THE REIKI SYMBOLS
Copyright ę 2003/4 James Deacon
The 'Power' symbol
of the four Reiki symbols has an accompanying Japanese mantra/phraze
- frequently referred to as a jumon ('spell' or 'incantation').
lineage Reiki this jumon is commonly used as the
'Japanese' lineages give each symbol a jumon which is different
from the symbol's name]
jumon accompanying Symbol 1 is: "Choku Rei"
[alternatively written as: Cho Ku Rei, or Chokurei]
been some debate over the precise meaning of the jumon
to remember that "Choku Rei" is simply a transliteration
of the Japanese, and just as in English where (for example)
the words 'rite', 'write' and 'right' all have the same sound,
so too in Japanese there are often many words that sound the
same, yet are written in different kanji (ideogramatic
characters) and have very different meanings.
'western' lineage of Reiki we have only been aware of the
'romanised' written form of this jumon. There was no
depiction of the phraze in kanji form. (This is unfortunate,
as rather than representing the sound of a word, kanji
are directly indicative of the meaning of the word).
took 'western' lineage Reiki to Japan in 1985 and apparently
discovered that 'original' Japanese Reiki had never actually
died out as had previously been thought, many people expected
they would finally learn precisely which kanji were
used to write the jumon, and therefore gain some understanding
of the proper meaning of the jumon. But this was not
to be the case.
From one prominent source, the Reiki community was to learn
that apparently, in Japan, the symbols (rather conveniently,
some might think) were not generally used any more.
[Now, without sliding too far into 'Reiki Conspiracy Theory'
mode - it has to be said that if, for whatever reason, someone
were to make spurious claims about connection/involvement with
surviving elements of 'original' Japanese Reiki, then when it
came to sustaining plausibility, there would no doubt be numerous
minor issues - such as that of jumon-meanings - which would
However, from other sources it has since been discovered that
both the symbols and their jumon are indeed still used.
it seems, the jumon - where actually presented in written
form - are generally not written in kanji characters
(which would provide a clear indication of their meaning), but
rather in katakana (one of two Japanese phonetic syllabaries
used in addition to kanji ideograms*.)
kanji which allude to the meaning of the words, katakana
merely record the sounds of the words.
some people have commented how they find it odd that the jumon
are written in katakana .
The other syllabary - called hiragana - is used to provide
suffixes and prefixes to kanji characters, and to write purely
Japanese words, while katakana is used on official documents
and to write words of foreign origin. The Reiki jumon
it seems, are considered by many to come under this latter
category - as Reiki only became popular in Japan after being
re-introduced from the West, it is considered by many to be
a 'foreign import'!]
in katakana, Choku rei looks like this:
written in one particular set of kanji :
an Imperial Edict, Proclamation
or Order ("by
command of the Emperor").
in a different set of kanji:
it can be translated as 'direct spirit(s)', or more conceptually
as something like: 'In the presence of the spirit(s) [ie: kami
[This is one reason some people consider the symbol to be of
has, on a number of occasions, been suggested that Symbol 1 represents
a coiled snake with it's head raised.
hearing this, some people have sought to "jump cultures"
and attempt to link Symbol 1 to the 'kundalini serpent' of Indian
according to some theories, associated with honji suijaku
(a doctrine of Shinto-Buddhist syncretism), the real forms of
kami are actually snakes...
translated Choku Rei as 'put the [spiritual] power here', and
there is also a possiblilty (I stress the word 'possibility')
that the symbol is a calligraphic stylisation of the kanji
character choku itself:
- which has many meanings, including: direct; in person; at once;
& near by...
my researches, I have also come across reference to the term choku
rei in the writings of Masahisa Goi, founder of the religious
group Byakk§ Shink§kai. For example, in
'The Future of Mankind', Goi writes:
"In the beginning, Great God took His body, His light, and
divided it into various
rays of light. He then functioned 7 rays of light to operate as
the power source of
human beings. These 7 rays of origin, which I call Chokurei
(direct spirits from God*), are the image of God working in this
world of mankind..."
Chokurei, as used by Masahisa, translates literally as
'direct spirit(s)' - the 'from god' part is simply implied.
Rei and Nao Hi: the 'secret Shinto jumon'
Uses of Symbol 1:
1 can be used to increase the power/flow of Reiki, or to
assist in focussing Reiki more intensely at a given location,
or to a specific intent.
The symbol can be used as an 'energy cleansing' / 'energy
blessing' for food, drink, or possessions; and may be employed
as a seal or amulet of protection.
Some practitioners use Symbol 1 to cleanse a room of negative
atmospheres; or to 'seal' a treatment.
And while in 'western' forms of Reiki, the symbol may be
used in conjunction with one or more of the other symbols,
(with the intent of increase their potency) in 'Japanese'
lineages, it is primarily utilised in a stand-alone sense.
different forms of Symbol 1
'Power Symbol' and its 'secret Shinto jumon'
Choku Rei Trail -
the terms 'Choku Rei', 'Dai Ko Myo'
and 'Reiki' in Japanese 'New Religions
'Mental-Emotional Healing' Symbol
different forms of Symbol 2
different forms of Symbol 3
Master Symbol part 2 - The Reiki symbol that (supposedly) never
different forms of Symbol 4
Introduction of the symbols into Reiki
Reiki Symbols - Unsubstantiated Associations
Symbols from a Japanese Buddhist Perspective
Wheels' or Essential, Deeper 'Spiritual Tools'?
Kurama Kokyo Sect and the Reiki Symbols