Three Reasons to Keep Reiki Symbols Secret

There are three Reiki Symbols that are shared with those attuned to Reiki Level Two, one Master Symbol that is shared at Level Three and three additional symbols at Level Four, the Master/Teacher Level. The symbols are embedded in the attunement process itself, meaning that those who learn Reiki at these levels are attuned to these symbols as part of their course. They contain elements of Japanese Kanji or alphabet, and those attuned to them are instructed to draw and speak their names the same way each time to harness and amplify the power of Reiki.

Even though it has been explicitly stressed that the symbols are to be kept confidential until a student is learning Reiki at Level Two, there is a lot of controversy among students of Reiki around whether Reiki Symbols should be shared publicly. Here, I will give some perspective, from my own experience, and share three reasons why I feel the symbols should be kept confidential.


Symbols are everywhere. The very letters and words you're now reading are each a symbol pointing to something, and represented by certain markings. Every time a word is uttered or written it symbolizes something other than the markings or the utterance itself. Think of the word, "Love". Now think of the word, "Hate". Think of the word, "Freedom". Now think of the word, "Suffering". Very different feelings will come up.

There are countless symbols floating out there in universes known and unknown to us. Each has a particular feel or energy to it. When drawn or spoken, it is an act, a ritual in and of itself. It is this act of drawing, speaking or applying the symbol that harnesses and amplifies its vibration and power for it's intended purpose.

If someone simply sees a Reiki symbol, but is not initiated or attuned to it, not taught how to use it, or if they simply don't know what it means, it won't be of much active use to them. If you see the written word, "Love", and don't know its meaning, it will not have much effect on you. If you understand it's meaning it can be powerful when shared with you or shared by you.

Master Mikao Usui

Why a Secret, Then?

1. Respecting Intention

Reiki Symbols were not intended for use those not initiated to them. Symbols aren't even taught in Reiki Level One, but begin to be taught at Reiki Level Two. If Master Usui felt the first three symbols are so powerful that they are taught at a certain level of Reiki training, then anyone calling themselves a Reiki teacher or practitioner is advised to respect this intention.

2. Protection Against Misappropriation

One of the biggest reasons I see to keep the Reiki Symbols secret from those who are not attuned or initiated to them is simply for protection. These symbols denote sacred and beautiful energy, much like the cross and the swastika were before they were misused by those will ill intentions. The inverted cross of St Peter reminds us that he felt unworthy to be crucified upright as Jesus had. Over time, the inverted cross was misappropriated for anti-Christian messaging and purposes. The swastika, a thousands of years old symbol of prosperity and good luck in India and other parts of the world, has also been misappropriated and misused. It is now synonymous with Nazi racism and hatred in the west. These are worst case scenarios but we also see what happens with symbols such as the cross when they are simply watered down. The meaning is lost or loses its power when there is no faith behind it.
Om, A Cultural and Religious Symbol

3. Symbols are Active and Communicate

I've encountered individuals who just love the look of the symbols. And I agree with them -- they are beautiful. Some people create art with Reiki Symbols, decorate their space with them and some tattoo themselves with them. It may feel like an homage to Reiki or it may feel as if the tattoos or designs continuously emit Reiki. Without conscious action, they don't emit anything. They don't heal, protect, purify or make us better people, just because they Reiki Symbols are stamped on us. In fact, we may even forget that symbol is there, like we could forget an important or sacred text or book sitting on a bookshelf. An individual with a Reiki symbol tattooed on her arm who has lowered her consciousness using substances (I've seen this), isn't protected from being an attraction for a lower spirit or entity. It doesn't heal an illness or problem or make her more powerful or more special than anyone. The tattooed symbol doesn't do anything at all, other than in this case, communicate something about the person with the tattoo and perhaps deters prospective clients.

Want to Share the Symbols? First Ask Yourself:

  • Why do I feel so compelled to share these symbols with people who aren't initiated to Reiki?
  • What am I trying to achieve with this?
  • What message am I relaying by decorating myself or my surroundings with Reiki Symbols? Why?
  • What makes me want to go against the Usui Reiki tradition and share something that I was asked to keep confidential?