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The Energy of Chakras



Unit 3 - Master Your Energy E-course.


The chakra system is a model of our Consciousness, a map for Self-realization, a tool for healing and transformation, in order to know yourself as Source essence. The map is never the territory, it is only a guide for your experiencing. We will describe here a few core traditions interpreting the chakra system, as a support for your own journey of Self-awareness. The chakras hold different vibrations of energy, each frequency bearing unique characteristics, and magnificently expressing the unmanifested into the forms of creation.

In the next chapters of the E-course we will describe each chakra following four main maps: the original Vedas, the 5 Elements of the Medicine Wheel, the Inca shamanic tradition and A. Judith’s Age development model.

Following is a brief overview of the four models.


THE CHAKRAS SYSTEM IN THE VEDAS


The chakra system as described in the Vedas is very effective. This is because of its simplicity. There are in fact only a few symbols and mantras which describe the chakras, leaving the task to the disciple to perceive and learn about them through their own meditative practice.


The Rishis, divine Self-realized ancient sages, transmitted their knowledge orally until it was recorded in the Vedas, the oldest Sanskrit scriptures of Hinduism. In the original Vedas there are 108 Upanishads containing many concepts and practices (Upanishad means to ‘sit nearby’ the master). The 20 Kundalini Yoga Upanishads are about the chakra system. The original symbolism transmitted by the Rishis is very essential and much of the interpretations came later through many generations of yogis and disciples.


In the Vedas the main symbol for each chakra is the Lotus, represented in every chakra with a different number of petals. The lotus is a plant deeply rooted in mud, swimming in water, emerging to receive sun light, and flowering into the sky. Similarly, all four elements are needed, earth, water, fire and air (Chakra 1-2-3-4), for the personality Self to open up and flower, and embrace the high vibrational field of the upper chakras (5-6-7).


The first three chakras (Root, Sacral and Solar plexus chakra) connect us with Earth, Water and Fire as the more material and grounding elements. The 4th chakra, the Heart, is in the centre of the energy body. The element of the Heart chakra is Air, moving us to a lighter, spiritual vibration of energy. Its symbol is a Six-pointed Star, which unites an upward pointing triangle and a downward pointing triangle. The upward pointing triangle represents the three Lower Earth chakras, whilst the downward pointing triangle represents the three Upper Soul chakras.

The Heart chakra contains the energies of all 6 chakras, to indicate a dimension of wholeness and unity (see below Picture 1 – The Heart chakra as a Six-pointed Star).

The 5th chakra, the Throat, is associated with the element of Ether or Space, as the unified field of energy out of which all life forms emerge. The 6th chakra, the Third Eye, has no element and is represented as a Lingam or pillar of light, still a form but containing pure energy. The 7th chakra, the Crown, is symbolized by a 1000 petals lotus, where the number ‘thousand’ refers to ‘Infinite’, as the universal consciousness out of which the individual self emerges, and where it returns at the ends of one’s journey of manifestation.


The Vedas also include divine archetypes in their symbolism. Shiva, the unmanifested principle (Shiva literally means ‘No thing’), takes different forms in the first five chakras of manifestation. In the Earth chakras (Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus chakra) we find the 3 aspects of the Hindu Divinity: Brahman the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer and Shiva the Destroyer. We need these energies of creation to establish solid grounding for the human experience. Shiva is still in his human form in the elemental 4thand 5th chakras (Air and Ether). In the Heart Chakra Shiva is pictured with four heads blessing in all directions whilst he becomes half male and half female in the Throat chakra. There is no deity in the Third Eye, only the symbol of the Lingam of light, and no representation at all in the Crown, the chakra of pure consciousness.


There are two main principles described in the Kundalini Upanishads: the feminine Shakti and the masculine Shiva. Shakti means energy, and its symbol is the Snake. Shiva is pure consciousness, and its symbol is the Lingam. Whilst Shakti is Form, Shiva is the Unmanifested. In Kundalini Yoga Upanishads the Snake is coiled around the Lingam at the base of the spine, in the root chakra (Kundalini means coiled). Self-realization is about awakening the Kundalini Shakti (coiled energy) as fire, to rise up and pierce each chakra until it merges with the pure light of Shiva at the Crown. When Shakti dissolves into Shiva, pure consciousness pervades the whole body and the Individual Self merges into the Universal Self. This is called Samadhi and it is the enlightened state of the Yogis, the Self-realized masters. Samadhi is the goal of human beings, that is awakening to the realization of their true nature as pure divine consciousness manifested in form.


According to the experience of the ancient Yogis, energy flows through the physical body in a network of thousands of channels, which are called Nadis. There are three main Nadis positioned along the central axis of the body: the Ida Nadi (feminine energy) flowing on the left of the spine, the Pingala Nadi (masculine energy) flowing on the right, and the Sushumna Nadi running in the centre. The Ida and Pingala travel upwards intertwining along the Sushumna, starting as one in the root chakra and uniting again in the third eye, whilst the Sushumna continues to the crown chakra, carrying the Kundalini energy into Samadhi. The energy flows through the three channels in both directions, and when descending along the spine, it grounds pure consciousness into manifestation. The chakras are the junctions where the Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna Nadis meet, and where the energy is radiated outwards in the body.


For a representation of the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna, see below picture 2 – Ida, Pingala and Sushumna Nadis.


For a complete description of the Veda symbolism of the chakras, see the summary table - Kundalini Upanishads as translated by Swami Tadatmananda


THE ELEMENTS IN THE CHAKRA SYSTEM


The correlation between the elements and the first 5 chakras belongs to many traditions and is generally maintained in the modern New Age interpretations of the chakras.


Reclaiming Wicca Celtic shamanism works with a medicine wheel based on the five elements, starting with the East-Air and moving to South-Fire, West-Water, North-Earth and Centre-Spirit. Through rituals and meditations, the elements are invoked for healing and manifestation. There isn’t a direct correlation between the chakras and the medicine wheel but the teachings on the elements are very inspirational and offer us ways to embody each of the frequencies.


The Root chakra is associated with the element of Earth, the densest level of energy. The element is connected to the physical reality of the body, of nature, and of all solid structures in the world. As earthlings we depend on Mother nature for our nourishment and safety, and the body is our sacred home. When invoking the spirit of Earth, shamans celebrate their primal communion with their ancestors, the land and all life forms. When we are in harmony with the Earth element we love and respect our body and the natural environment, we know we belong and therefore feel safe and grounded.


The Sacral chakra is associated with Water, a lighter element connected to movement. Water is celebrated in Celtic shamanism by honouring its different features. Water is life-giver when nourishing the soil or holding the child in the womb. Water is cleansing and refreshing, like in waterfalls and streams. Water is the stillness of the deep ocean, and the power of the rainstorms. Most of all Water is symbolic of flow and change. In rivers water continuously flows, whilst remaining the same essence in each spot. In the same way, we surrender to life unfolding in many creative forms and cycles, whilst remaining aware of our true eternal nature.


The Solar plexus chakra is associated with Fire, a sparkling and exuberant element. Fire means light, warmth, and vitality. Without sunlight there would be no life on Earth, as solar energy powers the whole eco system. Our inner fire gives us power and strength, our bright spirit ignites our passion and focused action. Fire allows transformation of physical matter into energy; in the same way, we can use it for purification and transformation of our suffering and conditioning, into newly freed vital energy.


The Heart chakra is associated with the element of Air. Air gives us life through the breath, and it is connected to the vast spaciousness of the sky. Fresh clean wind oxygenates our brain and keeps our mind clear and perceptive. Power birds, like eagles and hawks, spread their wings and soar high, inspiring us a sense of freedom and higher perspective. Air is associated with Higher Mind and vision. When we are in harmony with this element our mind is alert and aware, and our breath entrains us into the stillness of our Being.


The Throat chakra is associated with the element of space or Ether. To understand this element, it helps knowing that the universe is 1% matter and 99% space. The emptiness contains everything. We interact continuously with the etheric grid net which surrounds the earth, the planets and all things and bodies. By connecting with the Ether element, we are able to easily transmit and receive in the universal filed. Ether can be seen as a medium for vibrational self-expression, like radio-stations receive and transmit in the web.


In the audio-recording ‘Elements Meditation’ you will be guided into an experiential journey through the chakras, to feel and embody each of the five elements.


THE CHAKRA SYSTEM IN INCA SHAMANISM


The Inca were healers who worked with the chakras to transform personal, ancestral, and karmic blockages, for the Soul to travel on her highest evolutionary path. They mapped the world of energy and consciousness according to a unique medicine wheel, based on the 4 cardinal directions, each one holding a specific governing principle and symbol. In their rites they transmitted and activated these frequencies in the first four chakras.


The symbols of the four directions are the following:

Serpent in the Root chakra (South)

Jaguar in the Sacral chakra (West)

Hummingbird in the Solar plexus (North)

Eagle-Condor in the Heart (East)


With Serpent we embody our primal connection to the Earth and learn to shed the skin of our past, in order to live in beauty and harmony with all creation.

With Jaguar we become peaceful warriors; in touch with our intuition and in charge of our emotions, we step out of karmic reactivity and act consciously and in integrity.

With Hummingbird we start our hero’s journey of self-empowerment, learning that each creature, no matter how small, is talented enough for life.

With Eagle we envision our destiny with clear sight, and with Condor we die to what is the way to fulfill our vision.


Like in other shamanic traditions the Inca mapped the Spirit world (the Consciousness field) in three dimensions: the Underworld, Middleworld and Upperworld. In the Underworld we heal the past and source our earthy Power. In the Middleworld we access guidance and wisdom for Manifestation in our ordinary life. In the Upperworld we look for inspiration and vision from our Higher Self. Three Guardian Spirits guide us in each dimension and are connected to the vibration of the Upper Chakras: Huascar (the Underworld guardian) in the Throat chakra, Quetzalcoatl (the Middleworld guardian) in the Third eye, and Pachakuti Inka (the Upperworld guardian) in the crown chakra.


When we embody the energies of these Spirit Animals and Spirit Guardians, we are guided to journey within in a very magical way, for transformation and to receive spiritual wisdom. In the three Lower chakras we heal our past, karma and Soul loss. In the Heart and Upper chakras we dream our world into being, manifesting our vision in co-creation with Spirit.


For a description of the Inka map of the chakras, see the summary table - Inca Shamanism Medicine Wheel, as taught by A. Villoldo, Four Winds Society


THE CHAKRA SYSTEM IN THE DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY MODEL


In her book ‘Western Mind, Eastern Body’ A. Judith maps the chakra system according to the psychology of development perspective. In the model each chakra represents a stage of life, from birth to adulthood, with different characteristics in terms of psychosocial needs, modality of self-expression and challenges. The work offers much complexity of information, which I will simplify to highlight how traumas in each developmental stage can create negative psychological patterns which block the flow of energy in the body.


The following is a description chakra by chakra.


In the first chakra the child is in the womb, newborn and growing into the first 12 months of life. The child is learning to connect to the body and is building her physical identity. She is completely vulnerable and depending on others for survival and love. The experience of unconditional love and care from the family, especially from mother, will determine how safe and protected the child will feel, how trusting her intimate relationships will be as an adult, and how stable and grounded she will be in life.


In the second chakra the child is 1-2 years old and transitioning from the close bond with her parents to the discovery of the environment around. The child is moved by her senses, perceptions and feelings; when learning to connect to the people around, the child is building her emotional identity. It is a time of sensory stimulation and play when we learn to trust our intuition and ability for creative exploration. In adulthood the harmonious development of this phase will determine our joyful, flowing and pleasurable connection with the world.


In the third chakra the child is 2-4 years old and evolving her sense of self or ego identity. In this phase the child is determined to assert her will and is focused on developing personal authority. If the child is respected when exploring her identity and autonomy, she will mature the necessary self-esteem and discipline to manifest her goals in life. In this stage we lay the foundation to become responsible adults, confident in our personal power and able to take effective action.


In the fourth chakra the child is 4-7 years old and learning to balance the Love for the Self and the Love for the Other. Self Love is possible when there are no expectations to fulfill to be accepted, and the child learns to source love and validation from inside. In this way she will learn not to judge others, respect their individuality, and foster connection and sharing. This is the delicate time of building one’s social identity. The child is supported in this phase by a mind which is developing an ability for discernment and ethics.


In the fifth chakra the child is 7-12 and is learning different tools and ways for self-expression, creativity and communication. She is building her creative identity. When the child’s right to speak and to be heard is respected, she will feel free to express herself authentically. As an adult she will know how to speak her Truth and consciously manifest her creative power in the world.


The sixth chakra is connected to Adolescence, a period where we try to understand the world and ultimately ourselves, through abstract symbols and imagination. We develop here our archetypal identity. We learn to access knowledge through myths, metaphors and representations, in order to answer existential questions and develop our vision for the future.


The seventh chakra is connected to Adulthood, where we mature our Spiritual Identity. Maturity derives from accessing a state of Higher Mind and Self-realization. The adult which cultivates awareness, wisdom and spiritual intuition is able to move beyond rigid thinking patterns and identities into a reality of taking responsibility, of conscious choices, of alignment with the Spiritual Self.


For a description of the developmental model, see the summary table - Anodea Judith - Developmental Psychology Model, from the book “Western Mind, Eastern Body”



Picture 1 – The Heart chakra as a Six-pointed Star

Heart chakra
.pdf
Download PDF • 87KB


Picture 2 – Ida, Pingala and Sushumna Nadis.











VEDAS - KUNDALINI YOGA UPANISHADS


From the work of Swami Tadatmananda


INCA SHAMANISM - MEDICINE WHEEL


From the work of A. Villoldo “The Four Winds Society”



ANODEA JUDITH - DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY MODEL


From the book “Western Mind, Eastern Body”


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