Reiki Symbols: How to Use Them
This article is for people that want to try and observe an authentic approach to Japanese Reiki practice. For some of you this will be an odd way to talk about Reiki symbols. What I am going to say might be applied to Reiki symbols you are using already. It does not even matter if the symbols you are using are not the same to what we use in Jikiden Reiki. A step towards traditional practice will be to use the symbols as the Japanese use them traditionally. These ideas are second nature to Japanese so they are not generally explained in detail as part of training unless people ask. The same attitude that the founder of Reiki had lives on in Jikiden Reiki today and I want to share it with you. Here are 5 things you may avoid in order to bring your practice toward a traditional Japanese style. In fact – this advice applies to any traditional Japanese healing system using Symbols – which is most of them.
1) Sharing Reiki Symbols
The traditional Japanese attitude to symbols is to treat them as sacred. I know that many Reiki symbols have been made public on the internet – does that justify sharing them? Absolutely not! The founder Usui Sensei would be very disappointed to find out how the Reiki symbols were treated in public in modern days – it is just not the way we are supposed to treat them. Even though they may be in public domain your own attitude towards them is part of what makes them special. Japanese believe that if they don’t treat symbols in appropriate way then they won’t work so well.
2) Exaggerating Reiki Symbols
The Reiki symbols are not to be shown to others and you should take care to use them in obvious when you are using them. How does one do this? Simply by being very (very) subtle with your hand movements. The bigger size or exaggerate gesture won’t give any better effect. Making the correct shape in the right place at the right timing is important for getting the best results. The shape of the symbol is the key.
3) Speaking the Name of the Reiki Symbols
This does not apply to Jumon – which is not a Reiki symbol (there is a significant difference – more on that in the future). In distance Reiki Jumon is used rather than a symbol. For the Reiki symbols in traditional practice – the power is in the shape due to Usui’s careful design. They have a name, but it is just a label. Calling out the name of the symbol when using them allows the receiver to hear it, which is to be avoided. Calling out a label does not give Reiki symbols more power – it is like you are saying ‘pen, pen, pen…’ when you are writing something with a pen on paper. In Jikiden Reiki the only time you hear us use the name is when we are teaching about them, and never in a treatment situation.
4) Writing Them Down
To help keep them special and sacred they should be committed to memory. Usui Sensei simplified the shape of symbols for us to memorise correctly. In Usui’s day writing them down was not allowed at all, the students had to memorise them. In Jikiden Reiki, when we write them to teach students, the paper itself is destroyed at the end. Then we even treat that paper with respect in the act of destroying it! It is never tossed away like rubbish. If the symbols is special to you, making the effort should be something you are happy to do.
5) Using Reiki Symbols Too Often
Symbols are a tool best used at certain times and we go into detail about this in Jikiden Reiki training. Here and now I can tell you that they should be used sparingly, when you really feel they are needed. To use them many times does not increase the effects. Reiki practice is really like an art. With more experience as a Reiki practitioner you will be able to tell exact timing to use the symbols for best results in your Reiki treatments.
If That is to be Avoided – What Can You Do Then?
Like Jikiden Reiki the answer is simple. treat the Reiki Symbols like the founder of Reiki would have wanted. Honour his ideas, respect the Reiki symbols. Respect and honour yourself in the way you treat them and you are on the right track. Honour and respect are so important to Japanese. Those ideas come from the original belief system of Japan that is thousands of years old – ‘Koshinto‘. This is a form of animism – worshiping nature. Honour and respect to the power of nature and living with it is central to this belief. Also the Bushido culture of Japan that lasted for around 600 years is woven into the fabric of Japanese society. Honour and respect are a big part of Bushido too. You simply cannot legitimately claim to practice authentic Reiki if you are not aware of this and do not cultivate this Japanese mind. I really hope this helps you on that journey.