What are Attunements All About?
By Angie Webster
One of the most strange and mysterious things about Reiki to those first investigating it is the attunement process. Even the word “attunement” leaves a bit of mystery. It sounds like a vague and unknown thing that is impossible to wrap the mind around because there is nothing in the experience to compare it to. This can even make it seem a little scary to some. So let’s explore the attunement and bring some understanding to what it is, what it does, how it feels and what happens afterward.
An attunement is a part of the Reiki training process. It is something that only a Reiki Master is trained to do. The process can be seen as accomplishing two things. One is to do a very intense healing on the recipient, which goes very deeply into the energy channels, opening and clearing them. This makes way for rapid healing to begin for the newly attuned Reiki practitioner. Opening and clearing these energy channels not only allows for a greater healing, it allows for the Reiki energy to flow more freely through them, so that the recipient of the attunement will now freely receive Reiki at all times, particularly when intending to receive it, and will also allow Reiki to transmit through them, flowing more easily through these energy channels.
We all have Universal Energy flowing through us and around us. It is everywhere, in fact. The Reiki attunement allows us to open up to this energy and become more aware of it than we normally are. It literally attunes us to it. When we come into the world as infants, we are much more in tune with this energy and as we become habituated to this world, we lose the awareness of it. A Reiki attunement helps us to open our awareness to it.
Most people who have a Reiki attunement, even at the first level, can feel the energy flowing through their body, their hands, and sometimes their feet right away, sometimes even as the attunement is being done. This doesn’t happen to everyone and a few only report minor sensations or none at all. They may not feel the energy flowing through them, but when they practice Reiki on another, they will be told that the energy is felt and shifts will be seen. In doing Reiki self-treatment after an attunement, even the newly attuned will feel peace, even if they don’t feel a lot of heat or other sensations coming from their hands. The perception of the sensations are somewhat different for everyone and will vary from session to session, which is normal.
During the attunement, the Reiki Master will ask you to close your eyes and become still and prayerful or meditative, looking within yourself for the meaning and symbolism of the process to you. You may be asked to focus on your breath and to notice your center. The Master will then draw symbols which represent various healing energies, such as the power of love, harmony, the Unity of All or God with us, and one that helps to dissolve the illusion of time and space. These will be drawn in your aura and on your hands. There are some slight variations aside from this in the ways that different Masters do an attunement, so these are only the basics, not the entire process. Most Masters begin and end the process with a brief prayer or intention, which may or may not be spoken aloud.
People experience various different things during an attunement and your experience will be your own. Whatever you experience is exactly what is appropriate for you at the time. Don’t get concerned about comparing with others or with what you read on the internet. Many people feel sensations of heat or tingling or of vibration rising up their spine or flowing down from the crown to the base of the spine or the feet. Some feel their hands grow hot. Many see colors or have visions. A few hear sounds such as music or bells or angelic voices. There are many possibilities. It is a rather profound and moving experience for many.
In the days after an attunement, many people have a healing response, often referred to as a healing crisis. This can last for up to two or three weeks, fluctuating in the symptoms and severity, and many teachers will teach that you should expect it to last 21 days. In truth, it varies from person to person and from one attunement to the next. Some people have no healing response at all, for some it is very mild, others are very sick for the first day or two with flu-like symptoms and then feel a lot better, with only mild emotional fluctuations for a week or two after that. For some, the healing response is almost entirely emotional, with emotions arising and releasing, maybe with crying spells or anger coming out and releasing. It may be gentle or not. It is best to simply observe and let the energies pass, journaling and processing as needed. Nearly everyone will notice that their life changes in some way after an attunement, even if it is only that their responses to things shift.