The four Usui Reiki symbols
© 2003/5 James Deacon
Reiki symbols (shirushi in Japanese) have been the
source of great interest and much discussion over the years.
Sacred or Secret?
taught that the Reiki symbols were
sacred and as such should be kept secret - not shown to the
uninitiated. To this end, her students were required to memorize the
symbols and were not permitted to keep written copies of them.
believed that the symbols should be treated with respect - even the
practice sheets used by students in her Reiki classes had to be
disposed of respectfully, rather than simply crumpled up and dumped in
the four symbols used in Usui Shiki Ryoho and Usui Reiki Ryoho are
still considered by many of us to be Sacred (or at
least, of sacred significance), ever since two of
the symbols (the SHK and the HSZSN) were first revealed in a Reiki
book: 'The Challenge To Teach Reiki' by A.J. MacKenzie Clay, (published
in 1992), the belief in the need to keep them secret is no longer
generally considered relevant.
it is also important to remember that (as
will be discussed in the following pages) the four symbols/their names
are not exclusively the 'property' of Reiki.]
Many people, on first hearing about
Reiki, have jumped to the conclusion that knowledge of the four symbols
will give them the 'power' to do Reiki.
is not the case.
reveal the visual representations of the four symbols, or the Japanese
words which form their names (and for that matter the Anglicised
meanings of those Japanese words) is not to 'give away' their power -
'secret' of the four symbols is something which cannot
be expressed in words or images, but can only truly
be understood by experiencing the symbols once properly
initiated into Reiki.
effective as 'keys' to Reiki, the symbols
need to be 'psychically imprinted' on the student by a Reiki Teacher as
part of the Initiation/attunement process.
reason, I have no problem in presenting
and discussing the four Usui Reiki symbols here.
following pages you will find examples of the symbols, their jumon
or mantras, and information concerning their significance and status
also find information concerning: the Buddhist significance of three of
the symbols; links between some of the symbols and Japanese 'new
religions'; various attempts to link the symbols to unrelated
belief-systems; views as to how the symbols came to be incorporated
into Reiki; and also the kanji and / or katakana
written forms of their jumon, along with guides to
their proper pronunciation, and actual meanings.