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What is de-attunement?

Updated: Apr 19

Writing about my Holy Fire Reiki experience has been on my heart for a long time. I loved my series of classes. My teacher with the International Center for Reiki Training was very experienced and had been taught by its founder, William Rand. She retired after teaching my Master class.

I have a few issues with the practice of Holy Fire and some of the messaging that was sent my way by both the organization and my teacher during class. The message was that I was expected to let go of symbols that I had learned and taught in Usui Reiki, some of which are Kanji and some of which are Tibetan symbols, and to replace them with Holy Fire. Specifically, I was to learn the one way that the ICRT writes several symbols, and lose the Tibetan Master symbol and not ever use it again, as Holy Fire was said to replace it.

If we know anything about Reiki and spiritual classes, it is that each teacher translates what they teach differently. This school of Reiki has specific manuals that have been used for a long time and a few different series of classes. The problem with the "one true way" to teach a subject that was originally written in another language is that the translation of the material is always different. For example, I have had a Japanese student, a Japanese family member, and a teacher whose mother spoke Japanese all translate the words to describe a symbol differently.

I was hoping that my teacher and everything I had heard before class and read from the ICRT was not true. I hoped that the classes weren't really expecting me to let go of everything I had learned and put in my manuals. I was excited to learn new ways to pass on Reiki energy to my students and add something original to my manuals for them. But when I heard the words "de-attunement to the Tibetan Master symbol" in class, it gave me pause.

I've been teaching for a while, and I teach in my Reiki Master Teacher class about de-attunement. Holy Fire is said to replace attunements with placements. We will get to that later on. The issue here is that de-attunement is unethical. Removing an attunement, which is the way a Reiki Master passes symbols and levels of Reiki energy on to her students, is widely frowned upon in Reiki circles.

The founder of had the idea that Holy Fire is an upgrade of the traditional Usui energy. I didn't feel an upgrade really at all, as I had encountered this energy in 2014 and was accustomed to it. Whenever we are working in the energy world, energies and symbols come to the collective group of healers to be "downloaded", or used. I had begun using this energy in 2014, and it was very strong, and I wanted to be able to use it in a clearer way.

I thought this is what I had signed up for. In reality, I was expected to let go of a lot of things. My teacher pointedly told me that I was expected to let go of my symbols and my manuals if I was going to become a Master of the Holy Fire lineage. The founder William Rand had an experience with Jesus in 2014, after which he downloaded Holy Fire and began writing his classes. It's common for Reiki Masters to get a little lost when they encounter new energies and are trying to figure out how to use them. I felt that perhaps the ICRT had gotten lost along the way.

I want to note here that I have no such requirement for my students. I have never, and will never ask them to give up anything they have learned previously to take my classes. Anyone can take Reiki classes as many times as they want to, and anyone can add Reiki to the healing methods they already know. The ICRT teaches in a specific way because their manuals are standardized and that is what each teacher is expected to teach. I had no plans to give up my manuals, my symbols, or ask my students to give up what they had already accomplished on their healing journeys.

This school of Reiki has several types of classes. My biggest issue was that it seemed that William was saying he was moving on from Master Usui and working with Jesus, by adding Holy Fire to his classes. He was insistent that students let go of their spirit guides, and their Tibetan symbol(s), and anything else they had learned or were teaching, because Holy Fire was replacing Usui. It was as if he was saying Usui could not be taught again after he upgraded the school to Holy Fire.

This competition between lineages and types of Reiki was unnerving. Again, I felt that he had lost his way. Many teachers like me who have taught Usui have taught it for years, have a working relationship with their spirit guides, and know that symbols cannot be removed once a student is attuned. I've always taught my students that energies never compete with each other. Methods of healing are just that, methods of healing. One of my Pranic Healing instructors said something similar, that healing methods and energies compete. That Reiki adds too much, and Pranic Healing is better because it takes away.

This is limited, human thinking, based on our limited consciousness while we are in a human body. After we leave this body, we are freed to understand the complexities of energy and the cosmos. I got a glimpse of this when I was taking my first series of Usui Reiki classes, and this is how my spirit guides explained it to me:

Reiki is passed down through a lineage, through a line of teachers to the student. It is a great honor to help a student attune to the energy of Reiki. It is not taken lightly, as a lineage is a family line that looks like an ancestry. It bonds you to the student for life, and it confers on them the symbols that will allow them the greatest possibility of healing during their lives.

Symbols are imprinted on your aura by a Reiki Master during an attunement. Attunements were invented by Mrs. Takata, the third in the Reiki lineage. She used attunements as a way to mark Reiki students with the symbols and align them with the higher vibration of Reiki. They do not go away. They cannot be erased. According to Peggy Jentoft, who wrote the Reiki manual that I use in my RMT classes, de-attunement is both illegal and unethical in the spiritual world, because you are in effect separating a student from part of her lineage and her teacher(s).

Master Usui, I learned in Holy Fire Reiki classes and then subsequently from Nicholas Pearson's book, used Reiju. He simply sat with this student in meditation and felt when the Reiki energy had filled the student, and then conferred the title of teacher once he felt that the student had been through enough practice. William named this transfer a placement. His new classes were a return to Master Usui's Reiju, rather than Mrs. Takata's attunements.

As a medium, I have direct access to my teachers. They may have passed on, but they are never far away. It was Usui who guided me in putting together my manuals. Any time we develop a relationship in the spiritual world, it grows. Over the years I had come to trust Master Usui's voice as a guide and a help, especially when I was teaching. His words and wisdom are invaluable.

I didn't know the history of Reiju and attunements before Holy Fire, so I sought the guidance of Mrs. Takata herself. I had been teaching her way for so long, and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. Her words to me were, "a student is always supposed to surpass her teacher". This was her respectful way of saying that I could go past what she had taught me (attunements) and learn Reiju. I was worried about proceeding directly up the lineage to teach like Master Usui, but she assured me that this was the right path to be on.

As our relationship grew, she said that there would be many students waiting to learn my lineage. I decided to come up with something new. I asked her how I could integrate both attunements and Reiju into my classes. I wanted to honor the Usui lineage by doing both. What I decided was to do both a placement of the energy with Master Usui and an attunement to the symbols with Mrs. Takata in my classes. She showed me how to do attunements her way, and Master Usui guided me in Reiju.

I didn't, and still don't feel comfortable with the ICRT's assertion that we must do away with attunements altogether. I feel that this would dishonor Mrs. Takata and the work she did to bring Reiki to the United States, and normalize it for Americans by giving them a physical way to see the energy being transferred from teacher to student through the ritual of attunement. There is a reason why people love attunements, and many of my fellow Holy Fire students said that the Reiju didn't have much effect on them by itself.

Most Americans aren't Buddhist, and don't have much experience with meditation and transfer of energy without some type of physical activity. It is very difficult for us to calm our minds. I believe that this is part of why Jesus would guide William toward Holy Fire in the U.S. As a Christian nation, the notion that Reiki is Holy may be easier for people to accept.

William says that Holy Fire reiki was created to heal people from religious trauma. But I think it is bigger than that. I think that Jesus is doing masterful work in lives all over the planet, and his insertion into the world of Reiki has sent it on its way to becoming another energy alongside the Trinity. Americans can understand this more than they can understand a Divine Zen Buddhist Japanese energy.

The ICRT uses the New Age terms ignition, activation, and placement to describe Reiju. Mrs. Takata and my spirit guides both explained to me that Reiju is the same as an attunement, without the ritual and physical movement during energy transfer. Any time you are with a spiritual teacher you attune to their energy, which is attuned to the Divine. Master Usui suggested Reiju often for students so that they would continue to grow in the Reiki energy.

In William's classes, it was explained that the Holy Fire would place itself in the student's heart, hands, and crown during a placement. Again this is limited, human thinking. The Reiki has always placed itself with the student during an attunement. We think that it comes through the teacher, when in reality, Divine energy enters the student directly. The teacher is the placeholder, conduit, or container for the energy and the student rises to match the energy of the teacher. Humans are unable to see exactly what happens and attempt to use a lot of different descriptions to explain what cannot be explained.

There are an infinite number of ways to see how energy flows through a human being and how it is transferred. There is a lot of debate in Reiki circles about whether energy is channelled through the crown, the heart, or the hands, whether energy is transferred directly in any way the Reiki decides, or whether the energy attunes the client/student to the teacher/healer. Again, I want to drive home the point that this is limited, human thinking. As a clairvoyant I can tell you that energy transfer happens in all of these ways, and it also happens in Divine ways that defy description.

However the transfer of energy is described, energy never competes with itself. And it is completely unnecessary to remove an energy, symbol, or way of transferring energy to a student in order to "improve" on Divine wisdom. Now, a student can ask or request to be de-attuned, but I am not aware of any teachers besides the Holy Fire lineage teachers that do this. I have always taught that anything new that you learn in spiritual classes is simply added to your energy, and integrated when you are ready. We never erase!

Thankfully, William is on his third level of a Holy Fire upgrade, and has somewhat backtracked on his idea that you cannot use both systems at the same time. I asked another student who had studied with him directly about my concerns, and she said that he wanted each of his teachers to follow what felt right for them. As I said before, sometimes healers get lost when learning new energies, and they feel like they have to change something to make room.

Most of the time this isn't true. What is required is time. Time to grow in the energy and time to integrate it, into what is already imprinted on you by your teacher and the Divine. Time to use it, on others and on yourself in your Reiki practice. And time to understand its character and the best way to pass it on to others. It is very possible that the ICRT's transition to Holy Fire and offering its classes was premature. It is important to flow with the energy and learn more about it as you teach it. I'm glad that their energy has softened a bit around using it.

Remember, Reiki only grows the healer. It never takes away or is taken away. Once you have it, you have it for life. You do not have to be de-attuned to a symbol or have it removed from your aura. You can simply stop using it when you feel that it no longer resonates with you. There are real spiritual and physical consequences for removing symbols and attunements from a Reiki Master's aura. And I don't suggest or condone de-attunement.

Have questions about Holy Fire? Email me at



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