Human beings communicate through vast constructs of symbols. Consider the alphabet. Each glyph is representative of a particular sound, which when woven together with other sounds creates words. These words are then representative of something concrete that exists within the material world (cat) or as a concept (compassion). So a sound is given symbolic reality through an alphabet glyph, which is representative of something that exists within the consensual reality of the group mind.
Sacred writing, hieroglyphs, weaves sounds into a tapestry of shapes designed from the geometry of form. Blending the breath of voice with the light of shape, symbols are simultaneously real and representative of the real. Symbols draw their meaning from the multi-dimensionality of the group heart itself and the metaphoric depth of geometry, music, shape, and the emotional vibrations they evoke in each person who encounters them. So symbols, much like the archetypal First Formed themselves, are born from the greater Heart-mind, spun through the washing of the human group Heart-mind, and ultimately interpreted through the lens of the encountered individual human heart.
Symbols should not be mistaken for signs. Signs have one specific unarguable meaning. A stop sign, for example, means stop. Symbols, however, have inherent meaning within their unique blend of light (form) and breath (sound). They have extrinsic meaning drawn from the collective understanding of the larger group. And finally symbols have deeply personal meaning from direct interaction with the individual.
A wedding ring is such a symbol. A ring is a line that connects itself into a circle. In sacred geometry lines are inherently masculine and curves are feminine and so the wedding ring is the seamless blending of the masculine and feminine into one piece. Within larger culture a wedding ring indicates that someone is in a committed relationship with another person. A specific wedding ring is symbolic of the particular marriage with all its good, bad, history, and devotion. And so when one chooses to symbolically remove a wedding ring she is also removing the trappings of the marriage proper. And so the ring, which is in of itself a simple chunk of metal, operates as a symbol with more depth and layers than one may initially consider.
So sacred symbols take meaning from themselves (the ring that says I am married) and the reality beyond the meaning (the marriage). The Reiki symbols also embody these multiple layers of meaning. They are glyphs of sacred writing with the breath of sound behind them. They are given shape by the intelligence of Rei (Light) and the sound of Ki (Breath) and their meaning is specific to the Reiki group heart-mind. And further they derive personal meaning from the experiences of the Reiki practitioners who engage with them as not just tools but as symbolic realities with their own form and substance.