In the Japanese healing touch energy flow practice of Reiki, there is a traditional set of Reiki symbols originating from the founder of Usui Reiki, Mikao Usui. These symbols are powerful and calming, while also being extraordinarily beautiful. As a Boston Reiki practitioner and artist, it is my joy to draw and discuss them.
Reiki Symbols’ Use
What are Reiki symbols used for? During Usui Reiki training in Levels 1, 2, and 3, they are taught and memorized, as well as empowered during the ceremony of attunements. The order of the four main symbols is: Cho Ku Rei (the Power Symbol), Sei Hei Ki (the Harmony Symbol), Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (the Distance Healing Symbol), and Dai Ko Myo (the Master Symbol). Beyond the four main symbols, there are also various supplementary symbols sometimes used, such as the exciting Raku Reiki symbol: the Completion or Grounding symbol.
During Reiki (see Reiki pronunciation here) treatments, the practitioner draws the symbols from memory on their hands, in the air with their fingers or eyes, or on the receiver’s energy centers to focus healing and facilitate chakra balancing. One can also meditate alone on these symbols, or draw them in a particular space for a desired effect.
Variations in How to Draw Each
You’ll note in the section that follows that each symbol has several variations on how it is drawn (since it changed as it was passed down over time), so it bears careful study to find the version which is most accurate and resonant for you.
Of course, this article is not meant to be a substitution for formal Reiki training. If these lovely Reiki symbols interest you, I strongly encourage you to find a certified Reiki teacher to learn more. Ready to get the overview of the symbols? Let’s go!
In Reiki, the Japanese healing touch energy flow practice, four main Usui Reiki symbols are used to channel universal life-force energy. Learn about each here.
The first Reiki symbol in the Usui system is Cho Ku Rei: the Power Symbol. This symbol "turns on the switch" of Reiki energy flow, and translates roughly to: "Focusing the energy of the universe here." As you can see from my drawing, the intersecting points allude to the seven chakras in the body drawing life-force power from above.
The second Reiki symbol is Sei Hei Ki, the Harmony Symbol. Its rough translation is: "Earth and Sky Meet," indicating harmony between the celestial and the earthly energy forces. As you can see from how it is drawn, it is also about harmony between mental and emotional energy, and the wild creativity of the right brain, versus logic and order of the left brain.
The most complicated and multi-step Reiki symbol to draw is Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, the Distance Healing symbol. Its rough translation is: "Across past, present, and future," and empowers Reiki healing across those elements of time and space. Distance Reiki, for example, can be used to help those who are not in the same geographical space, or even in the same time period.
The fourth of the four main Usui Reiki symbols is Dai Ko Myo, the Master Symbol, which is learned in Level 3 or Master Teacher Level training. Its rough translation is "Great Shining Light," because this symbol is about connecting with universal life force energy of the universe -- beyond the limitations of the human, earthy world. There are several variations on how to draw this symbol, so feel free to click through to the elaboration and explanation of each at this button below.
The Raku Reiki symbol is the Completion or Grounding Symbol which serves to bring closure to a session by flowing the energy from Crown to Root, and also drawing a clear separation between the giver and receiver. It is not in the original four Usui symbols, and is believed to originate from Tibetan Reiki. It looks like a lighting bolt, and is also called the "Fire Serpent!"
What are the Reiki symbols for? This article on chakra balancing in Reiki gives examples of ways that they can help energy flow, and overall wellbeing. As each chakra in the human body is associated with a different color, visualizing the hues along with the symbols can assist in the healing process. The way the symbols are drawn also allude to the seven chakras, along with the parts of a person, from head to toe.
Reiki Symbols, in Sum
Which of these Reiki symbols most resonates with you? Which have you used most, either as a giver or receiver? Do share your experience in the comments section below.
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English who has been a public school educator since 2003, and an experienced Reiki practitioner since 2018. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other two sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010). Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!
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