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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prominent web site publishes Reiki symbols

If you've studied Reiki at Level 2 or above, you learned some version of the Reiki symbols. You also may (or may not) have been taught that the symbols are secret, sacred, or both. Some teachers even go so far as to make students sign a written pledge not to reveal the symbols to anyone other than students who reach the appropriate levels. There's a wide spectrum of opinions on the subject, but regardless of what anyone believes, Reiki symbols have been widely available online for years now, and they were also in a book from a major publisher that came out in the mid-1990s. I just did a quick Google image search on the words "Reiki symbols" and got more than 55,000 results. There are T-shirts with the Reiki symbols emblazoned on them, jewelry with the symbols cast in metal, stones with the symbols engraved in them. So the question of whether the symbols should be kept secret has already been answered: they're public now.

Last week the Reiki symbols became even more public when Reiki Master Phylameana lila Desy,'s guide to Holistic Healing, published the symbols on her site. Phylameana, author of The Everything Reiki Book, followed up with an explanation titled, "Reiki Symbols: Secret or Sacred?" She told her readers that she'd been "on the fence" for a long time, but she finally chose to go public with them. Not surprisingly, she's received a flurry of comments in response.

What do you think? Does publishing the Reiki symbols diminish their effectiveness in practice? Does an untrained, uninitiated person who runs across them online have any way to use them?

To add your thoughts to the discussion, post a comment on this post on The Reiki Digest web site, email them to, or add them to the discussion on Phylameana's web site.


Blogger Steve said...

I think that its ok to publish so called Sacred symbols. I think nothing is sacred really. Symbols just represent other things. Its the other things that are hard to name or label that are sacred, the feelings..

Sacredness cannot be found in material things, even symbols I'd imagine.

Does this make sense to anyone?

5:40 PM  
Blogger Olga said...

Something is sacred because of the meaning we attach to it. I prefer to think of the symbols as sacred rather than secret - which implies I am privy to some special knowledge or information that others do not have.

All of us have the ability to give and use Reiki - it is not reserved for a special few. The symbols mean nothing to the one who has not dedicated herself - or himself to the practice of Reiki as a spiritual path, in addition to Reiki as a healing ministry. The symbols cannot be mis-used.

For years I wore a Power Symbol pendant. My first Reiki teacher would have had a heart attack since she focused on the secrecy behind the symbols. My second teacher wore her own pendant.

All of this being said, I do feel that how the symbols are revealed or portrayed should transpire in a respectful manner, and the message should be conveyed that the symbols enhance the Reiki experience for one who practices this spiritual path.

Olga Rasmussen

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

I'm kind of on the fence. While I feel that the symbols won't mean much to anyone who doesn't know what they are or how to use them so it's no big deal, I also think that a respect for ritual is important. If my teachers asked me not to reveal something, I probably would not. So far I haven't felt compelled to share the symbols with others not familiar with them. ;-)


1:08 PM  
Anonymous Pamir | Reiki Help Blog said...

I don't feel publishing Reiki symbols adds to the knowledgeable. Since they can't be used by non-practitioners, publishing them has no use. And practitioners already have the necessary information. They could be discussed without the images.

The other complication is how different the symbols are depending on the lineage of Reiki. Mine look nothing like Phylameana's, and I've only four.

In original, Japanese Usui Ryoho, not western Usui lines of Reiki, there are only four, and they are markedly different than what these and other published versions look like.

Add to that the fact that Usui didn't even emphasize symbols but the energy they represent, which he taught is better accessed through primordial vowel sounds, which are different than the names of the symbols...well, what a hot mess!

The mainstream does enough of lumping Reiki in with all "energy healing." When we in the Reiki community do it too, we really don't serve Reiki very well.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Pamir | Reiki Help Blog said...

Oops knowledgeable==knowledge base above!

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are beautiful symbols and one would not know of their meaning or usage unless taught by a Reiki Master. Only then will the symbols take on meaning. So displaying them should not be disrespectful but re-spectful of their beauty to you, the unknowing and to the One who is Fornunate to hold Reiki within, their beauty is Infinate.

11:57 AM  

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