The Word “Reiki”
Explanation of the Kanji
This Is Reiki
by Frank Arjava Petter
The Japanese word Reiki consists of two kanji (Chinese characters). These characters were introduced into Japan from China. Japanese kanji may mean an idea, a concept, a thing, or a sound. Simple kanji are images derived from nature. The kanji for mountain or river, for example, depict what they mean precisely. With concepts, however, it becomes more complex. They are put together by combining several components, so that often the original images cannot be recognized anymore.
The Character for Rei
The first character, Rei, can be divided into three parts. The first one means “ame”, rain. Japan is a volcanic country. Volcanic ash combined with rain produce a fertile soil. Therefore, rain stands for fertility, on the one hand, and secondly, for the blessings coming from the cosmos down to earth. In the Shinto tradition, Japan’s ancient religion, rain is connected to several deities.
The second dividable character means “utsuwa”. The word utsuwa means container, or, metaphorically speaking, human body, the vessel for the soul.
The third part stands for “miko” and means female medium, sorceress, or shaman. A miko is a woman who understands the voice of the Gods. She is able to communicate with the souls of the dead, and in a state of trance she serves as a mediator between the gods and the humans. All Japanese Reiki sources talk about the aim for the practitioner to become like a miko. He/ she is to rely on the sky and let himself be guided by the gods.
The complete kanji Rei means soul (Jap. tamashi)
The Character for Ki
This character can also be divided into two components.
The first one is “kigamae” or “yuge”. This word means steam or ether. In general, the ether is considered to be the vehicle for subtle matter.
The second character means “kome”, rice. In Southeast Asia, rice is the staple food. The character for rice can be interpreted in different ways. Some linguists state that it has been derived from the image of boiling rice and the rising steam. Others suggest that it is a comprehensible image of a rice ear. And still others claim that it stands for the number 88, because it takes 88 days for a grain of rice to proceed from the seed to the dining table.
The complete kanji Ki means energy.
In Usui Sensei ` s day, the term Reiki meant soul energy or spirit energy. Within a different context though, it could mean atmosphere, whim, occult or spooky energy. In order to avoid this misunderstanding in Japan, Reiki was and is written today sometimes in Roman letters, or in Katakana (phonetic Japanese alphabet). Nowadays, the word Rei is associated immediately with the meaning of ghost, and a short explanation is necessary if you want to go in the right direction in a conversation with someone from Japan who does not know Reiki.
Petter, Frank Arjava (2012-08-24). This is Reiki (Kindle Locations 116-173). Lotus Press. Kindle Edition.