The Powerful Meaning Of Reiki Symbols
The Powerful Meanings Of Reiki Symbols

There are no symbols in Reiki 1 and they are not actually necessary to give a Reiki treatment. However, symbols that are introduced to Reiki 2 and Reiki Master courses add to the strength and the versatility of how you use Reiki.

Reiki symbols are sacred. Traditionally, they are kept confidential and only revealed to those who take Reiki 2 and higher levels and thus receive the appropriate attunements. The idea of the secrecy is that you show respect for the symbols by treating them with the appropriate reverence.

These days, it is quite easy to find details and drawings of the symbols on the internet or in books but this does not mean that people who have seen them can use the symbols. It is only the spiritual empowerment of the attunement process that actually activates the symbols.

The symbols are important elements of the Usui Method of Natural Healing and each symbol represents certain metaphysical energies.  Some of the symbols originate from Japanese Kanji and some come from a combination of Sanskrit and Tibetan characters. The mantras (or sacred names) are in Japanese.

The Reiki symbols are presented in Reiki courses as two-dimensional (so that they can be easily drawn on paper) but it’s important to understand and accept that they are three dimensional, having height, width and depth. Their size is as small or as big as necessary and they are vibrational in nature, because they are a form of spiritual energy complete with its own consciousness.

Several different versions of each symbol exist in the Western World, principally because Hawayo Takata Sensei did not allow her students to keep copies of them.  When she taught, she insisted that the drawings of the symbols and courses notes were burnt and destroyed afterwards so that the material could be kept secret.

Whilst you will discover other versions of the symbols, it is important to use whatever you are given in your Reiki course because these are the energies you have been connected with and activated within your energy body and your DNA. If at some stage in the future then you have another Reiki attunement from another Master using different symbols, then of course you can start to use these versions.  

In Japan, the Reiki symbols came from the Buddhist traditions (Usui San was a Tendai Buddhist lay priest) and were not kept secret.  In fact, the five Kanjis that comprise the Distance Healing Symbol can be found in Japanese dictionaries.

How Do the Reiki symbols work?

Symbols have always been used in esoteric traditions for many thousands of years and they have been used to represent or manifest aspects of faith and power within religious, shamanistic, artistic and spiritual contexts. For example the £ or $ signs represent money in today’s society, H2O is the chemical symbol for water and the symbol of Christianity is the Cross.

The mantric (sacred sounds) and yantric (sacred shapes) origins of the Reiki symbols are well known in the Buddhist tradition and have been depicted for thousands of years in the Sutras held in the Himalayan monasteries. 

The Reiki symbols are transcendental and they connect directly to a Higher Consciousness. Whenever a Reiki symbol is used by someone has been attuned to Reiki Level Two, then it changes the way that the Reiki energy functions. It maintains its integrity as Reiki energy but the energy takes on different qualities depending on which symbol or combination of symbols has been used.

The symbols can be thought of as keys, which unlock doors to higher levels of awareness, or even buttons which get specific action when they are pressed. The symbols are not the power of Reiki, but they do add power to Reiki. They are easy to use and work automatically every time they are invoked.

The Reiki symbols act as tools for accessing the Universal Energy Field (Rei) and they help us to communicate our intention and request for support in healing directly to a Higher Consciousness. As we activate the symbols we can use any combination of visualisation, mantric practice (the sacred names of the symbols) and meaning into a most powerful focus.

Once you start to practice using the symbols they will begin to feel more familiar to use and they will start to display their deeper and different qualities to us as we use them during treatments, distance healing, when blessing our food and in other daily situations. 

It is important to remember that Reiki is an energy with a consciousness of its own.  Your intention of love, light and healing for the Highest Good is more important than the decision of which symbols to use.

From a scientific perspective, the work of contemporary scientists and quantum physicists provide further means of understanding the deeper levels of reality at which the Reiki symbols work. If you may want to look into this avenue any further, you could investigate the work of David Bohm, Karl Pribram and read “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot.

Experiments in quantum physics have proved that “non-locality” exists. This “non-locality” is the ability to influence events across a distance or through time.

Non-locality has two main characteristics:

(1) there’s no intervening force or energy needed to make it happen

(2) there is no time or distance (in the sense that there is no message travelling from the present into the past or into the future. What this means is that there is no “now” versus “then; everything happen simultaneously. 

An everyday way of realising this is the power of prayer. There have been several scientific studies which have documented the power of prayer to heal individuals at a distance.

A study in the British Journal of Medicine a few years ago discussed the results of an experiment in a retroactive prayer.

Researchers had a computer sort out the ten year old hospital records of 5,000 patients with bloodstream infections into two random groups. One group of records was prayed over; one was not. The researchers then checked the records and found that the group that had been prayed over had experienced shorter hospital stays and fevers, even though the prayers had taken place ten years after the patients had been discharged. The patients received the benefits of the prayers because of the non-local nature of time. The time of the prayer was actually concurrent with the time of the illness because in the Timeless Now, everything happens at once.

Experiments in quantum physics have also demonstrated that the Universe may be connected in a way that we cannot perceive, at a level that includes our own consciousness and intentionality. Everything in the Universe is interconnected in a luminous matrix that knows no distance, past or future.

The Reiki 2 Symbols

During the Reiki 2 course we learn to use three Reiki symbols in several different ways. The three symbols you are attuned to in a Reiki 2 training are universally recognised to be symbols that Mikao Usui used.

1. Reiki Power Symbol

Meaning: “Placing all the powers of the universe here”

Used primarily to boost the Reiki power, to connect with Reiki energy at the start of a session, and to seal the energy at the end of a treatment.

2. Emotional/Mental Healing Symbol

Meaning: “The earth and sky meet” or “God and Man become one.”

Different practitioners use this symbol in different ways. As an example, the practitioner draws the Cho Ku Rei (the power
symbol) to create a connection with the Reiki energy source. The Emotional/Mental Symbol is then drawn over the troubled area where the Reiki energies are required.

3. Reiki Distance Healing Symbol

Meaning: “Having no present, past or future”

The main function of the Distant symbol is that is used to transcend time and space, thus  allowing you to send Reiki to distant places, to distant, to past lives and future lives and to ancestors and descendants.

It brings all time Into the Now and all space in to the Here.  

The Distant symbol is also a highly effective energy tool during a treatment.  You can draw it over a chakra or over the receiver’s entire body.

> How To Use Distant Healing Techniques

The Master Symbol

The Usui Master Symbol

Meaning: “Great Enlightenment” or “Bright Shining Light”

Opens channels during Reiki attunement; heals the chakras, the aura and any disease that initiates from our subconscious beliefs; draws out negative energy from the body (physical emotional, mental or spiritual) and then liberate it; develops and strengthens personal growth, self awareness, spiritual development and intuition; it is used to charge or clear crystals; helps improve immune function and increase energy flow through the body.

Mikao Usui did not have a Master symbol. This important point was confirmed by Hiroshi Doi Sensei, a member of the Gakkai, and in discussions he had with several of the Gakkai presidents and many of the Shinpiden members. This idea was also confirmed by Arjava Petter Sensei, who had contact with Shinpiden teachers from the Gakkai and with its president.

Takata Sensei taught a Master symbol that was given to Master students. In her system, the Master symbol was needed in order to give attunements, and it could also be used during Reiki sessions for purposes of healing. She did not encourage her students to receive as many attunements as possible as was taught by Usui Sensei and Hayashi Sensei, but taught that just one set of four attunements for Reiki I and one or two attunements for Reiki II and one for the Master level are all that are necessary.

(William Lee Rand – Reiki: The Healing Touch)

The Symbols in the Usui/Tibetan System of Reiki

Usui/Tibetan Reiki is not all that different from Usui Reiki, but these both differ in their origins.

Usui/Tibetan Reiki is based on the studies of Arthur Robertson’s Raku Kai Reiki. This style of reiki has four levels – Level I, II, Level IIIa and Level IIIb.

Usui Tibetan/Reiki is the fact that it uses crystals, guides, healing attunements and various Tibetan symbols. This particular style of reiki was popularized by William Rand & Diane Stein.

A number of different symbols are used in the Usui/Tibetan Reiki that are an elegant mixture of Sanskrit and Japanese Kanji. The Power Symbol, The Emotional/Mental Symbol and the Distant Symbols are the same that are used in the Usui Reiki system.

However, Tibetan Reiki makes use of the Tibetan Master Symbol, part of the William Rand system. The Tibetan Master Symbol is used in Usui system mainly empowers other symbols, which are used for healing the body. The Usui Master Symbol roughly translates to “Great Being of the universe, shine on me, be my friend.”

In the Tibetan reiki system, the Tibetan Master Symbol is thought to unify the mind and body. It supposedly works with fire in the base chakra by lighting the sacred flame – the Kundalini energy. This energy pulls negative energy and disease from your body & mind. The use of the Usui Tibetan Reiki master symbol creates strong connection between the physical and the Higher Self (Supreme Power). The strong connection allows unlimited power of Reiki to manifest on the physical plane.

The Master Symbol in The Holy Fire® System Of Reiki

In addition to the Usui Master Symbol, the Holy Fire® Reiki system has a Holy Fire® Master symbol.

Holy Fire® is a living spiritual flame that is composed of beautiful colours that are constantly changing, with the centre of the flame being exceedingly bright.

After you have been initiated it is possible that when you draw the symbol to activate it for use in your Reiki sessions, you will actually see this beautiful flame in your mind’s eye.

When given Holy Fire Reiki in sessions, you may see flames around or coming from your hands or see a flame around the client’s body or in other locations. The Holy Fire energy often flows throughout the client’s body and aura and can sometimes appear as a flame surrounding the body.

> Holy Fire® III Reiki Classes

How to Use the Reiki Symbols

Intention is the most powerful tool for invoking Reiki and when working with symbols.  Energy follows thought and the combination of your intention to support healing together with the energy of Reiki and the symbols is a very powerful process.

The Reiki symbols can be used to help direct this process to a specific person, situation, time, or object etc.  Effectively, they provide an energetic vehicle for your intent and help you to focus your intention.  The symbols are tools and like all tools they do not have power unless they are being used in combination with your intention.

One way to gain familiarity with the symbols is of course to work with them. You could try using one symbol per week for each of your self-healing sessions so that you can get used to the energy of that specific symbol before moving on and familiarising yourself with the next symbol.

The Reiki symbols can be invoked in a variety of ways:

– In the air with the whole of your hand or with a finger(s)

– With the eyes, in an imaginary way or by moving the eyes to follow the shape of the symbol

– Saying its sacred name three times (either aloud or silently)

– In the air with the tip of your nose

– With an imaginary beam of light projected from the third eye

– Drawn in your mind on the ‘screen of your mind’

– Imagined as a whole instantly

– On the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue (quite complicated, especially for certain symbols)

If you choose to draw and project a Reiki symbol, then always say its sacred name three times at the same time.

It is important that you memorise the Reiki symbols as best as you can and that you are able to draw them competently. There is some debate within the Reiki community as to whether it is actually necessary to draw the symbols correctly in order to activate them. The intention is of course the most important thing but a serious, rather than slapdash, attempt to learn and draw the symbols is certainly appropriate for the respect they should be shown.

The uses and applications of the Reiki symbols are numerous.  You can send them into your clients’ chakras during a treatment, or you can just use them over the client as a whole. You could also send them into a glass of water and create a powerful remedy without negative side effects.  Machinery which stopped working will more often than not respond positively (if your beliefs allow it).

You can also use the symbols to send Reiki to the Earth and the other planets, or send it to a country in crisis, to a war torn situation, to the environment and/or eco-systems in need.  The only limit to where you can send Reiki is your imagination. Space and time are no limits and remember Reiki can only do good.  Send Reiki to your own birth, to your mother while she was pregnant with you; to a friend who does an exam next week…the list could go on.

The Reiki symbols make it even easier to integrate Reiki into other practices. You could send one with every Acupuncture needle; you can use them while massaging clients; you could charge remedies and herbs, massage oils and incense sticks with Reiki; draw them over treatment tables before the session; send them to the floor, the ceiling and the walls of the treatment room before you see a client etc. Putting a power symbol on a seat on the bus before you sit down on it seems to be an extremely popular (and effective) activity with previous students. 

I recommend you use the Power symbol at the start of each treatment that you do on yourself or on others. Simply draw it into the palms of each hand, saying its sacred mantra three times, and then draw a large Power symbol down the front of your body intending that its three-dimensional form will protect you during the treatment. Then step into it. You can also put the other symbols into your hands at the start of a treatment but start off with the Power Symbol and use that as a minimum for future sessions.

Symbols and Reiki Attunements

After a Reiki attunement, there will again be a period where the system adjusts to the new frequency of energy that you have been attuned to. You may well go through a period of detoxification and I would recommend that you try and support this process of purification with daily self-treatments, a healthy diet, lots of rest, spending time in nature and drink plenty of water to flush the system.  Also take time to ground yourself several times a day and take gentle exercise such as a walk in the park, or even try some gardening.  

You may experience any one of a number of effects, such as heightened colour consciousness, increased sensitivity in the crown chakra area or a feeling of greater connection with everything around you. 

I would recommend keeping some sort of Reiki journal or diary to keep track of and acknowledge the ways in which the second level of Reiki is affecting your life, your thoughts, feelings and actions.  You could also review each day before going to sleep, backwards from night to morning.

Pay increased attention to your body, its needs and the feedback it gives you in the form of gut feelings, levels of comfort and the state of your health. All of this will increase your sensitivity and ability to channel Reiki.   

Related Articles

Learn How To Give Reiki To Others

How To Prepare Before A Reiki Session

– Reiki Distant Healing Techniques

– How To Practice Reiki Self-Healing

– What Are Chakras?

– How To Become a Reiki Practitioner

– How Long Does It Take To Become A Reiki Master

Giancarlo is a fully qualified Spiritual Healer, Reiki Master, Hypnotherapist and Past Life Regression Therapist.

He is a Master Teacher member of the UK Reiki Federation and registered with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council, Federation of Holistic Therapists, the Spiritual Regression Therapy Association and the General Hypnotherapy Register. Read more.