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.

My Reiki blog

Working with affirmations: Seiheki Chiryo Ho

Affirmations are powerful tools for self-transformation. Used correctly, affirmations can bring about the changes you want to see in your life.

We can use Reiki together with affirmations to let go of unwanted thought or behavior patterns.

As well has help with changing mental attitudes (overthinking, planning, controlling and negative self-talk) support can be given for stopping smoking, for example.

Change happens a step at a time, so the first stage is to decide upon one particular area in your life you want to work on. The next task is to find an appropriate affirmation. Affirmations need to be both achievable and positive.
“I accept my power” is preferable to “I won’t let people walk all over me”
“I will not over-eat” could be replaced by “I have choice over the foods I eat”

While affirmations are powerful in their own right, a Japanese Reiki technique called Seiheki Chiryo Ho can help boost your efforts. With the client seated, the Reiki practitioner places one hand on the client’s forehead and the other on the base of the skull. Reiki symbols are drawn on the back of the client’s head. The practitioner silently repeats the affirmation while Reiki flows. The client can also silently repeat their chosen affirmation.

The effects of Reiki are cumulative, so it is beneficial to repeat this treatment regularly. Seiheki Chiryo Ho could be included with a series of regular whole body treatments, for example.

The client can also work on this themselves at home, using the same hand positions. This will further ‘set the intention’.

A word about Reiki symbols: these are drawn by hand while repeating the sacred sounds (Kotodama) associated with them. They enhance the flow of Reiki and subtly change its quality, according to the symbol used. These are handed down from Reiki Master to Student at Reiki Level 2. If you have Reiki I there is a technique Nentatsu Ho, which does not require Reiki symbols. It follows exactly the same procedure, but without the symbols. I will be writing more about Reiki symbols in another post.

Inspiration for finding affirmations to suit you:

Shakti Gawain

Louise Hay

Helene Lerner


Just for today, be kind to all living beings.

The Times, Libby Purves, Monday 3 July 2017

Network Rail staff and Transport Police are taking a Samaritans’ suicide prevention course. One member of staff, who was initially sceptical, brought himself to approach a woman who as it turned out, was planning to jump.
Resistance, in the guise of scepticism, is often self doubt. When we follow the fourth Reiki principle, work hard on yourself, training courses can be a springboard for self-development as well as helping others. It needn’t be a situation as serious as a potential suicide. Just letting someone feel they are not alone can help ease a burden.

Kindness has been defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. It is also linked with the Buddhist principle of Compassion. When I say this principle, I think of the Metta Bhavana, Loving Kindness meditation. The meditation takes you through five stages.  With the first stage you start with yourself.

May I be well, May I be happy, may I be free from suffering, may I progress.

Then the meditation moves on to a good friend, then someone neutral then someone you dislike. For each stage we wish the person well using the phrase above. In the final stage we extend Metta, loving kindness, to all four people (including ourselves) equally and at the same time.
If you want to try this for yourself, there are guided meditations on Free Buddhist Audio.

Parmanada in his book Change Your Mind, offers the best written description I have seen. I take just the opening words for each stage. Please see the Kindle or print version for a more detailed explanation.

Stage One: As we have seen, the ability to feel Metta towards others is based on, or is dependent on, the ability to feel metta towards ourselves. This is therefore where the practice begins. In this stage we try to cultivate a sense of metta towards ourselves. Sometimes this can feel quite awkward – if we have been brought up to feel that caring for ourselves is selfish.
Stage Two: Now we bring to mind a good friend, someone whose company we enjoy. It is said that it is best to choose someone who is about your own age, who is still living, and of the same sex.
Stage Three: In this stage we bring to mind a different person, this time someone that we could call a ‘neutral’ person, someone we have no strong feelings towards, one way or the other. It might be someone we work with but have never really got to know, or it might be someone we often see in our locality; it doesn’t matter too much. What we are trying to encourage here is an expansion of our normal emotional range, a broadening of our emotional awareness to include those who do not have a direct impact on our lives.
Stage Four: We now make a move into enemy territory, that is to say, we bring to mind a person who would normally provoke in us rather unfriendly feelings. We bring to mind an enemy, or at least someone we find difficult or irritating. This is a very interesting stage of the meditation to teach, as it tends to provoke strong reactions from people.
Stage Five: In the final stage of the meditation we really let ourselves go. We try to apply whatever feelings of metta we have unearthed to all manner of other people, wherever they may be – or, indeed, to all manner of living beings, human and non-human. First of all we bring together the four people we have already included in the meditation, with the thought ‘May I feel equal metta for all these people.’

The purpose of Metta Bhavana is to cultivate compassion for ourselves. Once we experience self-compassion and learn to accept ourselves as we are, it is easier to extend loving kindness to others.
Many years ago I regularly attended a meditation group at the College of Psychic Studies led by Julian Willmore in partnership with his guide and teacher Linpur. One particular phrase in the meditation always resonated with me.

“Have compassion for who you are, have compassion for who you have been and have compassion for who you will be”

As we travel through life, we metamorphose through many stages of existence. As we grow or experience setbacks, we can sometimes feel like different people. It can also include forgiving our many selves as well as forgiving others. With the fifth Reiki principle, we can be reminded to show kindness to our many selves, as well as all living beings.



Just For Today, Work Hard on Yourself

Sometimes translated as “Be honest in your work”

For me, this means self-development. Investing in myself.

I approach this in a number of ways. I’m by no means perfect – I see myself more as ‘a work in progress’ than the finished article. The finished article may take some time!

Self-healing: A daily Reiki self-treatment, takes a bit if self-discipline to become a regular habit. However, even if only 15 minutes, it does play an important part in self-healing. It is said a little Reiki is better than no Reiki. I do, however, feel much more relaxed after an hour long session.

There are Reiki techniques that focus on changing bad habits, addictions and redundant thought patterns. Seiheiki Chiryo Ho and Nentatsu Ho are very similar. Both can also be used to set an intention, usually in the form of an affirmation. Affirmations are very personal – what gels with one person can sound a bit ‘airy fairy’ to another. Some people like Louise Hay, but there are plenty of alternatives out there. Or you could make up your own. An affirmation needs to be positive and achievable. These techniques can be performed on yourself if you have Reiki (Seiheiki Chiryo Ho uses the Reiki 2 symbols, Nentatsu Ho does not need them)

I enjoy Hatsurei Ho each morning. I tailor it to fit the time I have available. When I go to Reiki shares or Reiki Guild events, these normally form part of the proceedings.

Reiki Shares: Whether you are a practitioner or not, as long as you have been attuned to Reiki, do find a local share and join in the fun. You can learn new techniques and make new friends. And learn how to do Hatsurei Ho!

I am currently working with the Three Diamonds. From: Nathaniel. Reiki: The Path of Three Diamonds: The Path to Spiritual Harmony

The first Dantien, Hara, is placed in the abdomen. The second dantien is placed in the heart, and the third dantien is placed in the head. Between them, according to Taoism teachings, there are two primary energy channels connecting the dantiens together – the front and back channel. Together they create what is called the microcosmic orbit.

The first Diamond, the earth energy, is the material world and the layer of Yin. The second Diamond is the emotional realm – our feelings and emotions, our points of view and perception of life, the Shadows hidden in the unconscious mind. The Third Diamond is the energy of the heart, it’s the practice of the third degree – Shinpiden. Here we discover nothing more but the practice that leads to integration of the first two Diamonds. This is where we practice in order to integrate together what we have learned in the past. We discover new aspects of the First and Second Diamond, where everything becomes a whole, leading us to the final goal of Unity.

According to Taoist teachings it is said that we should never work directly with the second and third dantien. We can work safely only with the first dantien, the Hara. But these dantiens are connected with each other. When the first dantien is activated fully, the spiritual energy goes to the second dantien, and once this one is full and activated, the energy reaches the third dantien. Nevertheless, on the path of Reiki we work directly only with the first dantien, the region of Hara in the abdomen. In a passive way, the second dantien benefits from meditations, breathing techniques and working with the Gassho mudra, and the third dantien benefits from the general practice.

At the beginning of this piece I wrote “The finished article may take some time!” I’m not sure there will ever be a ‘finished article’. And I am pretty sure I wouldn’t want there to be. It’s quite nice being a work in progress and exploring what life has to offer.