In the west as well as in Japan, Reiki is taught in levels, and through a series of attunements. In the west, there are typically four levels that are used: 1st Degree (practitioner), 2nd Degree and 3rd Degree (Advanced Practitioner) and the Master/Teacher. An overview of the material covered at each level is described below.
Each class typically lasts one day. Some Reiki Masters teach Reiki level 1 and 2 back-to-back in the same weekend - I do not. I require at least 21 self-Reiki sessions between level 1 and level 2 classes.
Also, I do not recommend just taking Reiki from the first person you can find unless you feel a connection with that person. I believe that it is essential that you have an energetic connection with your Reiki Master. If you don't have that connection with me then I am probably not the person who is intended to teach you. In such cases I will gladly recommend other Reiki Masters in your area.
Prequisite: A desire to learn Reiki
1st Degree, also called Reiki I, training is focused on healing one’s self. It is taught to those that wish to learn to learn about and use Reiki energy. Self-healing is a major part of being a 1st Degree Reiki practitioner. Usui felt that in order to have pure intent, it was necessary to cleanse one's self. He required his 1st degree students to perform self-Reiki everyday for 21 days as part of a cleansing process. Today, some Reiki teachers, this one included, encourage their 1st Degree students to ‘cleanse’ themselves in this manner.
In the 1st degree class, the each student recieves an attunement to aid in the student’s ability to receive Reiki energy. Traditionally 1st Degree training uses four attunements, each honoring one of the four sacred directions. A Reiki I class generally covers: the hand positions used when doing Reiki on self and others, the Reiki principles, and the history of Reiki.
Prequisite: Successful completion of Ist Degree Reiki training AND at least 21 self Reiki sessions.
2nd Degree, Reiki II, training teaches the three main Reiki Symbols. The student is also given three more attunements, one for each symbol. Reiki II re-enforces the Reiki Principles through the use of the symbols. The meanings and applications of the Power Symbol, Mental/Emotional Healing Symbol and the Distant Symbol are taught. Different schools have different time length requirements before level II can be taken (usually three months between level I and level II). In practical terms, a student is ready to take Reiki II when the student and the Reiki Master both agree the student is ready.
3rd (Advanced) Degree
Prequisite: Successful completion of 2nd Degree Reiki training. Completion of and documented at least 25 Reiki sessions, of which no more that 10 can be Distant Reiki session.
3rd Degree, Reiki III, completes the basic Reiki Practitioner knowledge by focusing on healing at the spiritual level. In this level, the student, through the use of the Empowerment Symbol, is connected to the Universe at a purer, more powerful level. Being comfortable with the meaning and use of Reiki II symbols is a prerequisite for Reiki III training.
Master and Teacher Level
Prequisite: If not taken at the same time, successful completion of 3rd Degree Reiki training.
As a Reiki Master student you are expected to assume the responsibility of properly teaching and passing on Reiki knowledge and skills. Some traditions require a great personal and financial commitment on the part of the student, and there is a bond forged between student and master. Masters are taught how to initiate others into Reiki using the attunement process.
It is quite normal for 3rd Degree training to be given in conjunction with Master training. Consequently most students go from the 2nd Degree directly to the Master Level.