In Reiki II the students typically learn three reiki symbols, how to use them, and most commonly, are directed to memorize the symbols.
Some teachers say that each reiki level increases the flow of energy. I don't personally think this is true, but that the attunement is more like an initiation that ushers you into a new educational course. In this post we'll learn about the reiki symbols, go over some of what they can be used for, and will offer suggestions for your own experimentation.
CHO KU REI
The first symbol we'll discuss is Cho Ku Rei (CKR). It's worth noting that reiki developed in Japan, and as one might imagine, we will find that the basic reiki symbols have Japanese names. These names may have become Americanized or simply changed over time, but I'll try to explain what the symbols/names "actually" mean as often as I can.
When written in two different styles of kanji, CKR can translate as a proclamation or demand; or "direct spirit(s)" [loosely: In the presence of Spirits] [source]. Both of these, I think, make sense.
CKR is commonly taught to mean "put the energy/power here" and teachers explain that students should draw the symbol over the area of the body that they want to direct energy at. However, when we consider the direct translations above, we can understand the symbol to mean something more like "so mote it be," meaning that it is a declaration of one's intention to channel energy. Similarly, "in the presence of Spirits" makes me think about the sensation of channeling energy, and how it may simply be something akin to saying "start channeling now."
I had been taught that CKR was to be used when doing reiki, but I understood it to be a bullseye being drawn on the subject. Instead, we can see that CKR means "begin." It is setting an intention, declaring your will.
Draw CKR all the time. Whenever you intend to do reiki, draw the symbol.
Draw CKR to amplify other symbols.
Use CKR to amplify ANY intention.
Use it seal something, to ground yourself, to cast spells, to cleanse your chakras.
Check out this site for more information about using CKR.
Quite honestly, in doing the minimal research necessary to write these few words, I learned a lot about CKR and feel like I've strengthened my connection to it. The symbols represent things, and that's the important part. The image is only powerful if you deeply understand what it represents. Knowing that CKR is a declaration makes it much easier for me to understand the purpose of the symbol, rather than feeling like it is necessary, but also redundant.
SEI HE KI
Sei He Ki (SHK) is the second symbol commonly used in reiki. The written name of this symbol can be translated to mean "Spiritual Composure" [source] and is most typically used to bring about mental/emotional healing.
SHK is generally used to address issues of anxiety, stress, depression, and any issue that may be non-physical in nature. Simply, draw or meditate on this symbol when you want to work through mental/emotional baggage.
As a student I was warned that using SHK could create an emotional energy transfer between you and the person being healed, meaning that any issues in your brain would transfer to them and vice versa. Because of this warning, I did not use this symbol at all for YEARS. Only now am I beginning to experiment with it and, guess what, I'm not finding any problematic issues with SHK.
Essentially, the practice of reiki assumes a physical ailment. Use SHK to to interact with the non-physical.
HON SHA ZE SHO NEN
This symbol (HSZSN) is actually stylized kanji, not an abstract symbol, so it's easier to translate: Correct thought (mindfulness) is the essence of being [source].
In the west this is often taught as the "distance" symbol, allowing practitioners to "send" reiki energy to a subject not present. However, when we look at the probable translation, we see that the meaning is more robust.
HSZSN isn't a plea to send energy far away, but is instead a mantra on the enveloping nature of Oneness. Because we KNOW that each human, each life, each bit of matter is literally the same being, we don't need to physically place our hands on someone to channel energy.
As you might imagine, this symbol has TONS of uses. A meditation on oneness, on the lack of separation, can be powerful on its own, and, once you've got a handle on the meaning, you can use this symbol to transcend time and space with energy.
Use HSZSN + SHK to heal past traumas.
Use HSZSN to connect with gods, angels, spirits, or ancestors.
If you've taken reiki classes or have read anything on the subject, you'll note that there are lots of variations in these symbols. For a time I was concerned with finding the "real" symbols, sure that then I'd discover real power.
However, I've learned that the symbol itself is not important at all. It's the concept represented by the symbol that you need to really dig in to. The symbol is then only used as catalyst to begin that mode of thinking.
So, don't stress about the symbol itself or what version you are comfortable with. Instead, spend time with this post, as well as podcasts, books, websites, etc., that help to deepen your understanding of the concepts.
The physicality of the symbol only needs to be important to you. What's easiest to remember and reproduce that thrusts your brain into the right place?
REIKI II ATTUNEMENT
Simply do the same exercise you did for reiki I: meditate and ask the Universe to help you access healing life energy. If desired, draw the symbols on your palms, your heart chakra, and your crown chakra. Envision the symbols becoming a part of your being. Know that experience and practice is far more useful that a single ritual.
As mentioned in the Reiki I posts, smoking a little weed or hemp is highly encouraged for this ritual and for general practice.
While we do have one more level to discuss (Reiki III), I want to make sure we're on the same page at this moment. A good reiki teacher will teach a student everything they need to know about a given level, give them an attunement, and then will practice. What's different here is that I'm giving you a concise jumping off point and essentially removing the attunement as it is commonly understood. Here, you'll read the post, you'll meditate, and THEN comes the hard part: practice and further education. Receiving an attunement does not a reiki master make. Instead, deep personal investigation, experimentation, and trial and error are the paths you're embarking on.
Once you complete your Reiki II attunement meditation, spend time recording what, if anything, you observed or felt or learned. It's here, in this place of discovery, that the real learning is done.
Because I feel like many reiki practitioners get lost in the initiations, the money, and the clout, my intention is to strip down the practice to its bare bones, and offer it to you as stepping stones that will, ideally, take you to a place where you can make your own discoveries about energy and healing.