Reiki is the ancient Japanese
art of "laying on hands
" for healing
. It is derived via the etymology of "Rei" meaning Universal, and "Ki
" meaning Energy. The practice is in the belief that the Reiki energy is, either benevolent, or if not, at least tending towards order, repair, and universal well-being, and the Reiki practitioner acts as an attuned conduit for said energy to act upon the recipient of a Reiki treatment. The art also includes the use of 7 symbols, which are basically focii
that are usually drawn in the air/field of energy by the practitioner during the course of a session. Reiki healing practice comes in three successive levels...:
Reiki I deals primarily with physical problems and channelling the Reiki energy in the body. One of the symbols is passed on to the practitioner during this attunment, but they are usually not told about it, for fear of misunderstanding.
Reiki II deals with mental and emotional issues, and applying the energy to those. The practitioner is given 2 more of the symbols and taught all 3, if they have not learned the first already.
Reiki III concerns itself with the "soul" of the recipient, and deals expilicity with the person's Ki. It is at this level that one is considered synched with the Reiki enough to pass on attunments to the energy to others, as well. The final 4 symbols are passed on, including the one which allows a practitioner to provide attunement to others.
The symbols are an important part of the practice, but even though one is received at the first attuenement, they are usually not taught until level 2, and almost never shared with the unattuned for fear that they will mistake the use of the symbols for being the entire practice, and will miss the point entirely. Some teachers see this as a chance for extra profit, and will provide the symbols on a delayed basis, possibly even adding a "Master Level" to the attunements, by witholding the one symbol that allows a practitioner to provide attunements for themself. The reason behind this is believed to be entirely monetary, and not a philosophical belief in preparedness of the practitioner.
There is a small overseeing Reiki assemblage, which originated between practioners from Japan and Hawaii. It is part of the religion and tradition of Reiki practitioners that recieving the highest attunement requires sacrafice of something of great value. This assemblage of practitioners, being biased towards westerners, assumed that the only thing really valued by us is money, and hence will not consider any western Reiki practitioner, no matter how skilled, to actually be a Reiki master, unless they have paid a sum of 10,000 dollars to their master, who is only consider to be a master if they have paid, and so on. For philosophical reasons, and partly to show that westerners are not ignorant of the philosophy of sacrafice, many Reiki teachers do not exclusively charge money, but instead will accept service, art, teaching of another art, or anything else that is given fully and freely, based on circumstance, with the intentional that the art be taught and practiced. It is still in debate among the eastern practitioners whether or not, in their conceit, they find this acceptable.
Correction: Apparently, there are even more than 7 symbols, and most schools only teach a couple at the master level. My school(s) just happen to teach 7 total. Many have been "lost to the ages" but a practitioner is encouraged to use and share any symbols that come to them either in meditation, during a session, or during an attunement.