Reiki Lineage – What Is It and Is It Still Important or Relevant?

by Anne Reith, Ph.D.
Illustration of a typical family tree in genealogy
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Illustration of a typical family tree in genealogy that is similar to Reiki lineage
Typical family tree used in genealogy

What is meant by Reiki lineage?

Reiki lineage is like an ancestral or family tree. It documents who your Reiki Master was trained by and shows the line of teachers that connects your Reiki Master to the original founder of the Usui Reiki system: Dr. Mikao Usui.

RELATED ARTICLE: Traditional and Non-Traditional Reiki – Compare and Contrast

Why is Reiki lineage important?

When Reiki was first introduced to the Western world, the issue of your Reiki lineage was very important.  Because traditional Reiki classes were expensive, it was believed that there were many “pretenders” who were claiming to be trained in Usui Reiki. A Reiki Practitioner or Reiki Master was not believed to be effectively trained unless their Reiki lineage was provided.

Today, there are still some clients and students who feel that lineage is the only way to provide evidence of effective training in Reiki. Those trained in the Western world usually can trace their training back to Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who was trained by Dr. Churjiro Hayashi who was trained by Dr. Usui. 

The current problem with Reiki lineage

Lineage sounds like a great way to prove competence in the field of Reiki. Unfortunately, an increasing number of Reiki Practitioners and Reiki Masters do not know their lineage because an increasing number of Reiki Masters were attuned by Reiki Masters who were not told about their lineage.

This was the case with my training. Although I did everything I could to identify my lineage, my Reiki Master was not provided with her lineage. We attempted to find her Reiki Master, but she could not be located.

Although they are far from the only ones with this problem, my lack of lineage means that all of the students who have been attuned by me do not know their lineage. Since my first Reiki classes in 2002, I have attuned thousands of Reiki Practitioners, including several hundred Reiki Masters.

My position on Reiki lineage

I do believe in honoring traditional Reiki practices as much as possible. However, the fact remains that more and more students (not just my own) do not know their lineage. And if those students are Reiki Masters, then their students will not know their lineage.

Here is what I have come to believe after conducting thousands of Reiki attunements:

  • If the Reiki Practitioner or Reiki Master has been trained and attuned by a qualified and competent Reiki Master, then the lack of knowledge about lineage should not diminish the effectiveness or skill of the healer or of the Reiki Master’s ability to “pass attunements” to their students. 
  • The source of the healing or attunement energy is not the Reiki Practitioner or Reiki Master. This energy comes from God/Source/Spirit. Therefore, if BOTH of the following conditions are present, then I believe the energy will be present and lineage is not relevant:
    • Is the Reiki Practitioner or Reiki Master approaching the healing or attunement with an open, loving heart that honors the Reiki energy and traditions?
    • Is the healing client or Reiki student willing to receive the healing or attunement energy?

In sum, it is my belief that Reiki is desperately needed by humanity at this time in our history, and the person’s lineage should not be a deciding factor in whether the person is or isn’t able to be a conduit for the life force energy (i.e., Reiki energy).

The position of the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT) on Reiki lineage

One of the early supporters of lineage used to be Dr. William Rand, who is the well-known Director of the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT).  Dr. Rand can trace his lineage directly to Mrs. Takata. 

However, late in the 1990’s, Dr. Rand changed his position on the issue of lineage. He felt lineage was no longer relevant because “There are increasing numbers of Reiki students who do not know their Reiki lineage because their Reiki Master does not know their Reiki lineage.”

Soon after Dr. Rand took this position about lineage, most other leaders in the field of Reiki agreed.

FINAL NOTE: If lineage is important to you

If you would feel more comfortable receiving a Reiki healing or taking Reiki classes from someone who knows their lineage, that’s fine! I respect your position. I encourage you to search for someone who can provide you with this piece of information.

However, here’s a suggestion: If the Reiki Practitioner or Reiki Master that you have contacted does not know their lineage but you are open to considering pursuing a healing or classes with them, then you might want to do one or both of the following:

  • Ask for a very brief free or low-cost healing session so you can experience their energy and decide if they are the right practitioner or teacher for you. 
  • Ask for references from clients or students. 

NOTE: For those seeking classes, click here for my recommendations about how to locate and select a Reiki Master who is right for you.

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By Anne Reith, Ph.D.

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