Chakras - Meanings & Symbols

History: The chakra system originated in India between 1500 and 500 BC as mentioned in the oldest Sanskrit texts called the Vedas.

 

In the Tantric traditions, from which the concept derives, chakras are focal points of energy for meditation within the human body, visualized as concentrated centers of energy resembling discs or wheels (literally what the original word "cakra" means in Sanskrit) located at the points where a number of nadis (energy channels or

meridians) converge.

 

It may surprise you to know that there is not just one system; there are literally dozens of chakra systems. In mature Tantric Yoga (after the year 900 or so), every one of the many branches of the tradition employ a different chakra system, and some branches utilized more than one. There are systems with five, six, seven, nine, ten, twelve, twenty-one and more chakras. The well-known seven chakra system became dominant in the 15th century, apparently because of a mistranslation of a document (don’t you love history?)

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In western thought, the chakras are similarly thought be spinning disks of energy that run along the vertical center of the human body and correspond (loosely) to bundles of nerves, major organs, and areas of our energetic body that affect our emotional, mental, and physical well-being.  

 

However, rather than simply using the chakras as a focus for meditation, in the West we also use this knowledge to heal the body, expand the mind, develop and fine tune the (higher) emotions, and evolve our spirit.

 

Controversy Arises: There is a fair amount of controversy over the Western version and our use of the Tantric system of chakras; notably that we “got it wrong”.  I agree in

some ways with this assessment. I’ll comment more on this below.

 

Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, esotericist and clairvoyant considered the chakra system to be dynamic and evolving. He suggested

that this system has become different for modern people than it was in ancient times

and that it will, in turn, be radically different in future times. I do agree with this as

you’ll see later.

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Experts in the field (i.e., Tantric Yogis) agree that no one system of the original systems was right and the others wrong.  They also state that the nature of the human energy

field is an extraordinarily fluid reality and can present, experientially speaking, with

any number of energy centers depending on the person and the (yogic) practice

they're performing. 

 

So now my question comes in; then why isn’t a modern version acceptable as well? 

As Steiner indicated, as our knowledge about the human energy field (and energy fields in general) expands, so would our understanding and use of the chakra system change

to accommodate the new knowledge.  I see no issue with this.  (Look at medicine.  As

a rule, we don’t use leeches anymore because our medical knowledge has evolved.)

 

However, I do agree that basing one’s system partially on one or more of the ancient Hindu systems and the rest on modern Western information and use seems to muddy

the waters (or cross-contaminate) if you will.  I think we should go one way or the other. 

 

Similar to the process of constructing ritual, we find that combining differing cultural practices doesn’t usually work well. Things become disjointed because some of the symbolism is specific to one culture and typically not (truly) understood by the others.

This results in a product or process that is difficult (or confusing) to understand and

relate to, which leads to reduced effectiveness. 

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While I completely understand the displeasure practitioners of Tantric Yoga have regarding the cultural appropriation of their chakra system, it’s like saying that because the ancient Chinese were the first to discover gunpowder and they used it this certain

way that no one else should be able to use it any other way.  That’s preposterous. 

 

Now if you use it a new way but claim that this is how the ancient Chinese used it, that wouldn’t be truthful.  You should not, without extensive research or understanding in

any field, claim that this is the way the originators used it. However, discovering a new way to use something, especially if it’s proven to be helpful to people, should not be discounted or discarded.

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The important question:  Now you may be asking at this point, “What is the purpose of having information about the chakras on a crystal website?”  To which I would say, “Because it’s all connected.”  What I mean is that we can use crystals and chakra energy in similar ways; to heal the body, expand the mind, develop and fine tune the (higher) emotions, and evolve our spirit.

 

In addition, the vibrations (that we use to create descriptions) of the chakras are very similar to those of certain crystals.  So we can use the knowledge of particular crystals

to enhance chakra work and the knowledge of the chakras to enhance our crystal work.  The two complement each other quite nicely.

 

AWS Chakra System: So let me introduce the system I use which doesn’t include

Hindu terms, symbols or practices (to the best of my knowledge).

 

I use a system of 9 chakras; the 7 more well-known ones as well as the Earth and

Soul Stars. 

 

Notes: For those who know a bit more about chakra systems already, I do not include

the chakra called the causal chakra in my system.  This chakra was thought to be contained within the brain compartment (like our crown chakra) in beings with an extended physical cranium (Possibly extraterrestrials? Possibly ancient Atlantians or Lemurians?).  Since we do not have the extended cranium, I feel the causal chakra is

not relevant to modern homo sapiens’ physiology.  In addition, the description of the causal chakra seems very redundant with the crown chakra. For these reasons, you will

not see it in my discussion.

 

Also, we know there are chakras in the palms of the hands and in the soles of the feet.  Some systems also have many more, including ones located above the Soul Star or in between the more common seven.  Keeping with my intent to teach practical and effective methods of working with crystals that are also not so complicated that you

lose interest or find them too difficult to use, I just don’t see the need to include all

the possible options.

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As you can see by the picture, I follow a standard placement and color association with the 9 chakras.   I also keep (more or less) to the typical descriptions and correspondences with only a few (important) deviations. 

 

A difference you will notice are the symbols I associate with each chakra. Again, I am

not using Hindu symbols because they carry no meaning for me (and, as the Tantric

Yogi’s state, we got them wrong anyway).  Instead I use sacred geometry since that is

what I use in crystal gridding and other areas of my life.  Sacred geometry carries significant meaning on a universal/quantum physics level and has been studied and revered from ancient times up to the present. Maybe more importantly, it makes sense

to me.  As you will see later, these symbols also correspond nicely to the elements

I place at each chakra. 

 

Let’s review bottom to top:

 

Earth Star Chakra: Located outside of the human body (about 12” below the feet), the energy of this chakra aligns and connects our physical and energetic being to the spirit

of Mother Earth and to the Earth’s energetic grid. The energy that flows between our Earth Star Chakra and Gaia is the source of our familial feelings of brother/sisterhood

with all of humanity and keeps us grounded in our sense of self and of belonging to

our tribe.  This chakra is also the primary link to the human collective consciousness,

to our ancestors, and to the many beings specific to Earth such as the stone people,

the plant people (devas, etc.), the spirit of the animals, the fae, and so forth. If you wish

to work with past lives and learn to release old karmic patterns, this is the chakra

to work with.

 

The color associated with this chakra is Brown.

The symbol associated with this chakra is the Seed of Life.

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Keywords:

  • Interconnected

  • Belonging to the Tribe

  • Brother/Sisterhood

  • Ancestors

  • DNA

  • Karma

  • Awaken

  • Elementals

  • Earth Magic

  • Cycles

Root Chakra: This chakra is the first of seven that are located within the human body

and is situated around the area of the perineum.  Some of the definitions of the word “root” include “basis”, “source” and “foundation”.  It should be no surprise then that

the Root Chakra deals with those foundational issues imperative to all humans. Mainly survival; food, shelter, safety from danger, etc. If these basic needs are not met, most humans will struggle in many other areas of their lives.  It doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish significant goals or even be happy.  It does mean that it will often be more difficult. Financial difficulties, for example, are often linked to problems with the energy

of this chakra. A healthy Root Chakra keeps us grounded in a feeling of safety and security, freeing us from the (often irrational) fears that hold us back.  This chakra also deals with health, specifically as it relates to what we put into our bodies (food/nutrition) and if we are fit (exercise).  The condition of this chakra speaks to our endurance, patience and strength of character and directly influences our immune system, how we react to things (impulses), and our coping ability. 

 

The color associated with this chakra is Red.

The symbol associated with this chakra is the Cube.

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Keywords:

  • Survival

  • Material Possessions

  • Physical Health

  • Sense of Belonging

  • Domestic Matters

  • Safety/Security

  • Strength of Character

  • Finances

  • Bounty

  • Equality

  • Responsibility

  • Determination

  • First Memories

  • Patience

Sacral Chakra: This chakra is located in the lower abdomen an inch or so below the

naval. The energy of this chakra deals with you in your body.  Your sense of self as it relates to the condition and appearance of the physical “container” in which you

reside. So your physical health and feelings of well-being; if you love your body and

feel comfortable in your own skin, and your ability to be physically close to others

and engage in touch.  Being so body focused, it shouldn’t surprise you that this

chakra governs passion, desire, sexuality and intimacy.  It also includes the actual

physical sensations you experience (such as pain and pleasure) as well as the ability

to experience closeness and friendships with others.  While this chakra does deal

with emotions, it’s more about learning to trust your feelings and reactions; trying

out new ways to express emotions in a healthy manner, and active and vibrant

processes such as passion, creativity, inspiration, movement (play, dance, etc.), enthusiasm and so forth. It might be less confusing to use the word behavior

here rather than the word emotion (The deeper, more mature emotions are found in

the Heart Chakra). To understand the energy of this chakra a different way, when

this energy is blocked it can result in addictive behaviors, impulsiveness, self-loathing, feelings of being overwhelmed or roller coaster type emotions.  

 

The color associated with this chakra is Orange.

The symbol associated with this chakra is the Tetrahedron.

(A pyramid).

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Keywords:

  • Relationship w/Self & Others

  • Sexuality/Sexual Desires

  • Ability to Play/Have Fun

  • Physical Energy

  • Fertility

  • Creativity

  • Connection

  • Momentum/Drive

  • Behavior

  • Wellness

  • Passions

  • Action

  • Impulse

  • Potential

  • Ingenuity

  • Enthusiasm

Solar Plexus Chakra: Located in the center of the abdomen (above the naval and below the rib cage), the energy of this chakra involves your will, your personal power, your intellectual abilities and your self-determination.  This is the chakra that helps you set a direction and then stay the course to realize your dreams and goals. It carries within it

your core beliefs and the concepts and ideas you hold to be true at the deepest levels.

At its highest level, it instills wisdom and understanding. Here is where you begin to gain self-mastery over your thoughts and emotions and learn to listen to that inner voice, trusting it will guide you where you desire to go.  The Solar Plexus Chakra is also the

seat of prosperity and abundance provided you make positive choices and engage in

self-control. Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing, but each choice has consequences. Learning to wield your personal power does not mean using your power to control others. Confidence is a mighty ally, while ego can do irreparable damage. The energy of this chakra strengthens mental focus and clarity allowing you to be more organized and disciplined in your pursuits and more equipped to deal with change and uncertainty.

 

The color associated with this chakra is Yellow.

The symbol associated with this chakra is the Octahedron.

(Diamond shape).

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Keywords:

  • Manifestation/Abundance

  • Mastery over Thoughts/Emotions

  • Mental Clarity/Intellectual Abilities

  • Self-Worth/Self-Respect/Esteem

  • Personal Power

  • Assertion

  • Confidence

  • Direction in Life

  • Choice/Freedom

  • Wisdom

  • Perception

  • Ego

  • Control

  • Analytical

  • Intelligence

  • Assurance

  • Inspiration

  • Self-Reliance

Heart Chakra:  The Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest over the physical heart.  This chakra is the seat of the astral body and is the bridge between our physical and spiritual bodies. While most people  believe the “engine” or power center of human beings lies in the brain (mental capacity), the truth is that it lives in the Heart (emotional capacity).  Driven by love, the energy of this chakra instills forgiveness, compassion, empathy, trust, and loving-kindness (the “higher” or mature emotions). It fosters a

deeper awareness of nature in a more spiritual way—allowing us to see the connection between us and the spirit/soul/consciousness of all things on Earth. When the heart

chakra is balanced and in harmony with all the other chakras, we are able to truly experience unconditional love and it is then that we can genuinely help others.

However, before we can help others we must experience self-love. The Heart Chakra

is first and foremost about self-love; accepting that we are perfect beings just as we are.  Once we experience self-love, we will be at peace with ourselves and the world

around us. Healers often work with the Heart Chakra.

 

The color associated with this chakra is Green.

The symbol associated with this chakra is the Icosahedron.

(A polyhedron with 20 [triangular] faces).

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Keywords:

  • Feeling that All Things are One

  • Respect for Self & Others

  • Love/Self-Love

  • Connection/Unity

  • Compassion

  • Forgiveness

  • Joy

  • Healing

  • Dreaming

  • Opening

  • Inclusion

  • Completeness

Throat Chakra: The Throat Chakra is located (surprise!) in the throat where the voice box

is located. The energy from this chakra deals with sound, and all that sound implies.

This includes the more obvious processes such as communication (through speech and writing {we “hear” words in our head}), as well as creative and artistic expression using  the voice (public speaking, singing, reading poetry aloud, cheer leading, etc.). It also includes the not-so-obvious concepts of speaking your truth, speaking up for yourself, being honest, being open to others thoughts, ideas, and ways of seeing things (i.e.,
giving them a voice), being 
fair and using good judgement (and not judging others).  Interestingly, this chakra is also where the gift of clairaudience resides. Clairaudience is
the ability to hear that which is inaudible. Remember, hearing deals with sound as well. This may seem very mundane 
to some of you. But think of this: in most cultures and throughout history, nearly all "creation stories" say the universe was created through sound.  Sound is, some argue, the most powerful force in the universe. So do not think

of the energy of this chakra as ordinary or uninteresting. Far from it. A healthy and balanced Throat Chakra allows for free communication; free expression of who we

really are; of our truth.  What greater feeling can there be? Another example of the

energy of this chakra is the “flow state”. You know those times when you’re doing something you love or are good at; and you lose track of time and you and the

activity become one…in a beautiful state of flow? That’s the Throat Chakra.

 

The color associated with this chakra is Light Blue/Aqua.

The symbol associated with this chakra is the Sphere.

(Envision an open mouth about to create a sound.)

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Keywords:

  • Discovering & Speaking Your Truth

  • Speaking Up for Yourself

  • Creativity Through Your Voice 

       E.g., Singing, Poetry, Writing, etc.​

  • Detecting Truth and Lies

  • Flow State

  • Communication

  • Honesty

  • Openness

  • Expression

  • Authenticity

  • Timing

Third Eye Chakra: A.k.a. the Brow Chakra. While many people believe this energy center

is located between the brows (thus, the name), in actuality, it is located deeper in the

brain (straight back from the brows) in the area of the pineal gland. This chakra is the seat of our spiritual self (some people call it the soul) and if healthy, helps us see beyond the illusions of fear, duality and separation, limitedness, the “shoulds”, and even life and death itself in order to experience deeper truths. There is nowhere to hide with this chakra. If you have engaged in self-deceit, played the victim or are not taking responsibility for your life, working with this chakra may prove overwhelming.  But if

you are open to investigating who you really are (beneath all the BS) and to see and accept the reality you yourself have created, then your work with this energy could be

life-changing.  This is the chakra of insight, wisdom and our sixth sense. It links our inner and outer worlds so that we can see (and understand) the “Big Picture”. Psychic gifts of

all kinds are connected to the Third Eye energy. This chakra thrives on things

transcendent and symbolic including synchronicities, the energy of numbers and sacred geometry, divination, telepathy, dreams, and so forth. 

 

The color associated with this chakra is Indigo.

The symbol associated with this chakra is the Dodecahedron.

(A polyhedron with 12 flat faces)

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Keywords:

  • Intuitive Insight/Sixth Sense

  • Past Life Work (Earth Experiences)

  • Psychic Abilities 

  • Reflection/Inner Work       

  • Visualization/Imagination

  • Reality vs. Illusion

  • Self-Realization

  • Focus

  • Purpose

  • Higher Creativity

  • Clairvoyance

  • Identity

Crown Chakra: The Crown Chakra is located at the top of our skull and serves as our spiritual connection to the universe and our highest selves. It links our physical self to the cosmic self and to all that is.  In the space created by this chakra, we experience beauty and serenity like we’ve not known before. The energy of this chakra expands our perception of “oneness” and raises our consciousness to a transcendent state.  Here,

we can communicate with spirit guides, angels and divine beings.  Here we find liberation and peace, shifting our meditative and spiritual practices to a higher level. Here is where we find we can touch infinity.  Work with the energy of this chakra to access the Akashic Records and to engage in past life and between life journeys.

 

The color of this chakra is Violet.

The symbol of this chakra is the MerKaBa.

(The word MerKaBa translates literally to light, spirit, body 

[Mer = light; ka = spirit; ba = body]).

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Keywords:

  • Spiritual Connection to Higher Beings & Higher Energy

  • Universal Laws, such as Karma, The Law of Attraction, etc.

  • Sensing (at a spiritual level) that Everything is Connected

  • Accessing the Akashic Records

  • Grace, Beauty, and Serenity

  • Ability to See/Know Past Lives (Other than just Earth) & between lives

Soul Star Chakra: The Soul Star is located approximately 12” above our crown chakra (outside of our physical body).  This energy of this chakra is our connection or gateway

to the broader universe, the cosmos or “all there is.” Because both the Soul Star and

Crown Chakra relate to spiritual connection there is some confusion about each chakra’s specific purpose and how they differ. The Crown Chakra represents our individual or
ego-based relation to spirit and the cosmic universe. From the Crown Chakra
perspective, we see ourselves as separate entities and through the Crown we connect

and receive guidance. In contrast, the Soul Star is the fusion of the spiritual dualism of
life on earth (us as apparent and distinct individuals) with the spiritual oneness where
we recognize that there is no separate self, but rather only one universal consciousness. Because of this, the Soul Star Chakra is seen as our connection to our “higher self.”

Our higher self is what some would refer to as our “real self,” “true self” or the

“knowing self.” It is the part of us that is unencumbered by our incarnated experience

that is defined by our thoughts, emotions, behaviors and the sense that we are somehow separate from all energy/things in the universe. From this point in our energy fields outward, we are completely merged with the “all there is”.

 

The color of this chakra is White or Clear.

The symbol of this chakra is Metatron’s Cube.

(This design is said to hold all of the geometric patterns in the universe and is considered to be a map of the energy of the cosmos; to all that is. A very ancient symbol used by mystics and sages. Linked to the Seed of Life which we see in the Earth Star Chakra.)

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Keywords:

  • Sense of Oneness with the Light (No Longer Feel Like "I")

  • Gateway to Higher Self (The Divine Source)

  • Seat of the Soul

  • Selflessness (E.g., Bodhisattva)

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