What Is Karuna Reiki?

Light radiating from palm s of handsIn this article we will cover – what is Karuna Reiki, how it was developed, what to expect from healing, how to become a practitioner / master and resources for further information.

If you’re not familiar with reiki, I would suggest reading An Introduction To Usui Reiki to gain an understanding of the origins and principles of reiki, what it is and how it works. When you have the basics, the rest will follow.

Moving on…

What Is Karuna Reiki?

In the 1920s Dr. Mikao Usui rediscovered an ancient healing method which he called Usui Reiki. From this method many other types of reiki have been developed, one of which is Karuna Reiki, believed by many to be the next logical step after Usui Reiki Master Level.

In 1989 William Lee Rand became a Usui Reiki Master. He spent the next few years practicing and was on a quest to find out all he could about reiki. As well as working with his students, Rand consulted and studied with other reiki masters, continually asking for guidance from above. Gradually a new system evolved and in 1995 Rand named it Karuna Reiki.

Homeless man holding a sign saying seeking human kindness“Karuna” translates from Sanskrit as compassion or compassionate action, in particular doing something to ease suffering. One of the fundamental aspects of Karuna Reiki is that we are compassionate to others by being kind, helping and healing. When we are kind to others it has an all-round effect as we are all one – not only does it benefit ourself and others, but the universe as a whole, all for the greater good.

It’s believed that by experiencing Karuna Reiki – as a recipient, student or teacher, we become more receptive to the work of enlightened beings; these are people who have reached a state of awareness, have a deep connection to all that is and radiate love and compassion. In addition, enlightened beings can include spirit guides, our higher selves, angels and so on.

Many have reported that this form of reiki is more effective in dealing with deep-rooted issues than other methods as it works on a cellular level, uses more intense symbols and requires a higher level of experience of its masters.

Karuna Reiki Healing

Karuna Reiki can be carried out in person or as distant healing. It can be used for allergies, anxiety, addiction, physical injuries, emotional wellbeing, spiritual healing and a whole lot more. In addition, it boosts our own energetic and healing systems.

Karuna Reiki treatments don’t follow a set structure. As with Usui Reiki, the practitioner will place their hands on or just above particular parts of the body, usually at the location of the major chakras. The healing energy is sent through the practitioner to the recipient with the aid of intention and visualisation.

A set sequence of hand positions is not followed; this is a very intuitive technique. Likewise, a number of different symbols may be used, but which ones are used will again depend on how the practitioner is led, and also on the reason for the session.

The symbols may be visualised and drawn in the air or over particular areas of the body. Some practitioners use healing stones with the symbols on. They may also be chanted whereby the voice is used as a “carrier,” allowing the healing energy to penetrate at a deeper, more cellular level. The meanings of the healing symbols are summarised below.

Karuna Reiki Symbols


This symbol is used to heal the pain of past trauma – either in this life or in previous incarnations – and can release and clear even the most deep-rooted issues. It’s particularly useful for dealing with childhood issues such as abuse or neglect. It’s also good for strengthening relationships, easing physical pain and epilepsy. Zonar can be used to strengthen distant healing energy. It’s used when requesting help from Archangel Gabriel.


This symbol helps to balance all aspects of our lives. It allows us to break away from negative patterns and works on the shadow self – that is the side of ourselves which we perceive to be weak. We usually bury these aspects of ourselves but this symbol helps us to face up to them, leading to recognition and acceptance. Halu offers personal protection and can help us to connect with our higher self. It can be used to unblock any of the chakras, and similarly to Zonar, it is used to heal childhood abuse and to enhance distant healing.


This symbol is connected with love, harmony, truth, beauty and balance. It can help to heal relationships, bring us love, help us to love others and ourselves and nourish us with the never-ending and unconditional love of the universal life force. Harth can give us psychic protection and help us to make new beginnings. It is particularly useful for those struggling with addictions and depression, and can be used to enlist the help of any enlightened being in the spirit world.


The symbol of joy, happiness, peace and harmony, Rama is good for clearing negative energy, building confidence, dealing with emotional blockages, helping with mental imbalances, material manifestation and cleansing any or all of the chakras. Through this symbol we are connected with the earth’s energy and it therefore enables us to be grounded.


This symbol helps us to achieve mental clarity, assisting learning, communication and awareness. It’s a great symbol for students and can also help us to connect with our higher selves. Gnosa helps to identify the root cause of our pain and unhappiness. When we are able to do this, we can make changes and begin to enjoy a sense of peace. It also helps us to keep an open mind, as well as enhancing our performance in physical activities such as sports.


Kriya helps us to prioritise that which is important, allowing us to acknowledge our choices and make informed decisions. It can help to heal relationships, especially within the family, thereby bringing peace and harmony. Kriya can be used for manifestation, grounding and also for healing mankind as a whole.


When used with Harth, Iava is good for those with addictions. It can also help us to recognise our personal power and take responsibility for our lives, as well as helping us to realise we are not responsible for others. It can be used when we need to set goals and achieve outcomes. Iava also helps us to recognise and fulfil our life purpose. It enables us to enjoy our lives, actions and jobs we choose to take on, from the smallest of tasks to the most important, life-changing endeavours. Iava is strongly linked with Mother Nature.


Shanti means peace. This symbol is used for general healing and specifically for easing fears, worries and insecurities. It can help those with insomnia and can ease nightmares, anxiety and fatigue. It is also helpful for those wishing to develop their clairvoyant skills and to improve their meditational practice.

Karuna Reiki Training

In order to take part in any Karuna Reiki training you must have first achieved Usui Reiki Master Level, with a minimum of 6 months experience, in order for the energies to have settled within you.

Karuna Reiki training for practitioner and master levels may be condensed into 3 days, or may be broken down into 4 mini-courses. It depends on the Master Teacher and on your own experience. Essentially there are 4 levels.

Practitioner 1 and 2 each involve :

  • Practitioner attunements
  • How to draw 4 of the healing symbols
  • How to activate the symbols
  • Instruction on the uses of the symbols
  • Allocated time to practice each symbol

Each level should take a minimum of 5 hours.

Master 1 and 2 each involve :

  • Master attunements
  • How to draw 2 of the master symbols
  • How to activate and use them
  • Allocated time to practice each symbol
  • Demonstration of attunements
  • Allocated time to practice each attunement
  • Instruction and practice for chanting and toning.

Again, each level should take a minimum of 5 hours. The master levels are often combined.

Upon completion of the training, you will be able to practice and teach Karuna Reiki.

Additional Info and Resources

Karuna Reiki is a registered name and in order to become a certified practitioner and master you will need to go through the International Centre for Reiki Training (I.C.R.T.), of which William Lee Rand is founder and president.

Click on I.C.R.T. for a link to the website to find your nearest practitioner or master.

On Therapy Jet, quick links to reiki related articles include : How To Learn Usui Reiki, Usui Reiki Healing Techniques and Distant Healing With Reiki. You might also like What Is Kundalini Reiki?

Reiki Rays has an online library which includes free ebooks on many reiki related subjects, including the Karuna Reiki symbols. It’s available to all who subscribe to the newsletter.

Final Thoughts

Hands reaching up towards the setting sun in the backgroundFinally, I’d really like to know your thoughts on this article. We’ve covered the beginnings of Karuna Reiki, healing techniques, the symbols used, how to go about training, and some additional resources which I hope you find useful. Have I missed anything? Let me know if you would like to know more.

And as for reiki…do you think it’s a load of far out “woo woo” or are you a believer? Do you have personal experience? As always, comments and feedback are most welcome. I would love to hear from you. Please respond in the box below or email me at jane@therapyjet.net.

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