What is the Origin of Reiki Symbols?

Reiki symbols are an integral part of some Reiki practices, particularly in the Western adaptations of the system. These symbols are considered tools that help the practitioner focus their intention and energy. Here’s an overview of the origin of Reiki symbols:

Origin of Reiki Symbols

Origin of Reiki Symbols
Origin of Reiki Symbols
  • Mikao Usui’s System: In the original system developed by Mikao Usui, symbols were not a central focus. Usui’s teachings emphasized personal development, meditation, and hands-on healing.

Introduction of Symbols

  • Chujiro Hayashi’s Influence: Chujiro Hayashi, a student of Usui, is often credited with introducing symbols into Reiki practice. He used them as teaching tools to help students connect with the energy.
  • Hawayo Takata’s Influence: Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki to the West, further emphasized the use of symbols in her teachings.

Types of Symbols

  • Common Symbols: There are several commonly used symbols in Reiki, each with a specific meaning and purpose. These include:
  • Cho Ku Rei: Often referred to as the Power Symbol, it is used to increase energy flow.
  • Sei Hei Ki: Known as the Mental/Emotional Symbol, it is used for emotional healing.
  • Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen: Called the Distance Symbol, it is used to send Reiki across time and space.
  • Origins: The symbols themselves are derived from various sources, including Japanese Kanji, Sanskrit characters, and other symbolic representations. Some are believed to have spiritual or mystical meanings in different cultural traditions.
Different Reiki schools

Controversies and Variations

  • Different Interpretations: Different Reiki schools and traditions may have varying interpretations and uses of the symbols.
  • Secrecy: In some Reiki traditions, the symbols were kept secret and only revealed to students at certain levels of training.

The symbols differ slightly from traditional to Tibetan Reiki


The origin of Reiki symbols is rooted in the evolution of Reiki from its original Japanese form to its various Western adaptations. While not part of Usui’s original teachings, symbols have become a significant aspect of many Reiki practices today.

They serve as focal points for intention and energy, with diverse influences from Japanese, Sanskrit, and other symbolic traditions. Different Reiki schools may have unique perspectives on the symbols, reflecting the rich and varied landscape of Reiki practice worldwide.

original teachings

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