Beyond Shadows

Simply Reiki
Beginning Reiki
Who Owns Reiki?
Reiki Friends
Reiki Bridges

"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
(John 1:1)

"... the man who understands a symbol not only 'opens himself' to the objective world, but at the same time succeeds in emerging from his personal situation and reaching a comprehension of the universal... Thanks to the symbol, the individual experience is (awakened), and transmuted into a spiritual act."     Mircea Eliade


Dai Ko Mio

Tibetan Dai Ko Mio - Master Symbol

Se Hei Ki


Han She Ze Shonen



Please note that, some statements here are apparently drawn from the perspective of one religion or another.  These points of reference are made strictly for the expression of truth from the perspective of the writer, and are not intended to favor or promote any religion or doctrine. Reiki is not a religion or religious practice, and is not tied to any particular religious practice or philosophy. There are Reiki practitioners among virtually every religious or ideological classification in the world.

The Reiki Symbols

Archetypal Energy Keys

by Rev. Arla M. Ruggles, Reiki Master Teacher/Sensei
Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.

"Before (the analyst) can effectively explore the meaning of symbols ... he must himself acquire a wider knowledge of their origins and significance. For the analogies between ancient myths and the stories that appear in the dreams of modern patients are neither trivial nor accidental. They exist because the unconscious minds of modern man preserves the symbol-making capacity that once found expression in the beliefs and rituals of the primitive. And that capacity still plays a role of vital importance. In more ways than we realize, we are dependent on the messages that are carried by such symbols, and both our attitudes and behavior are profoundly influenced by them."

Man and His Symbols
Carl Jung  Copyright 1964

The Reiki symbols are often referred to as "keys". At first, one is inclined to see the "key" as symbolically unlocking a door, or opening something that has been closed. Actually, there is a dual meaning behind the "key" reference. 

In addition to being powerful visual references -- guideposts for the subconscious -- the symbols are also vibrational keys, like the keys of a percussion instrument. The tonal quality of the symbols' names are vibrational resonances, which affect the auditory super-consciousness of both the "healer" and the person being healed. Alignment of these energies, utilizing both the visual and the vibrational intonations is created, just as striking tuning fork within close enough range will cause another to vibrate at the same frequency.

It is not necessary to physically draw the symbols in order for the mind to align with the visual perception of the key. Mental visualization of the symbols is recommended, as is internal intonation of the symbol names. Ideally, the symbol is "seen" with the third eye, reflecting and connecting with the higher energies of Universal Life Force in the higher layers of the consciousness, as the vibrational frequency of the symbol names are "heard" or felt from the Heart and Throat Chakras, sending the thought-vibration resonating "outward", into the upper spheres of the consciousness of the person seeking to be healed.

As one becomes more comfortable working with the Reiki symbols, visualization and resonance will become automatic, just as in the case of learning to type, play a musical instrument, or any other practice that is repeated until impressed upon the subconscious intelligence. 

The four Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki symbols are calligraphic Japanese Kanji, or words, usually drawn with a brush. 

They are drawn in very precise, specific strokes, which express explicit meanings. Each stroke represents a part of the picture. The strokes of the symbols are drawn always left-to-right, top-to-bottom, and clockwise.

The names of the symbols are spoken (either using the vocal chords in the throat chakra, or by sensing the pitch with intellectual audial vibration in the mind's ear...) with deliberate and precise intonation. 

"Speaking" the name of a symbol is akin to ringing a bell. The resonance of that specific vibrational frequency affects the vibrational quality of the entire environment; that combination of sound waves influence the individual on a different dimensional plane as the waves become a part of the vibrational reality of the healing process.

"Cho Ko Rei" is often referred to as the "Power" symbol. It "turns on" or initiates connection with Reiki energy, and empowers each of the other symbols. Translated to English, it means, "Put the Power Here." 

The archetypal picture suggests a vortex of energy, spiraling upward through the seven energy centers of the body. The symbol is generally drawn from left to right, and clockwise, as the energy of the chakras is thought to flow. It is relevant, when drawing this symbol, that the sign includes seven arcs. Some Reiki Masters theorize that the symbol drawn clockwise represents a "pushing in" of energy, while counter clockwise spiral is "pulling out". Others suggest that clockwise signifies ascending energy, or moving energy upward, and counter-clockwise moves the energy downward. The Tibetan "Fire Serpent" or "Fire Dragon" might be a picture of the same action, viewed from a different angle.

The Cho Ku Rei is a virtually universal sign; the spiral is among the earliest drawings of man, and artifacts containing this picture have been observed in nearly every culture on Earth. 
More about Cho Ku Rei

The two Tibetan symbols are spoken as their corresponding Kanji symbols, "Cho Ku Rei" (also called the Fire Serpent, or Fire Dragon), and "Dai Ko Mio". As the name implies, the Cho Ku Rei symbol is also a representation of Kundalini, or God-consciousness rising through the seven Chakras, (or energy centers/endocrine glands) of the physical body.

  The Tibetan "Cho Ku Rei" (also called 'Fire Serpent' or 'Fire Dragon')  is distinctly "regional"; it is among the huge prehistoric "earth engravings" that can be viewed in their entirety, only by aerial perspective. This symbol is carved into the topmost ridge of a mountain range in Tibet.

The Tibetan Dai Ko Mio, rather than denoting the lamp or beacon, suggests instead, the ego, or self-conscience, leaping into the Void (Ocean of Collective Consciousness, or God-consciousness; Enlightenment; the realization of Oneness with all creation).

Many of my students have stated an emotional "preference" for, or resonance with the more fluid Tibetan symbols, over the precisely-drawn Japanese kanji. In my opinion, these fluid lines are older images of energy patterns, and thus more deeply-ingrained upon the collective consciousness. 

The "Dai Ko Mio" is often called the "Master Symbol".   It means, "I align my energy with the energy of God (or the Universe." It is not included in all Usui systems. The word-picture itself suggests a lantern, or beacon.

"Se Hei Ki" is sometimes called the "Mental/Emotional Symbol", and is thought to enhance emotional psychological healing. I have heard it described as an "awakening dragon"; as well as a representation of the two lobes of the the brain, and as a representation of harmonizing yin and energies. It's literal meaning is, "I am in Perfect Love and Harmony with the Heart of God," or according to some sources, "God and man coming together."

"Hon She Ze Shonen" is used to empower distant healing, and literally means, "I send this energy through all time and space." Another interpretation is, "The (Godsource) in me greets the (God-source) in you, to promote enlightenment and peace." To make it simple: "Namaste".

The "Joh Rei" is another calligraphic word-picture, representing the pure white light of the Godsource. It means Universal Light, or Love. The Joh Rei is not a part of the original Usui system of Reiki I was taught, and was included in the Reiki certification I received from Master/Sensei, Robyn LeGris, who traces her lineage from the Beth Grey "branch" of our Reiki family tree.

As you work with Reiki, you may begin to notice other symbols coming into your consciousness. These are specific and individual "keys", of personal significance to your own healing practices. Think of them as gifts from your personal guides. You may instantly perceive the purpose to which they are directed, or you may desire to contemplate the deeper significance of their energies. Experiment with how they feel; at what specific vibrational level they occur/appear. What are their specific "weight" or "densities"? Do they seem to have a color association?

As with all aspects of Reiki, there is no "wrong" way to apply a visual symbol or its vibrational aspects. Trust your intuition and internal guidance. Know there is nothing harmful that can result from the application of energies received through the Reiki "channel".


by Nancy Swenson
(Source Unknown)

In the beginning, Tibetan Lamas used Reiki calligraphy during their meditations. The calligraphs were painted upon large wall hangings and used as the center focus within mantric workings for the enlightenment of Tibetan holy men in the monasteries

The participants would sit on a four-legged wooden stool in the center of an earthenware container, oval in shape, to represent the Akasa ("etheric egg"). The container was filled with three inches of water, and the stool sat in the center. The stool was composed of wood, with pure silver inlay going in a channel up each of the four legs, which in turn connected with a cubical inlay upon the seat. One wall of the temple was composed of copper, polished to the highest sheen imaginable. To the rear of the aspirant was an angled wall containing the Lama's prayer, as well as the calligraphs. These symbols were reflected by the copper wall, and meditated upon by the initiate as he sat upon the stool, in the center of the vessel filled with water. The idea was to implant the symbols deep into the subconscious mind through concentration, thus raising the consciousness, and heightening awareness, while purification of the body/mind continuum occurred.

When Dr. Usui rediscovered the Reiki calligraph system, he went into seclusion upon a mountain in Japan to test the method upon himself. After 21 days of fasting upon the mountain, Dr Usui had what some would term a vision, or inner-plane experience. The inner planes were opened to him, and he experienced the calligraphs in a higher spiritual vibration than in the beginning. It was at this time that he began to teach and work with the sick in body, mind, and spirit.

The calligraphs have remained basically the same through the years, although some revision was made upon them to appeal to the Western mind. The true system takes many, many days of intense concentration and memorization, coupled with exercises and postures in the stillness." 

See! As long as it is concealed, man will always be after it. It appears and disappears, which means that we shall plead and sigh for it.
--Meister Eckhardt

God says, 
"Our speech to a thing, when We desire it is to say to it: 'BE'!".

"Our speech" refers to the fact that God is the speaker (mutakallim). 

"BE!" is exactly what He speaks. Through it that to which he says, "BE!" becomes manifest ... Thereby the entities become manifest within the Breath of the All-merciful, just as letters become manifest within the human breath.

The thing that comes to be is a specific form, like a form painted upon wood.

Ibn 'Arabi

Rabbi Moshe of Kobryn said, "When you utter a word before God, then enter into that word with every one of your limbs."

One of his listeners asked, "How can a big human being possibly enter into a little word?"

"Anyone who thinks himself bigger that the word,' said the zaddick, "is not the kind of person we are talking about." 

Martin Buber



"Intoning" is the use of INTENT to empower sound with spiritual intent. This results in a higher vibrational energy, which has greater penetrating ability due to its increased magnitude. So, when you nonverbally INTONE the SACRED WORDS, you are to do so with reverence and spiritual feeling. The INTENSITY of the incoming energy is therefore dependent upon your intent.

From Reiki Plus Second Degree Practitioners' Manual
by David G. Jarrell

Dr. John White and Dr. Stanley Krippner list many properties of the Universal Energy Field: the UEF permeates all space, animate and inanimate objects, and connects all objects to another; and its density varies inversely with the distance from its source. It also follows the laws of harmonic inductance and sympathetic resonance -- the phenomenon that occurs when you strike a tuning fork and one near it begins to vibrate at the same frequency, giving off the same sound.

By Barbara Ann Brennan


Anita Doyle - Parabola Magazine
Fall, 1995

In principio erat Verbum.
("In the Beginning, was the Word.")

The meditation of John the Evangelist on the beginning of time and space: 

The eternal Unspeakable speaks. 
Everything that exists -- every particle, thought, sound, color, feeling, or thing -- is an explication of that original Word which, spoken, brings the universe into being, for "without it was not anything made that was made."

Einstein's revelation that the universe is expanding in all directions means that every point in the universe is the center, and thus, that every point is the point of origin. EVERY point is the point of origin; THIS point, where your eyes meet this word, is the center of the universe. Paradoxically, astrophysicists have found that the galaxies are all streaming out toward one point, called the "Great Attractor" by scientists *a region of space appearing to be comprised of invisible dark matter with the gravitational pull of 10,000 trillion suns. Alpha and Omega. Source and Goal. And in the beginning was the Word.

Which is to say: the universe IS language, is a text that speaks. When we "hear" the speech that is the universe, we are connected to an unseen speaker; a relationship is acknowledged. And yet, because we and the universe are of a piece, we find ourselves in the peculiar position of being a word that reads and hears itself. How many of the ancient stories of the origin of the universe do not posit, as the reason that unity exploded into multiplicity, the desire of the One for the experience of Other? All uncorrupted language emerges directly from the ultimate, undivided mystery and connects us to it: a song of longing and praise between lover and beloved. Like the Word in the beginning, language streams out of no thing into some thing, creating that very some thing in the activity of its own movement. Language is the advancing edge of creation. At the subtlest levels of experience, each word spoken is a fundamental unity of silence, making present what is not at hand.

In implicit recognition of the fundamentally creative nature of words, images of sexuality and procreation are frequently applied to the realm of language and cognition. An idea, for example, is conceived; it could be seminal. Conversation may be penetrating, a form of social intercourse which generates nes thought, thought which may need to gestate or incubate before it is birthed in the light of day.

In the religious iconography of Christianity, the Virgin of the Annunciation is nearly always depicted as reading at the time of her impregnation by the Spirit. Beyond its archetypal rendering of an event which occurred two thousand years ago, this image has important cosmological implications. It tells us that the living word in contact with a state oaf fecund emptiness draws spirit into the world of form. It says: "this is how the Word becomes flesh; how spirit is materialized and matter spiritualized." Is it possible that we are given, too, a picture of the future of sexuality? Do the resurrection body of Christ and the final instructions of Buddha ("Make of yourselves a light!") point to a potential state of fully spiritualized matter and humanity, in which the rapture of love-making will be found in the meeting of heart-minds, and that such co-mingling will itself advance creation? We need only reflect on the occasional moments of profound, light-filled elation we may have felt in the midst of conversation with a kindred soul, and the arising of creative energy, to begin to glimpse how this could be so.

St. John's insight was voiced thousands of years earlier by Vedic seers who likewise "saw" the beginning less beginning in sound, the primal word, AUM, which breathes being into form. Birdsong, penetrating the silence of dawn evokes a peculiar evanescent joy in the human heart, perhaps because it recapitulates this original breakthrough from silence, through which creation is ongoing. To the ear that hears, birdsong is experienced as a living word; and not only birdsong, but the sound of moving water, of rain, of clear belltones, of a young child's laughter. Such sounds have a simultaneously expansive and focalizing effect on consciousness; they call us to attend, if only for a moment, to the wholeness of life, and the sudden presence of joy let us know that a circuit with the world has been completed. In that instant, our conditioned alienation is erased. Contrast this with the experience of noise -- a chainsaw, for example, or a jackhammer. Here, consciousness contracts, and concentration is diffused. Where exposure to noise is chronic, as it is in large cities, there is a deepening of alienation from the world, as coping strategies of withdrawal and desensitization are brought to bear.

Human language, likewise, may be either birdsong or jackhammer. It may either clothe or shroud Wisdom. For the most part, it enshrouds and obscures. Our voracious appetite for language has us consuming forests in the manufacture of books and other printed materials at a rate that will continue to kill the biosphere through the fatal undermining of its respiratory and circulatory systems. U.S. newswires alone are churning out words at a rate of 58,000,000 per day. But our appetite is not assuaged, because these are empty calories, words stripped of their vitalizing capacity through being pressed into the service not of Wisdom, but of ambition. Wisdom IS the creating activity of the universe, both inner and outer. Since it is always new, it can never be spoken, for to speak it is to freeze it in time.

Still, there is language -- we've all experienced it -- that, like the song of the bird, leaves in its wake a wordless stream of aliveness and engagement with something vast and deep. 

Such words are living words. They take us to the edge of our knowing and invite us to step off into freedom, into VERBUM INEFFABILIS, into the boundless, creating center of the universe.

The wise man said, "In the middle of the night, while all things were wrapped in silence, a secret word was spoken to me." 

It came stealthily, like a thief. What does he mean by a word that is secret or hidden? It is the nature of a word to reveal what is hidden. "It opened and shone before me as if it were revealing something and made me conscious of God, and thus it was called 'a word'. Furthermore it was not clear to me what it was because it came with stealth like a whisper trying to explain itself.



  Back Home Up Next  
Rev. Arla M. Ruggles Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 
All Rights Reserved.