In Zen Buddhism, ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.
It is rather like the brushstrokes of Japanese calligraphy or the Reiki symbols.
The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void).

The circle may be open or closed. If the circle is incomplete, this allows for movement and development as well as the perfection of all things. Zen practitioners relate the idea to wabi-sabi, the beauty of imperfection. When the circle is closed, it represents perfection.
The act of drawing ensō is a spiritual one, much like the sacred act of drawing the Reiki 2 symbols.

When drawn according to the sōsho style of Japanese calligraphy, the brushstroke is especially swift. Once the ensō is drawn, one does not change it.

The act of drawing a Reiki symbol focuses the energies represented by the symbol and its purpose is to change the energy surrounding it. In contrast, drawing ensō captures the character of its creator and the context of its creation in a brief, continuous period of time.

For me, it represents the circle of life, perfectly imperfect, just as it is.

The Reiki Attunement

Everyone has the ability to heal. The difference between Reiki and other healing methods is the process of attunements. Attune means ‘to bring into harmony with’.
A good analogy would be tuning a radio to the right frequency.
Once a person has been ‘attuned’ to Reiki they will always be able to access it easily and simply by just intending to use it for self-healing, or to treat others.
The ability to channel Reiki lasts a lifetime.
In Usui Reiki there are a number of these attunements spread out over 2 to 4 days, so that the student has time to ‘acclimatise’ to each of the levels of energy involved.
The first attunements activate an energetic channel in the student, through which the Reiki energy can flow.
The student will be attuned through the crown, third eye, heart and palm chakras, and to finish, the attunement is ‘sealed’. Reiki will then flow though the hands to channel Reiki to self or others.

The Attunement Ceremony
Reiki Masters differ in the way they arrange things for the attunements.
Some prefer to work one-on-one, whilst others like to work with groups (although the attunement will be given to each individual in turn).
It is usually carried out in silence, with perhaps some soft, relaxing music playing in the background, with each student sitting on a chair with their eyes closed and their hands held in the ‘gassho’ or prayer position, palms together in front of their chest.
During the process there may be some gentle touching on the student’s head and hands, and they may be gently guided to raise their hands above their head for a few

The attunement ceremony is a very special, meditative experience. The eyes are closed is for two reasons. The first is because, as a sacred and spiritual ceremony, the movements and symbols are intended to be kept secret until the student trains to be a Reiki Master. The second is that when someone has their eyes closed, this reduces any external distractions, so that they are more easily able to stay in a meditative state.
Everyone’s experience of a Reiki attunement is slightly different. It may be best not to have any preconceived expectations. Students describe a variety of
experiences, ranging from a state of peaceful calm to lights, colours and visions. The effects of an attunement may be subtle but the effects last for three weeks or more.

The Purification cycle.
The ‘cleansing cycle’ lasts for about 21 days. It is a process of detoxification where the body and mind adjusts to the new energies flowing within it. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘healing crisis’ but many students experience very little in the way of ‘disruption’.
Physical adjustments: You my feel more tired than usual, so take plenty of rest. A physical elimination of toxins may occur, with spots, runny nose etc.
Pay attention to your diet so that the body is not stressed by ‘junk food’. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of water during this period and avoid alcohol if possible.
Mental adjustments: you may experience greater clarity of thought or a transformation in commonly held thoughts and belief.
Emotional adjustments: Old or forgotten emotions may resurface in order to be released. You may experience vivid dreams or nightmares as the subconscious mind clears itself. You may feel emotions more keenly.
Spiritual adjustments: You may feel a deeper connection with the World, nature, people and the Universe. Allow yourself the space to have time alone if necessary. Self-treatments are an important part of the adjustment process.

If you feel nothing at all don’t worry. The attunements will have worked, they are just taking a more subtle and gentle way to process.

Your Reiki Journal
You may wish to record your experiences in a separate Reiki Journal.
This could be in the form of a diary, a poem or a drawings to reflect your
experience of the attunement ceremony.

There should be at least 21 days between level 1 and level 2 attunements to allow integration of the energies into your being.

If you would like to be attuned to Reiki, please see my Courses page




Hatsurei-Ho is both a spiritual and a meditation practice. It is believed that that practicing Hatsurei Ho daily will enhance our ability to channel Reiki and will also aid ones spiritual development. The Reiki Principles are an important part of Hatsurei Ho. Hatsurei-Ho can be practiced seated or standing. You could sit cross legged if you find this comfortable. Seiza is a traditional Japanese posture ‘sitting on your heels’. Use whatever position is most comfortable for you to avoid unnecessary distractions.

There are variations in the way it is taught; what is described below is my own practice.

  1. Mokunen/Focusing. In Gassho, prayer position. Say out loud or inwardly ‘I’m going to carry out Hatsurei-ho’
  2. Kenyoko-ho is dry bathing. This can be used on its own to clear the aura.
    Take a few deep breaths into the Hara.
    Place your right hand on the left shoulder. Breathe in, and on the out-breath, sweep diagonally down from the left shoulder to right hip.
    On the in-breath, place your left hand on the right shoulder and, on the out-breath, sweep down diagonally from right shoulder to left hip.
    Breathe in, returning your right hand to the left shoulder and, on the out-breath, sweep diagonally down from left shoulder to right hip.
    With the left elbow against your side, and with your arm horizontal to the ground, place your right hand on the left forearm. Breathe in and, on the out-breath, sweep downward along the arm to the fingertips and out.
    With the right elbow against your side and with your right arm horizontal to the ground, place your left hand on the right forearm. Breathe in and – on the out-breath – sweep down along the arm to the fingertips and out.
    Breathe in and, with the left elbow against your side and with your arm horizontal to the ground, place your right hand on the left forearm. On the out-breath, sweep down along the arm to the fingertips and out.
  3. Connect to Reiki: Either in Gassho, or by raising your hands above head
  4. Joshin kenyoko-ho: Breathing method to purify the mind.
    If seated, hands in lap palms up. If standing, hands covering your Hara. Focus on your Hara breathe in, visualising Reiki coming through your crown chakra right down to your Hara. Visualise Reiki permeating the body and breathe out Reiki in all directions, while releasing any tensions.
  5. Hands in Gassho/prayer position.
  6. Seishin Touitsu: Concentrating the mind. Focus on your Hara.
    On the in-breath, breathe in through your hands, then on the out-breath, breathe out Reiki from your Hara, up through the body and through your hands.
    Say out loud the Reiki Principles three times.
  7. Mokunen/Focusing. Return hands to lap ‘I have finished Hatsurei-ho’. Open your eyes and stay still for a short time to notice how you are feeling after Hatsurei-ho

The Hara or Tan Dien is about three fingers width below your belly button. It is one of three ‘energy centres’.
If practiced regularly, your experience of Reiki will deepen and evolve over time.


Reiki Symbols: Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

Madame Takata’s Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

The symbol of connection. Madame Takata has written ‘absent healing’ under the jumon (sacred phrase or mantra) The illustration above is written in her own hand.

When you use Reiki symbols, they can be drawn with a finger or a hand in the sword mudra. They can be drawn in the air or on the body. However they are used, they must be drawn correctly, each line in a particular order. Which is why each stroke of the pen has a number in the above drawing.

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen can be abbreviated as HSZSN. It’s a long name and an intricate symbol to draw. HSZSN is used to send energy (Reiki) across a distance. A distance of time as well as space. Distant healing can be sent in real time across the world. Healing can also be sent to a time in the past or the future. For this reason, HSZSN can be used for ancestral healing as well as emotional healing for traumatic events that occurred in the past.

Only the Power Symbol, Cho Ku Rei, can be used alone. All of the symbols can be used together to channel Reiki for a particular purpose. As part of my Reiki II course, one assignment was to send distant healing to more than one person. The feedback from my case studies was positive. It all sounds a bit mysterious until you try it. Past and future events cannot be changed, but we can send healing to help us get through a difficult time as it happens.

The final symbol is Dai Ko Myo or Master Symbol. This will be the subject of my next post.


Reiki Symbols: Sei Hei Ki


Madame Takata’s  Sei Hei Ki symbol

A symbol is a simplified depiction of an abstract concept, representing spiritual, emotional or physical energies. With Reiki there are four symbols, each with different properties. Together with the mantra repeated three times, Reiki symbols enhance the flow of Reiki and subtly change its quality. Cho Ku Rei can be used on its own, but Sei Hei Ki and Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen are used with the power symbol, Cho Ku Rei. All three symbols can be used together.

Sei Hei Ki represents harmony. It is also described as the Emotional/Mental symbol. Sei Hei Ki balances the relationship between the mind and body and can work with the subconscious. It can be used for protection and healing. Sei Hei Ki can improve memory and can also be used to heal painful memories and past issues.

In an earlier post I described how Reiki can be used for working with affirmations. It describes Seiheki Chiryo Ho, a Reiki technique to help let go of unwanted thought or behavior patterns. If your New Year resolutions have fallen by the wayside, this is the one for you!

Drawing large Sei Hei Ki’s in the air can imbue the space with its healing energies. This can be used useful for emotional or stressful situations; funerals, weddings and the like. Sei hei ki also enhances communication skills, so can be used in business meetings or negotiations.

My next post will focus on Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, the symbol that helps connect them all together.

Reiki Symbols: Cho Ku Rei

Madame Takata’s Cho Ku Rei symbol.

A symbol is a simplified depiction of an abstract concept. Together with the mantra repeated three times, all of the associations (spiritual, emotional, physical) that are embodied in that symbol are brought together to subtly change the Reiki healing energy.

There are four symbols, each with a different energy. These symbols are handed down from Reiki Master to Student. The student learns to draw the symbols by hand while repeating the sacred sounds or mantras associated with them. Reiki symbols enhance the flow of Reiki and subtly change its quality.

Reiki symbols (or Sirushi in Japanese) were originally kept secret from the uninitiated. Nowadays, it is generally considered that although the symbols have a sacred significance, they need not be kept secret. Every person attuned to Second Degree Reiki will develop their own relationship with the symbols, which will deepen over time.

Cho Ku Rei (CKR) represents power, focus and Earth energy. It is heavy and grounding and also a spiraling energy, reflected in the shape of the symbol.
Experiencing the energy of CKR: If you have been initiated to Reiki Level 2, try drawing the power symbol in the air, saying the mantra three times and then step into the space where you have drawn the symbol. You will notice a change in the energy in that space. It can be quite profound or very subtle.

CKR is described as the ‘power’ symbol. When using the symbols, you are setting an intention. CKR is used to intensify the power of the other symbols and can be used on its own. It is also used at the end of a Reiki treatment with the intention to ‘seal’ or ‘fix’ the healing energy in place. It can be used for protection, for example ‘clearing’ the energy in a room before giving a Reiki treatment.

This is the first in a series about Reiki Symbols. The other symbols are Sei Hei Ki, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen and the Master Symbol.

Special offer!

To celebrate my successful application to be registered as a Verified Reiki Practitioner by the Reiki Council I am offering 60 minutes of Reiki for the price of 30 minutes for the month of October.

That’s £25 instead of £45.

To book, please see my contact details here and mention October Special Offer for the discount.


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