When you take a Level II Reiki course your are given a set of Reiki symbols to use to enhance your practice on yourself, others and in sending distant Reiki. The number of symbols varies from teacher to teacher. There are three traditional Reiki symbols, meaning ones we know with certainty were handed down by Hawayo Takata (the woman responsible for Reiki being spread all of the planet today - the last in line of the BIG THREE in the history of Reiki, or as I like to call her the "Mother of Reiki".) and that she more than likely, received them from her Master Teacher, Chujiro Hayashi who was the next in line after the creator of Reiki, Mikao Usui. These are the power symbol, the harmony symbol and the connection symbol. In my lineage we also pass on two more, one that has to do with healing issues of the heart and the other with healing karmic issues, inter-dimensional issues and some say it is good to use on people who suffered some form of a abuse as a child. I later came to find out that these later two are actually Karuna Reiki ® symbols.
Symbols are a way to direct the Reiki energy in a more focused way for specific purposes and are very powerful. Many books and teachers suggest you set in meditation with each symbol for a while so that you can get the feel of each one before using them.
There are those who feel that using the symbols isn't all that big a deal and there are those who can't envision a Reiki session without using them. As you can see from all my other blog posts there is always some form of division but this is true in every aspect of life. Example: I have a Yang Style T'ai Chi Chuan in instructor/practitioner for almost 25 years. In my town alone, there are 3 or 4 different variations of how this is taught and how it is performed, all VERY different. None is right or wrong, just different - different strokes for different folks.
I use Reiki and Kaurna Reiki® symbols to clear the energy of my healing space before I start a session. I place them in the energy field over my clients torso before I begin a session and as I am also a Level II Karuna Reiki® Practitioner, I also put them in my hands before I start a session. I may use them to clear a crystal and charge it. I may use them to open and balance a chakra or to reduce pain in the part of the receivers body I am working on and more. I also may use them on my own body during my daily self-treating session or when I Reiki my food or beverage and so on.
I tell my students to experiment with them, get the feel of them before you decide if you are more comfortable using them or not. I feel a huge difference when I use them versus when I don't. I "feel" energy moving very strongly in hands and fingers when I do Reiki, send Reiki, work on myself or even when I am doing T'ai Chi or Qiqong. Everyone is different and some people may never "feel" anything or very little in their hands/bodies when channeling Reiki. I have found several ways to
enhance your ability to "feel" energy helpful.
One is to rub your thumb into the center of your palm like your winding it up for several seconds (this stimulates the minor chakras there which is where Reikii flows our of your hands, or to place a drop or two of lavender oil in the palm of your hand - again this stimulates those minor chakras. There is a QiQong exercise to help you feel energy between your two palms called "pulling taffy" also that is helpful. I found from experimentation that the more distant reiki sending I do the more connected I become to the energy and the more sensation I can achieve in my hands. This is very very good for those who wish to practice scanning or for those who are drawn to a more "intuitive" style of doing Reiki instead of just going through a prescribed set of hand positions. I recommend this highly to my students who say they can't feel anything in their hands, especially when self treating.
So experiment, read books on Reiki about the use of the symbols and see what you find works best for you. Ask questions of your Master Teacher, attend Reiki shares, do trades! Practice, Practice Practice!