A look at some new branches claims
How many levels were there in the system of Reiki again?
There is confusion in the Reiki community about what system is traditional (if there is such a thing) and what is taught within these systems. This is one of the main reasons that we wrote The Reiki Sourcebook – to offer an impartial compendium on all elements pertaining to the system of Reiki.
This issue we thought we’d focus on a form of Reiki that is currently being taught in Australia (and perhaps elsewhere) as some of its teachers are making confusing claims. It’s called the Seven Level System. This system evolved from The Radiance Technique so we have also included information from that system too to offer some background (2005 added note: However when we contacted The Radiance Technique they denied any connection with the Seven Level teachings). Excerpts from The Reiki Sourcebook have been used to offer historical information about the systems.
There is also a complete chapter in The Reiki Sourcebook that traces the number of levels within the system of Reiki since it was first taught in the early 1900s. So if these excerpts below pique your interest then you know where to look for more information. On this site you can also find out more information about these groups under Historical Inconsistencies.
First is some basic information about The Radiance Technique followed by information about the Seven Level System:
The Radiance Technique
Lineage: Mikao Usui – Chûjirô Hayashi – Hawayo Takata – Barbara Weber Ray
Founder: Reiki Master Barbara Weber Ray
Levels: Initially 3 levels are described in her book, The Reiki Factor (1983) but this changed in later editions to 7 levels. Level 1 has 4 non-traditional attunements and level 2 has 1 non-traditional attunement. The system works like this: From Level 3 a student can teach the levels beneath them. This same system continues through to Level 7 from where the student can teach all levels.
Mantras/Symbols: The traditional symbols are taught plus non-traditional symbols. The names for the traditional symbols are different though. They are Cosmic Pattern 1 (Symbol #1), Cosmic Pattern 4 (Symbol #2) and Cosmic Pattern 22 (Symbol #3). After completing level 2 these are replaced with the traditional Japanese mantras.
Branch claims: Hawayo Takata taught Barbara Weber Ray in 1979 as a Reiki Master. After Hawayo Takata’s death in 1980 she claimed to have been the only master student to receive her true teachings. The Radiance Technique website asserts that any other form of the system of Reiki is ‘an imitation, a copy, a part and a fabrication’. The nature of these teachings appears to have changed or developed over a period of time and includes a Tibetan history with New Age leanings.
Comments: It has been suggested that the 7 levels were introduced to the Radiance Technique after a student, Mieko Mitsui, travelled to Japan in 1985 and met a member of the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai. The Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai teaches 3 major levels with a number of sub-levels of proficiency. It does not teach that Mikao Usui’s teachings are from Tibet or have any other link to The Radiance Technique.
The Seven Level System
Lineage: Mikao Usui – Chûjirô Hayashi – Hawayo Takata – Barbara Weber Ray – Gary Samer (Independent Reiki Master who resigned from The Radiance Technique in 1990)
Founder: Reiki Master Gary Samer
Levels: Seven levels based on the Indian chakra system.
Mantras/Symbols: Traditional symbols are taught plus non-traditional symbols. These are often the Serpent Fire, Gateway, Daiki Ro Se (wisdom symbol), Cho Ka Ku (third eye symbol), Chi Ka So (throat chakra symbol), and the Shi Ka Sei Ki (heart chakra symbol). The well-known infinity symbol (a sideways 8) is used in the 7th level. Generally the infinity symbol is used in Seichim only.
Branch claims: Various seventh level techniques are taught. Some of its teachers claim to teach the ‘original’ system of Reiki.
Comments: The Seven Level system is a generic term used to cover teachers who have broken away from The Radiance Technique (which is a break away from Usui Shiki Ryôhô). One of these is Gary Samer. This is a non-traditional system of Reiki. As there is no set system or foundation for this branch there are a multitude of teachings under its banner. Some Seven Level teachers claim to be able to re-attune the student (this means to take away the current attunement and replace it with a ‘better’ one – something that is inherent in existence cannot be taken away!). Also offered by some of these teachers is an attunement that lasts only a few days. Energy cannot be timed and this is a misrepresentation of the system of Reiki. Attunements are not ‘given’ by a teacher – students draw as much energy as they need at that particular moment in time (each individual is unique). This concept is about power – not about healing. The seven levels correlate with the Indian chakra system, which was introduced after Hawayo Takata’s death in 1980.
Bronwen and Frans Stiene are the co-founders of the International House of Reiki and co-authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, Your Reiki Treatment, The A-Z of Reiki Pocketbook and the Reiki Techniques Card Deck. Bronwen and Frans teach in the USA, Europe and Australia. Visit the Courses page to find a course near you.