Reiki Symbols

Reiki symbols were designed for teaching others to practice this and in themselves they do not carry any special powers or significance


Reiki Symbols and What They Present

Reiki comes from two Japanese words: ‘rei’ and ‘ki’ rei means spiritual/higher power, ki means energy. Taken together, this healing modality means energy or life force that comes from a higher power.

How Reiki Was Reintroduced To the World

Contrary to popular belief, Reiki has always been around. Even though it is cited as a new-age healing modality, it has a longer, more prominent history than we can imagine. Master Mikao Usui reintroduced it to the world sometime around 1922 and since then it has grown in influence and popularity. However, before this time this particular art of healing was lost for many decades. The reason, as believed by the masters, was man’s disconnect with his surroundings. As Reiki  draws its healing powers from the life force that’s abundantly available, this kind of a disconnect can prove to be more harmful than we can imagine. Mikao Usui, as it is believed by many, wanted to know how Christ performed a unique kind of hands-on healing. All the miracles that happened at the touch of a hand had to have some technique—the energy needed to flow from somewhere. While it is tempting to position Christ as the first Reiki master, Master Usui was the first to begin teaching Reiki as a healing modality. The knowledge of the sacred symbols was given to him after many years of meditation and till this day these are not just used but are also evolving. When you look at Hindu mythology and the ascent of healing in India, one thing is certain that understanding the energy and its importance has always been a way of life. In every aspect starting from Shakti or Energy we appreciate the fact that we are more than just a physical body. The ability to heal through energy, to manage energy in a way that can bring about change, is referenced in all epics. One example being of Krishna and the Sudarshan Chakra in the Mahabharata and Krishna’s  ability to manifest change through energy. At all points in time there have been individuals who have been able to use the energy to perform feats and miracles. Today we know it as various forms of energy healing, with Reiki being one of them. It suffices to say that energy healing has been around since we have – we are only beginning to understand its impact now.

The Techniques

Similar to many other healing modalities, Reiki has a structure or a system of symbols which is applied depending on the need of the recipient. Before someone can begin healing, an intensive course of training and attunement, more popularly known as initiation, is required. Once this is done only then is the person considered capable of beaming the positive rays. The symbols, also known as gestures, manipulate the flow of energy and once this energy enters the body people generally experience a warm, intense gush that flows through their being.

A regular reiki session is no less than 60 to 90 minutes and patients can be treated either sitting or lying down. Typically, practitioners begin either at the patient’s head or feet; they manipulate the energy as they move along the afflicted areas.

What Are Reiki Symbols?

Reiki symbols were designed for teaching others to practice this and in themselves they do not carry any special powers or significance. It is the practitioner’s power or intensity that mobilizes the symbols to facilitate the required healing. Due to its healing capacity, Reiki  symbols are considered sacred. Each has its own distinct name and intention and that in turn determines the purpose during the session. The following five Reiki  symbols are considered the most sacred. Each may be referred to by its Japanese name or by its intention—a symbolic name that represents its purposes during practice.


Here are the five most sacred Reiki symbols:

  • The Power Symbol: Depending on the direction in which it is drawn, this symbol, i.e., the Cho Ku Rei, is used to increase or decrease power. The identifying symbol for this is the coil which reiki masters consider to be the modifier of energy. The primary intention of this is the light switch which, as the name suggests, is used to bring knowledge/spiritual awareness to the recipient.
  • The Harmony Symbol: The Sei Hei Ki or the Harmony Symbol symbolizes harmony. The symbol’s intention is purification and is it is used to heal people who are suffering emotionally and mentally. True to its intention, the gesture or the symbol resembles a wave washing across a shore and is typically drawn using a sweeping gesture. This is most helpful for those who need to be cured of a past trauma or are coping with depression, anxiety, and stress. As the gesture suggests, the idea here is to unblock the negative energies with the sweeping gesture.
  • The Distance Symbol: The Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is used when energy needs to be sent long distances. For the way it looks when inscribed, it is even called The Pagoda. During practice, the intention is to bring people, either separated physically or emotionally, together. This symbol is also the key to unblocking the universal consciousness. For practitioners who wish to bring out hidden or dormant personalities, or while dealing with past-life issues, this symbol is most important.  
  • The Master Symbol: The Dai Ko Myo represents the essence of Reiki and its core intention is enlightenment. This is used while attuning initiates and is the sum total of the other symbols. Given the nature of the symbol, it is also the most difficult to draw during a session and needs a lot of focus to be able to bring together the other symbols.
  • The Complete Symbol: Used at the penultimate stage of the Reiki session, the Raku Symbol’s intention is to ground the recipient’s body, thereby ensuring that the healing that is received stays. The symbol is drawn in the shape of a lightning bolt using the downward gesture denoting the completion of the session

Perhaps the mystical nature of the symbols is responsible for some of the sensation that is associated with it. In my opinion, a Reiki master becomes more powerful as he/she shares his/her knowledge and does so with the purest of intentions. As the symbols mean nothing by themselves, it needs to be energized with the focus and intension of the practitioner. ‘For the highest good’ is a mantra that remains central to the purpose and practice of Reiki.

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