If you're new to reiki then you'll have no idea of the quandary I was in about writing this article. Should I reveal what I know about the reiki symbols and their meanings…or not?
It Might Be Dangerous!
It's not that I was threatened exactly but…
You see, when I studied the advanced level of Usui reiki, in 1992, it was strictly impressed on everyone in the level 2 class, that the symbols are sacred and MUST be kept secret.
Neither the name of the symbol, nor the symbol itself, could be revealed to anyone who was not at the same level of training or higher.
Written copies done during the first day of training could be taken home to study but had to be handed in the next day, so they could be burned. None of the students were allowed to write the symbol names, keep drawings of them, or take notes about them. We had to memorize all the details at the course.
We even had to PROMISE to return EVERY copy that we'd drawn, including our practice ones, drawn at home the first night. I kid you not!
All That Secrecy Is Laughable Now The Cat Is Out Of The Bag!
But, this was in the days before the symbols were published in books and on thousands of web pages; it was before Facebook and Twitter!
And, even though they're no longer secret, the reiki symbols are still sacred. Not in a religious sense, because reiki isn't a religion, but in the sense of being worthy of honour and respect.
Please don't be misled by the joking tone so far. I DO honour the symbols and I DO respect the teachings of my reiki masters.
That's part of the reason why I've had to think very hard about whether revealing the symbols on my website was the right thing to do. What other people do is entirely their own business but I had to be okay with it.
Would Dr Usui be unhappy about this, if he was still alive? Would it be disrespectful to all of the reiki masters who came before me?
A Fiery Warning And Dire Consequences
Also, lurking in my subconscious, was a warning of the dire consequences of making the symbols public.
My first reiki master told a story about a man who defied his teacher, and wrote the symbols on his barn, in full public view. He paid a hefty price for it because shortly afterwards, the building burn to the ground.
He rebuilt it, and again wrote the symbols on the outside of the barn, for all to see, and – you guessed it – there was another fire!
What are the chances of that, your logical brain tells you, and you start to wonder…
Was This Witchcraft?
Do the symbols have that much power? Are they protected by some deity? Did Dr Usui or Hawayo Takata rise in wrath from their graves to punish the transgressor?
Well no. Of course not! This isn't the middle ages. We're not going to be sucked in by the idea of black magic, or vengeful ghosts. It was more likely to have been an angry neighbour or two.
But the story did make all of us students think twice about writing the symbols down anywhere. Even though logic said it was nonsense, we didn't want to risk having our homes go up in flames.
Who Could Best Advise me?
So, to help me make a wise decision about how much I would reveal on this website, I went straight to the source. Using the process for distant healing, I contacted the energy form of reiki's founder. Here is what Dr. Mikao Usui told me. And remember, reiki can go forwards and back in time.
Symbols As Switches
You need to know that the symbols of reiki do NOT have power of their own. They are not spells or incantations to invoke magical outcomes.
The initial secrecy around the symbols shrouded them in mystery; and the unknown always seems dangerous. We know better now.
The Reiki Symbols Are Safe, In Any Hands
This puts the warning story in perspective doesn't it! (Oh, the power of hindsight!)
As Dr Usui told me, the symbols are like switches, and for those who've NOT been attuned, (either by themselves or by another) to reiki energy, they are like switches on the shelf in the local hardware or electrical store. They're not connected to the power source, and like this, they serve no function except a cosmetic one.
I say cosmetic, because the symbols are engaging and attractive, and they have intriguing names… especially for those of us who do not write or speak Japanese.
Is There A Special Way To Draw Them?
Yes, there is a particular sequence of strokes for each of the symbols, the same way there is for writing the japanese kanji, that some of the reiki healing symbols are based on.
Many websites will show you the order of the strokes, but there's no point in me doing this because the symbols are disconnected switches… unless you're attuned to level 2 or master level. And if you've completed reiki 2 then you already know how to draw them.
If you've looked up 'reiki symbols images' on the net recently, then you've seen how varied the images are, which might lead you to wonder…
Which Symbols Are The Right Ones?
Some people get pretty upset about the different ways in which the symbols are drawn, and they claim that the ones they were taught are the only correct ones.
It IS true that the symbols they were taught are the right ones…FOR THEM, because in their minds they've linked those SPECIFIC images or forms, to the different aspects of reiki that the symbols represent. Also those exact symbols were used in their reiki attunements.
But, to say that the others are incorrect, is like saying that only one writing script is true and correct, and all the others have got it wrong. For example…
are all the same word, with the same meaning, and yet they look quite different, especially to people who aren't familiar with the english alphabet.
And if we go back to the analogy of switches, then it's like saying that only one style of Clipsal switch is correct and that every other design by them or by any other manufacturer is wrong, which is plainly nuts!
Reiki is universal life force. It's not the symbol police!
It can cope if your drawing of the symbol is imperfect or different.
And, really, it's not about the symbol. It's about being clear with YOUR INTENTION.
Are you wanting to send energy over time and space? Are you asking for an increased flow, or greater power? Are you intending to clear blocked energy?
Do You Have To Use The Symbols?
Theoretically, you don't need the symbols to use reiki for different purposes, but they certainly make the job easier.
Dr. Usui did not include them in his early reiki training, but once he realised the benefit of giving his students a way of linking more easily to the different aspects of the healing energy, he began to teach a few symbols.
Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who was a major player in bringing reiki to the western world, apparently changed the symbols slightly for each of the masters that she trained. This was something peculiar to her, and her students did not find out about it until after her death, when they all got together and compared notes.
So, clearly, drawing the symbols is not an exact science. We're not all caligraphy masters, after all…. Continued on page 2
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