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Traditional and Non-Traditional Reiki Symbols

Updated on October 5, 2014
Traditional Reiki Symbols
Traditional Reiki Symbols | Source

What are the Reiki Symbols?

The Reiki Symbols are used by Reiki Practitioners during a Reiki session. Each symbol has a specific purpose and they can also be combined and used together sequentially.

The symbols are ancient icons, the same as modern icons placed on a computer desk top. Embedded within each icon is a code telling the computer what program to bring up should the icon be used. In a similar manner, when the Reiki Practitioner uses a Reiki symbol, coding embedded within the symbol tell the Reiki what it needs to do.

Three traditional symbols are used by most Reiki Practitioner - Cho Ku Rei, Sei He Ki, and Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen. Reiki Master-Teachers will also use a 4th symbol, the Dai Ko Myo. Finally, there are other non-traditional symbols which have been discovered by practitioners and are used in different schools of Reiki.

Cho Ku Rei Reiki Symbol
Cho Ku Rei Reiki Symbol | Source

Cho Ku Rei

The Power Symbol

Pronounced: cho-koo-ray

Meaning: To Make Straight or Align


  • Balances
  • Cleanses

  • Empowers (Other Symbols)

  • Activator (Of Other Symbols)

  • Only Symbol Used By Itself
  • Empowers Your Reiki To Be Stronger

Using the Cho Ku Rei for Healing and Cleansing

As the Power Symbol it gives a greater power and focus to the Reiki.

Use the CKR before and after using any other Reiki Symbol to empower it.

As the Cleansing Symbol it can be used to remove negative or stagnating energy during a Reiki healing session. Likewise it can be used to cleanse a physical space. Mentally draw the Cho Ku Rei on the walls of a room to cleanse the room of negative energies. Or draw them in the air around a physical space to help cleanse the area.

Draw the image on either side of a person to help bring their physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental body into balance.

When using the Cho Ku Rei for balancing or if I am wanting to create a spiritual doorway, I will draw two Cho Ku Rei facing each other.

Cho Ku Rei Doorway
Cho Ku Rei Doorway | Source
Sei He Ki Reiki Symbol
Sei He Ki Reiki Symbol | Source

Sei He Kei

The Mental/Emotional Healing Symbol

Pronounced: say-hay-kee

Meaning: I have the key

Used for: purification, protection, balancing, and clearing

  • Helps with the release of repressed emotions and healing illnesses caused by repressed emotions.
  • It can also be used to aid with past-life recall and to aid in altering emotional reactions to past events.

Using the Sei He Ki for Mental and Emotional Healing

The Sei He Ki can be used any time you believe there to be an emotional or mental component to the problem being treated. This can include those illnesses caused by or worsened by stress, addictions, and past traumatic events.

Activate the symbol by drawing and mentally or verbally saying the Cho Ku Rei three times. Then draw and mentally or verbally say the Sei He Ki three times, followed by repeating the Cho Ku Rei another three times.

It is often times used at the beginning of a healing session, then repeated throughout as needed.

I will use the Cho Ku Rei combined with the Sei He Ki to attach messages which the client's inner self needs to hear. To do this, I will mentally attach an affirmation to the SHK, bundle it between two CKR, and send it via a stream of energy through my hands into the other person.

Recommended reading

The Big Book of Reiki Symbols: The Spiritual Transition of Symbols and Mantras of the Usui System of Natural Healing
The Big Book of Reiki Symbols: The Spiritual Transition of Symbols and Mantras of the Usui System of Natural Healing
A reader recommended this book to me years ago. It provides indepth information about each of the Reiki symbols as well as meditations which can be used for them.
Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen Reiki Symbol
Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen Reiki Symbol | Source

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

The Distance Healing Symbol

Pronounced: hawn-shaw-zay-show-nen

Meaning: No past, no present, no future

Used for: absentee healing, spanning the distance between time and space

  • Helps by sending Reiki healing into the past or the future or across distances.
  • It creates a link between the practitioner and the client when doing distance healing work.
  • It can be used for past life healing work.
  • It works to keeps one mindful of the connection between all things.

Using the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen for Healing Across Time and Space

This symbol can be used when doing distance healing work to create a connection between the practitioner and the client. It can also connect the present with the past, or the future and can be used to set healing for clients at times in their past or future. Another use is to access past events to help the client work through them and heal. I have used it as well when working with people who do not tolerate direct contact, such as children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions.

Activate the symbol by drawing and mentally or verbally saying the Cho Ku Rei three times. Then draw and mentally or verbally say the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen three times, followed by repeating the Cho Ku Rei another three times.

When doing a Distance Healing Reiki Session on a client, you can either use a proxy or cup your hands together and visualise holding the person, or you can hold your hands on your own body while visualising the work being done on the client. I tend to either use a proxy or visualise holding my hands over the person.

When Doing a Distance Healing:

  • Ask the client to lie or sit during the specified time. They can meditate if they wish, but shouldn't be distracted by telephones or televisions. Let them know that it is okay if they fall asleep.
  • Draw the Cho Ku Rei and say it 3 times.

  • Draw the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen and say it 3 times.

  • Draw the Sei He Kei and say it 3 times.

  • Draw the Cho Ku Rei and say it 3 times.

  • Let your intuition guide you to discover what affirmations or words the client needs to hear. Say these mentally or out loud.
  • If you change hand positions or feel your attention drifting, repeat the symbol sequence. A typical distance healing session will only need to take 15 - 30 minutes.

Reiki Symbols: Does Sacred Mean Secret?

Should the Reiki Symbols be shared with non-initiated?

See results

Sacred: To make holy

There are those who practice Reiki who believe firmly that the Reiki Symbols are Sacred and as such should forever remain secret from the non-initiated. Others are of the opinion that the symbols should be made freely available to all people, regardless.
What do you think?

My thoughts on the matter

It is my view that hiding the Reiki symbols from the uninitiated serves no purpose, not least because images have been available for anyone who cares to look since they were first published in books back in the 1990s.

The power of Reiki does not lie within a few lines drawn on a sheet of paper, or typed onto a computer screen, it lies within the intention of the attuned Reiki practitioner.

Far better, in my mind, that these symbols be made freely available to all, including those who have not been attuned. Because they are just that, symbols, and without the intention from the practitioner in themselves they hold no power.

To put in another way, it doesn't matter how many times I write E=mc2, it doesn't even matter that with a bit of searching, I can tell you that this means Energy = Mass X (Speed of light in a vacuum)2. I still have no understanding of what this actually means, and other than using it as an analogy here, I would have no clue how to apply it in any way.

Healing Hands
Healing Hands | Source
Dai Ko Myo Reiki Symbol
Dai Ko Myo Reiki Symbol | Source

Dai Ko Myo

The Master Symbol

Pronounced: dye - ko - mee -oh

Meaning: Great Shining Light

Used for: Healing the soul, healing the aura, serves to increase intuition and psychic abilities

  • Used by those who have been trained and attuned to the Master level in Reiki.
  • This symbol is used to aid in opening channels when attuning others in Reiki.
  • It can be used to increase the link between the practitioner and universal energies and for healing soul issues in the client.

Using the Master Symbol for Connecting to the Universal Energies

This symbol is used by the Reiki Master to connect to Universal Energies at a higher vibration. By using this symbol, the Master practitioner can attune others in Reiki as well. This could be used for healing karmic ailments, increasing intuitive abilities, and even for mending damage to the aura or soul.

It is used most often during personal meditations and when performing attunements for others.

It can also be used to give an extra boost to energy flow during a healing session.

Activate the symbol by drawing it and mentally or verbally saying the name three times.

These symbols are different from the ones I learned!

The Reiki symbols are a regular part of the Japanese written language. Just as the way you or I write words using these letters differently, words written using the Japanese ideograms will be different due to the differences in people's handwriting.

Non-Traditional Reiki Symbols

These are symbols which are used in various schools of Reiki.They are not taught as part of the Usui Shiki Ryoho school which was taught and passed down through Mrs Takata.

Tibetan Dai Ko Myo
Tibetan Dai Ko Myo

Tibetan Dai Ko Myo

This symbol is sometimes taught instead of the traditional Dai Ko Myo. It can be equally as powerful, so use the one which resonates best for you.

Tibetan Fire Serpent
Tibetan Fire Serpent

Tibetan Fire Serpent

This symbol is used in some traditions to cleanse and connect the Chakras.

It represents Kundalini energy.

Raku Reiki Symbol
Raku Reiki Symbol


Used in some traditions to close the connection between Reiki Master and student once the attunements have been given.

Hado Nai Reiki Symbol
Hado Nai Reiki Symbol

Hado Nai

This symbol is one that NanLT discovered during a Shamanic Reiki journey.

She is still discovering its full meanings and how to use it. The Hado Nai represents the point between the physical and non-physical/ spirit and non-spirit.

You can read more about this symbol at The Healing Room: The Hado-Nai Reiki Symbol

Reiki Principles
Reiki Principles | Source

If You Like These Reiki Symbol Images

Each of the traditional Reiki symbol images used here was created by NanLT using PhotoScape.

You can find these images and more at Nan's Zazzle shop.

How do you use the Reiki Symbols?

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