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Reiki is a form of alternative healing that uses life energy from the palms of hands and sometimes reiki symbols to achieve results. Reiki practitioners believe that their methods can heal a variety of imbalances, including physical, emotional and spiritual. Reiki used to be a secretive art form, and the symbols were rarely spoken of outside of a tight community of healers. Some still argue that the meanings of the reiki symbols should be taught only to those studying to become a healer. Many of the meanings are now widespread, however, and some teachers believe that the reiki symbols themselves are powerless, although their symbolism can serve as a powerful teaching tool.
Cho Ku Ray, or the power symbol, is one of the most versatile reiki symbols. It can be used in almost any reiki healing. Its meaning is "God and man coming together," or "I have the key." It is believed that the Cho Ku Ray symbol can speed up the healing process or provide an increase of power. Cho Ku Ray resembles a spiral with one line crossing it vertically and another horizontal line at the top covering the left half of the symbol.
Sei Hei Ki, or the mental/emotional symbol, represents and brings purification and balance. It is typically thought to be a powerful tool when dealing with mental unrest. It might also bring protection from negative energies. Similar to Cho Ku Ray, it can also mean "God and man coming together," or "the key to the universe."
Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, or the distance symbol, is typically used when trying to perform a long-distance healing. Some might also call it the connection symbol. It means "the God in me greets the God in you to promote enlightenment and peace." The symbol is supposed to depict a shape-shifting creature that can cross space and time.
Tam A Ra Sha, or the balancing factor, can be used to unlock energy and balance it and relieve both physical and emotional pain. It is a circle split into three parts, with a horizontal line in the middle that curves slightly on each end.
Dai Ko Myo, or the master symbol, is believed to be the most powerful of the reiki symbols. Some teach that only reiki masters are permitted to use it in their practice. It is not only a tool for healing. Some use it only as a reminder of what reiki stands for: love and balance. The appearance of this symbol is sometimes drawn differently by different teachers.