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Reiki Symbol & Mantra Chanting: Why You Need to Try It

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Reiki symbols are an aspect of the healing modality that help us remember inherent truths within ourselves and the world at large. They are tools to develop a one-pointed mind, direct energy, and create heart-mind harmony.

Chanting the Reiki symbols is one of my favorite practices for the cultivation of energy. It is a powerful grounding ritual that’s historically been a part of many cultures and religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam alongside a multitude of others. Reiki practitioners may benefit from even a short (5-15 minute) and simple chanting practice. While drawing or painting a symbol repeatedly can create moments of introspection, and meditation, singing the mantras repeatedly can also invoke the energy of the words. Working with the symbols in both ways deepens our connection to them, and understanding of the essence of each one. 

History of Reiki Symbols & Mantras

Reiki symbols are an aspect of the healing modality that help us remember inherent truths within ourselves and the world at large. They are tools to develop a one-pointed mind, direct energy, and create heart-mind harmony. 

Dr. Mikao Usui shared the four reiki symbols of Usui Shiki Ryoho when he founded the system of healing in 1922. However, the symbols may have been inspired by earlier teachings. It’s important to note that the symbols taught in Reiki are likely to have originated out of Shintoism and Buddhism. 

Significance of Chanting Reiki Symbols and Mantras

The spiritual system of Reiki has five foundational elements – meditation, hands-on-healing, attunements, mindfulness, and sacred symbols and mantras. Dr. Mikao Usui shared four symbols and mantras that are typically taught in Reiki levels 2 and 3 depending on the lineage. The first two symbols each have a visual representation or character (shirushi). The third symbol has a sound that transmits a vibration (jumon). A jumon is also translated as mystical sound, a sacred spell or incantation. In the Reiki tradition, it is believed that words have the power to influence our reality. 

The concept of kotodama also proposes that words have a spirit that is emitted when spoken. Koto means “word” and Dama means “spirit”. In eastern lineages of Reiki, students are encouraged to recite the Precepts in Japanese in order to raise our level of consciousness and embody mindfulness. Lastly, the Japanese concept of shingon teaches that some words reverberate truth. The names of the symbols can be used as shingon, as the repeated recitation of them can help develop sustained focus and energy. 

The Meaning of the Reiki Symbols & Mantras

The true meaning of these symbols is best experienced rather than described, however I will introduce the general essence of each one here. Since the symbols are only meant to be revealed when the students have mastered the foundational teachings and are ready for the teachings, I will not publicly share the names, shirushi and jumon here. 

The first symbol is sometimes taught in Level 1 of Reiki but typically introduced in Level 2. It creates a sense of grounding, empowerment, and connection to Earth. It creates deeper focus, and helps us connect with the truth of who we are.  

The second symbol is often used to create mental and emotional harmony. It’s often used to heal thoughts, emotions and habits that are creating disturbance. Working with this symbol often leaves us feeling lighter, and more peaceful.

The third symbol symbolizes oneness, and unity. It teaches us that there is no past, present or future. It allows us to transcend time and space. It can remind us that right consciousness is our true nature. 

Finally, the fourth symbol creates an energy of enlightenment, non-duality, and self-awakening. It inspires us to be, act and speak of the light.

Let’s continue learning Reiki beyond Reiki 1, 2 and 3 certifications! Sign up for Parita’s free Empower the Reiki Healer 5 Day Challenge and you’ll receive access to guided audio journeys and illustrated guides. This free training holds space for intuitive exploration and self-healing. 

Are the Reiki Mantras & Symbols a Secret?

Many teachings in Japanese culture were traditionally kept secretive out of respect for the system, and the teachers. The teachings were often passed down orally and students were not allowed to have written records of the symbols. This may have been because the teachings could be distorted if they were found by others during times of warfare, or leadership changes. The teachings were also meant to be revealed to the students when they developed the foundational knowledge and practice in Reiki. One should learn the basics of meditation, posture, conscious breathing, Precepts, and hands-on-healing before working with the symbols.

Today, the shirushi and jumon are widely found in books, and on the Internet, clothing, jewelry, and tattoos. However it’s not recommended for those who have not been attuned to the symbols to use them. One should receive the proper initiation, knowledge and practice in working with the Reiki symbols and mantras prior to using them since the symbols can initiate powerful transformation. It’s also essential that we regard the sacred shirushi and jumon with respect and integrity.

Benefits of Chanting Reiki Symbols & Mantras

Repeating reiki mantras offers numerous healing benefits for the mind, body and spirit. It creates a point of focus for the mind which brings our attention away from restless thoughts and anchors us in the present moment. As we choose to come back to the mantra again and again, we create space between the thoughts, and soften the noise of the ego. We start to witness the thoughts rather than obsessively engaging with them. 

Chanting oxygenates the body, as it forces us to breathe consciously. It improves the functioning of the lungs, and awakens prana throughout the physical body. The practice can also be beneficial for those who tend to disassociate from the body. 

On the subtle layers, chanting Reiki mantras invokes Earthly and Heavenly energies. When we meditate with the mantras consistently, we begin to understand the deeper meaning and energetic archetype of each one. You may experience the jumon (incantation) and kotodama (spirit of words). They help us to remember our purpose as beings of light and love. The traditional practices honor the system of Reiki, and the Reiki Masters that have come before us. The chants connect us to our lineage and create feelings of faith and conviction. 

Reiki Mantra Chant

How to Chant Reiki Symbols & Mantras

If you’ve been attuned to any Reiki symbols in your trainings, I highly encourage you to explore the essence of each jumon separately. Within your existing meditation practice or as a new practice, spend 5-15 minutes a day chanting one of the Reiki mantras

On the inhale, expand your belly. On the exhale, chant the jumon at a volume that you prefer. Ask for the truest essence of the symbol to shower your consciousness. If it helps you, you may visualize the symbol while chanting. Choose a pace that works well for you but keep it consistent. 

While chanting, feel the vibration of your words throughout your being. If your mind wanders, come back to the physical sensations that chanting creates. Acknowledge the subtle shifts in your energy body and the space that the mantras create in the mental body. 

After chanting for 5-15 minutes, sit in the energy that you created. Be present with the emotions, and thought patterns that each symbol surfaces in you. Take note of how you feel during and after the meditation. This practice is best done for at least 7-21 consecutive days for each symbol. At the end of the practice, you will have deepened your relationship to each jumon. You will find it much easier to draw that symbol’s energy in the future. When you think about the symbol, visualize it, or simply repeat it to yourself once, you will connect to the immense energy that you cultivated in your daily practice.

Tips to Remember When Chanting Reiki Symbols & Mantras

  • Work with one symbol at a time. Consistently show up and feel into the energy. Notice how it impacts your mood, interactions, and outlook.
  • Although you may feel strange or self-conscious to hear your own voice as you chant, know that you may feel more comfortable as you sink into a daily reiki chanting practice. You may become more accepting of your voice, and have more patience for the ritual. Remember the Reiki Precepts, “Shinpai suna” and “Hito ni shin setsu ni” which translates to “I will not worry” and “I will be kind to all sentient beings”.
  • Your consciousness will shift as you embody the symbols. For example, if you work with the first symbol consistently, you may notice that you are able to be more grounded, present, and focused. The benefits of this practice naturally radiate into all of your life, rather than just your spiritual practices.

Download Reiki Chant Music

The 4 track meditation album includes chants for each of the Reiki symbols and mantras. Tracks are 10-11 minutes long – an ideal length for your daily meditation practice or for a group practice. 

The 4 track meditation album includes chants for each of the Reiki symbols and mantras. Tracks are 10-11 minutes long – an ideal length for your daily meditation practice or for a group practice. 

How to Incorporate Reiki Mantra Chants into Your Practice

The Sacred Reiki Chants: Mantras for Devotion album is an ideal way to become familiar with the deeper meaning, and uses of each symbol. You may listen to the mantras in your daily meditation practice, or chant with the tracks. You can also host a Reiki Share or Training, in which you invoke the symbols with a group for a more powerful and amplified experience. Some practitioners choose to listen to the mantras while practicing hands-on-healing, as it creates a relaxing environment for a treatment. It also clears the energy of the space and uplifts its vibration. Lastly, you may listen to the mantras at bedtime to relax the mind into a restorative sleep.

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