Reiki II Symbols and Meanings

Reiki II, the Second Degree Reiki, introduces three Reiki II symbols, each having different purposes. The first symbol,  Cho Ku Rei (Cho ku ray) is used to focus and direct energy and to increase the power of your Reiki.

Left-click on the image to view it in a larger size.  Print it for your own use; compliments of Sue Jamieson at

Violet choku rei with numbers
Violet choku rei with numbers

I was taught the  Cho Ku Rei symbol drawn from left-to-right as I have posted here.  I have seen it drawn right-to-left in images on the internet, in Diane Stein's Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art, and various other sources.  My purpose is not to get into a debate about whether the left-to-right or the right to left is correct.  My purpose is to make available what I learned with the hope that some part of it might prove useful to anyone interested in using or learning more about Reiki.

From my notes and from what I remember (and I am the first to point out that  memories are bits of information sifting through our own perceptual lenses), Cho Ku Rei is explained as:   "Cho" (curved sword, curving movement)  "cuts through" in a movement from left to right.  The second movement  "ku" (penetrating) is downward representing moving into or penetrating  into. The third movement is a counterclockwise motion into "rei" (spirit or soul) of three inwardly spiraling circles ending at the left of the downward penetrating stroke . I was taught that the counterclockwise movement breaks open or opens up an area.  Cho Ku Rei is for cutting through external conditions in order to reach into the center, the essence,  the spirit, the soul, and allow wholeness to manifest, to come to light.  Cho Ku Rei opens a window of formless energy for the Reiki life force energy to flow through. Cho Ku Rei is an empowerment symbol in the sense that it creates the space for the power of Reiki to enter and increase or manifest.

Diane Stein addresses the two ways that Cho Ku Rei symbols are shown (left-to-right and right-to-left) and the resulting counterclockwise or clockwise directions and her interpretations of what they appear to mean in her book, Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art  (If you have not read Stein's book, I recommend it as being worth your time and money to do so. I believe the spirit of her book is stated beautifully in her own words in her foreword, as "In this time of change and crises for people and the planet, healing is too desperately needed for it to be kept secret or exclusive any longer."  From the explosion of information (and misinformation) about Reiki we've seen on the internet and in print, many agree with her, as do I.)

Energy follows intent.  You do not have to force Reiki; just allow it. Following is a suggested way to use the symbol in your treatment.

To use the first symbol, Cho Ku Rei, draw the symbol with a flat hand, fingers together, about an inch above the body.  Draw the symbol once and say its name in your mind, not aloud, three times.  Visualize the symbol in violet as you are drawing it and saying it to yourself.  Remember to contract the Hui Yin point and place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth to ensure an open channel for energy in your body throughout the treatment.  Then place your hands in the first position on the body. Leave your hands in each position for between approximately five to fifteen minutes.

The Cho Ku Rei symbol may be used anywhere and anytime to increase the power of your Reiki or your good intentions and good thoughts.  There are many other ways to use Reiki than just in treatments with people

The second symbol, Sei He Ki (S'ay hay key) is for mental and emotional balance.

Left-click on the image to view it in a larger size.  Print it for your own use; compliments of  Sue Jamieson at

violet sei he ki with numbers
violet sei he ki with numbers

My notes are not clear about the connections between the four lines and each part of the phrase, Sei He Ki.   My notes indicate  "sei" as "one who knows, one who protects" and "he" as "the state of budding, the process of coming to be, bringing into manifestation."  The overall meaning is noted as referring to balance between the emotional and the mental states.

I was taught that the Sei He Ki symbol is used only during a Reiki attunement after you have attuned  anyone who is not a Reiki channel. In other words, it is best used on a client  who has already had a treatment in which the first symbol, Cho Ku Rei, has been used or after receiving an attunement for a Non-Reiki Channel. Sei he ki is a powerful symbol that especially affects the upper four energy chakra centers.

To use the Sei He Ki, second symbol,  place the non-dominant hand under the clients head to gently cradle it  Draw, with the dominant hand ( flat-handed, fingers together)  about an inch above the crown chakra, first the Cho Ku Rei symbol, then second, the Sei He Kei symbol.  Visualize the symbols in the color violet. Remember to contract the Hui-Yin point and place the tip of your tongue in position against the roof of your mouth to ensure an open channel through your body.   Then, place your dominant hand over the crown chakra and say the person's given name three times.  At this time, you may with the client's permission, verbalize a decision by the client for help in making better choices (Uses for Sei He Ki below)

Hold that position for between three to fifteen minutes, until you sense or know it is done. During this time, just "be" in the energy.  Reiki knows what to do and where to go.  Do not "guide" it.  Clear your thoughts while using this symbol.  You may want to use a mantra or short prayer to repeat in your head over and over to stop the mind chatter while you are using the Sei He Ki symbol.

The Sei He Ki symbol is used if a person whats to change something, such as a behavior or a limiting belief, in his or her life.  You may at the beginning of the treatment verbalize what the client is wishing to change and the choices he or she is now making.  For example, say aloud the clients name and state that he or she "has made unhealthy or poor choices in the past about ___________ and is now choosing to ___________. "  Then clear your mind and proceed with the treatment.

The third symbol, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, is used in distance healing.

Left-click on the image to view it in a larger size. Print it for your own use; compliments of Sue Jamieson at

violet hon sha ze sho nen with numbers
violet hon sha ze sho nen with numbers

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen represents wholeness beyond any idea of parts.

"Hon"  Center or essence

"Sha"   Shimmering.  An aspect of light.

"Ze"     Advancing. Going forward on the correct course.

"Sho"  Target, integrity. Becoming an honest being.

"Nen"  Shimmering essences. Thought before it is expressed.

Energy follows intent.  Allow Reiki to flow.  A distance attunement using the third symbol, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, may be done with or without an altar or special area.  You may choose to arrange an altar with candle, incense, a bell, a bowl of water, or whatever else inspires you.  I was taught that best results occur if you transmit from the same place each time and that it's also best to send distance attunements three days consecutively.  Do what works for you and what feels right.

Preferably, get permission from the person to do the attunement on her or him prior to doing the work.  On occasion, permission is not possible, such as, in cases of comatose or amnesiac persons, small children or infants (get permission from the parent or guardian, if possible), or for an unknown, unfortunate person you may have heard about or seen in the news and felt compelled to help. At the very least ask that the Reiki distance attunement that you are about to do be received for the person's highest and best good or that it be received where it is most needed.

If you have one, a photograph of the intended receiver of a Reiki distance attunement is helpful for your own focus.  Traditionally, knowing the person's given name (the name on his or her birth certificate) and the geographical location of the person has been considered helpful in directing the focus. Knowing the area of the body/mind/spirit to be attuned can be helpful for directing focus.  Information about the intended receiver of the distance attunement is for your benefit in order to help you focus on the intended recipient.  I have on occasion felt compelled to do a distance Reiki attunement on people that I have seen or heard about who have been involved in some kind of trauma about whom I know nothing personally.  On those occasions, I have sat down and described the situation and even referred to where I saw or heard about the person to whom I intend to send a distance attunement.  One of those descriptions can sound something like, "This attunement is for the little girl I saw on CNN tonight who had been trapped in a school after an earthquake in..." and so on.

When you are ready, once you have as much information as possible and permission, if possible,  from the intended recipient, you may choose to use the third symbol in a few ways.  Sit down in the sacred space you have designated, be it an altar, your living room couch, or in a space outside.  With the dominant hand (flat-handed, fingers together) draw the first symbol, Cho Ku Rei, and then, the third symbol, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen,  about an inch over the photograph, or on your thighs (see below) , or in your other hand.  In your mind as you draw, say the name of each symbol three times and visualize the symbols in the color violet.  Contract the Hui-Yin point and place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth to ensure an open channel through your body for Reiki.

Place your dominant hand onto the photograph, your legs, or onto your other hand. Repeat the person's given name (as it appears on the birth certificate) three times.  (If this person is unknown to you, give as much information as you know.)  Allow the Reiki life force energy to flow for between five to fifteen minutes.  To end the attunement, if you have a bell on your altar, ring the bell three times.  Or you may say a simple phrase, such as, "I release you to your higher self."

Using Your Legs in Place of a Photograph

If you do not have a photograph you may use your own thighs to represent the full body of the receiver.  Your left thigh may represent the back of the receiver's body, your right thigh may represent the front, and your knees may represent the receiver's head.

I recommend any of the following three books as helpful supplements to your Reiki practice. Each of them offers information and insights that can augment your understanding and/or practice of Reiki.

Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Artby Diane Stein at

Reiki For Dummies by Nina L. Paul at

The Reiki Teacher's Manual: A Guide for Teachers, Students and Practitioners by Tina M. Zion at