Western Reiki Books
Date: Wed Dec 09 2015 00:00:00 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
These books discuss the Reiki teaching lineages derived from Mrs. Takata, collectively called Western Reiki.
Western Reiki is the lineage of Reiki most of us are familiar with, brought to the non-Japanese world through Mrs. Takata. The common thread of Western Reiki is the history of Reiki and Mikao Usui taught by Takata, and the hand positions attributed to Dr. Hayashi. Western Reiki comes in many varieties, all of whom trace their lineage to Mrs. Takata.
In recent years a few researchers came into contact with Reiki groups in Japan whose lineage traces either directly to Mikao Usui, or through Dr. Hayashi. Collectively the books and teaching organizations resulting from that contact are called Traditional Japanese Reiki. We have a page full of books about Traditional Japanese Reiki. This page instead focuses on books about Western Reiki.
Reiki: Universal Life Energy
This was the first book ever written on Reiki, back in 1985. It is a complete manual on using Reiki for yourself, others, and for the whole planet.
It focuses completely on the use of Reiki as a practitioner, and there are over 20 chapters giving excellent advice on different aspects of Reiki practice. Nowhere in the book are the Reiki symbols published, because in that era it was still believed the symbols had to be kept secret. That means the chapter named "Absentee Healing with Reiki" offers excellent guidance, without discussing the symbol required to perform remote healing.
In no way is the book diminished by not publishing the symbols. Neither is it diminished by having been first published over 30 years ago. Its advice is as true today as when it was written.
The most striking thing about this book is its warmth. The heart and love of the authors come through very clearly in the writing, the pictures, and the quality of the information.
The authors are very well read and studied in a variety of metaphysical topics and healing arts. The book is structured as an introduction to all aspects of Reiki, but along the way you also gain insight into many metaphysical areas. The authors frequently use concepts from many metaphysics traditions to elaborate the concepts they wish to bring across.
The book is also of use to those who are receiving Reiki treatment and wish to understand more. Several sections of the book cover the spiritual aspects to healing onself, from beliefs, thoughts, to changing ones perception of the world and events around onself.
There is also a chapter on "when Reiki doesn't seem to work" that discusses various aspects to what might block the healing process.
They cover many styles and aspects of giving Reiki treatments. The act of giving Reiki can be performed in many ways, not just while the recipient is lying on a massage table. For example the Reiki Circle is done in a group hug setting, with everybody giving Reiki.
At the end of the book is a deep and intriguing essay on the meaning of illness, followed by a listing of many illnesses or symptoms, and the authors interpretation of probable causes.
Living Reiki: Takata's Teachings
Written by Fran Brown, one of the Masters taught by Mrs. Takata, this thin book is a fine introduction to Reiki relying heavily on Mrs. Takata's teaching. Fran Brown had good access to Mrs. Takata and in this book has collected the oral stories Mrs. Takata told to the students.
Hawayo Takata taught her students orally, with little or no written instruction. Much of her teaching was through telling stories which she claimed was the true origins of Reiki, and the history of its development. As a historical artifact, this book is vitally important to understanding the history and development of Reiki. Even though we now know Takata's story of Reiki's history left out or changed some facts, it is her story which most of us who have learned Reiki know. Her story, whether completely true or not, has affected the development of Reiki in the world.
I had occasion to exchange email with Fran Brown a couple years ago. She has since learned for herself the true history of Reiki. She had traveled to Japan and met with some students of both the Usui and Hayashi lineages. On her web site (http://www.reikifranbrown.com/) she has pictures of Mt. Kurama and describes having compared teachings and been delighted to learn they were similar.
Via email Ms. Brown said she now regards Takata's stories as "teaching stories" in the same vein as the parables used by Jesus to teach his message. In other words, we should not look to those stories as literal truth, but for the instructive messages they convey.
Reiki: Hawayo Takata's Story
This thin little gem of a book, written by Helen Haberly (one of Takata's Masters), mostly focuses on a detailed story of Mrs. Takata's history, how she came to Japan, how she met Dr. Hayashi, and how Mrs. Takata ended up bringing Reiki to the Western world. This book is warm and heart-filled in every way.
What there is of advice on using Reiki for healing is a chapter of testimonial stories of Mrs. Takata's experiences with Reiki and the resulting healings.
This book is another historical artifact to seek out if you wish to understand Reiki's history.
Reiki Handbook: A Manual for Students and Therapists of the Usui Shiki Ryhoho System of Healing
Dating from 1982, this is one of the first books about Reiki as taught by Hawayo Takata. Larry Arnold and Sandy Nevius were students of Virgina Samdahl, one of the Reiki Masters trained by Mrs. Takata. As they say in the preface
During that time in which a deep respect and friendship developed with this dynamic lady of simple sincerity and unassailable conviction in the validity and value of the Reiki system, there was also fostered the idea of a thorough manual that could assist the student of Reiki to more easily learn -- and subsequently apply more effectively -- this very ancient yet only recently rediscovered art of natural healing.
The first thing we find in the book is the Reiki History, nearly identical to the story I heard from Fran Brown when I learned Reiki I from her many years ago. The world has since learned that this history is incomplete, but the stories still have value in the ideas they convey. With that out of the way, let us look at the rest of this fine book.
This book appears to be written to use as teaching material in a Reiki class. Early in the book are a sequence of moral discussions around Reiki practice. The who to treat discussion is very good, as is the discussion of whether to charge (or not) for Reiki treatments. That discussion ends with noticing that what a healer charges for is their time, since the energy is free. In the how to treat section they discuss a technique I've never heard of, the reiki finish, which we're instructed to do at the end of a session.
An interesting section is the glossary of ailments which goes over a number of conditions, and gives "recipes" of how to perform Reiki treatment on each ailment. The basic rule appears to be for a physical ailment, to treat the area the ailment is located.