The wisdom of the chakras permeates new age teachings, holistic healing, energy therapies, and modern ceremonies. Its popularity is due to how practical, holistic, and spiritually elegant this system of seven power centers is. Though it comes to the West via the teachings of India, you can find parallels of the chakra system in all forms of healing, meditation, and magick. The chakra system is a map of our bodies, and the consciousness within our bodies. Everyone can apply chakra wisdom to their life.
The word chakra is Sanskrit, and many believe it translates to “spinning wheel,” referring to the seven energy centers within the body that psychics and seers view as spinning vortexes. Each vortex is associated with a gland and system in the body, a color of the rainbow, a symbol, tone, a note in the musical scale, and a type of consciousness. The chakras run up the chakra column. As they ascend up the spine, they ascend in levels of complexity and spirituality, yet every chakra is important. Those lower on the scale are the foundation, and are equally important as the upper chakras. The relative balance of the spinning chakra vortexes, what healers often describe as more “open” or “closed,” is in direct relationship to the health of the individual at that level of consciousness. Various exercises, meditations, therapies, and rituals can be used to balance and align the chakras, thereby balancing and aligning your health and awareness.
As this material comes from the Hindu traditions and has been translated into Western consciousness, various additions, subtractions, and reinterpretations have occurred. You can find conflicting systems and associations between chakra experts and healers. Most associate the chakras with the seven major colors of the rainbow, starting at the bottom with red and ascending in color from orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. In some traditional Hindu lore, the chakras are not on the color scale, and chakras such as the heart are associated with the color red and the solar plexus with gray. Modern channeled New Age systems have wildly different colors for the energy systems of the next age, and have added many more points to the simple, seven-chakra system. For many, the experiences of the chakras are somewhat subjective, so as you learn to work with them, let your own experiences inform you. Ground yourself in the basic and be open to new ideas and experiences.
One of the classic works on the chakras is Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System by Anodea Judith. It was the first book I ever read on the chakras. The scope and detail of the work can be intimidating, but it is well worth reading cover to cover. You can also use it as a desk reference, for looking up information on a specific chakra. The book covers energetic models and concepts in detail, then explores each chakra in depth. The manual closes with how to work with the chakra, including topics on magic, manifestation, healing, divination, personal evolution, and a self-test on each chakra. Here is a sample of the self-test from page 420:
- First Chakra: Usually depicted as red, the root chakra is found at the base of the spine, and its area of consciousness is the material world. Through its power, we learn grounding and survival in the physical world. The root is associated with the reproductive and eliminative systems.
- Second Chakra: The second chakra has many names, including the belly chakra, spleen chakra, sex chakra, or sacral chakra. Orange in color, located near the navel, its lessons are about trust, intimacy, and learning to listen to our “gut” feelings. The belly chakra is associated with reproductive and lower digestive systems.
- Third Chakra: Known as the solar plexus, this is the yellow chakra of power. Here we struggle with issues of personal power, fear, anger, and the appropriate use of force. The organs of the third chakra are the upper digestive system, liver, and adrenals.
- Fourth Chakra: The fourth chakra is the heart chakra, the balance point between the three lower and three upper chakras. Sometimes described as an emerald green with a pink center, it is the center of love, empathy, and emotion. The heart muscle, circulatory system, and immune systems are linked with this energy center.
- Fifth Chakra: The throat chakra is blue and relates to our powers of communication and expression. An important point to remember is that the throat chakra rules both speaking and listening, because both are needed in communication. The mouth, throat, and respiratory system are ruled by the fifth chakra.
- Sixth Chakra: The powers of the sixth chakra are the abilities most often sought out by those new to the mystical. Called the third eye, or brow chakra, it is associated with psychic vision and intuition. Physically, the third eye rules the lower brain and nervous system.
- Seventh Chakra: The last chakra is the crown, colored violet or dazzling white, and it is the point of spiritual contact. Here we touch the divine. As the root is our physical, foundational chakra, the crown is the chakra for our spiritual foundation. The crown is associated with the whole body, but in particular the higher brain functions, nervous system, and endocrine system.
Chakra One: Earth, Survival, Grounding
Mark “N” for never, “S” for Seldom, “O” for Often and “A” for Always. Mark “P” for Poor, “F” for Fair, “G” for Good and “E” for Excellent. Score 1 point for answers in column one, 2 points for column 2, 3 points for answers in column three, and 4 points for column four. Add up the points for each chakra before proceeding to the next one. Although the totals themselves are irrelevant, it’s interesting to compare scores between chakras.
- How often do you go for a walk in the woods, park, etc.?
N S O A
- How often do you exercise?
N S O A
- How is your health?
P F G E
- How is your financial situation?
P F G E
- How would you rate your diet?
P F G E
- Do you consider yourself well grounded?
N S O A
For a serious study of chakras and yogic traditions, explore A Chakra & Kundalini Workbook by Dr. Jonn Mumford. It is a detailed and helpful workbook to explore the powers of the chakras. Though firmly rooted in Eastern spiritual traditions, Mumford compares aspects of this work to other spiritual and mystical traditions, including Western alchemy, Christianity, Japanese judo, Indian martial arts, and modern science. The book is filled with very educational diagrams and information, starting you at the basics, such as meditation poses, and building to more complex exercises, such as tantra.
A practical and accessible guide to the chakras is Kundalini and the Chakras, written by Genevieve Lewis Paulson. Paulson’s background is based in Western Christianity and its mystical traditions. From her own kundalini experience, she developed a system of working with this energy through the chakras. This book helps safely guide those of a Western and more traditional background into understanding the universality of Eastern lore. She discusses kundalini and the Holy Spirit, and how to apply these principles in our modern world. I found her work thoroughly enjoyable and a clear approach to working with kundalini. She also has the very practical spiritual advice of living a balanced life by “including time on each of the following: Being, Doing, Learning and Inspiring.” She also urges us to take time for appreciating life and self-appreciation.
New Chakra Healing is an innovative look at the chakra system, expanding from the traditional material. Author Cyndi Dale first builds upon the seven-point system, with twelve chakras, both in and around the body. She further expands the chakras, relating twenty other spiritual energy points, and relates this information to the spine. Not only does it describe the points, but she outlines an easy-to-follow method for removing energy blocks from these points, and your energy fields. Through this transformative process, you can manifest the life you are meant to live. Such “higher energy centers” include points 16 — Balance of Similarities, point 21 — Abundance, point 27 — Peace, and point 32 — Grace and Divine Source Consciousness.
As you go through life, and find yourself blocked, look to the chakras. When an issue comes up in your life, think about which chakra rules it. If you have an illness or injury, think about what chakra is associated with it and how its energy manifests in your life. Become conscious of the chakras and work with them. This simple, yet detailed, system can make problem solving, healing and greater spiritual awareness simpler and easier with grace.