Someone wishing to learn Reiki has a wide variety of course options to choose from. Traditionally, Reiki courses were done in a personal setting, by attending classes or workshops given by a live instructor. This is still an option may people prefer, and if you check around, there is likely to be a Reiki course or workshop somewhere in your area. One of the criticisms some have with in-person Reiki courses, however, is the expense. Workshops and classes can be expensive and getting to them inconvenient. Some unscrupulous practitioners can draw out the number of courses required to maximize the expense.
In the age of the internet, it is only natural that people would seek out books, at-home study, or on-line Reiki courses to learn the healing art. At-home options range from excellent to totally inadequate.
There are several items that need to be addressed with the at-home options. One of the critical aspects of Reiki are “attunements”. In an attunement, a Reiki master passes on the ability to use Reiki energy directly to the student. Some Reiki masters insist that this can only be done in-person, and that “distance attunements”, where the master passes on Reiki abilities to a student at a distance, are invalid. While many of these masters may be sincere, I believe it is simply a convenient fiction, designed to lure more students into expensive personal classes. After all, one of the skills taught in a Reiki course is “distance healing”. If Reiki energy can operate at a distance to heal, I find no rational basis for claiming that Reiki energy can NOT operate at a distance to attune! Some masters even teach a “self attunement” and claim it can be even more powerful that attunement from a master.
A second issue regards “Reiki symbols”. Reiki symbols are signs – often based on or resembling Japanese characters (especially in the case of Usai Reiki) that are drawn in the air to focus particular kinds of Reiki energy for healing, attunement, etc. Some masters regard the “Reiki symbols” as being secret. They do not approve of them being distributed in books or websites. Again, this seems a bit convenient in forcing people to personal workshops. Since Reiki symbols are readily available on the internet today, maintaining the façade of “secrecy” seems unnecessary.
So what are your options for Reiki courses? If you have a convenient location to take a Reiki course in person, by all means consider it. For most of us, there are a number of books and courses available online. Some of these include “distance attunements” where you and a master will schedule a time when the master will attune you. These naturally tend to be more expensive, as they require a master’s giving you personal time. Other masters have dvd’s available which will attune you by watching them and following the instructions. Then there are Reiki courses that will teach you self-attunement. All of these options should give you a good grounding in Reiki symbols, attunements, and practice. Choose the options you are comfortable with.