The Reiki symbols and their meaning add to the empowerment and strengthen the versatility of the practice of Reiki. It is part of the practice of Reiki that the symbols are kept secret. Tradition dictates that unless one is a Reiki practitioner, with at least level two training, the symbols are supposed to remain confidential.
The ideals behind the secrecy of Reiki symbols and their meanings lies not within the knowledge of the symbols, rather that the symbols without the Attunement are just that – symbols. They really mean nothing on their own. Yet within the practice of Reiki, they are very powerful and must be used wisely.
Revealing the symbols to those who have not attained the knowledge and practice required could cause confusion as well as showing disrespect for the tradition. Talking about the symbols and how that part of the practice evolved is not a violation of that trust.
So out of respect to the tradition and to the practice of Reiki, most of the symbols are kept hidden and not shown on this site. However, there are a few symbols that are widely shared on the internet and we feel it is okay to share them here as well.
Passing Along the Reiki Symbols
Reiki techniques and Reiki Energy is passed down from a Reiki Master to his or her student. There are no symbols given in Reiki training at the first level or first degree. However, if a 1st level practitioner chooses to further their development of Reiki they may decide to go on to take the second level (or second degree).
During the second degree training and also at the Master level, the student will be empowered with the Reiki symbols. These symbols are there to enhance and deepen the practice.
Traditional Reiki Symbols and Their Meanings
The following traditional Reiki symbols, from the Usui Reiki lineage, are given with the second degree attunement.
Cho-Ku-Rei – The Power Symbol (Western Cultures) or Universal Energy (Eastern Cultures) – Pronounced: cho (like choke) – koo – ray. This symbol has many uses. It can be used to summon the higher power to help increase the power to heal. It can be used to empower other symbols, request protection, or to bless and energize. Cho-ku-rei is intended to be used only for the “Highest Good of Ourselves and Others” and not for manipulation or negative reasons. Using it with negative intentions will have negative consequences.
Sei-Hei-Ki – The Mental/Emotional Symbol – Pronounced: say – hay – key. Considered the “harmony” symbol. It may be used for mental and emotional healing, two very connected part of our psyche. It is also used for restoring balance and harmony, distant healing, enhancing psychic abilities, drug and alcohol abuse, relationships, depression, spiritual communication, and healing the past.
Hon-Sha-Ze-Sho-Nen – The Distance Healing Symbol – Pronounced: hon (like honda) – shah – zay – show – nen. Reiki energy transcends time and space. With this symbol, said by some to symbolize the sun or represent Oneness, may be sent to a person across the room, across the country, or on the other side of the world. It can also be used to heal past or future events.
Dai-Koo-Myo – The Usui Master Symbol – Pronounced: di (like a single dice) – koh – me – oh. This symbol can only be used by a Reiki Master and is most commonly used in the attunement of others to the energy of Reiki. This is the most powerful symbol with the highest vibration, known to have the power to heal the soul. It connects us with the Divinity and allows us to heal ourselves and others.
The Raku – The Fire Serpent – Pronounced: ray-koo. This symbol is traditionally used to finish attunement of an individual by sealing the reiki energy into the 7 chakras. During attunement, both the practitioner and the student are elevated with Reiki energy. The Raku helps bring them down to earth, it grounds them. This grounding is also used in healing sessions.
This is the only symbol mentioned here that does not have origins in Usui Reiki. Rather it is from Tibetan Reiki where it is used not only for attunement, but also for centering energies and harmonizing chakras and auras. The Tibetan version of this symbol looks like this:
As you can see, some of the Reiki symbols are words from the Japanese language and their translations may be found in an English/Japanese dictionary. Others are derived from a combination of Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) and Japanese Kanji.
They are symbols to engage the power of Reiki, to help balance the emotional and mental aspects of the practice, and to use for long distance healing. Those three things are the engines that the Reiki attunements will power up in order to drive the practice forward. It is interesting how many people view the sacred symbols as the pieces of Reiki that hold the power, when in fact it is in the attunements themselves that the source is connected.
Drawing Reiki Symbols
In order to activate the symbol, it must be drawn correctly. As in many other traditions where information is passed down through a lineage, each teacher may put a slight variation on the way they draw them. The symbols were never meant to be exact, and slight variations will not disturb the practice.
In the past many teachers would not allow the student to copy the symbols, they had to be memorized. Therefore, with less than perfect memories there came variations of the symbols. Nonetheless, they work the same because of the Attunement.
The power of the symbols is not in their outward appearance, but in the empowerment that comes from the Attunement. Keeping that in mind, the correct way to draw the symbols for any individual practitioner is the way they were taught by their Reiki Master at the time of the Attunement. The symbols will still work despite a slight difference in form.
Using Reiki Symbols on a Receiver
Whether a person is in the room with you or across the ocean, it is always a good idea to request the permission of the receiver before beginning any energy work with them. That is common courtesy, but it is not necessary in order to be effective.
It is said to be more efficient if the person is receptive, but energy is going to go where it needs to go and help where it needs to help, so if a person is hurt or injured and the Reiki practitioner cannot get their permission, they may still give or send the healing energy of Reiki to that person.
The important part is to remain respectful at all times of the person you are working with and respectful of the practice of Reiki itself. Then, everyone will reap the most benefit possible with this powerful, yet subtle healing art.
Reiki Energy Healing 101
Reiki is a Japanese technique to aid in stress reduction and relaxation. A rested and relaxed body is more able to stay balanced and therefore be a healthy body. Reiki promotes physical healing when the body is performing at an optimum level of rest and relaxation.
Reiki is administered by the laying the hands of the practitioner in strategic positions on the receiver’s body. It is a practice that has been in use for thousands of years. It is a very simple technique and anyone can learn to heal with Reiki. Even children are able to learn the hand positions and practices to heal themselves and others.
Reiki – pronounced Ray Key and meaning Universal Life Force Energy – is a hands on practice to balance the energy fields within the human body. A person learns Reiki from a Reiki Master-Teacher by a process involving more than just a class or workshop. The actual muscle of the practice is given through a process called an Attunement.
Depending on the Master and the particular style of Reiki being taught, these attunements are given in a series throughout the specified time of the workshop. Once someone has received a Reiki Attunement they will have Reiki forever. It does not wear off, and it cannot be lost. Although Reiki cannot be lost, it is interesting to observe how the power of using Reiki becomes stronger as a person practices.
Interested in getting training in Reiki, but not sure where to start? Check out the Alternative Healing Academy’s Home Courses. They offer different courses for you current level:
Learn Usui Reiki Level 1 via Home Study at the Alternative Healing Academy
Learn Usui Reiki Level 2 via Home Study at the Alternative Healing Academy
Learn Usui Reiki Levels 3/Master via Home Study at the Alternative Healing Academy
Become a Reiki Master – Learn Usui Reiki Levels 1, 2 and 3 via Home Study at the Alternative Healing Academy