Cho Ku Rei – Power Symbol Explained

Reiki symbols are basically Sanskrit derived Japanese forms that help improve the flow of Life Force Energy (see this article for details). These symbols are an essential part of Reiki practice and they used to be secret and revealed only to Reiki students who are initiated into the advance or master level. However, with the technology available today it’s hard to keep anything secret :), so information about them can easily be found on the internet.

Although these symbols do not have any special power in and of themselves, using them after attunement helps a practitioner focus the Reiki energies. The primary three symbols used in traditional Reiki are Cho ku Rei or the Reiki Power SymbolSei He Ki or the Emotional and Mental Healing Symbol and Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen or the Distance Healing Symbol.

Meaning of Cho Ku Rei or the Reiki Power Symbol

Cho Ku Rei, which is considered one of the first symbols used in Usui Reiki essentially means “Placing all the powers of the universe here”. The Reiki power symbol basically works as a “switch” that helps to instantly increase Reiki practitioner’s ability to channel the energies. The main purpose of using it is to enhance the power of Reiki and draw the energy around and concentrate it on the required purpose. The power symbol looks like a coil.

Cho Ku Rei – The Reiki Power Symbol

The symbol can be drawn in both counter and spiral clockwise directions. Some Reiki masters draw it counter clockwise when applied in areas or places where there is excess energy – but others believe that the Reiki energy always works for the highest good and there is no need for us to try to influence it by telling it what to do.

Reiki Symbols Infographic

Symbols Cheat Sheet

Symbols Cheat Sheet

We’ve created a one page PDF infographic (or "cheat sheet") with the most important information about each of the four main Reiki symbols. Download it here.

How to Use the Reiki Power Symbol

The Reiki power symbol is used primarily to connect with Reiki energy at the start of a session and also to help boost the Reiki power whenever it is required during a session.

Some practitioners use it on their own palms and chakras before treating others, to help clear the channels and empower their hands. Using the power symbol over the client’s crown chakra helps create positive energy around them, while using it on the lower back and behind the heart chakra helps seal the energy at the end of the treatment.

Example Uses of the Reiki Power Symbol

Cho Ku Rei is an all purpose symbol that can be used anywhere and everywhere for anything. Here are a few ways that it can be used.

Empower other Reiki Symbols

Using the Reiki power symbol before other Reiki symbols such as Mental or Emotional Symbol or the Distance Healing Symbol has an empowering effect on those symbols and boosts their effectiveness.

Helps in Spot Treatment

Drawing Cho Ku Rei on a specific part of the body helps in focusing the Reiki energies on that particular spot, helping cure or heal especially acute injuries, but also chronic conditions that have localized effects in the body.

Clears Negative Energies

Using this symbol mentally is useful in clearing all the stagnated energies during a Reiki session. Similarly, drawing it on the walls of a room clears the negative energy in the room, and drawing it in the atmosphere around a physical space aids in cleansing the area. Drawing can be physical, such as with paint or a pen, or symbolic with the hand in the air.

Provide Protection

Drawing a large Power Symbol in front of a person or on each of their chakras works as a shield and protects the person from negative energies. Reiki works on different levels (physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually) and Cho Ku Rei will naturally provide protection on all levels.

Image by karindalziel

Makes Meals Healthier and More Nutritious

Using this symbol over your meals before you start eating helps remove the negative energies present in the food, thereby making it more healthy and nutritious.

Increase Effectiveness and Reduce Side Effects of Medication

Drawing the Reiki power symbol on your medication goes a long way in reducing the side effects of the drugs. It also helps them work in a more effective manner.

Improve Relationships

Empowering greetings, gifts and business cards with Cho Ku Rei will enhance both personal and professional relationships, bringing about the highest good for all the involved parties.

Prevent Misfortunes

The Reiki power symbol helps in connecting to the universal energy instantly, and using it can help prevent misfortunes or a bad events. Misfortunes essentially happen because of the inharmonious energies around; using Cho Ku Rei helps purify the energy system, making accidents or bad events less likely to occur.

Activating the Law of Attraction

Cho Ku Rei proves to be an amazing law of attraction focusing tool. Empower your affirmations with it, and to make it even more effective, end all your affirmations with <i>for the highest good of all</i>. Doing so will help ensure that you don’t get attached to a particular outcome and remain open to new, creative solutions and experiences.

59 comments… add one

  • Johan Baker Steinfeld June 30, 2013, 2:24 am

    I use this a lot everyday and am using it even more. What comes to mind is ~ how does this relate to the Level 3 power symbol ~ DCMYO ? It is super-power? Have started adding it as an extra slice of bread on the sandwich ~ would love to hear what you think.

    • Jason Ogg November 13, 2014, 11:39 pm

      DCMYO breaks up negative energies. It creates a vacuum of sots. I was taught to always follow it with CKR to fill with positive energy.

  • prakash July 8, 2013, 11:57 am


  • Fa Jian July 9, 2013, 5:06 am

    These are nice articles on the Symbols including the Ebook “Reiki Symbols and innovative Ways to use them”, but unfortunately they are full of English grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. This detracts much from the otherwise good content quality.

    • Angie November 17, 2013, 12:41 pm

      nothing is perfect and what counts is the real message….may in your life you start to see more the positive than the negative things….

  • Julie Glassco July 10, 2013, 3:33 am

    You must have not been formally trained in Reiki healing. IT IS AGAINST CODE TO REVEAL SYMBOLS WITHOUT TRAINING. MIND YOUR SELF AND YOUR TEACHERS!

    • Johan Baker Steinfeld July 10, 2013, 3:57 am

      I was trained through 3rd degree Master/Teacher and taught that the symbols were sacred. However ~~~ and this is what is key for me ~ since that time (and likely before) the symbols are everywhere ~ on stones, posters, cards etc…. I still do not share them personally but I do recognize with the increasing popularity of this awesome healing energy that this is NOT a bad thing. In my heart, I would love to see everyone trained in this modality. All things including philosophies evolve with time and perhaps this rapid evolution of the interest in Reiki can be seen as a positive ~~ For me it is. Still I respect most all points of view without imposing mine upon them as long as the Intent is for Healing and the Greatest Good of All.

      • YU Xian October 14, 2013, 4:27 pm

        thank you so much for sharing this.
        I am a Chinese, I went to Australia as a student for 1.5 years , and I got to know Reiki on my Final Essay Project on the last semester, right before I left Aussie back to China, I studied Reiki Level 1, but with no body teach me further more in China, I feel at a loss, but then , I found you and your kindness sharing , and thank other masters on Youtube(with VPN in China) whom they provide free attunement demo or vids, Now can learn that all by myself. I feel great,very great, thank you all, and the devine wisdom ..

      • Julie September 1, 2014, 9:13 pm

        The only people who think it should be a secret are those making money on it. A reiki master wants everyone to be able to heal themselves and others, why would you keep it a secret?

    • Bhadra August 11, 2013, 7:13 pm

      I’m so sorry to be the one to tell you but it is not against any code to reveal these symbols which have been used in both Sancrit, Hindu, Esoteric Buddhism and Martial Arts practices for thousands of years. I would agree that training is optimal but not necessary. Define “formally trained” and if you are then you already know that healing is a SIDE Benefit of Reiki which was supposed to be a personal spiritual practice leading one to Enlightenment. I don’t know who taught you that there was some kind of code that stated that the symbols could not be revealed but they were mistaken and taught you something that is simply not true. They were probably passing on what they were taught and were well meaning.

      • Bhadra December 7, 2013, 6:57 pm

        I needed to add something, those who have studied and verified Master Usui’s way of teaching his own personal students have revealed that as was traditional in Japanese Martial Arts and Tendai Buddhist spiritual development training practices calligraphy was often used in conjunction with meditation. A student would be given a calligraphy project, which was done first in sand with a long stick, then with ricepaper and ink. The object of the exercise was to become so familiar with the deepest meaning of the symbol or symbols given that eventually the student would embody those characteristics…or gain wisdom from the symbol(s) (ideograms). This is how Master Usui taught. These particular symbols were not part of his training program, they were actually adopted by Chujiro Hyashi as part of HIS training program and then transmitted to the west through Madame Takata. The teaching that these symbols are in and of themselves sacred and to be kept secret is technically incorrect. Each student was simply given a character (ideogram) (symbol) poem, proverb as a meditational aid and it was unique to what they needed to learn.

        • Johan Baker Steinfeld December 7, 2013, 7:33 pm

          Thank you for your expanded comments. While I rather knew this, your response is well put and in fact is prompting me to study the symbols in more depth. Although I use them daily and often multiple times, it becomes too easy just to do them by rote without truly focusing on their deeper meanings. While I realize that many do not use the symbols at all, for me they serve as an excellent point of focus.

          • Bhadra December 7, 2013, 10:52 pm

            Johan I’m happy to have been of assistance. I rarely use the symbols anymore and since taking Seichim I’ve found new symbols and new uses…but you hit the nail on the head when you said that symbols serve as excellent points of focus…and that it is all too easy to miss their significance and deeper meanings in our lives. I would add how we can apply thier meanings in our lives…because …originally, that was what they were for. Remember that Reiki originally was for our own personal spiritual practice…everything else was a side benefit.

    • Aine October 6, 2014, 5:52 pm

      I cannot believe with a manner like yours you should be even practiseing reiki.threatning a group of people who share a passion for reiki who share opions and ideas.the reiki symbols are of no use onless you are attuned first by a master.i have done my masters degree and i am learning more and more every day.But to leave a comment like this was not right.

    • Katrina November 5, 2014, 8:45 pm

      with comments like that we are going to be held in the DARK AGES!!!
      We are now moving out of the old “competition and Greed” energy – catch up, smell the roses and add reiki into your life, maybe put a Choko Rei over your mouth!

  • Julie Glassco July 10, 2013, 12:54 pm

    John, while I agree with your point of view, it is just your point of view and as you know we were taught differently. It is extremely in appropriate.. Usui-Sense and Hawayo Takata would be outraged for their intentions are clearly stated in their instructions. Do we give an untrained person a surgical instrument? same thing. Symbols for the untrained is dangerous and not for the the good of all.

    • Stewart July 16, 2013, 6:39 pm

      Takata wouldn’t give anything away for free! She is credited with bringing Reiki to the west (it also got here by other routes) but she excluded a lot of people by charging thousands of dollars for attunements!
      I suspect that’s why she wouldn’t want them made public…no money in that!

      • Deb Davidson September 13, 2014, 4:51 pm

        Reiki is for everyone to share

    • D. July 25, 2013, 11:43 pm

      Am I wrong, or is the attunement that activates it, and without the attunement to the symbol, it is protected?

      • Chris Ramsbottom September 29, 2013, 8:10 am

        There are three parts to the symbols: the symbol we see, the mantra or name which is chanted, and the attunement to Reiki. Without the attunement to Reiki the other two parts don’t work, meaning the picture of the symbol is just that: a picture. It’s like watching a documentary on television about a beautiful place: you can get as much information you like about that place, you can even see it in your mind’s eye, but you need to go there to experience it.

      • Bhadra December 7, 2013, 7:02 pm

        Actually, while an attunement helps activate a symbol, really it activates the psychic centers.
        Master Usui did not do attunements. That was one of the many things changed by Chujiro Hyashi, who only achieved 2nd Degree Level before Master Usui died (according to some of Master Usui’s students who are still living in Japan). Master Usui did a blessing similar to a shaktipat, an energetic transference of knowledge/power/blessing/merit called a Reiju each time he met with students.

      • Bobbie September 8, 2014, 1:12 pm

        The power of the symbols is in the attunement. Anyone can see them, use them, invoke them; however if one is not attuned to the particular symbol, it has no real power or value. An example would be the Christian symbol of the cross…for those educated (or attuned) in Christianity, the cross is very powerful. For non-Christians, it is simply the letter “T” For those attuned in Reiki, holding the symbols as sacred or sharing them, is a personal choice. I personally hold them sacred, yet I believe the sharing can cause no harm.

    • Katrina November 5, 2014, 8:47 pm

      Hi Julie

      Imagine if everyone thought as you do……..there would be no Reiki.

      We need to bring it into MAINSTREAM life. everyone needs to be familiar with the symbols and be begging us to become attuned so they can use them.
      What is your intention by saying these words?

  • patrick July 17, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Julie, visit the philippines and teach people for free then. ;p areyou saying that the information given is correct and accurate? thank you!!!!

  • Carmen August 25, 2013, 3:14 am

    I love reading about the symbols. The words alone activate my crown chakra and I can feel the energy of Reiki flow through me. Thank you =) ♡♥♡

  • Nina Lasant August 25, 2013, 4:24 am

    Thank you!

  • Denise August 25, 2013, 4:30 am

    I agree that it is no longer necessary to keep these symbols “hidden”. It is a new time a time that secrets are made known. Even the secrets of the Kaballah are now out for all to learn. When the symbols can be found everywhere it does not make sense to hide your head in a hole and pretend they are not there because they are secret. Yes, without training and attunement the symbols do not hold power except as meditative tools. Julie I would also like to remind you of our daily Reiki Principals as you seemed to be angry over this issue. Blessings Love and Light

  • Ellen August 30, 2013, 10:37 pm

    Hi, thank you for information. I am not really familiar with Reiki, but when I tried this symbol out, I suddenly realized it’s in practice quit the same as making a cross, like Christians do with their hands. One makes the same movements. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Also, but I never learned that, people do sometimes the same thing on their forehead, which is the third eye. Just an observation.. ;-) Thanks again, Ellen

    • Marianne July 19, 2014, 6:25 am

      I am thinking the symbols were kept secret at the beginning because they probably would have been beheaded in their old country.
      We have nothing to hide. Symbols are everywhere but are not important to those who don’t know how to use them.

    • Michael Melchizedek Wounded Wolf July 19, 2014, 9:07 pm

      + This cross, similar to the “Greek Cross”, symbolizes in its horizontal line our lateral (chronological) time and action, while the vertical beam (upwards) connects to Higher Power (God/Yahweh/Allah/Great Spirit, Tao, Brahma … any deity) and the vertical line (downwards) emphasizes our grounding to Mother Earth. We live in the here and now, stressing our mindfulness, but we are also spiritual beings in an effort to transcend beyond earthly cares. Signings can found in virtually all spiritual paths and religious traditions throughout the ages.
      When signing over our body, we start with the head (mind), then the chin (speech) and finally the chest (action).

      Why Reiki symbols are not displayed is for the very same reason as any doctor’s office, hospital or clinic would not display their surgical instruments. It is completely unnecessary and would not makes sense.

  • Abhishek Sharma September 11, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Hey, just thinking how about wearing a locket of cho ku rei to keep all negative energy away from us…is it allowed?

    • Noel Victor Comley May 9, 2014, 6:22 pm

      Allowed by whom?

  • T.S. Vijayaraghavan October 8, 2013, 5:08 am

    Hi all. Namaste! Thank you for these wonderful, in-depth sharings. YES, after teaching full-time Reiki for over 15 years, I do feel, and respect, that it is good to honour the tradition of maintaining the secrecy of Reiki symbols. However, there could be times one gets guided to reveal the symbols with the pure motive of guiding others to the path. And it is clear that the symbols are just mere drawings without an attunement that brings ‘life’ to them. As regards comment about Madam Takata’s ‘money mind’, it is this VALUE for Reiki practice that sustained the energy till today, and helping it to grow. Money is concretised energy that is very necessary to nourish the roots of any practice. Namaste.

  • Kehkishan Syed December 7, 2013, 5:33 pm

    Reiki is my passion since i leanr it 5 years ago it has amazing effects and i feel so calm when heal any body suffering distress and other ailents

    love light n peace

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  • Christoper February 20, 2014, 1:27 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about cho ku rei.


    • Fa-Jian February 20, 2014, 4:54 pm

      Displaying and Sharing the Symbols

      The question among both, Reiki practitioners and others, arises periodically whether it is appropriate to display Reiki symbols or share them casually. It is believed that Dr. Usui’s and Hawayo Takata’s intentions regarding this matter are clearly stated in their instructions. Though not an identical comparison, the question could be asked, “Do we give an untrained person a surgical instrument?” And to what benefit, if any, would this be? Could using a surgical instrument by an unauthorized person do any harm? Would you want to be treated with medical instruments by a person, who is not a health professional?

      While the symbols used by an untrained and non-attuned practitioner may not present any danger per se, they are nevertheless powerless and thus not for the the good of anyone involved. The question then remains, what is the point in sharing or displaying the symbols with an unauthorized person? Would it not smack of dishonesty, insincerity and deceit?

      Our symbols are not really “secret”, since Reiki practitioners have nothing to hide. However the symbols have always been treated with utmost respect and sacred reverence. They are meant to be used for healing. They are not artifacts, which rather would constitute an abuse of the Symbols.

  • March 1, 2014, 11:08 pm

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    that, this is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be

  • M. March 15, 2014, 10:43 pm

    I find it interesting that many Reiki practitioners choose to focus on the ‘wrongness’ of showing a piece of a spiritual practice that is used for only the highest good.

    I was taught that we do not control Reiki, as a surgeon might control a scalpel. We practice a process that opens us up to the life force energy, and we become a channel for that energy. The Reiki goes where it’s needed. To use the analogy of the scalpel in the hands of the untrained demonstrates a lack of understanding of what Reiki is and how it works.

    Lastly, how does scolding someone align with the principles of a Reiki pratictioner?

    I appreciate this website, the info and the blig. I do not participate in a community of Reiki practitioners and sometimes lose touch with my gift. This site, and your book has brought me back to my practice. I am now practicing, sending, and blessing with, reiki. Thank you, most humbly.

  • indramala May 21, 2014, 10:40 am

    The informations on Power symbol are very usefull

  • Kwiken May 29, 2014, 11:36 am

    Why is no one answering the question of, what happens when things go wrong? And typical europeans to encourage the sharing of a ethnic culture

    • FAB October 9, 2014, 11:07 pm

      That is a very racist comment! I would not wish to learn from one such as you :(

  • Dee June 27, 2014, 6:48 am

    I have just read all your comments and as you all feel your points are valid surely no one would begrudge any other person knowledge of Reiki and its symbols as it works for the highest good of all . It is not meant for the chosen few no matter what part of the world your from , and using Reiki can never go wrong as it is meant to heal , love and light to everyone xxx

  • seeker July 3, 2014, 11:57 am

    what does and means ? reference in Activating the law of attraction it’s mentioned – end all your affirmations with for the highest good of all.

  • seeker July 3, 2014, 11:59 am

    end all your affirmations with for the highest good of all. can any one explain the symbols mentioned in this statement >

  • Marilyn July 5, 2014, 3:06 am

    Reiki cannot be used to harm. There is no scalpel so to speak. Curious as to who mentored this person for them to hold these curious beliefs….thanks for this article :)

  • seeker July 5, 2014, 5:09 am

    Empower your affirmations with it, and to make it even more effective, end all your affirmations with for the highest good of all.
    End all affirmation then there is this symbol mentioned here , what does this symbol means ?

  • Tara July 10, 2014, 10:21 am

    Hi all great to read more information on Reiki symbols and history of Reiki! We are all healers , some are further along their path than others and that s ok! Bless us all in love and light ♥

  • saachi August 9, 2014, 7:42 am

    Thank you so much for u r information

  • Anu September 14, 2014, 6:00 am

    Reiki is not driven by anyone or anything. It is pure divinity and can never be dangerous. It can only be activated through unconditional love and forgiveness.
    Reiki is not about blame or speaking on anyone else’s behalf.
    Love and blessings to you all

  • Pia Louise October 6, 2014, 2:28 pm

    I’ve been attuned and I understand the controversy surrounding ‘Sharing/Not Sharing’ and ‘charging/not charging’. This is a healing instrument we are all born with ability and Reiki reminds us. And the symbols are just that – symbols.
    Someone mentioned “you would not allow someone untrained a surgical instrument’ well you are not going to harm anyone with Reiki and you cannot affect another being without his/her permission.
    This is not a surgical tool and I appreciate your opinion but this is not an issue about harming others.
    We have moved into an enlightened time where we now share healing tools which were once ‘hidden’ aka that is what the word ‘occult’ means. Occult only means hidden it is not witchcraft or black magic.
    It was once kept from the population and now we share. imho. Namaste, Pia

  • Noel Victor Comley October 6, 2014, 8:12 pm

    “For the highest good of all” It seems like someone watches “Charmed” on TV.

  • Barbara October 14, 2014, 5:12 am

    May I add, I love Reiki and I love the symbols in my heart. I have gotten through some really hard
    times because of that love. If one chooses to practice Reiki, that love is essential.

  • Menuka November 13, 2014, 10:41 pm

    Hi, I am not attuned by any reiki masters yet but practice reiki everyday. Does this mean that my reiki practice is not working? Does this mean my practice has gone in vain? how can I get attuned. Can anybody attune me? Thank u very much.

  • Aparna November 14, 2014, 2:40 am

    I am a third degree healer. I want to know the most effective way of using symbols. Should I first use DKMY and follow it with CKR.

  • Daisy December 5, 2014, 3:38 pm

    I cannot thank you enough for this website.

  • Wendy Woo January 14, 2015, 11:30 pm

    I have a low dose chemo injected every week and used to feel very sick and drained the next day. Then I remembered that I could Reiki it so I now use the Power Symbol and the Tibetan Master Symbol (Dumo) to Reiki the injection site before and after and as the injection goes in, I ask that the side effects are taken away and that only the ingredients that will have a positive affect upon me actually have an affect. Since then I don’t suffer with such intense sickness or exhaustion. I’m not bouncing about but at least 60% better! It’s well worth remembering x

  • Piero January 25, 2015, 3:22 am

    I got the first Reiki attunement over twenty years ago.We were required to practice the Reiki sign but were not allawed to teke any of those drowings.Same for the second attunement.i had difficulties memoriesing the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen. At thet time i found a book called Essential Raiki by Diane Stein and i kept it as a referance.


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