The Evolution of Reiki


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The Difference Between Usui-Tibetan Reiki and Usui Holy Fire® III Reiki

The Evolution of Reiki

By Germaine De Peralta


In order to differentiate between the two variations of Usui Reiki, it is important to understand that Reiki was meant to develop over time. Usui Holy Fire® III Reiki is an EVOLUTION of the classic Usui-Tibetan Reiki.


Reiki founder, Mikao Usui (1865-1926) from Japan, said Reiki was meant to evolve over time. He said there were six levels of Reiki that one could reach. Number one was the beginning and number six was the top. Usui Sensei placed himself at number five, or “one step below” the top of the Reiki healing system. His point was: There will always be higher levels of Reiki energies to attain. Since we think of Source/God as infinite, we know there will always be higher levels of enlightenment and healing.


Here’s a brief historical timeline of the evolution of Usui Reiki through history.


  • 1922: Usui Sensei received the Reiki energy on Mount Kurama near Kyoto, Japan through fasting. He didn’t have the Reiki symbols at first, but a year later, he incorporated the three symbols now taught in Reiki Level 2, to make it easier for students to learn and practice Reiki. As a result, Usui attuned close to 2,000 students before his death in 1926. He did this as a result of the need for massive healing of the victims of the Kanto earthquake in 1923.
  • 1927: Usui Sensei’s successor, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, developed Reiki further by creating the traditional Japanese hand placement system based on his medical knowledge and experience. 
  • 1938: Japanese-American, Hawayo Takata, introduced Reiki to North America as an energy healing modality. She simplified the traditional Japanese hand positions to adapt to the Western perspective. She also incorporated the Usui Master symbol to the system.
  • 1989: American Reiki Master, William Lee Rand, President of the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT) added Tibetan symbols to Usui Reiki to facilitate Reiki “attunements”. Attunements are energy transmissions given by the Reiki Master to students so they can to channel Reiki energy for healing. Rand learned the Tibetan method of attunements from Tibetan shaman, Arthur Robertson. Combining traditional Usui Reiki with a Tibetan method of energy transmissions, Rand created Usui-Tibetan Reiki, which is what most Reiki Practitioners have practiced (or some variation of it).
  • 2014: After 25 years of Usui-Tibetan Reiki, William Lee Rand received an intense spiritual experience, where he was guided to usher in the Holy Fire energies. The Holy Fire® energy is now used to empower the traditional Usui Reiki and Karuna Reiki®. Under the Holy Fire® system of Reiki, students connect DIRECTLY to the Holy Fire energy through the Holy Fire® Master symbol and a series of meditation-like Experiences, Placements and Ignitions. The challenging Tibetan method of attuning students is no longer required.
  • Note: In Holy Fire® Reiki attunements are now called Placements and Ignitions.

From all this we can see that Reiki was meant to develop over time. Holy Fire® energies came to Reiki to answer the increasing needs for healing of the world.