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The Reiki Attunement Ritual

Article by Deborah Lloyd, Reiki Master

Have you ever wondered why the Reiki attunement process has so many steps? It took me many hours of practice to get all the steps down, in the right order, to prepare for my first class as a Reiki Master. Often, I wondered why it had to be so complicated! Does Spirit really need this whole process to give someone the gift of being a Reiki practitioner?

The answer came to me one day. The attunement process is for the student – and for me – not for Spirit. Spirit does not need it, but we do!

The Reiki attunement process is a ritual

The lives of human beings are filled with rituals. A couple falls in love, spend much time together for months or years, and then expend many hours of planning, and money, for their wedding day. Why? The marriage ceremony is a ritual full of special meaning. A couple declares to each other, and to family and friends, a lifelong commitment to honor and love each other. Similarly, levels of education end with a graduation ritual; employees retire with the going-away party; even our birthdays and anniversaries are marked with ritualistic activities.

Rituals appear in every culture and belief system

Recently, a young client reported to me she greatly disliked the traditional religion of her youth as the service was always the same, long and boring affair. Then, she stated she had found a new pagan practice that had many ceremonial aspects. Soon, she started to laugh, realizing how she had rejected one set of ritualistic practices for another! We continued the discussion, and she recognized there are always beliefs underlying ritual practices. She now practiced ceremony in accordance with her core beliefs. While the rituals had similarities, the reasons for the acts were not the same.

Reiki Attunement Ritual

Image by suc

Rituals can be powerful, sacred ceremonies; each ritual generates an unique energy to those participating in it. Rituals mark an end to a particular phase of our lives, and the beginning of a new one. Gone is an old way of being, with many new possibilities ahead of us – that is certainly true of the Reiki attunement process. Gone are old beliefs that healing is not possible, that there is nothing that can change this physical, emotional or spiritual issue. Gone are old paradigms that never worked in the first place.

What happens during Reiki attunement

Many people have asked me what actually happens during the attunement process. My answer, as I was trained to answer, is we keep the process secret, to maintain the sacredness of the event. I reply that the Universe works in opening the student’s channels to energy healing. There is truth in that statement, for sure. Perhaps, the main reason it is a secret is it would be very difficult to explain how a series of steps can have such a large impact on someone’s ability to bring healing to others and self. It is one of those mysteries of life, and it is one of those mysteries that we need to accept, on faith. There is no simple, logical explanation.

That is the true beauty of ritual. This element of mystery is much deeper than our humanistic level of understanding. As always, we express gratitude for the mystery of the Reiki attunement process.

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Deborah Lloyd
Deborah Lloyd

Deborah Lloyd is a Usui and Karuna® Reiki Master and certified holistic therapy practitioner, providing Reiki sessions and training in Asheville, NC. Deborah is the author of two books, 22 Messages from the Archangels; and, Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons. She is also one of the co-authors of Reiki 101: 101 Answers for Your Reiki Questions. Reach Deborah at http://www.deblloydhealing.com/, deb@deblloydhealing.com and at Deb Lloyd Healing on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/deblloydhealing)

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • shwetha April 11, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Just what I needed! Ahead of my first reiki class as a teacher. 🙂

  • Sonja April 12, 2015, 2:30 am

    I am very grateful for this site. Thanks for the knowledge. This evening I just felt so grateful because I was able to download some information that I can study. I have my Reiki 1 & 11 and want to do my Reiki Master as soon as I can. I have a bit on my plate now. So I am staying focused, working and studying..It is refreshing to see what you are doing with reiki, that you are helping to spread the art. Thank you. I live in sunny Bermuda!

  • Deborah Lloyd April 25, 2015, 7:59 pm

    I have been on vacation and just now saw your replies. Shwetha – I assume you have taught your first Reiki class by now. Blessings to you and your students. Sonja – Ah, staying focused is always essential and you will become a Reiki Master, when the time is right. And, you can bring Reiki to lovely Bermuda.

    Appreciate your thoughtful comments, Deborah

  • Myrna May 17, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Thank you Deborah, this is something I am gradually beginning to realize. I was not raised in a family that was involved in “rituals”…yes we did celebrate the many occasions that were “holiday” to us…had a big meal with lots of people, but the reason was never really honored or discussed. I think this has created “blocks” in my thinking that I am now working on. I have come to believe that ritual is quite an important aspect in the creating or building of a “whole” person.

    • Deborah Lloyd May 18, 2015, 12:31 pm


      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I loved your last statement – the importance of ritual in creating a whole person. That is truly thought-provoking!

      Blessings to you,

  • TRACY ANN NAIRN May 18, 2015, 3:43 pm


  • Deborah Lloyd May 19, 2015, 1:00 pm

    Tracy Ann,

    I agree that we should share great resources with our students – and this is a great one!! Lifelong learning is important when we do this kind of healing work.

    Thanks for your comment,

  • len May 20, 2015, 10:10 am

    Another journey down the deep road, tells me nothing.

  • Rose May 20, 2015, 5:12 pm

    Beautifully stated!!

    • Rose May 20, 2015, 5:14 pm

      Beautifully stated for the article.

  • Kristen June 5, 2015, 3:49 am

    Thank you for your beautiful article. <3

  • ashwini chube June 27, 2015, 12:22 pm

    Cant thank you enough!!
    Came at the right time…I am about to begin my journey as a teacher:-)
    God bless you and lot of reiki love!

    Love and Light,

    • Deborah Lloyd June 30, 2015, 1:38 pm

      Dear Ashwini,

      Many blessings to you, and to your students, on your journey as a Reiki teacher.


  • Rina February 7, 2016, 4:46 pm

    I absolutely detest rituals of all kind. It is no reason to believe they are essential to human condition only because they have been imposed on people throughout times. When you remain within your heart and have clear intent, no rituals are needed. Rituals are spiritual hierarchy’s way of keeping people disempowered.

    • manyanstarr February 7, 2016, 10:42 pm

      What is Reiki and “What makes it so”.
      Yes the attunement makes the System of Reiki, but not in the way that many try to explain it. The attunement process is a ritual but what is it.
      The 4 symbols attributed to the system are written as a formula ( a sentence) and are applied through the physical into selected higher vibrating energy centres (Chakras).
      Starting at the Highest, the Crown then to the lower Kings Crown then the Heart, the Third Eye, Palms of the Hands and applied 4 times for the first level.
      During the 4 attunement the flow of energy is reversed from Receiving to Giving out.
      Even if the direction is not changed there will be an appearance of something different but that feeling over time will fade.
      How do you check that the applied vibrations have a permanency as a living energy.
      By placing hands, Thumb to thumb just over the Crown but not touching there may be an appearance of warmth or heat coming out, if not then the appearance may be that energy is flowing into the body, using the same technique as a distant healing a similar result may be observed.
      If there is an observance of warmth or heat then the applied attunement has been retained within the living energy however if the energy appears to flow into the body then the applied attunement has not increased the living energy.
      Using the 4 symbols the sentence can be written in numerous ways.
      Unconditionallove, fathermothersource, satisfaction, situation, vitality & youth.
      It is unfortunate that no set rules exist for the system which allows for many variations to be used but the end result has to be the retention of any applied vibrations within the living system, if that does not happen then there is nothing extra.
      Usui never had Reiki, he was a Spiritual Healer and as such would take on the negative within the Client, he never referred to his system as Reiki he called it his own.
      Like it or not, very few of the so called Masters retain the higher vibrations of an attunement within their living systems. An attunement cannot be applied the distant it has to be a person to person application and the system is NOT Universal Life Force Energy, that is something else outside of any living energy.

  • Dannie March 29, 2016, 1:44 pm

    People only need ritual if they think they do.

  • Mariette Lobo May 23, 2016, 7:50 pm

    I can download and save but cannot open this PDF. I get a message about incompatibility.

    • Reiki Rays May 24, 2016, 8:50 am

      Dear Mariette, sorry to hear this. Sometimes it happens that the downloaded PDF file is broken (computers are like humans 🙂 and sometimes make errors too) – in which case re-downloading it should fix the issue.

      In case the file is downloaded correctly, some things you can try:

      * Make sure to use the latest version of the software you are using to open the files.
      * Use Adobe’s official PDF reader, called Adobe Reader, and use the latest version of the reader.
      * Try opening the file using your web browser.

      I have also sent you the PDF file as an attachment to the email address you used to post this comment (I can see it in the admin interface – it’s not public). Please reply to my email if you still have trouble.

      Love and Light!

  • kat August 1, 2016, 2:18 am

    The reason an attunments is done in person is so there is a connection between the student and master. The attunments “locks” the energy and connects us to universal energy so we can work as one.

    • Deborah Lloyd August 4, 2016, 12:16 pm


      That’s an interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing.

      Reiki blessings,

  • Leonard T August 5, 2016, 12:37 am

    The system of Reiki is internal ( Chakras) and not external (Spiritual). The attunement does not lock in the Student to the Master. I have seen in many places some weird forms of Attunements and they do not work. It was not Usui who designed the Symbols but Hayashi. Usui never Called His System Reiki.

    • Deborah Lloyd August 5, 2016, 11:50 am


      Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. Different lineages do use varying attunement processes.

      Many blessings to you,

  • Leonard T August 6, 2016, 7:15 am

    Deborah, even though I practice an attunement with the recognised symbols as 1,4,1,2,1,3,1 there are 5 other ways that the attunement can be written by rearranging 2,3,4, ( the numbers represent the symbols) other symbols that hold vibration may be applied but I use the recognised symbols and apply them to the higher vibrating Chakras including the 4 that exist outside the Mental/Emotional Body (The Kings Crown) and at the conclusion of each level effect a reversal from Receiving to Giving out but regardless of the Linage, which may mean different symbols, ( which still have to be proved) the only Aura that is capable of holding vibration are the Kings Crown. Unfortunately the majority of those who claim to be Reiki Healers are not as an applied test as with distant healing over the Crown sees a flow of energy going into the person that action indicates that the applied energies from the attunement are not held. Regards Len.

  • Dez November 9, 2016, 12:37 pm

    Have had both distant attunement and hands-on via UK japanese trained master. The distant healing did work for me and those I treated. However in the last years I then had a hands on attunement via ceremony and the differnece in power and effects was very noticeable. Upon hands on attunement when eyes closed I just saw purple which was immediately downloaded onto fellow initiates to the point the colour diminished half an hour later. Interestly I still know when the master is close or in next room as the purple returns. The healings are now showing results earlier than previously so to summarise I am a convert to hands on attunements by masters who have good lineage and training.

    • Deborah Lloyd November 9, 2016, 1:01 pm

      Dear Dez,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I also think reattunements, or attunements by another master, can increase Reiki energies.

      Peace to you,

      • Deb February 13, 2017, 8:39 pm

        What I find unfortunate is, that Reiki classes and attunements have become another commercial entity. The intent was not to ever charge for the knowledge or the attunement, the charge was for the healing itself, whether barter or exchange of anything of value, as a sign of appreciation to the healer.

        Now, although I do have and everyone does have the ability to do this, the costs have started to be out of reach for many of us to even be able to get classes. We are having to become self taught and rely on friends that have become masters to do either distant attunements or in person attunements from those that are trying to keep the original intent of healing alive.

        • Deborah Lloyd February 14, 2017, 3:35 pm

          Dear Deb:

          It sounds as if you might live in an area where Reiki Masters are charging high fees for Reiki classes/attunements. Some Masters will do a sliding fee scale, bartering, payment plans, etc. for the classes.

          I understand what you are saying about the original intent of healing and passing Reiki onto others. Hopefully, all Reiki Masters still hold this belief. However, in today’s world, there can be real costs in providing Reiki trainings, including room rental, student materials and books, liability insurance, website fees, and so on.

          I hope you are able to find a Master who will work with you. It is important that Reiki is accessible to all!

          Blessings to you,

          • Leonard February 14, 2017, 10:37 pm

            All of the secrets of the system could be posted and still nobody wants to really understand the realities of the System. The system is really about bringing a sense of calm to the 3rd & 4th dimension, the living self not to the Spirit. The use of Language or Symbols are used to create a higher level within the living system and combining the physical & Mental / emotional. I would go as far as to say that so called Masters have no real idea as how to make that connection possible. Those who do have heat/ warmth at their Crown, I will say it again’ A true Master has heat/ warmth at the Crown but that is not to say that they are conversant with how to make the connection. Call it what you like Usui never called his method Reiki, that is something that has no understand as to how to work with a persons LIVING SYSTEMS.

  • Keith October 23, 2020, 11:26 pm

    Thank you Deb for sharing your perspective on attunements. Although I don’t agree with the process as outlined in ICRT, I truly believe it is, intention from the master, placement of the symbols and understanding and acceptance from the student. As always, blessings beyond understanding.

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