Written by Kit Johnson, last updated 28 October 2020.
Teaching Reiki by distance has been a highly controversial topic in the Reiki community. At its worst, online teaching is a way for sub-standard teachers to make quick money online, and for uncommited students to whip through a few slides and then call themselves Reiki Masters. However there is a precedent. One of history’s most prominent Reiki teachers, Hawayo Takata, gave distance attunements when the occasion demanded it1See pg 299 of Robert Fueston’s The History and System of Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho. While distance Reiki is a highly divisive topic, Covid has forced our hand, demanding a response of every Reiki teacher.
For those teachers who decide to teach by distance, this page is offered as a resource on how we need to re-think:
- course content
- personal feedback and mentoring
1. Course content
Course content is the easiest problem to solve. For teachers who work from a manual, these can be emailed, printed, or posted. For teachers using International School of Reiki materials (available to anyone), the course content has been refined over many years to take advantage of technology. Our member teachers have additional access to editable, printable manuals, as well as activities which can be cut-out and used in class, guided meditations, videos, slides and online activities.
While in-person courses often take two days to cover all of this, distance does offer a greater degree of flexibility.
Giving someone a spiritual blessing over the internet seems, on first glance, frivolous. The Reiki initiation (aka ‘attunement’) is a sacred ceremony, and it’s easy to scoff at offering this to someone you haven’t even met. But if you’re willing to try it, compare the experience to your in-person initiations. I did, and it surprised me. Here are some recommendations:
Guide the student
With in-person initiations, you can physically and verbally guide the student, and your presence will reassure them. There are two ways you can achieve this in a distance initiation:
- Use a recorded guided meditation. This will help the student relax, and give them hints about what is going on spiritually, and let them know when the initiation is over. International School of Reiki member teachers have an mp3 that they can send to the student.
- Connect over the phone or video chat. You can do an audio call with the phone in your pocket and a hands free kit. You could even set up the phone on a stand for video. You can then tell them what they should do and when the initiation is over.
The initiation itself is very much the same process as an in-person one, with some small adjustments.
To help ensure the strongest connection during the initiation, the teacher and student connect in real-time. Organise a time with the student, calculating for time zone differences so that it is actually happening live. The initiation itself generally takes no more than 20 minutes.
Also, consider how many initiations you plan to give on the course (usually four for level one), and whether you want to do these in an intensive way similar to an in-person course, or to spread them out over several days or weeks.
Plan for before and after the initiation
Given how deep the experience can be, it’s wise to prepare the student for what to do before and after the initiation:
- Ask your student to give herself some quiet time to relax before the initiation. This could be spent in meditatation, prayer, or just sitting or lying quietly.
- Plan what the student should do after the initiation. Often it takes up to half an hour for the energies within to settle down, and either guided or freestyle self-treatment is usually the best way to process this.
There are further ideas for the student at tips for taking an online Reiki course.
3. Personal feedback and mentoring
Learning Reiki is different from learning academic content. It’s a process of personal transformation, and teachers who skip this are doing a disservice to the student and to Reiki itself. There are many ways to give personal feedback and mentoring by distance, but video chat is probably the most direct.
- Give the student plenty of opportunities to discuss how they are getting on with the course, and how they are personally responding to it.
- Prepare questions to ask your student to ascertain how they are developing. International School of Reiki master teachers have access to pre-prepared questions which can be asked at various stages throughout the course.