Reiki courses: what happens at each level of training

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A note on progression with Reiki

Everyone's Reiki journey is unique.  Please note that there is no need to progress through all the levels of Reiki unless you feel drawn to do so or wish to become a practitioner.  Many people undertake Level 1 as part of their own self-development and to bring harmony and healing into their homes and the lives of those around them.  You may find this sufficiently fulfilling and feel no need to progress to higher levels, or you may wait many years before feeling the time is right to go further.  Progression must be at your own pace and there is no advantage in rushing quickly through the different levels.  On the other hand, for some people Reiki may feel like 'coming home' and you will naturally be drawn to progress to Reiki 2 quite quickly.

You may see combined courses advertised where you can do different levels all together in the same weekend: this may seem a cheap option but I cannot recommend it.  In my opinion this is confusing for students who inevitably learn less and cannot possibly have sufficient time to practise what they have learned.  It also cheapens the beautiful, gentle experience of opening to the new energy and letting it work within us, little by little.  Reiki takes us on a wonderful journey and it is worth taking time to savour it!  

Reiki get-togethers: Everyone undertaking a Reiki course with Pippa Howell is invited to ongoing regular support meetings (usually quarterly) to share Reiki with others, discuss experiences and join in planetary healing meditations. These meetings are free (depending on the venue) and optional.

Level 1 or first degree (Shoden in Japanese) 
For groups this is a two-day (or one and a half day) training, usually over a weekend. For one or two people the training can be done in one day, provided they put aside time the next day for personal study and practice. Cost 155.

No prior qualifications are needed, but it is helpful to experience a Reiki treatment (or several) yourself before training.  For treatments with Pippa Howell see reiki-reflex.com

Training at this level is for self-healing and well-being, and also to use for your friends and family.  You will also learn ways of using Reiki to benefit animals and plants. The following schedule gives you some idea of what to expect, although the order of sessions may vary.

Day One:  Introductions and opening blessing.  The history of Reiki.  The Reiki Principles. Guided meditations and energy exercises. Techniques for cleansing your own energy field. Two or three attunement rituals to open your crown, heart and palm chakras to the Reiki energy.  You will learn and practise hand positions for giving a treatment to yourself and others.

Day Two:  One or two further attunements to the Reiki energy. Guided meditations and energy exercises. Practice treatments on each other.  Ethical and practical guidance for case study treatments. Sharing, question and answer session. Closing ceremony.

After the course: You will be expected to complete a set of case studies (usually 9 treatments in all) in the following months, before receiving your Reiki 1 certificate.


Level 2 or second degree (Okuden in Japanese) 
This may be a one or two-day training, usually over a weekend. At this level you learn three Reiki symbols which help to focus the healing energy in particular ways. Cost 222. 

Only those holding a Reiki 1 certificate are eligible.  At least three months' practice is recommended between Reiki 1 and Reiki 2.

For individuals or a small group of 2 or 3 people the second day is optional, provided they put aside that day for personal study.  Holding a level 2 certificate allows you to apply for insurance and practise as a Reiki Practitioner for the general public (although some professional bodies such as the Complementary Therapists' Association may require members to have level 3). 

Day One: Introductions and opening blessing. Guided meditation and energy exercises.  You will receive one (sometimes two) further attunements.  You will learn three powerful Reiki symbols and ways of using them.  In particular you will learn different methods of distant healing through time and space, including self-healing of yourself at a younger age.    

Day Two: You are able to exchange a full treatment with another student using the symbols.  There is also a short seminar concerning the ethics and practicalities of setting up your own Reiki practice. Closing ceremony.

After the course: You will be expected to complete a set of case studies (both hands-on treatments and distant healings) before receiving your Reiki 2 certificate.  A full year of practice is recommended between Reiki 2 and Reiki 3. 


Level 3 or third degree or Reiki Master Practitioner (Shinpiden in Japanese) 

Cost 555 if residential, 333 otherwise but may vary according to venue. 

Only those who have a Reiki 2 certificate and have been practising at level 2 for at least one year are eligible.

A 2 or 3 day training, sometimes over a residential weekend.  This level is for people who have already taken Reiki 1 and 2, have had at least one year of practice since their Reiki 2 training and are wanting to make a serious commitment to Reiki.

The course contains advanced teachings, two master attunements (Usui and Tibetan), the master symbols, Reiki meditation techniques, opportunities for planetary healing, and other optional energy practices such as using a crystal grid.

Some Reiki teachers combine levels 3 and 4.  However, not everyone wants to teach Reiki, and a Reiki 3 course without the teaching component allows much more meaningful time to be spent on the student's own spiritual development.  Therefore I believe it is better practice to separate the two courses, as they are very different in nature.


Level 4 or Reiki Master Teacher 

Cost 333

This may be 1 or 2 days followed by self-development and personal preparation which may take the form of an 'apprenticeship' of 6 months or so.  Level 4 is only for those who wish to pass Reiki on others.  You will learn the secret rituals of the attunements, how to plan training courses and ways of deepening your own connection to the Reiki energy.