Chakras, A Guide to
Understanding Your Power
by Dirk Gillabel
Copyright, 2001 by Dirk
The images are part of a chakra card set made by
Carol Herzer, go to Chakra Energy
Introduction to the Chakras
Chakras are well know among the new age
community, but the nature of chakras is often not that well understood.
The text presented here is an attempt to shed more light on this issue.
The chakras in the human body are related to specific energies and
consciousness, to endocrine glands, colors, and psychic features. It is
not always obvious to look for a linear connection between these
systems, because the whole is more than the sun of the parts. If we tear
out one part in order to analyze it, we might forget what its function
is in relation to the whole. We can dissect a human body based upon the
different biological systems, or upon the different organs, or upon the
different cells, but this would not explain a living being. Be aware
that every explanation of the chakras is an approximation of what they
really are. The following can help you to better understand what they
are and how they function.
What is above, is below
In the cosmos, everything is present in
everything. Macrocosmos and microcosmos have the same nature. The laws
of the microcosmos are also present in the macrocosmos. At the source of
all manifestations is unity, a cosmic consciousness not understandable
for humans. This unity creates all manifestations, from the subtle to
the most dense matter. The most crystallized state of existence is the
physical world we are living in. The crystallization process of
consciousness went through seven stages, hence the existence of seven
worlds, seven bodies, seven levels of consciousness. Each of these
spheres of existence has a power center, a concentrated field of energy,
that acts as a transformer to a higher or lower world. Each center is
also directly connected with the ultimate source. This pattern is found
in all fields of existence.
Therefore the seven major chakras
reflect on different levels of existence, consciousness, worlds, colors,
endocrine glands in the body, and so on. They are like gates to the
The Seven Major Chakras
The seven major chakras are situated in the
susumna channel, which is the main nadi in the very center of the spine.
Nadis are ethereal, or subtle energy, channels for vital energy in the
body. The names of the seven major chakras are:
muladhara: the root
svadisthana: the sex chakra
manipura: the navel chakra
anahata: the heart chakra
vishuddha: the throat chakra
sahasrara: the crown chakra
In the text below, I have approached each of
the seven chakras from four angles:
tantric which also includes some
esoteric view points;
the endocrine glands which are under the direct
influence of the chakras;
colors: I have used the system of the
rainbow colors, starting with red at the lowest chakra and ending with
violet at the upper most chakra;
psychic features: psychic,
psychological or spiritual functions of the chakras that show with
balanced or unbalanced chakras.
As most people are unfamiliar with
the endocrine system, here is a short overview of the endocrine glands.
Every major chakra has a link to the seven endocrine glands of the
physical body. Endocrine glands are glands that secrete their hormones
directly into the blood stream. They are:
the adrenal medulla (above
the sexual organs (testes and ovaries)
the thyroid gland
All the endocrine glands, with their
hormones, work together to keep the body in perfect health. Hormones
have many effects on many organs, tissues and bodily functions.
Endocrine glands bring to life many spiritual qualities like will power,
persistence, exertion, but they can also cause apathy, indifference, or
laziness when hormone production is interrupted. The development of the
brain is related to the secretion of hormones. When secretion of
hormones is low, brain development stagnates. This has a psychological
effect, as such a person will stay in own little world. What he does not
understand he rejects. He ages quickly and becomes narrow minded.
Hormone secretion and function can be raised by breathing fully, by
which more vital energy, or prana, is taken into the blood stream. The
endocrine glands then have the opportunity to release hormones into the
blood stream. Better breathing, a better blood circulation and an
optimum function of the hormones will strengthen and develop the entire
body to its maximum. Some glands have functions that oppose each other,
thereby creating a sophisticated balance.
Endocrine glands are also
transformers of cosmic powers into the vital energy necessary for the
Muladhara, or Root Chakra
In Tantra: In the beginning
Shiva and Shakti (the male and female principles of Cosmic Energy or
Consciousness) were united in the cosmic sahasrara lotus. When Shakti
(as a woman she represents power), left Shiva, six lotus flowers (the
chakras) sprang up from her foot prints. Leaving Shiva in this way she
created the entire universe from its most subtle realm to the most
crystallized one. Each chakra left behind in the process of creation
corresponds with one of these realms. This process of creation is also
presents within man, from the sahasrara chakra on the crown of the head
down the spine to muladhara or the root chakra, where Shakti now
resides. At one point in time Shakti will rise up again and join her
partner Shiva. Then she will take her entire creation with her, and live
in unity again. In muladhara (the name means root support) creation is
in its most crystallized state. The element earth is attributed to this
chakra. Muladhara is situated near the tail bone. Here Shakti lives, and
she is waiting for the right time to return to Shiva. Shakti is
symbolized by a serpent, and in this form she is called Kundalini.
Kundalini Shakti is sleeping in muladhara, and she is waiting to be
awakened. In fairy tales, the awakening is often represented by a kiss.
Snow White (she is Kundalini Shakti) was awakened from her near death
sleep (=the state of ignorance of man) by the magic prince (Shiva). It
is also interesting that when Snow White arrived at the home of the
seven dwarfs (=the seven chakras), she first tried six beds, and then
fell asleep in the seventh one (=muladhara).
Muladhara lotus has four
petals. The petals attributed to the lotuses each contain a Sanskrit
letter, representing certain powers.
Muladhara is the seat of smell.
A good working sense of smell is dependent on a well developed muladhara.
Concentration this chakra will enhance the sense of smell. Concentration
on the point of the nose will stimulate muladhara. Matters related to
the physical or materialistic level of muladhara can be found in our
language: "to pay through the nose", or a business man who "smells"
where the money is.
Muladhara is the threshold to the first step of
initiation through all the seven major chakras on the spine.
Endocrine gland: adrenaline glands. Muladhara is connected with
the adrenal medulla (above the kidneys). The adrenal medulla secretes
the hormone adrenaline. Adrenaline causes fear, anxiety, rage. It
narrows the blood vessels, the blood stream flows faster, the heart is
stimulated, and breathing becomes faster. More energy is released and
consumed. Adrenaline is a hormone for survival issues.
red. At one end of the color spectrum, red corresponds with the physical
world, the end of the crystallization process of the cosmic substance.
Red is associated with warmth, warning, anger, passion, courage, heroic
virtues, stability, lust, blood, love. Red raises heart rate and blood
pressure. Red clothes enhance sexual attraction, but can also create
Psychic features: Muladhara is characterized
by a strong will for survival. All survival issues have their place in
this chakra. Survival is most basic for living beings. Life and death
are closely intertwined in the game of life. A living being will always
try to escape death and prolong life. Suicidal tendencies therefore
suggest some major problems with muladhara.
Muladhara, the root
chakra, is connected with the element Earth. As roots grow into the
soil, the earth, so does the root chakra connect us with the element
Earth. It helps us keeping our feet on the ground, to become rooted. By
the root chakra we draw in basic, earthy energies. They help us with
surviving in society by looking for work, earning money, achieving a
stable position, acquiring a home and making sure the basic needs of the
family are met.
Materialism expresses itself through muladhara, and
how we use this energy will determine if we become dependent on material
goods, or if we will use them for our spiritual development. A person
who neglects the material world, needs to work more on his blocked root
A blocked root chakra can also show a low bodily vitality,
and chronic illness. Arrogance and self-importance are typical for an
unbalanced root chakra. It is a widely spread problem, the sense of
self-importance, the need to be different and more important than other
people. The sense of being "above’ others shows in the things we buy and
display: the kind of home we live in, the expensive car we drive, and
the position on the social ladder. When establishing our importance in
the world we often distort our self-image. We become more arrogant and
remove all obstacles to ensure our position, even if we have to hurt
other people. The drive of these feelings is actually based on a feeling
of poverty of being and worthlessness, that we try to compensate and
camouflage. With arrogance we want to ensure that people recognize us,
that they acknowledge our prestige and power. The more we build up the
image of self-importance and power, the more we become afraid that one
day our castle will crumble, and a poverty of being will be revealed.
On the other hand, feeling that one is worth nothing is an imbalance
too. One stiffens up and builds a psychic armor, resulting in
People who are stuck in the root chakra like to live
to a preset pattern of norm; any deviation is prohibited. They become
inflexible, stiff, hard, humorless. Life is slow, nothing is really
happening or developing. Inertia reigns, and alternatives are not
The solution to this problem is to realize that the Earth
contains all the richness we need. So do we. Everything we need in this
life is present in ourselves. We do not need to strive to become a VIP
in order to be happy. Happiness lies within oneself. It is there to be
A lot has to do with stability and security. Security is
very tentative, based on the stability of our position in society, a
secure income and other things we do not want to loose. Life is
different. In Chinese philosophy it is said that life is nothing else
but change. Change permeates the cosmos. Everything is in motion,
everything is in eternal change. We can hold onto something for a while,
but when the flow of life takes another course, then we need to let go,
otherwise we become neurotic. We have to realize that nothing is forever
stable, and nothing is forever secure.
We have to center ourselves in
relation to our environment and what it offers us, and be open minded to
every change that happens to come across our path.
Svadhisthana, or Sex Chakra
In Tantra: Svadhisthana,
meaning ‘residence of the self’ in the sense of the ego on the physical
plane, contains some mysteries due to certain descriptions of this
chakra. Here we find the invisible Paramlingam, the concealed eight
petalled lotus, and the elusive Kanda which is not situated in
svadhisthana but nevertheless is connected with it. The mystery of the
sex center also reflects in the movement of the Theosophy where
svadhisthana is not mentioned because "this center near the reproductive
organs is "too dangerous". Instead they talk about the spleen center.
Svadhisthana is situated near the sacrum. The element of Water reigns
here. The mystery of svadhisthana is especially marked by the symbol of
Paramlingam. This lingam, or symbolic phallus, is not visible in the
chakra, it does not have color or form, in contrast with all the other
forms and symbols attributed to the other chakras. Why is this? Is it
that this lingam represents the high purity of the process of creation,
that humanity is not yet able to perceive it?
The number of petals in
svadhisthana is six. In general, six represents harmony, peace,
equilibrium in duality. Vishnu consciousness is seated in this chakra.
Vishnu is part of a trinity which also includes Brahma and Shiva. Brahma
is the creative principle, Shiva is the destructive principle, and
Vishnu is the maintaining principle, creating equilibrium. Six is also
the number of enemies coming forth from the ego on this level of
existence: desire, rage, greed, infatuation, pride and envy.
an energy center close to svadhisthana chakra. It is the center out of
which all nadis of the body arise (nadis are ethereal channels for the
flow of life energy).
Color: orange. Orange is not a
primary color, but secondary. It is the result of blending red and
yellow. Red belongs to muladhara and yellow to manipura, the navel
chakra. As a mixture of red (the physical) and yellow (the intellect),
orange is an energy stimulator. It has a strong harmonizing and
balancing effect. This way it is very useful in healing.
Psychic features: Svadhisthana is a center that, if not
mastered can easily drag us down. This is the center of slavery, slavery
to other person’s wishes or demands. Actually one is enslaving himself
by lack of control over this center, a lack of energy, a lack of
development. It is also slavery to passions and desires, and to
cravings. An under developed sex chakra leads to instability and
Therefore it is important to strengthen and purify this
chakra. Without this a spiritual seeker will continuously stumble on his
path, and he will be unable to achieve any progress. In svadhisthana we
can bring body, soul and spirit in perfect harmony, and the purified
lower desires can be brought into harmony with and service to the higher
feelings. Duties and obligations will no longer be experienced as
something we have to do to suit other people, but because we really want
to do them. The sex chakra is a power center that contributes a lot of
vitality to the body. It allows sexual energies to emanate from a
Manipura, the first or root chakra, is necessary for
survival. When the immediate danger for individual survival has passed,
a being will direct its attention to the opposite sex. Now the survival
of the species has to be secured. The sex chakra is about attraction to
the opposite sex, a purely bodily attraction. Sex is performed for
procreation. On the human level, sex is also to be enjoyed for pleasure,
which by itself is a powerful tool to guarantee procreation. With the
root chakra, one is only concerned about himself. With the sex chakra he
goes out to meet another person. This impulse leads him to a mate, and
to the experience of intimacy.
The sex center is connected with the
element Water. Water has to flow in order to remain pure. As soon as its
flow is blocked, it begins to stagnate, and creates a swampy pool. The
same applies to the emotions involved with the second chakra. When
sexuality is blocked, and we live in a sexually repressed society, man
is dragged down into a suffocating swamp of sexual constraint,
perversity, and lack of the necessary flow and satisfaction of his
natural sexual impulses. Swamps create diseases, this is also the case
with a blocked sex canter. The entire body will suffer, not only
physically, but also psychologically.
Svadhisthana is the center of
clarity (the clarity of Water). It refers to clarity of mind;
unfortunately it is too often distorted by anger. Anger can display
itself in several ways. It can be expressed in an active, violent way,
destroying everything that happens to be around. An angry person can
even go that far that he kills the one he hates or even one he loves. At
the other side, anger can be expressed in a passive and cool way.
Outwardly, one is perfectly normal, but inside one is boiling with
anger, planning and executing revenge. Anger can also have a freezing
effect, by which one is unable to express oneself., until the pressure
is too great, and an explosion follows. In any case clarity of mind is
Anger is the result of feelings of fear and vulnerability. We
feel vulnerable, and we do not want to show it. We know we can be hurt,
and we do not want anybody to know about it. We are afraid of these
feelings, and we want to keep them out. When we feel threatened by
anyone, we will act in way that will ensure that they will not recognize
that we are fragile. Thus we are defensive and attack. We cannot bear
the thought that another person is stronger than we, so we want to
destroy him and attack with anger. Anger is a major problem in our
When somebody is angry at us we have to recognize that he
actually thinks we are stronger than him, or that we are able to hurt
him. Do not make the same mistake he did, do not become afraid of your
own vulnerability, and do not react in the same way. Instead recognize
your vulnerability and strength. Tell him that we all feel vulnerable,
that none of us likes to feel hurt, and that uncontrolled anger will not
resolve anything. Often people will give reasons to justify their anger.
There is no justification. Every person is responsible for himself and
for his own feelings. Nobody can hurt you, or make you angry. You decide
for yourself if you will feel hurt and if you want to get angry. Hurt is
based upon previous negative experiences, often from childhood. So the
hurt comes up immediately, and that by itself is ok. We are human, we
feel those feelings, but we do not need to dwell on them, and we do not
need to get angry and retaliate.
Usually anger is expressed in an
active way, but it can also be subdued. In this case we deny our pain
and repress it, because we want to get on with life. Then we stop
enjoying life. We have been hurt, and we do not want that to happen
again, so we shut ourselves of, and harden our feelings.
So, be like
free flowing water, accepting life as it flows through the universe.
Manipura, or Navel Chakra
In Tantra: manipura means ‘city
of precious stones’ or ‘city of the sun’. It is situated around the
navel, and has a connection with the solar plexus and the pancreas. As
its name implies the solar plexus has a relationship to the Sun.
Manipura is the reservoir where prana (life energy) is collected and
accumulated, and then transported to those areas of the body that need
vital energy. Manipura is the medium for distribution and transformation
of energies to bodily functions. Manipura is also the transformer of
thoughts into actions, of thought processes and of expressions of
Manipura is an important center that is active in
relationships. It not only absorbs prana energy from the environment but
also from people. This is how we pick up good or bad ‘vibes’ from other
people. Sometimes other people, unconsciously, draw energy out of you
through manipura. After having spent some time with such a person, you
will feel tired. I call these people ‘vacuum cleaners’ because they have
a tendency to suck other people’s energies. An easy want to prevent this
from happening is to cross your arms in front of the solar plexus.
The navel chakra corresponds to the element Fire. In this regard
manipura regulates digestion, transformation, sublimation. In manipura
is the fire of transformation, the transformation of inorganic matter
into organic matter and from organic matter into psychic energies.
Manipura can be seen as an alchemical oven.
There is a relationship
between manipura and muladhara (root chakra). In muladhara one absorbs
and collects impressions in order to have experiences. In manipura these
experiences are destroyed but also enjoyed. The destruction, which
actually is transformation, is necessary before one can enjoy them.
Enjoyment means assimilation into one’s being. In vishuddha, the throat
chakra, that what had been transformed and enjoyed will be let go of, or
set free. Vishuddha throws out what has been transformed because it does
not have any value anymore.
The eyes and feet are related to the
navel chakra. Both are responsible for maintaining a good balance. The
eyes are directly related to manipura. When digestion is bad, vision
will be impaired. Chronic digestion problems will often result in loss
There is another relationship between manipura and the
eyes. Hypnosis is a process by which one gains power over the animal
nature of a person; it is often induced by the eyes. By looking someone
straight into the eyes, one can actually seduce, influence and even
manipulate the other person. By penetrating the eyes of a person we can
gain control over his solar plexus, and for example, nail that person to
the spot (make him immobile).
Endocrine gland: the
pancreas: The pancreas produces two major hormones that control the
handling of glucose and fatty acid fuels in the body. After a meal, when
blood glucose rises, it directly causes insulin release.
endocrine system there is a relation between the adrenal medulla
(belonging to muladhara or root chakra) and the pancreas (manipura or
navel chakra). The adrenal medulla produces adrenalin, and the pancreas
produces insulin. The two hormones have an opposite effect. When the
pancreas has been paralyzed by eating too much, the adrenal medulla is
activated. Also, insulin binds sugar. It makes sure that as little
energy as possible is used. Adrenaline consumes sugar. When insulin
production is decreasing, the liver releases sugar (glucose). Then blood
glucose becomes too high because the kidneys cannot absorb all that
glucose, so it disappears with the urine.
We have seen that manipura is the transformer of thoughts into
actions, of thought processes and of expressions of feelings. This
corresponds to the interpretation of yellow as an intellectual color, as
the expression of the intellect. Yellow stimulates the logical mind and
Psychic features: Manipura gives us insight
into the abilities and talents of other beings, and into the role of
living beings in nature. In manipura we learn to control and master our
sense impressions, to eliminate illusions and fantasies, and to block
out any impressions and energies we do not want. Mindless gazing and
listening must be avoided, because by this we let in unwanted
information. We must learn to see and hear what we really want, and
focus on it. The same applies to thinking. The only way we can reach
this level of consciousness is by self-discipline.
In the root center
we are an individual struggling for survival. In the sex center we were
approaching another person, creating a basic bond, based on animal
attraction. Once the interest in other people has been awakened,
relationships start to form, for which the navel center is responsible.
The relationships we have with other people are very real on the
energetic level. Clairvoyants can see strings of energy going out of the
navel chakra towards the people with whom we have created relationships.
With relationships, the issue of power comes up. Contact with other
people results in exchanging energy. It is an automatic process. More
powerful people will dominate the less powerful. Coming up for oneself
and establishing a position in society all happen through the navel
chakra. It is important to be aware of what you let in or let out
through this chakra. The connections we make through the navel chakra
are not limited to other people, they also extend to everything around
us. Manipura gives you the feeling of belonging to a village, a country,
a planet, the universe. Home sickness is the result of a pull felt
through the navel chakra by an energy cord that is still linking you
with the place or person you left.
The element of manipura is Fire.
On the psychological level we deal here with fiery emotions. As this
center is also connected with power, these emotions when directed to
another person can have a powerful effect on them, on the energetic
level powerful blasts of energy are directed to that person. The person
who is thus expressing his fiery emotions, will lose a lot of energy.
After an emotional outburst, or a heavy emotional fight, one will feel
depleted. Uncontrolled emotions never pay off, never lead to a solution.
This does not mean that these emotions cannot be expressed. It would be
wrong to suppress any emotion. One has to learn to use and express his
emotions in the right way, with the right intent, in an effective way,
to attain the desired goal. This demands an honest review of ones own
interests, and respect for the other person. Emotions must be
controlled, do not let emotions control you.
The desire to posses is
a sign of an unbalanced navel chakra. The desire to posses something or
someone does not leave room to enjoy the objects of desire. Enjoyment
means absorption, transformation and release (the nature of Fire). In
the desire to posses, transformation and release is prevented. Nothing
is enjoyed, and even more is wanted, and this results in overindulgence.
The quality of Fire is provocative and seductive, and before we know,
the desire to posses has overwhelmed us. We have to realize that we came
into this world with nothing, and we will leave it empty handed. As a
human being we really cannot posses anything, possession is an illusion.
The world, nature, and our environment are here to be enjoyed, not to be
possessed and held on to. We have to appreciate what the world is
offering and use it with clear awareness, in an appropriate way and with
respect. The desire to posses stems from the feeling of isolation. When
we feel isolated we tend to go out and try to get hold of something to
fill that empty space inside of us. We have to realize that life has to
be enjoyed, and this will by itself attract other people to you who will
want to participate in your joy.
The energy of the navel chakra is
like fire, it burns wherever it can feed upon something. Fascination is
the fire that keeps us going to pursue the things we want, but it can
also lead to obsession. It starts with excitement. Then fixation tries
to close in on the object of desire. Satisfaction of desires is a
temporal thing. Once a desire has been satisfied one craves for more.
This leads to obsession. This fire consumes our energy, and in the
process we eventually burn out.
People with an over-active navel
chakra have a lot of energy, but are likely to take risks and chances,
and are often too impulsive. They tend to fly up like sparks into the
sky, and loose contact with the Earth, and with reality. They are
impatient, and often turn into fanatics. Those people need to learn to
be patient. Uncontrolled fire destroys, but with controlled fire we are
able to craft the most beautiful things.
One of the biggest stumbling
blocks people can have is that they think they posses their partner. It
shows in our language, we speak of ‘my’ wife, or ‘my’ husband. We cannot
posses another human being, we can only share our lives with someone
Anahata, or Heart Chakra
In Tantra: anahata means
‘singular sound’. It is the middle chakra in the line of seven. What is
below and what is above intertwines in anahata. The upper and lower
energies take on the form of two interlaced triangles.
heart chakra, is the seat of the human ego. We point to the heart when
we want to refer to ourselves. The physical ego has will power, center,
vitality, warmth, stability, radiance. A strong heart chakra shows
talents of leadership and independence.
Anahata shares with
muladhara (root chakra) the image of the lingam. In muladhara the lingam
stood for creation of the physical world. In anahata, the heart chakra,
the lingam represents the subtle, or astral, world. The third lingam is
in ajna (brow chakra), where it stands for the causal, or mental world.
The skin is the organ that has its seat in anahata. The skin is the
threshold between the inner and outer world. What we refer to as ‘me’ is
underneath the skin. What is outside the skin is all the rest, people,
nature, the universe. The skin is also an instrument to express and
receive affection and love, hugs and caressing, flowing out from the
heart chakra. As a function of limitation, the skin is related to
muladhara (the root chakra).
Endocrine gland: the
thymus. The thymus is the gland that gives self-confidence. A properly
working thymus paves the way to success by confidence and faith in the
right action. This is a spontaneous, intuitive process as we find it in
children. However around the age of twelve the thymus stops working
almost entirely. It then works only on a very basic level to keep the
body alive, but it connection with the brain ceases. Self-confidence is
pushed to the background, self-maintenance now arises, expressed by the
action of collecting things.
The thymus is closely connected with
heart and blood. The thymus creates a sense of togetherness through love
and community life. When the thymus stops functioning, the sense of
togetherness disappears, and instead the sense of ego appears, the sense
of being different than others. The child looses its sense of unity, and
becomes an ego. The ego seeks pleasure in material things, but pleasure
is not always what the ego expected and it never lasts long. So the ego
becomes dissatisfied, and when it finally realizes that there must be
something more to life, it jumps into a church. After a while it gets
dissatisfied with the church too, and the ego becomes completely
A person whose thymus continues to function properly
becomes a spiritual person. He seeks happiness within himself. He has
confidence in life because he looks behind the outer appearance of
things. He is open to the unknown. He focuses his mind to the real life
issues, in contrast with the materialist who scatters his energy as he
The connection between the thymus and reproductive
organs shows in the sexual development, which is latent until the child
reaches the age of about twelve. At that time the thymus stops working
Color: green. Green is the middle
color of the spectrum, and thus has balancing qualities. Green is
essentially a healing color. It is the color of growth and renewal.
Being in the presence of green plants all around us makes us feel good
and healthy. Living in a highly industrialized society, we still like to
go out for a walk in the woods, in a park or a back yard to relax. We
even take plants inside our house. Somehow their green color reassures
us that we are still connected with nature and its healing energies.
Green is the color not only of nature but also of the elemental forces
in nature. It is the color of the nature spirits, specially of elves and
fairies, who often dress in a green robe.
With both vishuddha, the throat chakra, and anahata half of the petals
of the chakra (each petals represents a certain energy) were already
active at the beginning of mankind. The remaining six of anahata we can
activate by developing their corresponding properties in ourselves:
controlling and directing the thought processes; control and direction
of our actions; cultivation of perseverance; development of tolerance
towards other beings and events; development of openness and
impartiality towards all phenomena of life (faith, trust); cultivating
balance or serenity.
Anahata, the heart chakra, gives us the ability
to gain insight in the mentality and character of other beings. With it
we are able to feel the warmth and cold emanating from other people.
With the heart chakra we send out and receive love. In the navel center
we create relationships; with the heart center, a higher dimension, or
meaning is added to these relationships. With love you express that you
are willing to give, to share your feelings. The feeling of love can be
so great that one is willing to give his life for the other person.
However it can also go the opposite way. With an unbalanced heart
chakra, the love one gives is merely an expression of a longing for
egotistic possession and domination of another person. Giving love
without expecting anything back is really something that is reserved for
only a few persons. At the present level of humanity, most people are
unable to let the beloved one totally free in what he does. Even when
the beloved wants to go on another path of life, it is so difficult for
most people to still love him without any expectancy.
Love is total
connection with everything in creation. It is feeling one with what is
loved. When this feeling is lost, one slides back to the chakra below (manipura,
or navel chakra) in order to control his environment, and people, in an
effort to make sure his survival in terms of the meaning of life.
Domination and control are rampant in the world at the moment.
element Air is connected with anahata. Love, just as Air, likes to flow
and reach every little corner on the planet. Air is the mediator between
the Sky and the Earth. Thus the heart connects our physical existence
with a power that comes from the universe. Just as the Air channels the
light from the Sun towards the earth, so the heart receives love and
passes it on to our physical existence.
Trust is an expression of the
heart chakra. When you love somebody you trust him. When trust is
lacking, one starts to worry. Worry that can grow into paranoia. Like
the element Air, it starts moving, restless seeking over the Earth,
whirling, developing into a tornado. Then we are constantly looking for
information and reasons to sustain our suspicion, even dragging other
people into our paranoia. We get lost in the realm of Air and loose our
connection with the Earth, with reality. Lack of trust and suspicion are
the result of fear that our territory is under attack. Territory not
only in the literal sense but also in the psychological sense. It can
turn into a vicious circle by which we always anticipate the negative.
We have to realize that worry, suspicion and lack of trust are unreal if
they are unfounded. Often we have to shift our point of view in order to
understand where the other person is coming from. Trust implies the
acceptance of movement. We cannot dominate other people, especially our
partner, in order to satisfy our insecurity. Trust is like the wind, you
have to let is blow freely, and trust that it will bring you fresh air.
Let the wind remove the unnecessary defenses of your territory, make
more space in your life and learn to fly like a bird in the sky. Not
always easy in our society, but who wants to spend the rest of his life
in a bird cage?
Vishuddha, or Throat Chakra
In Tantra: vishuddha
means ‘pure’; it is the center of purity. The syllable ‘vi’ means
removal, in all directions, totally, completely. ‘Shuddha’ means pure,
clear. Thus vishuddha means completely pure, clear in all directions.
With the throat comes the ability to utter sounds. The primordial sound,
‘om’ consists of two pure sounds, the O and M. From this primordial
sound emanated the sixteen pure vowels which reside in vishuddha. From
here on the impure sounds, the consonants, originated and took seat in
the chakra below vishuddha. Sahasra, the crown chakra (above vishuddha),
contains all the sounds together. The reason why vowels are considered
pure is that when spoken the vocal cords are strained but the voice
channel remains open, which is not the case with consonants. The throat
chakra governs the area of the throat, vocal chords, and the entire
voice channel. It does not surprise us that many opera and other
singers, both male and female, whose vishuddha has become well
developed, are well proportioned, voluminous, robust men and women.
The body is strongly influenced by the activity of vishuddha, and thus
muladhara, the root chakra, has a strong link with vishuddha. In
muladhara sound is still in its ‘para’ aspect: it is not yet manifested
physically. The physical manifestation of sound happens in vishuddha,
with the cooperation of the throat, nose and mouth, determining what
kind of sound is being produced.
Let us have a look at the human
body. The throat divides the trunk from the head. The throat not only
divides but also forms a transition. Vishuddha forms the transition
point from the four lower chakras to the two higher chakras. In this
sense it is related to Saturn which, in traditional astrology, is the
end of the known world (the seven visible planets) and the beginning of
the unknown world (beyond Saturn). However vishuddha is more; it is the
collection of everything below. In vishuddha a process of synthesis
takes place, before the energy can move upwards into the head. At the
same time it is a purification station that clears the wine from the
drab. Only purity can ascend to the higher centers of the head. All this
happens when energy moves upwards through the body. When energy from the
crown chakra moves downwards in the body, Vishuddha acts as a
transformer for the higher energies, making them suitable to function in
the more dense levels of existence below the throat chakra.
a strong connection between the larynx and the reproductive organs. In
very ancient times the larynx was a part of the reproductive organs.
This might sound weird, but we have to imagine that this was in a time
when the human body did not have the form, nor the physical state as it
has now. In a later phase of human development, the body changed in such
a way that only the lower part of the body developed the reproductive
organs as we know them now. The area of the larynx was originally open,
but gradually closed itself. In Dutch the larynx is called ‘schildklier’,
meaning shield gland. It formed a ‘shield’ to close itself. The
reproductive organs would express themselves creatively by producing new
life; the larynx would express itself creatively by producing sounds. It
is said that in the future there will be a time in which people will
manifest the creative word. They will be able to create with words, or
with sound. By that time the reproductive organs will degenerate.
larynx has another important meaning. The esoteric teachings say that
animals which have a horizontal larynx are under a group spirit. Man,
when his original body changed into an upright position, obtained a
vertical larynx, which allows the sense of ego to enter. This ego
distinguishes man from the animals, for now he is able to utter his
thoughts in a comprehensive way. When we look at the chakra system, we
can say that the first four chakras are animal related. Animals have
survival instincts (muladhara or root chakra), they reproduce (svadhisthana
or sex chakra), they create relationships (manipura or navel chakra) and
they display affection and love for their like (anahata or heart
chakra), but they are not capable of intelligent speech (vishuddha).
The relationship between vishuddha and sexuality also shows at the
beginning of puberty when the gonads cause the development of the Adams
apple (expansion of the larynx), and a change in the vocal cords by
which the voice becomes "heavier". The nice and soft voice of the child
disappears and makes way for a stronger and more harsh voice.
Vishuddha has the element of Ether. In Ether the four elements are
united as one. At the same time Ether brings forth the four elements.
Ether has an expanding quality. It likes to expand and fill the entire
universe. It transcends boundaries and knows no directions. Likewise,
the throat chakra helps us to expands our awareness.
Endocrine gland: the thyroid. In front of the larynx and the
trachea, is the thyroid gland. The thyroid produces thyroxine and
triiodohyronine. They act throughout the body to maintain activity of
all metabolic pathways in the cells at a steady rate. Energy-producing
and energy-using processes are increased and fuel storage is reduces by
hydroxine. The thyroid secretion also directly influences the digestion.
Lack or absence of thyroxine causes insufficient digestion of food,
resulting in corpulence, slowness and lethargy, idiocy and so on. When
there is too much secretion, digestion is too fast, and the body does
not get enough energy intake because the energy has been consumed too
fast. When the thyroid gland works normally, it gives us pleasure and we
enjoy life. When it does not work properly, it takes away our pleasure,
and life is not enjoyable anymore.
The thyroid gland requires much of
the dietary iodine intake, and cannot function adequately if this
element is lacking. The thyroid has a strong influence on the gonads,
and influences sex appetite, menstruation and pregnancy.
Color: blue. Blue has a cooling, calming effect. It is
relaxing. It is connected with intuition and gaining knowledge from
other planes. Blue is the color of the sky, and through the sky we enter
into the heavenly realms.
Psychic features: Eight of
the sixteen petals of vishuddha have already been developed in the
distant past of man. These eight petals gave man a dreamlike and dull
consciousness. Maybe this is why concentration on vishuddha promotes
sleep. As man’s consciousness became clearer, these eight petals ceased
their activity. The remaining eight petals can still be developed by
conscious effort. The eight qualities corresponding with these petals
are: the way in which we acquire ideas or mental images; the way we make
decisions; speech; the ordering of outer actions; the arrangement and
organization of our life as a whole; right striving and effort; the
effort to learn as much as possible; and the ability to look inward and
mentally review our life.
The mouth takes in food, the nose and mouth
take in air. Mouth and nose belong to vishuddha, and refer to the
capacity of taking in what the world offers us. When we have difficulty
with this, or when we are forced to accept something, then we have to
‘swallow it’. Or we ‘throw up’, or we feel ‘strangled’, or we
‘suffocate’. When somebody is overwhelmed by too much information, he is
up to his neck in it.
Speaking is an expression of oneself that
happens through the throat chakra. Success in society not only depends
on one’s capacities, but especially on how well one speaks. Often,
people with great talents do not make it in society because they are not
able to express themselves verbally. At the other hand people with only
little talents make it in society because they are good talkers.
Survival at the level of svadhisthana is reflected in the amount of
success one has in society, be it in his immediate environment or in the
world at large.
In anahata we experienced personal love, unselfish
love and we even can have a taste of universal love. With vishuddha, or
throat chakra, we are able to expand our consciousness, drifting on the
Ether, "to go where nobody has gone before". With vishuddha we learn
about the vastness of Space, which contains everything in existence,
everything in potentiality. Space exists both inside and outside of us.
Ajna, or Brow Chakra
In Tantra: ajna means ‘rule’,
or ‘command’, as it is from here the other chakras are guided. In ajna
we find the third of the three lingams. The lingam in muladhara, or root
chakra, gives entrance to the physical world. The lingam in anahata, or
heart chakra, gives entrance to the subtle or astral world. The lingam
in ajna gives entrance to the causal or mental world.
In man karma
works on the level of his causal body, which is connected to ajna. In
the causal body all information is stored about our past and past lives.
Things in the present and future that will happen to us, are based on
this information. For example, the place, time and circumstances of
birth will be determined by what has happened in previous lives. Past
and future create a tension that causes the present to come into
Traditionally, ajna has two petals. Now this is very
strange, because when we look at the numbers of petals of the chakras,
it would seem logical that ajna would have more:
Sahasrara: 1000 (symbolic for unlimited)
From muladhara to
vishuddha, the number of petals increases, but then they suddenly drop
at ajna. The 1000 petals at sahasrara is a symbolic number, as there are
innumerable petals in this chakra. Why does ajna only get two petals in
a series of increasing numbers? In most books you will find that the two
petals stand for duality that comes into existence at the level of ajna,
when creation came forth from sahasrara. Ajna is the center where
duality came into being. However this does not explain why ajna should
not have more petals. An explanation for this apparent anomaly I heard
from Yoga Muni, a western yogi in Belgium, who talks from his own
experiences. He said that, when he was meditating on ajna, he perceived
that ajna has indeed more petals, but they are revolving so fast that
most people are not able to distinguish them, or see them as separate
petals. It has to do with frequencies. Let us take the example of a
movie. A roll of film has a speed of 25 images a second. A hay wagon has
wheels with a certain number of spokes. When the wagon is in motion, the
spokes revolve with a certain frequency. When we film the wagon in
motion, we will see the spokes of the wagon blurred of disappearing, and
sometimes they appear with a different number of spokes, because the
frequency of the information (on film) is different from the actual
frequency of the revolving spokes. A similar thing happens with the
petals of ajna. The petals of ajna revolve with a particular frequency.
However, the frequency of perception of most yogis is not the same, and
thus their perception is distorted. They will only see two petals, but
they are actually a resonant image. When one is able to tune his
frequency of perception with the frequency of ajna, one will see all the
Endocrine gland: the hypothalamus. The
hypthalamus is the main coordinating center between the endocrine system
and the nervous system. It also releases growth hormone. The
hypothalamus controls sleep and waking, body temperature and appetite.
It regulates our mood, alertness, sensitivity to pain, eating, drinking,
The hypothalamus controls the front part of the
pituitary gland by secreting hormones that flow into the pituitary gland
through tiny connecting blood vessels.
indigo. Indigo is the result of mixing the three primary colors red,
yellow and blue. Let us have a look at the three lingams. The first one,
in muladhara or root chakra, is called the swayambhu lingam which is red
(a primary color). The second one in anahata, or heart chakra, is called
the bana lingam, which is green (a secondary color, made from yellow and
blue). The third one is in ajna, and is called itara lingam, which has
an indigo color (the tertiary color, made from yellow, blue and red).
Indigo helps with making a connection with the higher self. It promotes
intuition, and it is the color of wisdom. Philosophy and science. It is
connected with the development of intuitive thinking and with deductive
reasoning in order to expand the known towards the unknown. It opens the
door of the subjective self to the objective no-self.
features: Concentration on ajna, situated between the eyebrows,
can produce out-of-the-body and other spiritual experiences. This center
is a gateway to other realms. One can also concentrate on the back of
the head, where the ‘backdoor’ of ajna is.
Ajna rules over the eyes.
Through the eyes one can penetrate the soul of a person. Do we not say
"look at my eyes", or "let me look into your eyes" when we want to
discover the truth. With the eyes one can convey a message without
words. Clear, sharp and evident. The eyes can seduce but also
manipulate. It is all soul language, it all works on the level of the
Ajna gives us the ability of visualization and the formation of
mental images and concepts. Here is the center with which we build our
view of the world, and of reality. If we create a world view based on
fantasy, then we are not connected with reality and we will experience
difficulty in life. We might find that life is unjust, unfair. Most
people then blame the outer world. One is responsible for one’s own
actions. Blaming does not help, and thus it is better to look what is
wrong with our ideas and have another look at what reality is about.
An unbalanced ajna chakra might lead to distorted opinions about life,
and compulsive, obsessive behavior. Ajna is also the center where
creativity is, and a person with an unbalanced ajna chakra might develop
into a mad inventor, a criminal, or a crazy Dr. Frankenstein.
Sahasrara, or Crown Chakra
In Tantra: The realization of
sahasrara is the goal of every yogi. It is the primary root of
liberation. Once sasharara has ben realized, rebirth in the world of
illusions is no longer necessary. Sahasrara links us to the divine Sea
of Light, the Kingdom of Light, out of which everything has emanated.
The sahasara lotus traditionally has 1000 petals. This number is
symbolic and means unlimited.
Sahasrara is like an invisible Sun, in
rest, existing above all the realms of creation, in unity.
Endocrine gland: the pituitary gland. Ajna and sahasrara have a
close connection on the physical level. The pituitary gland is attached
to the upper edge of the inner portion of the brain. It is the size of a
small pea, and sits protected in a bony depression, the Turkish saddle,
at the base of the skull. It produces melatonin (a chemical that
produces sleep) which is affected by light. The pituitary gland is also
involved in sexual functions but it is not yet quite clear how this
functions. The hormones secreted by the anterior pituitary gland direct
the activities of its ‘target’ glands elsewhere in the body. One of the
pituitary’s hormones acts on the body’s tissues in general to produce
growth in childhood and adolescence. The production and release of
hormones from the anterior pituitary gland are affected by the hormones
of the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland work
close together. The posterior pituitary bears no secreting cells, but
stores two hormones which are produced by the hypothalamus, and which
are passed down the nerve fibers in the pituitary stalk. These hormones
are oxytocin, which acts on a smooth muscles, and vasopressin, which is
an antidiuretic hormone. Vasopressin acts as a water preserver in the
According to esoteric teachings, the pituitary gland is a
remnant of an earlier phase of evolution, but not in the sense that it
is pining away. The third eye, which was active in man’s earlier
evolution, is not a physical organ, but a subtle one. The fact that is
not active anymore, means that man does not know how to use it anymore.
With anahata, or heart chakra, we saw that the thymus atrophies
after childhood. The same thing happens with the pituitary gland. As
long as this gland is still working, the child is very connected with
his inner world. When the gland begins to atrophy, the child becomes
more self-conscious. At this point man looses his ability to enter the
inner worlds. At a later age he will be able to gain access again, but
this time by using his will.
Color: violet. Violet
is at the end of the color spectrum and stands for the transition to the
invisible realms. In relation to sahasrara it creates a connection with
the divine essence in man, and with the divine itself. It is the gateway
to the entire cosmos.
Violet has always been connected to priesthood.
In this sense it is the color of Divine Love, goodness, purity an
dedication. It is the magical color that sublimates everything to
Psychic features: The crown chakra
connect us with the Divine, with the Kindom of Light, with Christ. From
the crown of the head a golden energy cord goes towards the divine
source. We are all continuously connected with the Divine. Nobody is
left alone. The golden cord nourishes us with divine food, inspiration
and spirituality in the highest sense.
People with an unbalanced
crown do not see the meaning of life, nor do they believe in the
existence of the Divine. For them, life is just a coincidence, some
molecules that came together and developed life on this planet. A purely
biological event. Others who are blocked may adhere to a dominating
With the new age, sahasrara is turning into motion.
Consciousness is expanding. Society and churches do not provide the
answers to the spiritual questions that live deep inside man. People are
looking more and more to what life is about and who they are. They are
starting to see their place again in the vast cosmos, and are
discovering what their destiny is. It is a process each of us has to go
by himself, but we can help each other on the path to the Divine Light.