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Reiki Symbols: Meanings, Purpose, and Practice

Reiki Symbols Image

Reiki symbols are both a visual and auditory focus, although in the Western tradition the main importance is given to the visual aspect. Thus, the Symbols not only increase the power of Reiki but also serve as the focus for our intentions.

In this article, I will share with you the basic Reiki symbols, their meaning, purpose, and the sacred energy that each of them expresses.

Symbols in Reiki

Reiki symbols have always been surrounded by mystery and have been recognized as Sacred Symbols of great power.

In the Reiki system, the symbols are taught starting with the Second level. These symbols have always been the subject of controversy among the various Reiki schools.

A turning point in the history of the Western Reiki school was the publication of Diane Stein’s book “Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art“. Teachers of the traditional Reiki school DO NOT recommend to read this book as it violated the Reiki traditions. Diane Stein published all the Reiki symbols in that book, and this is how they became public.

The fact is that the teachers of the Traditional Reiki school teach to keep the Reiki symbols in secret in view of their sacredness.

In addition, only a person who has never experienced the Power of Reiki Symbols is able to share these symbols with the uninitiated. Those people who really understand and feel the Reiki Symbols understand the huge responsibility of keeping the Reiki traditions that prevent them from sharing the Reiki Symbols and mantras to the uninitiated.

I am a representative of the Traditional Reiki school, so in this article, I will talk about Reiki symbols without naming them or showing them. I think that this article will be useful primarily to those who have already been initiated into the Second level of Reiki, but for the rest, it will be only introductory information.

The traditional Reiki school teaches the Symbols according to the Hawayo Takata method:

Stage 1: the students memorize the symbols;
Stage 2: the students practice drawing the symbols on paper;
Stage 3: the students destroy the paper with the symbols.

Now Reiki practitioners use many additional Symbols, but most practitioners use the four basic Reiki symbols.

Reiki students get introduced to the Three Reiki Symbols when they get attuned into the Second level of Reiki. And the fourth Reiki symbol they learn when they become Reiki Masters.

Originally, the symbols were not part of the Reiki system. Mikao Usui started using them when he began introducing Reiki to people unfamiliar with spiritual practices. In other words, he was using symbols to help people in spiritual development. Reiki symbols were supposed to be a focus for the mind, as well as mantras.

Mikao Usui With His Students Picture

The Use Of Reiki Symbols

The Reiki symbols that Dr. Usui used in the initiation process have tremendous energy that can awaken certain areas of consciousness and teach us how to create the material out of the immaterial, whether it’s healing the body, building relationships, or coping with life situations.

Reiki practitioners should be well prepared before beginning to learn the art of Reiki symbols. Because the symbols are sacred, they are revealed to a practitioner only at the right time. To comprehend their true meaning is possible only after preparation. The practitioner should have a strong spiritual background and at least a couple of years of regular Reiki healing practice based on Reiki Level 1 before he/she gets introduced to the Reiki symbols.

The Reiki symbols are carriers of very powerful sacred energy and in various combinations are able to awaken creative intelligence. They help us to make a qualitative leap to another level of consciousness. The Symbols reveal the universal truth, and we gain deep knowledge when we start interacting with their energy.

Moreover, Reiki symbols contribute to the strengthening of the human energy body, which makes the process of awakening irreversible. They also help to accelerate karma, increase endurance, and eternal vigilance.

Traditional Reiki Symbols

Distance Reiki image

When our thoughts are concentrated, we can put them into action. That’s what the Sacred symbols are for.

As already mentioned, the second level of Reiki opens access to the three Reiki Symbols. And the third Reiki level opens access to the fourth – Master symbol.

Each Symbol corresponds to a mantra, which is the sound vibration of the Symbol and some Masters also say that the mantras are basically the names of the symbols. By chanting the mantra, you focus on the intention, and the form turns into the essence.

So, the traditional Reiki symbols are:

1st symbol – CKR

This symbol activates the process, leads the energy in the right direction for achieving the desired result. The energy of this symbol moves in a spiraling direction from limitless potential through thought and essence. CKR symbol focuses on physical body healing.

2nd symbol – SHK

This symbol takes the practitioner to the mental and emotional energy levels. It focuses on the emotional body healing and works through our subconsciousness.

3rd symbol – HSZSN

This symbol creates a so-called “bridge” between us and the person and/or the situation in which we want to heal or harmonize. It focuses on the mental body healing and works through our consciousness.

Understanding the Reiki Symbols

Every Reiki practitioner should establish a connection with each Symbol and the aspect of Reiki energy that is embodied in them. Having an inner understanding of the vibrations accompanying the Reiki symbol’s mantras, we can completely abandon them and concentrate immediately on the manifestation of the energy associated with the particular symbol.

You should understand that it’s not easy. It may take years of meditation before you can achieve this. But with regular practice, you will achieve the desired results!

In most Reiki schools, the Masters teach the four basic symbols. However, there are many other symbols obtained through channeling by the creators of the new Reiki schools. In this article, I will share with you only those symbols that are traditionally used in Reiki, their characteristics, as well as the energy that is expressed through them.

Now let’s go deeper into the understanding of each of the four Reiki symbols.

Symbol 1: CKR

CKR symbol image

The shape of the First symbol (also known as CKR symbol) is at least partly found outside Japan. This symbol is also found in Indian and Celtic culture. Partially it’s expressed in the SO and CHA symbols of the SOLANCHA system.

In Japanese teachings, on which relied Mikao Usui, Symbol 1 is connected with Earth energy. And as we know, Earth energy is necessary for grounding. It is also associated with the Hara.

Connecting with this symbol while meditating on it will help you increase your energy level and straighten your Hara.

CKR symbol focuses energy on what you direct it to and amplify it.

Symbol 1, like all the others, can be used alone or in combination with others.

In order to activate the Symbol, it is necessary to say its mantra three times.

Mantra CKR

The mantra of this symbol translates as “power increase” or “placing all the powers of the universe here”.

Symbol 1 (CKR) Characteristics

Meaning: power, energy.

Purpose: directs energy towards desired results.

Tasks:

  • serves as a catalyst;
  • activates and enhances energy.

Possible Benefits:

  • the physical body healing;
  • gives other symbols extra energy;
  • concentrates energy on a particular goal;
  • energy protection;
  • purifies and energizes water and food;
  • cleanses and charges crystals and any other healing stones;
  • purifies and energizes any material objects.

So, Symbol 1 is used to increase power. When you visualize Symbol 1, your access to Reiki energy increases several times. CKR focuses energy on one point, calling for the Divine help in healing.

Symbol 2: SHK

Reiki Healing System Image

In Western teachings, Symbol 2 is associated with physical and mental well-being. In the Japanese tradition, it is associated with harmony. I support both of these associations since SHK energy grants calmness of mind and emotional balance.

Unlike Symbol 1, Symbol 2 uses the energy of Heaven, which is also called “Light”. Working with this energy helps to develop intuition and psychic abilities because it is related to the mind. Moreover, Symbol 2 helps us to make contact with the energy of the Higher Self, or Spirit.

You can draw or visualize this Symbol when you need to better understand the situation. In traditional teaching, practitioners draw this symbol on their Third eye chakras during the Reiki healing sessions. In distance Reiki healing, it is recommended to focus on this symbol when the patient is experiencing psychological or emotional distress.

Symbol 2 has very subtle energy. Therefore, usually, it takes more time for a Reiki practitioner to feel it. However, regular meditations on this symbol will eventually help you to start feeling it and then you will discover its great power. Symbol 2 can be used in a combination with Symbol 1 to enhance emotional cleansing.

Mantra SHK

This mantra translates as “Earth and Heaven become one”. Or some Masters may translate it as “God and man become one”.

Symbol 2 Characteristics

Meaning: healing, harmony, happiness.

Symbol: embryonic state, the beginning of the external form.

Purpose: to bring harmony and healing.

Tasks:

  • calm and relax the mind;
  • open direct access to the subconscious levels.

Different Ways to Use the SHK Symbol:

Reiki energy penetrates where healing is needed at any level: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. When we use Symbol 2, we direct energy to the emotional level, and this is the key to effective healing. Painful emotions or trauma that are deeply hidden in our subconsciousness, come to the surface. Only after emotional relief, can we expect that healing from physical illness will occur. Anger, despair, rage, grief are the most common root factors that create disease.

Reiki Animal Healing with SHK Symbol

animal reiki healing image

Pets cleanse houses and people from negative emotions. If the family is in crisis, the pet takes the hit and is not always able to cope with it. One way or another, your pet’s health is a reflection of your energy or the energy of the environment you live in.

Reiki practitioners use Symbol 2 to help relieve emotional pain in pets as well as in humans. When I use SHK in my healing sessions for pets, along with the healing, the emotional blocks of the owner of the pet get released. I often receive information about the root problem of the pet’s disease during the Reiki session. Usually, this information comes through the SHK symbol. And its always connected to the emotional problems of the owner of the pet.

Example of Reiki Animal Healing With the Help of SHK

I’ll share with you one example from my practice. I was healing a cat who accidentally damaged his back. This severe damage affected his paws so he couldn’t walk. When I was giving a healing session to the cat, the information about his owner came through the SHK symbol. The information was about his owner.

The owner’s daughter just a month ago moved out of the house and went to college. So the mother (the owner) was suffering a lot because she didn’t know how to live without her beloved daughter always being around. She was afraid of thinking about the future and moving forward. So, her cat took this emotional block on himself and he couldn’t move because of the fears of his “mom”.

After explaining this to my client she took the responsibility and started working on healing her emotional trauma along with Reiki healing sessions for her cat. In a couple of months of our “teamwork”, the cat was able to walk again!

How Does SHK Work?

Symbol 2 focuses energy on the emotional body and thus enhances its effect. This helps the patient to focus on the specific emotional blocks and quickly get rid of them.

Use the SHK symbol at the beginning of the healing session or when it’s necessary.

I noticed that sometimes Reiki practitioners (including myself) forget to use the SHK symbol. And this is totally ok! The thing about this symbol is that you should always trust your intuition whether you need to use it or not. If you remembered to use this symbol during your Reiki session – it’s great! But if you forgot about it, then there was no need to use it. When you’re performing intuitive healing, the intuition should lead the process.

SHK and Kundalini

kundalini mantra image

Many Reiki practitioners use Symbol 2 as a tool for helping the Kundalini awakening. You may notice that this symbol makes Kundalini practices and meditations go much easier and smoother.

Symbol 3: HSZSN

Symbol 3 is composed of 5 Japanese hieroglyphs (Kanji) that can be read as a phrase.

In western Reiki schools, HSZSN is used for distant Reiki sessions. Japanese Reiki system uses this symbol as “a connection tool”. And it makes sense. For performing distant Reiki healing, we have to establish a real connection with the Universe and with the patient. From a certain point of view, when we send healing, we do not act as if we are separated from the patient. We become one with him/her so that he/ she can heal himself/herself.

Meaning: connection, unity, purpose.

SHK Mantra translates as “No past, no present, no future”. Some Masters use another translation – “The Buddha in me contacts the Buddha in you”. Or you may also hear another translation of this mantra – “God in me recognizes God in you’.

When we are using the SHK symbol we go beyond time and space. This is how we are able to send energy distantly and even to the past (for example, when we’re performing past trauma healing) or the future (for example, when we performing manifesting of the goals or harmonizing the situation).

Tasks:

  • establishing the connection with a person/event/situation beyond time and space;
  • creating unity between the beginning and the end;
  • building “a bridge” between “the Divine in me” and the Divine in another person or situation;
  • cleansing the space.

Different Ways to Use the HSZSN symbol:

The HSZSN Symbol Is a Portal to the Akashic Records

Akashic records image

The symbol 3 is often used as a portal to the Akashic Records. By meditating on the 3rd symbol you can get access to the information about your karmic goals, lessons, agreements, and debts which can help you to establish your karmic healing.

Past-Present-Future Healing

When working with Symbol 3, the lines between the past, present, and future are blurred. This symbol shows you that your past, present, and future exist in the same time-lapse. So, the first step in working with this symbol is learning how to feel this.

When you keep working with the HSZSN symbol you will discover that now it’s much easier for you to receive information about the future through this symbol. Let me share with you one helpful trick on how to see the future timelines easier. You simply need to tap into the feeling of unity of the present and the future moment. And then draw the HSZSN symbol two times. The double HSZSN symbol will create a “gate” into future timelines.

Though you’ll be able to see future events, keep in mind that there is an unlimited quantity of possible timelines in the future. So, you never know which one you’ll be able to see. You may see the one that is the closest to the one you’re on right now. But keep in mind that if you change your behavior or make different choices then you may switch the timeline to another one. And it’s possible to see that timeline through the HSZSN symbol too.

Symbol 4: DKM

When a Reiki practitioner becomes a Reiki master, he/she gains access to the 4th Reiki symbol which is also called the Master symbol. This symbol also consists of hieroglyphs.

Symbol 4 is rooted in Buddhist traditions. It is found in the sacred text of Mikkyō – a part of Tendai Buddhism teaching followed by Mikao Usui. This symbol is also used in an esoteric Buddhist ritual in which the follower becomes one with the Buddha’s true nature and reveals his inner light. That is why Usui chose this symbol as the highest symbol of development in Reiki practice.

In the Western Reiki system, this symbol is associated with the mastery of spiritual practice. In Japanese tradition, it is associated with the acquisition of power.

The Purpose

Reiki Master Cosmos Image

The main purpose of the Master symbol is to establish a direct connection with one’s inner Master.

Your Inner Master is the part of you that has already reached enlightenment. This part is hidden from us, but we gain it through consistent spiritual practices.

The master symbol attracts the energy of the higher vibration, which enhances the healing result.

The DKM symbol can be used in combination with other Reiki symbols to strengthen them and purify the intent behind the Reiki practice. This Symbol sheds light on any situation; physical, mental or spiritual condition. In addition, it clears all obstacles in the way of solving problems, even the most profound ones.

Meditation on the DKM Symbol

When we are meditating on this Symbol it helps us develop self-awareness and promotes spiritual development.

One way to meditate on this symbol is to draw it in front of you and enter it as if it was a hologram. During meditation, it often takes some color, most often it becomes violet. You can intuitively visualize it in a specific color to enhance the energy.

The DKM Mantra

This mantra translates as “Great Enlightenment” or “Bright Shining Light”. There are many other translations of this mantra. However, all translations refer to “the Light”. Therefore, when pronouncing this mantra, we should visualize the Light.

Alignment With Reiki Symbols

reiki attunement image

Before you start using Reiki symbols in your healing practice, you should make sure you’re aligned with each of them. To achieve it you need to perform the alignment practice with each symbol. This practice will make you capable of using Reiki symbols effectively. Also, it will increase your visualization abilities, improve your healing power, harmonize your life, and balance your spiritual path.

Usually, the alignment practice is performed daily for at least 30 minutes for 21 days after initiation. However, I noticed that not all Reiki masters teach this practice. And many Reiki practitioners use Reiki symbols without being aligned with them. Some masters explained to me that it’s due to the fact that along with the attunment you get automatically aligned with the symbols. However, I cannot agree with this.

You see, Reiki attunement is the initiation into the Reiki system. And the alignment with the symbols is the result of your consistent spiritual practice. A Reiki Master doesn’t have the ability to align you with the symbols. This is your own responsibility and your path.

After I tell people about the alignment practice and they start consistently performing it, they see how much easier it is for them to feel the Symbols’ energy and how much more effective their Reiki healing sessions are. Therefore, if for some reason your Reiki Master didn’t introduce you to the alignment practice, you can do it now. I’m sure very soon you will see amazing difference in your Reiki practice.

The Alignment Practice (Meditation)

Here are quick instructions on how to perform the alignment practice. But keep in mind, that this practice is designed only for those Reiki practitioners that have already received the Level 2 (and up) Reiki attunement.

  1. Take a sitting posture for meditation. Make sure that your arms and legs are not crossed. Take a couple of deep breaths until you feel that your body completely relaxed.
  2. Invite the Reiki Energy with the intention of aligning with the Sacred Reiki Symbols.
  3. Raise your hand in front of you with the palm open and directed away from you. Draw in the air in front of you Symbol 1 (CKR) and say its mantra 3 times. Alternatively, you can draw the symbol in the air in front of you with your index finger or with your index and middle fingers folded together. Visualize the Symbol where you drew it. Now enclose it between your palms.
  4. Close your eyes and continue holding the CKR symbol between your palms. Keep saying the CKR mantra for at least 10 minutes (preferably aloud, but if not possible, then whisper or say it mentally).
  5. Raise your hands with the CKR symbol between them above your head and place the symbol in your Crown chakra. Visualize the CKR symbol entering your Crown chakra, spreading throughout your body and merging with it.

Perform the same actions for aligning with other symbols.

The Bottom Line

There are lots of misleading information about Reiki symbols all over the Internet. You can also see lots of books about the symbols and their interpretation. Obviously, this article is just a summarized guide to Reiki symbols but doesn’t include the full information about them. How can you recognize the true information about Reiki symbols? I always follow one simple rule – if the book or Internet article includes the pictures or names of the symbols, then I can’t fully trust the information in it. The main rule about Reiki symbols is that their images and mantras should be kept secret and if the author doesn’t follow this rule, then he/she probably doesn’t really understand the sacredness of the information he/she shares.