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Symbols and Attunements
In 'Symbols and Beyond' I spoke of the possibility of moving beyond the Reiki symbols to access the energy they represent directly, and the use of symbols from other cultures to direct the energy: Moslem prayers and Christian symbols for example. Here I want to talk about an exciting discovery for Reiki: you don't have to be attuned to the symbols for them to work for you!

It has always been a basic tenet of Western Reiki that the Reiki symbols don't work until you have been specifically 'attuned' to them, and all Western style attunement systems - as far as I can see - involve being attuned to symbols at First Degree, Second Degree and Master levels. However, no one really knew if you needed to be attuned to the symbols for them to work, because no one knew of a way to attune people without using symbols!

All that has changed with the introduction of 'Reiju' empowerments from Japan. Reiju is the way that the Reiki ability is conveyed to the students of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Mikao Usui's Reiki Association), and within other traditional Reiki streams in Japan. Reiju is an empowerment that seems to derive from Tendai Buddhism, and within Japanese Reiki does not involve the use of symbols at First Degree, Second-Degree or Master levels. Now that we know how to connect people to Reiki without using symbols, and without 'attuning' people to symbols, we can at last find out whether one needs to be attuned to a symbol for it to work for us.

I have experimented in three ways. Firstly, I have found that students attuned at First Degree level, using Western-style attunements, can produce noticeable effects in their hands when using the Reiki symbols. Western-style Reiki First Degree attunements use the Reiki symbols, of course, but you are not 'attuned' to them in the way that you are at Second Degree level.

Secondly, I have found that the symbols work just as well for First Degree students who are connected to Reiki using Reiju empowerments, and no symbols enter into this process at all. In fact, I have noticed that students attuned using Reiju seem to be more sensitive to the flow of Reiki than students attuned in the Western style.

Finally, I have been using the original Usui method to attune people to Reiki at Second Degree level, and this again does not use symbols: it uses a way of connecting students directly to the energies that the symbols represent. Students attuned in this way can use the Reiki symbols in just the same way, and just as effectively, as students attuned using the Western system, although they have not been 'attuned' to them.

So all this leads me to believe that once you have been connected to Reiki - and symbols do not need to enter into this process - then the Reiki symbols will work for you, and you do not need to be attuned to them specifically. Not only that, but I believe that any symbol will direct the energy in a particular way once you have been attuned to Reiki: Usui's chosen symbols which come from Shintoism and Tendai Buddhism, but also symbols from other cultures and traditions, and channeled symbols too.

So the symbols generate different aspects of the Reiki energy, symbols from other cultures represent different facets of the energy, and you can - if you wish - move beyond the symbols entirely and use direct intent. Intent is a lot more important than we realise, which is liberating!

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