Symbols & Reiki – Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (part 7)

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

step into the revolving door of the realms of Light


round and round and round we climb

The third symbol in the Reiki 2 attunement is Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen. This is commonly known as the “Distance Symbol” and is translated: “All is One” or “Past, Present, Future coming together.” I affectionately call this konji the Temple or the Pagoda because it has a spatial reality to it that seems very much like a sacred place that draws its initiates through its doors for deep healing presence.

When I look at this symbol I see the axis mundi. The roots of the world’s mother tree are sent down into the earth and the trunk reaches up into the heavens. The axis mundi is the center of all things and holds the world together with her interlocking and deepening roots. It is the central point of all existence.

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is a challenging symbol, as well it should be. When you step into the structure of this arboreal temple you enter a realm in which there is no time (all time is one) nor space (all space is one). Temporal and spatial reality collapse into the eternal present. It is here that we are able to heal the past or send ourselves forward into the future. It is here we can forgive our younger selves for the hurts we may have caused others and we may forgive others for any harm done. It is in the sheltering warmth of the tree that we can send light to those who have already taken off their earthly personas and stepped into pure auric form. There are no limitations of form, time, or locality.

When we step into the Temple we are met by the guardians of the entire lineage. The Reiki masters all leave imprints within this symbol and their songs are keyed into its walls. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is powerful not simply for its own symbolic gifts but it is composite of the gifts of all the Reiki practitioners who have stepped into its sacred space.

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is a portal to (and of) sacred space. It holds a space outside of regular linearity and allows us to exit the realms of locality to do powerful healing work on ourselves and with others.

If you know there is an important meeting or operation or confrontation you can send Reiki light forward in time. If there was an argument that caused bruised feelings you can send Reiki light back in time to heal the wounds of that pointed moment. If someone has been injured or pained you can heal the past, which then heals the present. Every wound we heal in this lifetime is automatically lifted in every other lifetime. This is the great gift of Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen and is the miracle of Reiki itself. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is a place in which we reach to the Divine and the Divine reaches back. This place we touch is Grace. It is here that miracles happen.

Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen works in all the layers of our being: physical, emotional-mental, spiritual, and causal. It is most attuned to the gaseous, or glowing, state of Light. It is in that state that we are pure being and most Light. Whereas the solid state is associated with the classical element Earth and the liquid state is associated with the classical element Water; the gaseous state is associated with the classical element Air. And the catalytic change from state to state is the classical element of Fire.  

Symbols & Reiki – Sei He Ki 2 (part 6)

Sei He Ki is nearly always used when a guest has an emotional release within a session. This happens more often that one might imagine. Most often the guest will be more puzzled at the sudden laughter or tears than the practitioner. The flood of Universal Light and acceptance allows old, buried emotions to break through in a wave of oceanic movement. It is best to check in gently and move on, acknowledging the event without breaking the flow of healing.

The cold, frozen light of any kind of abuse is warmed enough to heal under the gentle touch of Sei He Ki. If you are working with a person who has undergone abuse Sei He Ki will inevitably make its presence known. Those who have been abused most often have undergone a loss of trust. And while that trust may ostensibly be broken with the abuser it is often extended to the spiritual realm that “allowed” it to take place in the first place. If the person has a theistic concept of God they may blame Him (or Her) for allowing the pain. Even if this blame is latent it is often there. When Sei He Ki wraps its loving arms around the wounded child healing becomes possible. Many abused individuals search for and even manufacture all the ways they are culpable and therefore responsible for the abuse. This offers a surface order to the inexplicable that allows them to hold onto the delusion of control: “If I caused the abuse in the first place, I can prevent it in the future.” Sei He Ki acknowledges the tragedy of the abuse suffered, allows the victim to forgive herself, and opens a door for possible eventual understanding and forgiveness of the abuser.

Abuse happens to people of both genders, all ages, and any lifestyle. Do not be surprised when it comes to light in the context of healing sessions. It is wise to educate yourself about various forms of abuse and multiple resources for treatment.

It is challenging but absolutely necessary to stay out of judgment as a guest’s story unfolds. It is easy to become indignant on his behalf and to enter a state of judgment. That’s not our job and indicates our shadow rising. We do not know the story of the abuser nor how they were originally wounded. While some behaviors are never acceptable it is never our place to stand in judgment. Moreover our guests must feel safe and part of holding a safe space for them is holding an unconditionally loving space for all, including those who have done what may seem unforgivable. Not an easy task but one to which we must all aspire. We are healers, not arbitrators of Divine judgment.

Because of Sei He Ki’s talent for healing displaced and shadowed emotions it is often employed in rites of purification. As empathic, watery beings many of us absorb the emotions of those around us. We were created in the merging of the sexual fluids of our parents and are born from the emotional embryonic fluid of our mothers. We are emotion slowed down enough to form. And as emotional beings we fundamentally communicate in emotional ways. When we interact with others it is often through waves of shared feeling. Often we speak of “feeling” someone. Of “getting someone.” Of really “seeing” someone. This is rarely meant in a logical, intellectual way but more as a fundamental knowing of the other’s essential self. And since we interact on essentially emotional terms we may find ourselves absorbing the emotional realities of those around us. This absorption can be a syndrome filled with inherent distress when left to run wild or a gift of connection when artfully employed.  Sei He Ki assists us to purify our own waters that we are not so saturated with the emotions of others that we become lost in the waters of those who surround us.

Sei He Ki as purifier also serves as exorcist. Demons are the tossed aside and submerged “problem children” of humanity. When a person refuses to look at the shadow parts of himself he hides them and they take on lives of their own. These demons feel separate, discarded, and free to act in whatever deranged way they wish. Sei He Ki recognizes the demons of humanity as lost and frightened emotions that need purification, which it willingly offers along with the option for the discarded shadow being to return to the whole for healing and reintegration.

Because Sei He Ki is working so much with the fluid realms of Light in which our emotion-thoughts take shape to create our perceptions it is most aligned with liquid light state. It teaches us to shift ourselves into the form most agreeable to healing our inner waters.

Symbols & Reiki – Sei He Ki (part 5)

Sei He Ki

drink from my fountain as I touch your face

tonight we hold a space between in which our children learn (again) to laugh



Sei He Ki is a very different symbol. When you first look at it the form on the right shows the shape of a woman’s breasts. The form on the left appears somewhat phallic. They balance in a nurturing symbol of emotional cleansing, nurturance, and generosity. The common definition of Sei He Ki is “Divinity and Humanity coming together.” This symbol cradles humanity within the arms of the imminent Divine to nurse gratefully from the milk of the Their abundance. The food we take in is grown on her body. The waters we drink are the life-giving blood of her veins. The air we breath is from his mouth and the sun that warms us radiates from his skin. And all are shared in Love. This symbol, Sei He Ki, brings humanity and divinity together in the understanding that we are One and that we only heal when we connect to the primal elemental forces in ourselves. We were made of the same elements as our Parents and when we are in harmony with their heartbeat we have far more resources with which to draw forward vitality, joy, and love.

Sei He Ki is the symbol most aligned with the emotional and mental components of healing. It is virtually impossible to separate the mind and emotion. Although we have philosophical and societal constructs that attempt to do this: “boys are logical; girls are emotional” or “follow your head, not your heart” (or the inverse) it appears to be physiologically impossible to do so. Whenever we have a thought of any kind our body emits a correspondent neurotransmitter. If I have a stress thought my body emits cortisol, which means “fight or flight.”. If I have a peaceful thought my body emits natural opiates, which means “all is well.”  So everything we think causes our body to create a response that shifts our physiological emotional soup and we are constantly programming ourselves to the natural high of Love or the discordant fear states familiar to far too many these days. We are ultimately emotional beings. Our drives, desires, instincts, fears, and even our thoughts must run through our emotional selves. No matter how well thought out an argument is if it doesn’t “feel” right we will ultimately find a way to reject it.

Any disorder: physical, emotional, or spiritual, inevitably has an emotional component. We respond to ingrained emotional patterns. If one has repressed or out of control emotions they will show themselves in the physical as disorder of the body or mind or in the evidence of an unhappy life. The physical body is not running on a different system than the emotional body. They are the same system, which is the physical manifestation of our thoughts, emotions, soul processes, parallel incarnations, and all the varied postural shifts made in this lifetime. When we are ill we have certain emotion-thoughts about our illness that affect the illness. And when we have certain emotion-thoughts we are brilliantly capable of reinforcing or mitigating illness in our bodies and lives. Sei He Ki kindly (and gently) holds a space so that we can see where we are reinforcing our disorder and then opens up the tools for us to begin the deep healing of reversing the ingrained emotional patterns and balancing our personal light.

Sei He Ki also connects us to our emotions long enough to feel them. Emotionality is too often thought of as weakness and it can be frightening to feel vulnerable in a wash of emotions that can seem overwhelming. And yet we are incomplete and disordered beings if we are not aware of the rich emotional life within. And so when we feel disconnected to what we really feel about something or someone Sei He Ki can help us to separate the noise of other people’s expectations to feel our own presence.

Symbols & Reiki – Cho Ku Rei (part 4)

Cho Ku Rei

sing me to the center and I will dance a world for you

we are the Dreamers


The first of the three symbols is Cho Ku Rei. An elegant symbol, it is often translated as “put the power here” and is known as the Power symbol. Cho Ku Rei is a staff that connects to a curve and rapidly spins into a labyrinthine spiral. As mentioned earlier, in sacred geometry lines are masculine and curves are feminine. Lines are the marching linearity of time and curves are the landscape of embodied space. The power symbol is the masculine thrust of the Father into the oceanic whirlpool of the Mother and the point at which they they join together power is birthed. Often called the light switch, this magnificently creative symbol pulls down generative masculine principle and weaves it into balanced form. This symbol points to the generative Powers joining together to create form.

Cho Ku Rei features a inward spinning spiral. Spirals by their very nature wind and unwind. As the energy of the masculine staff touches the feminine curve the energy winds into itself to culminate at a specific ending point. That point is the place that the power settles, the child, so to speak. When working with Cho Ku Rei keep in mind that you are concentrating Universal Light to place it in a specific place at a moment of time. You are saying: “put the power here” or “power is embodied here.” The specificity of that placement opens up possibilities for extremely positive manifestation. You may place concentrated Reiki in your hands, on the crown of your guest, in the doorway of a room, or in the heart of a municipality. But each time you do so you are weaving together the primary forces to create an embodiment of Light.

Attuned to solid light, Cho Ku Rei is the manifestation of the great primary masculine and feminine placed into a specific time and space, which is exactly what we are as solid beings. Cho Ku Rei is concentrated Light just as we in our temple forms are concentrated light. This makes Cho Ku Rei the great physical healer. So, like the fixed astrological signs, Cho Ku Rei is a masterful diagnostician and healer of solid light. Whenever you or a guest is having physical disease Cho Ku Rei will direct Light into the disharmonious places, breaking through the disturbances with its formidable will.

Because of Cho Ku Rei’s specificity it is extremely good at creating and maintaining boundaries. When Cho Ku Rei holds a space it is with a no-nonsense firmness blended with the flexibility of kindness. Allowing Cho Ku Rei to guard your door protects you for deep healing within.

The labyrinth in Cho Ku Rei, arguably the most familiar of the five traditional Reiki symbols, also offers a template for the healer’s journey. When the breath of Ki is placed into the hands of the newly attuned initiate she steps into a labyrinth. Through the healing process her personal light is distilled and refined, becoming more and more concentrated, more powerful. And at the (theoretical) end of the labyrinth the healer fully embodies Light within her form.  

Symbols & Reiki (part 3)

When working with any symbol it is important to take it off the flat page and experience it as a three dimensional entity that exist both within space and slightly outside it. Allow the symbol to take on depth and shape. See it spin and move in front of you. Experience the rhythm of its unique dance. Then taste it. Feel the charge in the atmosphere around it. Each symbol will interact with space in a different way. Remember the symbol is essentially a doorway, a portal, even a vortex. See it whole in front of you. Let it touch you with its individual power. When you link with it suddenly it comes alive.

Traditionally it is said the Reiki symbols will not come alive for someone who is not attuned by a Reiki master. While I generally accept this premise there are a couple of instances I suspect may side-step the rule. The first is when the person has already been somehow attuned to Reiki in a parallel lifetime. It is not out of the question that certain Reiki practitioners attuned by Master Usui and his students have incarnated again and are already attuned to Reiki. In this case they will already be keyed to the symbols. Another exception is if the symbols themselves do the attunement. Since the symbols are dynamic manifestations of the Rei intelligence if they decide to attune someone, who are we to say its not possible? Imagine someone stumbling through a Reiki book for the first time and really connecting to the symbols. Feeling, tasting, imaging them. Bringing them into their heart. In such a case I have no doubt the symbols can bridge themselves into the new student and the Rei intelligence can send Ki into the hands of the newly attuned.

Symbols are traditionally engaged in a number of ways. The foundational way is in the context of a healing session. The practitioner may open the session by tracing a particular symbol into his hands or over the body of his guest. This gesture essentially says: “Okay, lineage, we are stepping into a Reiki session now.” If, during the session, the healer encounters a blockage a particular symbol may be appropriate. The healer can think the symbol in whole form, trace it in the air, draw it over the blockage, or intone the sounds of the symbol name.

Sometimes spaces need healing. The symbols can be drawn onto the walls or windows of a room to purify and bless. I paint the symbols beneath the paint on my walls so they are holding space around my personal spaces.

One of the most beautiful ways I’ve heard of engaging with the symbols is from Troy, a student of mine who is now a gifted Reiki master. When the BP oil spill occurred he would go to our north Florida beach and draw the symbols into the sand and send them out into the waters.

At Sphere we bless our oils, tinctures, and herbal remedies with light and breath and, depending on the blend’s use, one or more of the Reiki symbols before sending them out into the world. The more familiar you become with the symbols the more you will find them engaging and directive.

Symbols & Reiki (part 2)

According to the Reiki myth the symbols were given to Dr. Usui following his quest and surrender. The second degree has three symbols, which are introduced with the second attunement process. The symbols interact with each practitioner differently based upon their own level of refinement and healing process. In my experience the symbols, like archetypal beings, have their own quirks, gifts, and personalities. Essentially they assist us to focus our rapidly shifting attention and then reward that discipline by opening a gateway into a particular realm of light. They connect us with the Rei intelligence, the Reiki lineage, and the collective group mind of the communion of Reiki masters.

When working with the symbols address them as both gateway and guardian. They serve as the entity at the threshold and the doorway into the realm of light. Treat the symbols as entities who are here to teach, linking us to the realms beyond the tangible. Be respectful, humble, and kind. The symbols can open paths for those who have been attuned to their song. They will also discern ill intent and neutralize malicious energy before the doorway is opened.

There has been much to-do about whether the symbols should be kept secret and guarded. There are many reasons so called occult symbols are kept secret. In times past sacred knowledge may have been cruelly suppressed and a practitioner’s life may have been in danger and so secrecy was practical. Like the Christian fish, some symbols were an insider’s language and way of communicating solidarity and safety. In this age very few Reiki practitioners in the United States are in danger of their life due to their Reiki practice.

Another reason often given that the symbols should be kept secret is they become dilute when passed around too readily. This has more legs in our day and age yet I find the premise questionable as the Christian crucifix has not become more dilute for being readily available to uninitiated eyes. Symbols are living, changing entities. And as such their metaphoric meaning will shift and change with their accessibility. When the yin-yang symbol came to the west it was known more as a trendy and somewhat exotic glyph on bumper stickers than as a sacred Taoist symbol. Yet now it is more known and enriches multi-cultural understanding and helps inform deep truths about nature and balance. So while the yin-yang may seem to have been desecrated by uninitiated eyes it ultimately did its magic and initiated many western acupuncturists, Chinese medicine adherents, and even Reiki masters to its inherently elegant truth.


Bian Stones

In Neolithic China particular stones called Bian Shi or “needle stones” were used for healing. In the text Shouwen Jiezi (Analytical Dictionary of Chinese Language) from the 1st century CE author Xu Shen defines Bian Shi: “It is a kind of stone used for treating illnesses by pricking the body.” ( Needles made of bone were found in excavations with the Bian shi stones. These needles were apparently used as precursors to the metal acupuncture needles we see in later periods. The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic of Medicine (c. 104-32 BCE) references the use of these special stones to scrape the body.

It is said that long, long ago a meteor fell to the Earth bringing with it the special stone bian. This Bian stone was crafted into exquisite and unearthly musical instruments whose sounds brought tears of ecstasy to the eyes of all those who heard. Because the gifted musicians who played the Bian stone instruments lived particularly healthy and long, rich lives the stones themselves became known as magical with a power to restore youth and maintain vitality. And so methods for healing with theses special star born stones, such as rubbing the body to create friction and increase redness and blood flow to a localized region, were formalized and discussed in later texts such as Yellow Emperor. This manipulation of stone on particular points of the body may well be the ancestor of acupuncture, which itself may be at least 5300 years old according the Central European Oetzi mummy whose body bears tattoos marking commonly accepted meridian lines and pressure points. This mummy, found in the Italian Alps, was frozen and preserved for these thousands of years. Oetzi’s body has spilled secrets from his diet (meat and wheat), his health (whipworm and dental decay), his age (45), and his health (his tattoos appear to show what acupressure points to employ for his illnesses). His tattoos are tantalizing remnants of a wisdom our ancestors carried with them that are recorded in their very fiber as we decode the memories left in their very bones. (

In contemporary China there is a reemergence in the popularity of Bian stones hearkening back to the ancient roots of Chinese medicine. In modern practice the composition of the stones themselves is of primary importance and they are used to heal everything from fatigue to headaches to muscle pain. According to Chinese studies the composition of the stone, a form of meteorite found only in the Sibian region of China, emits an infrared light strong enough to raise the body temperature of a subject and thereby warm the inner waters. This warming effect may cause vasodilation and a general detoxification effect similar to hydrotherapy applications. Studies in China also indicate Bian generates a strong electromagnetic field that may inform why it’s known as a special stone of longevity and health. Studies of Bian are difficult to access and because there is little to no Western interest in the mechanisms of what appears to some as folk medicine and superstition it is difficult to verify the veracity of these claims. Regardless, the Bian stone is arguably the ancient ancestor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with its long rich, history of use.