There are many different histories of Reiki that are taught. Here are two histories from the point of view of three different styles. The Reiki Council recognises there are many different styles of Reiki with lineages to Mikao Usui and that each has its own individual history.
Usui Shiki Ryoho
Summary of the History from Usui Shiki Ryoho in the Spiritual Lineage of Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi, Hawayo Takata and Phyllis Lei Furumoto.
Mikao Usui lived in Japan during the last three decades of the 1800s and into the turn of the century. He was motivated by questions from his students who asked if he believed in the stories of Jesus. He was deeply touched by their questions, so after some thought, he left his position in the school and began a search that would take him to many countries of the world.
In searching for the answer to "How did Jesus heal?" he found that many of the great religious and spiritual teachers had healed by laying on of hands. As this included the Buddha, he returned to Japan to begin the inner search by studying the Buddhist teachings.
After more years of studying and 21 days of meditation with fasting, he was gifted with an experience of Reiki, during which there was a moment when he was willing to surrender his life. Following this experience he discovered that he was able to heal himself and others thanks to this energy he called Reiki.
The next years found him exploring the appropriate way to use this connection to Reiki and a way to pass this experience on to others.
One of his students was a retired Japanese naval officer, Chujiro Hayashi. After some time, he established a clinic where people could come to receive Reiki treatments.
Hawayo Takata was to have an operation but during the days preceding the operation she heard a voice saying, "This operation, not necessary." So she asked the surgeon: "Is there another way?". This question led her to visiting the Hayashi Clinic and receive her first Reiki treatment.
After many weeks of treatment, she was recovering her health and then wished to learn Reiki. After offering everything she had including her time, Chujiro Hayashi accepted her as a student. She spent almost a year in Japan, working in the clinic every day.
In about 1934, she returned to Hawaii where she immediately began her Reiki practice. This practice continued until her death in December, 1980.
Phyllis Lei Furumoto
Phyllis Furumoto began her work with Reiki and her grandmother in 1979.
She had a short time in which to become committed to the practice and to gain strength in her own relationship with the practice. This work went on after the death of Hawayo Takata. In the last thirty years, Phyllis has nourished the global Reiki Community as the practice of Reiki has spread around the world (as Mikao Usui wished) and become a household word (as Hawayo Takata wished). Her travels and teachings of the nature of the Practice allowed students from all cultures to better understand and integrate the practice as it flows through this spiritual lineage into the hands of all students.
Reiki and Seichem
Reiki - Lineages and different styles
All Reiki comes from Mikao Usui by definition, but different routes have been travelled by many Reiki healers and masters during the 20th and 21st Centuries. This has resulted in a vast collection of different styles of Reiki which are manifest today. Until the last decade or so, all Reiki healers in the West received their lineage via an Hawaiian American, Mrs Hawayo Takata. She was taught by Chûjirôh Hayashi, who studied with Usui from 1925. Takata brought Reiki to America during the 1970s via Hawaii where she had been running clinics since the 1930s and subsequently to the Western hemisphere.
Reiki Alliance and The Radiance Technique International Association (TRTIA)
Towards the latter half of the 20th century, different Reiki styles grew rapidly as offshoots from the teachings and attunements introduced to the West by Hawaya Takata. After her death in 1980, a number of Western lineages stemming from the 22 Reiki Masters taught by Mrs Takata appeared. One of the 22, Barbara Weber Ray, declared herself to be Takata's successor and formed TRTIA. In 1983, the following year, the Reiki Alliance was founded and Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Takata's granddaughter, also one of the 22 Masters, returned as Grand Reiki Master and successor to Hawayo Takata.
It was as a result of receiving Reiki from both of these lineages and later receiving another form of energy called Seichim, that Kathleen Milner, an American artist, created a standardised system of Reiki attunements.
What is Seichim?
There are various spellings and many different definitions of this energy. The name has changed as different styles have developed. This article uses the appropriate spelling used for the time and the system. Some of the Seichim systems use Reiki symbols only, and some have added symbols. It can be difficult to understand exactly how Reiki and Seichem work together. Is one a part of the other, is the energy the same energy or a magnification? To understand this better, it is necessary to see how Seichim evolved and how it came to be used in combination with Reiki...
Patrick Zeigler is the man who introduced Seichim to the world in our time. As an architect, he had a strong connection to Sacred Geometry also to Egypt. During a visit there in 1980, Patrick managed to spend the night in the crypt of the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza, concealing himself as the guards locked the building. As he was meditating he had a consciousness-raising experience through which he connected with a powerful energy. He would later call this energy Seichim (pronounced Say-keem) meaning Spiritual Power.
Returning home to the USA after travels in Yemen and Nepal, he became attracted to Reiki healing and took Reiki Mastership training with Barbara Ray. Patrick began teaching and attuning students to Seichim Reiki.
In 1989 Phoenix Summerfield, a Reiki Master, became a student of the Seichim lineage and taught using a combination of Seichim and the original Alliance Reiki initiations including all the symbols. She changed the name to Seichem Reiki and attuned many students. Soon Seichim was being passed around the world, but with many different spellings, mostly because the original teachings were given by spoken word. Seichim is probably the most common spelling; other versions include Seichem and Sekhem, still pronounced the same way.
Reiki and Seichem
Kathleen Milner is the founder of a Reiki system called Tera-Mai which combines Reiki and Seichem. She was attuned to Reiki Mastership in 1989 with Margarette Shelton, a student of Arthur Robertson. Margarette had added a unique clockwise symbol to the attunement procedure which Kathleen included in her own teaching system along with an emphasis on the breathing techniques which Takata had taught.
In 1991, Kathleen was attuned to Seichem Mastership by August Starr, a student of Phoenix Summerfield. She recognised that the original Alliance Reiki attunement was combined with the energy of Seichem and immediately felt prickling in her hands knowing instinctively that she had been initiated into fire energy. Soon after taking Seichem Mastership, Kathleen received a series of consciousness-raising experiences. She received three symbols to raise the Reiki vibration and three elemental healing rays of fire, water and air. She believed that the fire energy she received was the same as Seichem, describing it as fire and earth energy combined.
Seichem attunements pass on the Reiki attunements. Students can choose simply to have Reiki levels, one, two, and three within the system, which many do, and then to go on and take the Seichem levels at a future point if desired. So in effect, levels one, two and three of the Seichem attunements include levels one, two and three of the Reiki attunements.
Seichem incorporates all four elemental healing rays: earth, water, fire, air/spirit.
Reiki - the earth ray - forms the base through which the other elemental rays connect. It can be experienced as hot or cold.
Water is used for emotional healing and can be experienced as a gentle wave-like coolness, or as an intense cold.
Fire energy is often experienced as a hot and tingling energy, like a mild electrical current. It works well in the aura surrounding the body, burning through blockages.
Air/Spirit energy is used for healing and developing the third eye.
This article incorporates material drawn from the published writings of Kathleen Milner and Patrick Ziegler. With thanks to them both.
Kathleen Milner’s book Reiki & Other Rays of Touch Healing
Patrick Zeigler founder of SKHM-SEKHEM-All -Love Community