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There are basically three different groups or types of symbols. Each group or type of symbol has its own unique set of beliefs regarding the nature of these symbolic forms:
The first group of symbols are those in which the power or ability to create effect is inherent in the form of the symbol. These symbols are often found and used in sacred geometry or the tattwa's.
The five Tattwa symbols:
A Yellow Square representing Prithivi/Earth
A Blue Circle representing Vayu/Air
A Silver Crescent representing Apas/Water
A Red Triangle representing Tejas/Fire
A Indigo Ovoid representing Akasha/Spirit
Tattwa's along with to a certain extent Yantra Mandalas which are visual tools that serve either as centering devices or as symbolic compositions of the energy pattern of a deity as seen by tantric seers in their visions, are among those in which the actual shape or form is said to directly stimulate the subconscious energy patterns in the brain and energy body or physical and nonphysical reality.
These symbols are said to contain the power to awaken an ability or create a result or convey mystical information and realisation of themselves with no or little action or intention by anyone.
The second group envelopes the belief that certain objects and symbols like a Rosary or Prayer Beads can be charged or empowered by intention or ritual or proximity to holy places or people to contain the power to create an effect.
The third group of symbols are those that are tools or triggers which enable you to connect with; and harness an energy, a spiritual function or information etc, that exists separate from the symbol itself. The symbol is more like a light switch that can turn on the power. The symbol itself does not possess any power of its own. Most of the Symbols used in Reiki are Kanji's (written words which have esoteric symbolic meanings in some Buddhist traditions).
We believe that the Reiki symbols are part of the third group. They are tools, keys, on/off switches to facilitate connection with different aspects of the universal energy for healing. They do not themselves have power. There are often many different ways to draw a particular Reiki symbol but they are all equally effective in connecting to Reiki -
If you look hard enough in your future reiki study and research you will find many variations of each symbol, just remember that all variations will work and instead of worrying about which one is better simply focus of the intention and the purpose of the symbol.
The Reiki symbols are exactly that, symbols. They are not what they represent. The Reiki symbols represent specific energy properties and functions for healing and spiritual enhancement. When anyone who is attuned to Reiki visualises, draws or internally or externally intones the name of any of these symbols it helps them to connect themselves with the Reiki energy and activate the function and specific purpose the symbol represents.
The distant Attunements which are provided as part of this home study course will bestow an automatic ability to work with different levels of Reiki by intention and use words or thought as the activator as well as by consciously invoking the symbols.
Using direct intention to activate the symbols should not be seen as a default or easier substitute rather than assimilating the information and experience which you will gain from studying and using symbols. It is not necessary to understand the meanings of the symbols completely or even to consciously use them to gain and share the benefits of the Reiki system.
Though it can enrich your experience to explore the meanings further through study and meditation. The symbols remind us
that there are ways to focus on different aspects of the reiki energy when we use them correctly in our reiki practice.
You may also use Reiki to focus on other aspects and purposes of the universal energy by direct intention. Other systems which have evolved from Reiki such as Seichim and Karuna use different symbols to focus on other aspects of the energy. However you can use Reiki for these functions without further attunements and with or without the use of the additional symbols.
The method of becoming attuned so you had the ability to use Reiki has changed over the years from the way it was originally taught and practiced at the Japanese Reiki society.
In Reiki Ryoho you would meet weekly with fellow members and a master, have a lesson or lecture and possibly practice and or receive healing treatment after which you would do the hatsurei ho meditation during which the master would give you and the other members "Reiju" an empowerment which helps to connect and deepen your connection to Reiki energy usually this is done gradually in accordance with your own personal development.
Possibly after a period probably of a year or more of this practice and study you might be invited to learn the second teachings.
In the Hayashi-
This is also probably why an attunement process was developed similar to the initiations used in many healing and spiritual traditions in order to greatly accelerate, the clearing and connection and ability to work with universal energies. The Reiki Masters that Madam Takata trained were taught with this emphasis on the symbols and were also sworn to secrecy about the Reiki symbols and other practices.