The Reiki symbol typically used is written in Japanese Kanji. Kanji are Chinese pictographs or ideograms imported from China to Japan long ago. Kanji characters all contain a certain meaning that can correspond to a word or group of words. Different kanji put together can be used to create a whole new word or concept. The Reiki symbol is comprised of two kanji characters. The first, or top character is pronounced "rei" as if you were saying "ray of light". Rei refers to the universal life, spirit, or soul. Ki is a character that can have much broader meaning but for our purposes it refers to energy. Together Reiki kanji means "universal life energy".
In the 1940's, in an effort to simplify the overly abundant number of Chinese characters used in written Japanese, the Japanese government launched a grammar reform. At this time many Kanji were simply "retired" from the Japanese language. The character for "ki" itself had many untold variations. Reiki, having been founded before these reforms, was originally written by the founder, Dr. Mikao Usui using an older character for ki. Hence you will see at time Reiki written with different characters. All such variations are correct. Our chosen characters use the original spelling laid forth by Dr. Usui.
The Reiki symbol itself has many uses. It can be applied for personal growth and well being, as well as external uses. The Reiki symbol can be hung in a room to offer balance and protection to the area. Some also have made claims to the Reiki symbol's power to shield against the electromagnetic spectrum. Strategically placed they claim that it can shield objects from electromagnetic discharge.
In a future post we will look at the different Reiki kanji and the origins of their use.