The Mystery of the Symbols

Last Friday night I was at a wonderful party to make sure the sun rose again the next day called a Yule Vigil. One of the conversations that came up was the difference between a mystery and a secret, and it occured to me that the Reiki Symbols are a mystery, and not a secret. In that sense, Reiki itself is a mystery and not a secret as well. A mystery is something that reveals itself to those who are ready for it, which is why so many paths in ancient spiritual traditions are called mystery traditions. In contrast, a secret is something that can be communicated without mystery, without the person who hears it having to be ready to receive it.

“In the human heart and in the human mind–no matter what the race, the culture, the language, the tradition–there is at least the sense of a mystery, and an awesome and a very terrifying mystery inhabiting the whole universe: the very mystery of being itself.”
~Joseph Campbell

The process of becoming a Reiki practitioner includes a blessing or attunement from a Reiki Master Teacher to the student. During the first blessing in a Reiki I class, the Reiki Master places the five Reiki symbols in the aura of the student, but the student is not taught the symbols or their mantras. During the Reiki II class the student is then taught the Reiki symbols with their corresponding mantras, and taught how to use them during healing. The student also receives and additional attunement blessing at this time.

Please understand that all of the Reiki symbols, the visual glyphs of them, were commonly known and used in Japan at the time that Usui Mikao developed the healing system we now call Reiki. They were not secret, what Usui discovered was the mystery of how they relate to the connection to the universal energy source. This sacred connection reveals itself to those who are prepared to receive it in mind body and spirit. For Usui, that was on a mountaintop after 21 days of fasting and prayer. For most Reiki practitioners it’s after receiving Reiki II training and blessing. For most but not all.

In “Essential Reiki” by Diane Stein, she talks about Reiki I students who begin to psychically see these symbols as they practice hands on Reiki. A Reiki master’s job is to help the student prepare to receive the mystery, and for some students it comes quickly. For other students it may take longer as the Reiki works on their mind, body, and spirit. This is precisely why daily practice, even if you don’t feel any physically sensations, is so important as you continue on your spiritual path with Reiki.

Now let me share my own mystery with you. When I painted the picture below it was with the intention of painting a Faery of Earth, to represent that element as part of a series. As she came to life under my brush, I realized that this faery should have a name, and when I asked my intuition the name Tara came to me. I had never heard of the Buddhist Goddess Tara.

Tara - Faery of Earth

So there I was, with my new painting which I thought of as a nod to Irish fairies, being green and knowing the Irish Isle was also known as Tara, my earth fairy. Then a friend saw it and said “Oh, you painted Green Tara as a fairy!” I hadn’t told him the title of my painting and I asked him about that. He then told me about Green Tara, the Buddhist Goddess.

 “Tara is a female Buddha, a manifestation of the ultimate wisdom of all the Buddhas. Each of the Twenty-one Taras is a manifestation of the principal Tara, Green Tara…Tara is our common mother, our Holy Mother. When we are young we turn to our worldly mother for help. She protects us from immediate dangers, provides us with all our temporal needs, and guides and encourages us in our learning and personal development. In the same way, during our spiritual growth we need to turn to our Holy Mother, Tara, for refuge. She protects us from all internal and external dangers, she provides us with all the necessary conditions for our spiritual training, and she guides us and inspires us with her blessings as we progress along the spiritual path.”
~ Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and the New Kadampa Tradition

So then I realized that a mystery had come calling while I was painting, and I was unaware of it at the time. This was a few years ago, before I learned Reiki but after my first Pranic Healing class. The original painting hangs in my Reiki Studio, and I hope it brings blessings to all who enter there.

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