The Ritual of Reiju

Frans StieneArticles, English Leave a Comment


There are many forms of reiju/initiation/attunement some with touch and some without.

With his depth of practice, Mikao Usui could just sit opposite his student and let the reiju – spiritual offering unfold by itself without any physical ritual. However, this is not so easy. During this kind of reiju he wasn’t visualizing anything or working with symbols and mantras. He was just reiju; he was himself a spiritual offering. Some people might say that they also can do this. But most of the time they sit, maybe set an intention that they are offering reiju, and yet their mind is occupied by past, present, and future. Thus the sitting is more thinking than sitting and is not a real offering. 

Over time Mikao Usui borrowed a simple ritual from Japanese esoteric teachings, a ritual based on a practice called kaji. Within this ritual there was no physical touch at all, just hands placed around the student in specific positions.

After Mikao Usui’s death, Chujiro Hayashi, one of his students, began to include the symbols and mantras within the ritual of reiju. The reiju also became more ritualistic with more touch, the teacher touching the student’s body at different points and even opening their hands.

Nowadays some teachers only teach and perform the simple ritual without the physical touch and yet…. some students need the physical touch and some teachers need the ritual with the physical touch. If we throw away the physical touch we might misunderstand what Mikao Usui was really teaching us, even if he himself didn’t perform the more elaborate ritual that involves touch.

In the International House of Reiki classes we teach both versions of reiju, and the importance was evident in my recent class in San Francisco. During the performance of the more physical ritual, which includes touch and opening the hands, one student commented that she really needed that, the touch and the opening of the hands. She said she had always had difficulty “receiving” but now when her hands were opened and later brought back to her heart, she finally could feel that she could “receive”. This ritual is very beneficial for us if we feel disconnected within our own mind, or if we feel we have difficulty receiving. 

We can see the same touch and no touch with humans and animals alike. Sometimes when we perform a session on a person, the person might say please do not touch, or yes, please can you touch. An animal, when we hold the space, might sit a few meters away to take from that healing space whatever it needs without touch, and yet at other times the animal hops on our lap or starts to rub a part of the body against us because they feel the need to be touched.

As you can see, both rituals, the simple non touch and the more elaborate touching ritual, are important. In reality, we need to perform the ritual for our student. And this means that we need to understand whether thestudent needs the touch or not. If they need the touch, then we need to perform the more ritualistic reiju. And if not, we can perform the very simple one without touch. Reiju is not all about the performer but also about the student; we need to come to their level, their healing space. If that is touch we touch them and if that is no touch we don’t. This is why it is so important for a teacher to develop insight through continued practice, so that we know which ritual to perform. In this way, we can meet our students where they are and meet ourselves where we are, together in the open space of reiju.

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