The Original Seven Level System

The earliest archeological evidence for Reiki has been found in Tibet, dating back approximately ten thousand years ago. There is evidence for Reiki that suggests it was also known in ancient India, approximately two and a half thousand years ago, and known in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome in the west and ancient China in the east. The knowledge of Reiki is then thought to have been common among indigenous peoples throughout the world, until the time of Western colonization, when it was lost, due to warfare.

It was not until the early 1900's that a scholar in Japan, by the name of Dr Mikao Usui, rediscovered the Reiki formula in an ancient Sanskrit sutra, or book of knowledge written in the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. The sutra that Usui found contained the seven symbols on which Reiki is based, along with an explanation of their power. However, something was missing. It did not contain the attunement formulas, the method by which a person is empowered with Reiki (see attunements). Nor did Usui possess the power to activate the attunements. So, Usui was guided to undertake a long meditation fast to purify himself, to understand the symbols and their energy better.

Usui went to the top of Mount Kurama where he fasted and meditated on the Reiki symbols for twenty-one days. Nothing happened until the twenty-first day. He describes meditating before dawn. Then, in the dark, he saw a flicker of light in the distance. It came to him faster and faster, till it struck him in the middle of the forehead and knocked him out. He then saw millions of bubbles, all the colours of the rainbow, and then a screen of white light on which the seven Reiki symbols were radiating in gold. He then said, "Yes, I remember." By which he meant that he remembered being a teacher of this system in a previous life. He then reconnected to the knowledge and complete energy of the entire seven level system of Reiki.

Usui then witnessed four proofs which proved to him that he now possessed a healing energy that was independent to his own energy: he rapidly cured himself and a woman, among other apparent miracles, after fasting for twenty-one days!

Usui then set up the first Reiki school, where those who were interested in learning Reiki would be given a temporary attunement to Reiki, which would last for about four or five days on average, and if they treated themselves and others and came back, they would be given another temporary attunement, and if they used it and came back, then they would get another temporary attunement, and so on, for about a year. And then they were given the permanent attunements of Reiki 1. But they were not told about Reiki 2, because Usui did not want them to stay around just for an energy boost. So if they continued to treat people and themselves and kept coming back, then after another year they were given Reiki 2. And so on through the levels.

In this way Usui taught Reiki to many people, a few of whom were trained in the entire seven level system of Reiki. One such person was Dr Chujiro Hayashi. Hayashi was a retired medical doctor who, after learning the entire seven level system, opened his own Reiki clinic in Tokyo, where many people were treated, one of whom was a woman by the name of Hawayo Takata.

Hawayo Takata, named in honor of the Hawaiian Islands, where she was born and raised, became very ill in her mid-30s due to the grief caused by her husband passing away at an early age. While in Japan she had heard about Hayashi's clinic, so decided to receive treatments. And after six months of daily treatments, Takata recovered from her life-threatening illness. Wanting to assist others the same way she had been assisted, she decided to learn Reiki. By 1938 Mrs Takata had learnt the entire seven level system of Reiki and then moved back to Hawaii, where she treated and taught Reiki to hundreds of people. However, it was not until she was in her 70's that, knowing she would pass away soon, Takata started training teachers.

Before we go any further, let's present a schema of the seven level system of Reiki:

7A...... 7B
5A...... 5B
3A...... 3B


Traditionally, it was taught so that you first learnt all the practitioner or A levels, and then, if you desired to teach it, you would learn the teacher or B levels. So, first you would have to learn Reiki 1, 2, 3A, 4, 5A, 6 and 7A. As well as raising the person's vibration and balancing all the major energy centres, this also gave the student a knowledge of all the levels before they started teaching any part of the system. Then, if you wished to teach, you would do the Reiki 3B, which gives you the ability to align people to and teach Reiki 1 and Reiki 2; then Reiki 5B, which gives you the ability to align people to and teach Reiki 3A, 3B and 4; and then Reiki 7B, which enables you to align and teach Reiki 5A, 5B, 6, 7A and then 7B.

The way Takata taught it, however, was different. Because she knew she would pass away soon, she taught her students Reiki 1, 2, 3A and then 3B, the first teacher level. This ensured that there would be at least a few teachers who could teach at least part of the system. Of the twenty-two teachers Takata trained, twenty-one were trained up to Reiki 3B, and only one was trained in the entire seven level system. That person was Barbara Weber Ray, who learnt the entire system by 1979. After 3B, Ray then learnt Reiki 4, 5A, 5B, 6, 7A and then 7B.

Then in 1980, Takata passed away. Before she passed away, Takata requested that Ray inform the 3B teachers of the higher levels and teach them if they felt ready. Takata had not herself informed them about the other levels because she taught in the tradition of refraining from telling the student about the next level till the student was ready. So Ray contacted the other teachers, but most of them were not interested because they had started an association called the Reiki Alliance and were actively teaching Reiki, so didn't want to know that their system was incomplete or fragmented.

So to distinguish what she had from other, incomplete and incorrect, systems of Reiki, Barbara Ray decided to call the seven level system of Reiki 'The Radiance Technique.' Another distinction between the Reiki that Barbara Ray practices and teaches and that of Takata's Reiki 3B teachers, is the symbols. When Phyllis Furumoto, the head of the Reiki Alliance, called those teachers together to compare their symbols, no two symbols were the same. In contrast Ray had kept Takata's original symbols and made copies for all her students, along with a detailed description of the form of the symbols to clarify any inconsistencies created by Takata's hand when drawing the symbols.

Barbara Ray went on to train many teachers in the seven levels system. One of them was Gary Samer, who went on to learn the entire seven level system. Samer completed his training with Ray in 1984. He then decided to leave 'The Radiance Technique' association and became an independent seven level system Reiki Grand Master Teacher. He has taught over 10,000 people in twelve countries, teaching only a handful of people the entire seven level system, one of whom was Dez Dalton, who taught Eva Avatara and Alex Topic, the founders of Reiki Energy Therapy and members of the Association of the Original 7 Level System of Reiki: ASLOR.