Reiki Symbols
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The symbols pictured above were known as the Usui Reiki symbols and were taught in Western classes at level 2.  Since we know now that symbols were not used in original Reiki, and also because many people had already discovered that they could use Reiki in all its forms without the symbols, many teachers have stopped teaching them as 'essentials' 
It is said that Japanese Reiki schools descended from Dr Usui know of the symbols, have never used them - but that they are shown to the students for 'historical interest. So we think you might like to see them here too!  
It seems that a few of Dr Usui's students (said to be in the same group as Dr Hayashi) had difficulty in accessing the correct frequencies of Reiki that are needed to send distant treatments ( I do not know whether this is true or not - just passing on the story!)  In order that these less sensitive students could keep up with their classmates, Dr. Usui gave them the symbols, now so familiar to every Reiki student' to use as 'training wheels' so that they could more easily focus and use the energy as needed.  Somehow they slipped into the teaching that was standard when Reiki was first brought to the West, and became part of the dogma that sadly now seems to be a part of 'traditional' Reiki training.
If you wish to you will find the symbols and various meanings and uses in many places on the net.  Experiment if you want to - see if you find any difference between using them or not using them.  Reiki still works whichever you choose.  And you gain or lose nothing by your decision.
One word of caution - the symbols do not, in themselves, have any kind of power, it is the intent of the receiver and the Reiki channeller that is the important thing.  So if anyone promises you a 'more powerful symbol' at a price - feel free to walk on by!  You won't be missing out on a single thing!