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The Sacred Reiki Symbols and Sounds

The Reiki Symbols are sacred tools that offer profound healing and deep insight into spiritual truths. Learn all about the Reiki Symbols and how they're used.

woman under sakura tree

What are Reiki Symbols?

The Reiki Symbols are spiritual tools that support healing, both for the recipient of a Reiki treatment and the Reiki Practitioner.

There are four Reiki Symbols and each symbol is accompanied by a sacred sound. Viewed separately, each one shines a spotlight on the spiritual qualities that comprise the energy of Reiki. Viewed together they explain the energy of Reiki as a whole.

When used in a Reiki Healing session, the Reiki Practitioner may incorporate the energy of certain Reiki Symbols to enhance the healing session.

For Reiki Practitioners, the Reiki Symbols also offer an opportunity for self healing. During training to become a Reiki Practitioner, students learn to use the Reiki Symbols and their sacred sounds for self healing and to aid their understanding of deep spiritual truths.

Why have Reiki Symbols?

The founder of Reiki was a Japanese man named Mikao Usui. He deeply believed that Reiki could help people return to wholeness and attain enlightenment, so he set out to create a complete healing system that would help people to heal and find inner peace.

You heal yourself, and the diseases of others, and increase your own happiness and that of others. That is the mission of the Usui Reiki Ryoho.

Mikao Usui - Founder of Reiki

To bring healing to as many people as possible, he wanted to ensure that his Reiki Healing technique could be easily learned and practiced by anyone interested. The creation of the Reiki Symbols helped him achieve this.

Mikao Usui had studied many spiritual disciplines over his lifetime. After his experience of enlightenment on Mt. Kurama, he integrated everything he'd learned into the system of Reiki and condensed the essence of these spiritual teachings into four Reiki Symbols.

These four simple yet sacred symbols helped him teach complex spiritual ideas to his Reiki students so they could better understand what Reiki is all about.

Not only were the Reiki Symbols a great teaching tool, but they were also a wonderful healing tool that practitioners could use for healing themselves and when offering healing to others.

What are the 4 Reiki Symbols?

There are three Reiki Symbols taught in Okuden: Reiki Level 2, and one final Reiki Symbol taught in Shinpiden: Reiki Level 3.

Okuden (the inner teachings) is the level of training where students are guided within to understand themselves and Reiki deeper, so that they may offer more profound healing to others. The three Reiki Symbols taught at this level build upon each other energetically to support this.

Shinpiden (the mystery teachings) is the level where students explore the mysteries of themselves and of life. The final Reiki Symbol is taught at this level, and it encapsulates the essence of all the Reiki Symbols combined.

These symbols are sacred to Reiki Practitioners. I'll provide an overview here, but out of respect for Reiki and the symbols I won't include official images of the symbols or their names. If diving deep into the symbols is something that interests you, I invite you to come along to a Reiki Class to learn their energetic frequency as well as their intellectual meaning.

Reiki Symbol 1

The first Reiki Symbol that students learn expresses the qualities of groundedness, power and presence. It's often referred to as the Power Symbol and it teaches that we hold great power when our mind, body and spirit are aligned in the present moment.

Students learn this symbol first because it represents a foundational belief that supports a stable base for the other symbols to build upon. Practicing the other Reiki Symbols before establishing a foundation with this first symbol can create an energetic imbalance in the practitioner.

Reiki Symbol 2

The second Reiki Symbol that students learn expresses the qualities of infinite light and compassion. It's often referred to as the Harmony Symbol. It teaches that as humans, our worst habit is forgetting that our spirit is naturally infinitely compassionate, and that great healing comes when we are compassionate with ourselves and others.

It's the second symbol taught because we must first use Symbol 1 to cultivate strength and stability before we can then use Symbol 2 to shine the light of compassion upon our darkness and shadow to transform it with unconditional love.

Reiki Symbol 3

The third Reiki Symbol taught at this level expresses the qualities of oneness, interconnectedness and emptiness. Quite difficult spiritual concepts to explain, hence why symbols become helpful!

Emptiness is both a mind of pure consciousness where we see the truth without judgement, and a place where everything exists as an ocean of pure potential.

This symbol teaches that things are neither good nor bad, it just "is what it is". That healing happens when we let go of expectations and make room for pure potential to fill the space.

It also teaches that we are all interconnected with each other, that time and space are just a construct which mean nothing in the consciousness of pure potential. That's why this Reiki Symbol is used when sending Distance Reiki Healing, it reminds us that there is really no distance to cross at all.

We must use the first two symbols to create stability before shining compassion onto our shadow, then the third symbol helps us realise that there is nothing "wrong" with us, we are perfectly imperfect!

This realisation allows us to love and accept all parts of ourselves, even the parts we once hid in darkness. It offers true healing that goes beyond time and space, pouring love onto our past trauma, our present situation and our future self.

Once we have created healing within ourselves with the first three symbols, we can then embody their energy to support others in Reiki Healing sessions as needed. We also become ready to learn the fourth and final symbol.

Reiki Symbol 4

The final Reiki Symbol is taught in Shinpiden: Reiki Level 3, once the student has had practice healing themselves and others with the previous three symbols.

Without direct experience of the previous three Reiki Symbols, students are unable to understand the true meaning and value of this symbol.

Usui Sensei taught Shinpiden students one-on-one and he showed them the kanji Dai Komyo, which indicated the consciousness of a Shinpiden practitioner.

Hiroshi Doi - Reiki Master Teacher

This last symbol represents the state of consciousness expected of a Reiki Master so is often referred to as the Master Symbol. It's a symbol rich with hidden meaning, the significance of which is only understandable through a Reiki Class and diligent practice working with it.

It's essence encapsulates the combined meaning of the previous Reiki Symbols, while also expressing the deeper meaning of Reiki and of life. This symbol helps us to master not just Reiki, but our life.

What do the Reiki Symbols Teach us?

Each Reiki Symbol and sound carries an energy that can be experienced by developing a relationship with them through meditative practices. With diligent effort we cultivate a sense of what each symbol feels like, and we start to practice embodying their energy for healing.

Over time the symbols reveal a deeper meaning and their effects are better understood, allowing us to heal ourselves and others at a much deeper level.

Reiki Practitioners are taught to practice in meditation with Reiki's Sacred Symbols and Sounds to learn:

  • That we are powerful, infinitely compassionate, and interconnected with all things.

  • The answers we seek externally can be found within.

  • We are simultaneously earth energy & heaven energy and our power lies in their harmony in the present.

  • We are the universe and the universe is us!

  • That we suffer emotionally and physically because we have forgotten our divine origins - who we really are.

Who are we really? First and foremost we are spiritual energy - Reiki! As spiritual energy our true self is described as divine, boundless, pure potential, non-dual, encompassing all that is in non-judgement, compassion and unconditional love.

When we remember this truth, we reclaim our shadow parts that were lost, forgotten, hidden and denied. We return to wholeness, we heal.

Why Reiki Symbols also have Sounds

The Reiki Symbols use both visual and auditory representations to express aspects of Reiki. We could imagine them as coins with two sides: one side of the coin teaches through a visual representation, while the other side teaches through sound.

Symbols are easy to understand pictures that hold complex meaning, thoughts, feelings and ideas. It is often said "a picture is worth a thousand words" and this is why they're incorporated into the Reiki teachings. The Reiki symbols are teaching tools that attempt to visually express the complex ideas within Reiki.

Sound is also incorporated because the spoken word is revered as being very powerful. In Japan where Reiki originated, it's believed that words have a spiritual force that is released when spoken aloud. These powerful sound vibrations are called kotodama, translated as "word spirit".

Releasing the Reiki Symbol's Sacred Sound

Reiki Practitioners are taught to work daily with the sacred Sounds of the Reiki Symbols. We can use their sacred sound as a mantra during meditation, or we can chant their sounds aloud to release the inherent spiritual power of the words (kotodama).

Working with the Sacred Sounds in these ways helps us to:

  • Develop stronger concentration levels during meditation - and consequently our Reiki treatments.

  • Stimulate our Hara - the foundational energy centre of Reiki Practitioners, located in our lower belly in the centre of our physical being.

  • Experience the essence of each symbol, and therefore come to a deeper understanding of Reiki as a whole.

  • Surround recipients of Reiki Healing with healing sound vibrations as we chant their kotodama.

Diving Deep into Reiki

This article has only scratched the surface of the meaning behind the sacred symbols and sounds of Reiki. The symbols can be discussed and experienced in so much more depth during each level of Reiki Training.

The practices in Reiki Training teach us to use the Reiki Symbols and sounds to remember the truth of who we are, and gradually love ourselves more and more. It’s only when we have remembered this ourself that we're in a position to hold space for someone else’s healing.

If you'd like support to remember who you really are, and allow your spiritual gifts to bless others, please join me for a Reiki Class.

Or meet me in person for Reiki Healing or online for Distance Reiki Healing if you'd like to experience Reiki for yourself.

With love and gratitude,



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