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Nine elements

The Nine Elements describe the physical form of practice for this system. This description supports the underlying premises or values of the Elements. Some of these are: for every level of initiation, preparation of the prospective student is a natural part of the practice. Each level of initiation carries full empowerment for the student. The First Degree, contact with the Energy of Reiki, is all you need to change your life. All elements are at work in every level of practice. Each of the Elements is of critical importance. The interplay of the Elements creates a spiritual technology that awakens the hidden potential for healing, guiding the development of human consciousness. Any change to an Element is a change in the practice. As tradition keepers, the masters steward the practice through their faithful teaching of the practice they carry. Each student has the right to his or her own personal practice and relationship to the energy of Reiki and the system of practice.

The Nine Elements are: Form of Teaching, History, Initiation, Money, Oral Tradition, Precepts, Spiritual Lineage, Symbols, and Treatment. In First and Second Degree the Nine Elements are not a part of the actual teaching of the practice but serve as the framework for the master’s teaching. In the preparation of a master, the Elements add another dimension of understanding for the aspiring master as a steward of this system. This articulation of the system, Usui Shiki Ryoho, offers all students a still-point for the practice, making the system stable and reliable. It creates the opportunity for the system to be used for growth and development, for deepening the human experience, and for integrating the Absolute into the Relative Universe.

Form of Teaching

The class form for teaching this system is simple, direct, and comprehensive. It is easy to learn and integrate into daily life. A master teaches a beginning class at each level supporting the student in being able to experience their individual path in the practice. There are two levels, First and Second Degree. First Degree is taught in 4 three hour sessions on 4 consecutive days. Second Degree is taught in three sessions of varying length, usually over three days. There are other details involved in this Element that are too numerous to recount here. 


History is the story of the origin and development of this practice through time as held, carried, and cared for by the Spiritual Lineage of Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi, Hawayo Takata, Phyllis Lei Furumoto and Johannes Reindl. The story traces the development of the practice through the life of each Lineage Bearer. 


Initiation is the ritual known and practiced only by masters to bring the student into the unique relationship with Reiki as gifted to Mikao Usui. The initiation can be described as a sacred time when the student and master experience communion with the energy of Reiki. Though daily practice the gift of initiation puts the student on the path to healing and development.


Balance of giving and receiving is a concept that is reflected in the Element of Money in this system. The practice of Reiki calls for an exchange for learning Reiki at each level and also for treatment. There are many social beliefs about money. This system opens the conversation for the healing of these beliefs and restores the elegance of spirit through the gifting of money.

Oral Tradition

This practice is taught and passed on in the form of Oral Tradition: that is, the student and master are together in person for the class experience. There is a unique quality to this meeting that can only happen in person-to-person contact, where ritual or sacred space is created. Through the medium of story, demonstration, initiation, sharing, and responding to questions, the essence of the practice is communicated. Oral Tradition is also about the quality of transmission that is present when being together in person. In this system, personal experience through practice is emphasized over the written word.


The five Reiki Principles (or Precepts) are guides to daily living. They challenge the student to look more deeply into the nature of being human. Each question that is provoked by the precepts is an opportunity for personal development, a way to change our perceptions of life, and to find personal peace.

Spiritual Lineage

The Spiritual Lineage of Usui Shiki Ryoho is Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi, Hawayo Takata, Phyllis Lei Furumoto and Johannes Reindl. The system as we know it today has been carried through these five Lineage Bearers and their time/space in the world as we know it. Historical events, changes in communication and travel methods, research into the human conditions, and many other factors have had a bearing on the practice through the Lineage Bearers. This is a developing system that has at its root the inspiration and teachings of Mikao Usui and his transcultural values.

Each student has an initiation lineage which is the line of masters connecting to the Spiritual Lineage of this practice. The Spiritual Lineage can be viewed as a horizontal line and the initiation lineage a vertical line connecting at some point to one of the five Lineage Bearers. 


There are three symbols in this practice that are keys or doorways to another level of relationship with the energy of Reiki. A student is asked for further commitment of time and attention to the practice. The three symbols have specific functions and form of use in the student’s daily practice, they are held as sacred and therefore secret. This means that the symbols are not used publicly in any way and the student is thoughtful when practicing to keep this part of the practice private. 


The form of treatment is simple while comprehensive. The hand positions offered in the First Degree class create a pattern on the body that allows for the person receiving as well as the person giving the treatment awareness of the energy movement in the body. The basis of the practice is self-treatment and treatment of others within the realm of family and friends. The student learns the technique for self-treatment, treatment of others, and for first aid applications. Beginning students have the capacity to give a good treatment. Reiki treatments are not used for diagnostic purposes, nor should there be expectations about the outcome of the treatment. Reiki always works, sometimes on unseen levels of the being.