Ryôhô, but rather are based on my own understanding and vocabulary derived from decades of energetic ritual work. It’s helpful to use these outside ideas to bring objectivity to the Reiki initiation process for the purpose of understanding it and bringing clarity to why different processes are the way they are.

  • 0-Personal Preparation: Your personal preparation in most ways should be your daily practice of working with the precepts, doing breathing meditations, hands-on healing on yourself and others, and working with the symbols and mantras. The preparation needed for an attunement is to simply shift your awareness towards this deep work that you do every day. The students can have personal preparation too—I always do about 10-20 minutes of breathing meditation with the students prior to starting the attunements.
  • 1-Opening: This is the opening part of the ritual in which you connect to the energy and the student, bringing your deep awareness of this always present energy into the sphere of perception of the student, which sets an energetic example so that their own awareness of the energy can increase.
  • 2-Ritual: This is the body of the attunement. In this section, you take that general awareness of the everpresent energy and focus it into specific body/energy center awareness—The focus is almost always on the hands, since Reiki is considered a palm-healing method, but can also focus on the head, heart, hara, or other physical locations or energy centers of the body.
  • 3-Closing: In this section you return the awareness away from the specifics of the body of the ritual and back into the generalized awareness of the everpresent energy. Connecting above and below is common in this step. Gently stepping out of the sphere of perception of the student and coming back to your own center (not the expanded center that includes the student) can also be included here.

Here’s how I would break down your attunement processes:

Version 1:

  • 0-Personal Preparation: Contract Hui Yin (perinaeum). Place tip of tongue on alveolar ridge (I think that’s the roof of your mouth). Hold contractions throughout all the attunements, even for a large group.
  • 0-Personal Preparation: Take three or more kidney breaths (sapphire blue energy inhaling, white energy exhaling).
  • 0-Personal Preparation: White mist breath all the way down to your root chakra. Hold your breath. The white light comes up through the nerve bundles in the center of your spine. Your brain turns white, sapphire blue, royal purple and gold.
  • 1-Opening: Draw symbols of Dai Ko Myo, both Cho Ku Rei’s (regular and reversed), Halu, and Raku.
  • 2-Ritual: Breathe into crown, spine, and left/right palms.
  • 3-Closing: Balance each occiput with OM.

You can see in this method that the primary focus is on getting the teacher into the place to perform the initiation. I think there is an over-emphasis on the personal preparation in many Western Reiki lineage attunements due to the fact that those lineages don’t as a rule emphasize daily work with the precepts, breathing meditations, or personal symbol/mantra work. At best they emphasize daily hands-on healing, but some don’t even do that. So if you’re not working on improving yourself daily, you have to do a lot more to suddenly build your energy right before performing an attunement.

The actual ritual for the student is extremely minimal.

Also, this style pulls very heavily from non-Reiki practices. I see some Qi Gong influences, and influences I don’t recognize—maybe more Qi Gong? Not sure.

Here’s the other version:

  • 0-Personal Preparation: Spiritually cleanse the room where the attunement will take place
  • 0-Personal Preparation: Practitioner needs to turn the Reiki energy on and set up some kind of self-protection
  • 0-Personal Preparation: Help the student feel relaxed and ready to receive the attunement
  • 0-Personal Preparation: Set the intention for what level of attunement the student is receiving
  • 2-Ritual: Draw or visualize pressing the symbols into the crown, third eye, heart, and hands (Cho Ku Rei, Sei He Ki, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, Tibetan Master symbol, and Usui Master symbol)
  • 3-Closing: Imagine student and master being surrounded by gold or white light
  • 3-Closing: Draw/visualize Raku grounding symbol going from the top of the student’s head to the ground
  • 0-Personal post-ritual time: Give the student a few minutes to let the energy ground into their body

You could argue that making the student feel relaxed and setting your intention is the Opening, but from my experience, the Opening of the Ritual usual involves some energy work, such as using the symbols. Just relaxing is a personal preparation step. So in this version, I think it is lacking a step: you transition abruptly from you and the students getting ready to do the ritual to suddenly you are just doing it with no step to connect to the student. Or you might actually be doing something that is just so natural to you that you didn’t think to write it down. If I were to make adjustments to this but with only minimal changes, I would add “Imagine student and master being surrounded by gold or white light” as 1-Opening. This sandwiches the ritual between a symmetrical opening and closing. Alternately, it can be quite simple—in my Usui Tibetan teacher training I was taught to put my hands on the shoulders and head of the student and wait until I felt an energetic pulse—that’s the connection to the energy and student—then to proceed with the rest of the ritual.

The actual ritual itself is much closer to the traditional forms of initiation that I’ve learned. I would definitely choose this one to work with.

I hope this gives you a more structured way to look at the attunements you’ve learned so you can better understand what you’re doing and why.

If you’d like to set up a time to practice on students, let me know and I’ll add it to the meetup calendar.

_________________________________________________

Joy Vernon has been studying energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years and has been practicing Reiki since 2003. She is a Reiki Practitioner and Teacher in the traditional Japanese Usui Reiki Ryôhô lineage through the International House of Reiki, studying under the IHR Founder Frans Stiene. She is also a certified Komyo Reiki Shihan (Teacher) and studied under Komyo Reiki Kai Founder Hyakuten Inamoto in 2011 and 2013. She leads the Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup and is a member of Shibumi International Reiki Association and the Healing Touch Professional Association. Joy is also a Certified Professional Tarot Reader. For more information, please see her website.

© 2016 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.
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Q&A with Joy: Which Type of Reiki Attunement is Best?