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
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 utilize 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?)
In western thought, the chakras are similarly thought to 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, we can 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.
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
It appears that the Hindu chakra system we seem to have adopted in the West (pictured further above) was just a meditation focus for a particular school/philosophy. The master or teacher was having the students focus on the various lotus symbols as a tool to help them meditate at each chakra level (to differentiate each level). He apparently was not saying that the lotus he was using represented that particular chakra. (So the story goes).
So the question emerges, why not just develop a more modern version that works with Western history and symbolism? Wouldn't that carry more inherent meaning for us?
Funny you should ask.
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 his viewpoint.
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
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.
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 (i.e., it is scientific) 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 briefly 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 color associated with this chakra is Brown.
The symbol associated with this chakra is the Seed of Life.
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”.
The color associated with this chakra is Red.
The symbol associated with this chakra is the Cube.
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.
The color associated with this chakra is Orange.
The symbol associated with this chakra is the Tetrahedron.
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.
The color associated with this chakra is Yellow.
The symbol associated with this chakra is the Octahedron.
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. It is the seat of the higher emotions, especially love and compassion.
The color associated with this chakra is Green.
The symbol associated with this chakra is the Icosahedron.
(A polyhedron with 20 [triangular] faces).
Throat Chakra: The Throat Chakra is located in the throat where the voice box
is located. The energy from this chakra deals with sound, and all that sound implies. It is the chakra of communication and truth.
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.)
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).
The color associated with this chakra is Indigo.
The symbol associated with this chakra is the Dodecahedron.
(A polyhedron with 12 flat faces)
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.
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]).
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.”
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.)