The Magickal Universe

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Chakras

Chakra: Sanscrit - "cakra" meaning wheel, disc or circle, and sometimes also referring to the "wheel of life". The pronunciation of this word can be approximated in English by 'chuhkruh', with ch as in chart (the commonly found pronunciation 'shockrah' is incorrect). 

Chakra History

Chakra is a concept which originated from Hindu texts and used in Hindu practices. The earliest known mention of chakras is found in the later Upanishads, including specifically the Brahma Upanishad and the Yogatattva Upanishad. These vedic models were adapted in Tibetan Buddhism as Vajrayana theory, and in the Tantric Shakta theory of chakras.

It is the shakta theory of 7 main chakras that most people in the West adhere to, knowingly or unknowingly, due to a translation of two indian texts, the 'Sat-Cakra-Nirupana', and the 'Padaka-Pancaka', by Sir John Woodroffe, alias Arthur Avalon, from a book entitled 'The Serpent Power'.

There are various models of chakras in other traditions, most notably Chinese medicine, Tibetan Buddhism, but even within the Jewish kabbalah, the different Sephiroth are associated with parts of the body. In Islamic Sufism , 'Lataif-e-Sitta' (the Six Subtleties) are considered as psycho-spiritual "organs" or faculties of sensory and supra-sensory perception, the activation of which is considered to make humans complete .

Attempts have been made to try and reconcile these systems with each other, even with such diverged traditions as Shakta Tantra, Sufism and Kabbalism, where chakras, lataif and Sephiroth seemingly represent the same archetypal spiritual concepts, there has been a measure of success.

Although there are various interpretations as to what exactly a chakra is, the following features are common in all systems:

  • They form part of a subtle energy body, along with the energy channels, or nadis, and the subtle winds, or pranas.
  • They are located along a central nadi, Sushumna, which runs either alongside or inside the spine.
  • Two other nadis, Ida and Pingala, also run through the chakras, and alongside Sushumna. They occasionally cross Sushumna at the location of the chakras.
  • They possess a number of 'petals' or 'spokes'. In some traditions, such as the Tibetan, these spokes branch off into the thousands of nadis that run throughout the human body.
  • They are generally associated with a mantra seed-syllable, and often with a variety of colours and deities.

What are Chakras?

The Chakras are traditionally depicted as Lotuses, the sacred flower, which grow in mud - symbolising the development from the primative to the divine, this is shown in the progress of the Chakras from base chakra (rooted in earth) to the crown and universal chakras which connect us to the Divine and Cosmic Consciousness.

Chakras are energy vortexes situated in the subtle or ethric (energy) bodies.

Chakras regulate energy flow and interaction between the physical and subtle bodies. There are generally considered to be seven main and twenty one minor chakras, these are connected by seventy two thousand nadis, tiny energy centers, which when seen with the third eye, resemble a glowing spiders web woven throughout the subtle body.

Coiled three and a half times around the base chakra is the Serpent Goddess Kundalini (Kundali means 'spiral' or 'coil'), an aspect of Shakti the Great Goddess. This is significant as the DNA Double helix repeats every 3.5 A (astroms or 10 -10m), and the serpents on the cadeceus cross three and a half times.

Chakras can be opened and closed (often at will) and dis-ease, illness or fatigue may result if the chakras are out of balance. Balance needs to be achieved where the chakras are paritially open allowing awareness without exposing the body to excessive vunerability by being open too far.

During magickal workings an experienced practitioner may open the chakras to aid in altering and expanding awareness.

7 Major Chakras

1. Muladhara - ("root")

  • Location: base of the spine.
  • Symbolic Depiction: 4 red petals
  • Sound: LAM (Sanskrit) and RA (Tibetian)
  • Seed Sound: I AM
  • Tone: C
  • Prana Light: Red
  • Yoga: Hatha
  • Energy State: Solid
  • Inner State: Stillness
  • Force: Gravity
  • Element: Earth
  • Sense: Smell
  • Organs: Gonads, Adrenal Glands and Excretory System
  • Animals: Bull Elephant, Ox
  • Crystals: Agate, Bloodstone, Garnet, Lodestone, Onyx, Ruby
  • Metal: Lead
  • Planets: Earth, Saturn
  • Foods: Proteins, Meat
  • Incense: Cedar, Musk, Patcholi, Sandalwood
  • Correspondence: Instinct, Survival, Pleasure and Base Sexuality.
  • Colour Correspondence: Earth, survival, grounding, stillness
    Contains the primary 8 cells that have all of the knowledge of
    creation and remain the only cells in your body that do not
    change in your lifetime. It grounds us in the physical world.

2. Svaddisthana - ("sweetness")

  • Location: at the sacrum, below the naval.
  • Symbolic Depiction: 6 scarlet petals
  • Sound: VAM (Sanskrit) and MA (Tibetian)
  • Seed Sound: I FEEL
  • Tone: D
  • Prana Light: Orange
  • Yoga: Tantra
  • Energy State: Liquid
  • Inner State: Tears
  • Force: Magnetism, Attraction of Opposites
  • Element: Water
  • Sense: Taste
  • Organs: Ovaries, Testicles, Womb, Bladder, Kidneys amd Spinal Column.
  • Animals: Fish, Sea Creatures, Makara
  • Crystals: Aquamarine, Coral, Moonstone, Quartz
  • Metal: Tin
  • Planets: Moon
  • Foods: All Liquids
  • Incense: Damiana, Gardenia, Orris, Rose
  • Correspondence: Change, Creativity, Procreation, Socialisation, Sexuality, Sensuality
  • Colour Correspondence: related to our sexual and reproductive capacity.
    Blockage manifests as emotional problems or sexual guilt.

3. Manipura - ("lustrous jewel")

  • Location: Solar Plexus.
  • Symbolic Depiction: 10 dark or black petals
  • Sound: RAM (Sanskrit) and DA (Tibetian)
  • Seed Sound: I CAN, I WILL
  • Tone:E
  • Prana Light: Yellow
  • Yoga: Karma
  • Energy State: Plasma
  • Inner State: Laughter, Joy, Anger
  • Force: Will
  • Element: Fire
  • Sense: Sight
  • Organs: Digestive Processes, Emotions, Pancreas, Stomach, Liver, Gall Bladder and Nervous System.
  • Animals: Ram
  • Crystals: Amber, Topas, Opal
  • Metal: Iron
  • Planets: Mars, Sun
  • Foods: Starches
  • Incense: Calamus, Cardamon, Carnation, Cinamon, Coriander, Ginger, Marigold, Orange
  • Correspondence: Universal Interaction, Emotions, Expansiveness, Warmth, Jovality, Transformation,
  • Colour Correspondence: Gives us a sense of personal power in the world. Blockage manifests as anger or a sense of victimization.

4. Anahata - ("unstuck")

  • Location: Heart
  • Symbolic Depiction: 12 red petals
  • Sound:  YAM (Sanskrit) and SA (Tibetian)
  • Seed Sound: I LOVE
  • Tone: F
  • Prana Light: Green
  • Yoga: Bhakti
  • Energy State: Gas
  • Inner State: Compassion
  • Force: Love
  • Element: Air
  • Sense: Touch
  • Organs: Thymus Gland, Heart, Blood, Vagus Nerve, Circulatory system
  • Animals: Antelope, Dove, Nightingale
  • Crystals: Emerald, Rose Quartz, Tourmaline
  • Metal: Copper
  • Planets: Venus
  • Foods: Vegetables
  • Incense: Jasmine, Lavender, marjoram, Meadowsweet, Orris Root
  • Correspondence: Love, Being, Equilibrium, Harmony, Mobility, Gentleness, Lightness, Relationships, Sympathy,
  • Colour Correspondence: Blockage can manifest as immune system or heart problems, or a lack of compassion.

5. Vishuddha - ("purification")

  • Location: Throat
  • Symbolic Depiction: 16 Smokey Petals
  • Sound: HAM (Sanskrit) and SE (Tibetian)
  • Seed Sound: I SPEAK
  • Tone: G
  • Prana Light: Bright Blue
  • Yoga: Mantra
  • Energy State: Vibration
  • Inner State: Connection
  • Force: Creativity
  • Element: Aether/Sound
  • Sense: Hearing
  • Organs: Thyroid Gland, Lungs, Ailmentary Canal, Hearing, Bronchial and Vocal Apparatus
  • Animals: Bull Elephant, Lion
  • Crystals: Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, Tourmaline, Tourquoise
  • Metal: Mercury
  • Planets: Mercury, Neptune
  • Foods: Fruit
  • Incense: Benzoin, frankincense
  • Correspondence: Center of Active Magickal Power, Dreaming,
  • Colour Correspondence: Tied to creativity and communication. Feels pressure when you are not communicating your emotions properly.

6. Ajna - ("to percieve")

  • Location: Third Eye
  • Symbolic Depiction: 2 Lightening Coloured Petals
  • Sound: AUM (Sanskrit) and  SO (Tibetian)
  • Seed Sound: I SEE
  • Tone: A
  • Prana Light: Indigo
  • Yoga: Yantra
  • Energy State: Image
  • Inner State: Intuiting
  • Force: Imagination
  • Element: Light
  • Sense: Sixth (Extra Sensory)
  • Organs: Pituartary Gland, Lower Brain, Eye (sub-dominant), Nose, Nervous System,
  • Animals: Owl
  • Crystals: Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, Quartz, Rutile Quartz, Sapphire
  • Metal: Silver
  • Planets: Jupiter
  • Foods: Mind Altering Substances
  • Incense: Acacia, Aniseed, Mugwort, Saffron, Star Anise
  • Correspondence: Spiritual Power, Passive magickal Senses (Telepathy, Precognition etc), Intution,
  • Colour Correspondence: Is a physical eye at the base of the brain, with the capabilities of looking upward. Clairvoyance, psychic abilities, imagination, dreaming

7. Sahasrara - ("Thousandfold")

  • Location: Crown
  • Symbolic Depiction: 1000 Brilliant Light Petals
  • Sound: GN (Sanskrit) and  HUNG (Tibetian)
  • Seed Sound: I KNOW
  • Tone: B
  • Prana Light: Violet/White
  • Yoga: Jnana/Meditation
  • Energy State: Information
  • Inner State: Bliss
  • Force: Enlightenment
  • Element: Thought
  • Sense: -
  • Organs: Pineal Gland, Upper Brain, Sorcerer's Eye (Dominant),
  • Animals: -
  • Crystals: Diamonds, Crystals
  • Metal: Gold
  • Planets: Uranus
  • Foods: Fasting
  • Incense: Lotus, Rose
  • Correspondence: Center of Evolution, Divine Spark, The Focus of Thought, Consciousness, All Processes of Mind and Body, Information
  • Colour Correspondence: Connects you with message from higher realms. Can be experienced as a pressure on the top of the head. spiritual connection, understanding, knowing, bliss, God

Minor Chakras

In addition to the 7 major chakras, there are a number of other chakras which have importance within different systems.

Hrit chakra or Surya chakra
This chakra is a minor chakra located just below the heart at the solar plexus, and is known as the wish-fulfilling tree. Here, the ability to determine your destiny becomes a reality. It is also known as the Surya chakra.[33] It supports the actions of Manipura chakra by providing it with the element of heat, and is responsible for absorbing energy from the sun.

In Tibetan buddhism, a similar chakra called the Fire Wheel is included in the scheme, but this is located above the heart and below the throat.

Lalana/Talumula
A chakra known as Lalana is situated in one of two places, either in the roof of the mouth, between Visuddhi and Ajna, or on the forehead, above Ajna. The Lalana chakra on the roof of the mouth is related to Bindu and Vishuddhi. When the nectar amrit trickles down from Bindu, it is stored in lalana. This nectar can fall down to Manipura and be burned up, causing gradual degeneration, or through certain practices it can be passed to Visuddhi and purified, becoming a nectar of immortality.

Manas
A chakra known as Manas (mind) is located either between the navel and the heart, close to Surya, or is located above Ajna on the forehead. The version on the forehead has 6 petals, connected to the 5 sense objects plus the mind. In Tibetan buddhism, the chakra located on the forehead is called the Wind wheel, and has 6 spokes.

Bindu Visarga/Indu/Chandra

Bindu visarga, is located either at the top back of the head, where some Brahmins leave a tuft of hair growing, or in the middle forehead. It is symbolised by a crescent moon. This chakra secretes an ambrosial fluid, amrit, and is the seat of the white bindu (compare with the white bodhicitta drop in the crown chakra in the Vajrayana system).

Brahmarandra/Nirvana
In some systems, Sahasrara is the chakra that is on the crown of the head. However, other systems, such as that expounded by Shri Aurobindo, state that the real Sahasrara is located some way above the top of the head, and that the crown chakra is in fact Brahmarandra, a sort of secondary Sahasrara with 100 white petals.

Shri/Guru
This is a minor chakra located slightly above the top of the head. It is an upward facing 12 petalled lotus, and it is associated with the Guru, that higher force that guides us through our spiritual journey.

Lower Chakras

There are said to be a series of seven chakras below muladhara going down the leg, corresponding the base animal instincts, and to the Hindu underworld patala.

Atala
This chakra is located in the hips, it governs fear and lust.

Vitala
Located in the thighs, it governs anger and resentment.

Sutala
Located in the knees, it governs jealousy.

Talatala
Translated as 'under the bottom level', it is located in the calves, and it is a state of prolonged confusion and instinctive wilfulness.

Rasatala
Located in the ankles, it is the centre of selfishness and pure animal nature.

Mahatala
Located in the feet, this is the dark realm 'without conscience', and inner blindness.

Patala
Located in the soles of the feet, this is the realm of malice, murder, torture and hatred, and in Hindu mythology it borders on the realm of Naraka, or Hell.

Chakras and Internal Organs

Parallels are often drawn, between the positions and functions of the chakras, and of the various organs of the endocrinal system.

  • The highest chakra - the crown chakra is said to be the chakra of consciousness, the master chakra that controls all the others. Its role would be very similar to that of the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones to control the rest of the endocrine system, and also connects to the central nervous system via the hypothalamus. The thalamus is thought to have a key role in the physical basis of consciousness.
  • The Ajna Chakra, or third eye, is linked to the pineal gland. Ajna is the chakra of time and awareness and of light. The pineal gland is a light sensitive gland, that produces the hormone melatonin, which regulates the instincts of going to sleep and awakening. It also produces trace amounts of the psychedelic chemical dimethyltryptamine. (Note: some argue that the pineal and pituitary glands should be exchanged in their relationship to the Crown and Brow chakras, based on the description in Arthur Avalon's book on kundalini called Serpent Power)
  • The throat chakra, Vishuddha, is said to be related to communication and growth, growth being a form of expression. This chakra is paralleled to the thyroid, a gland that is also in the throat, and which produces thyroid hormone, responsible for growth and maturation.
  • The heart chakra, Anahata, is related to love, equilibrium, and well-being. It is related to the thymus, located in the chest. This organ is part of the immune system, as well as being part of the endocrine system. It produces T cells responsible for fighting off disease, and is adversely affected by stress.
  • The solar plexus chakra, Manipura, is related to energy, assimilation and digestion, and is said to correspond to the roles played by the pancreas and the outer adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body.
  • The sacral chakra, Swadhisthanna, is located in the groin, and is related to emotion, sexuality and creativity. This chakra is said to correspond to the testes or the ovaries, that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle, which can cause dramatic mood swings.
  • The base or root chakra, Muludhara, is related to security, survival and also to basic human potentiality. It is said the kundalini lies coiled here, ready to uncoil and bring man to his highest spiritual potential in the crown chakra. This center is located in the region between the genitals and the anus. Although no endocrine organ is placed here, it is said to relate to the inner adrenal glands, the adrenal medulla, responsible for the fight and flight response when survival is under threat. In this region is also located a muscle that controls ejaculation in the sexual act. A parallel is drawn between the sperm cell and the ovum, where the genetic code lies coiled, and the legendary kundalini, ready to express itself as a fully developed human being.

Sources and Resources

Internet

http://www.crystalinks.com/chakras.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakra
http://www.eclecticenergies.com/chakras/chakratest.php
http://www.chakraenergy.com/
http://healing.about.com/cs/chakras/a/alignchakras.htm
http://www.colourtherapyhealing.com/colour_therapy/chakras/
http://www.sahajayoga.org/chakrasandsubtlebody/

Books
Rainbird. A. & Rankine. D. (1997). Magick Without Peers. Berks: Capall Bann Publishing.

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