An introduction to the Chakras
Let me preface this by saying at the Artists LeFey we completely respect that a spiritual journey is an individual experience. We may offer guidance, but never rules or laws. And the first word we offer to you is to accept the stories and teachings of others with an open but discerning mind, and beware those who insist there is only a single way. There are teachers who are only able to describe what works for them, and then there are masters who can present any number of methods. There are general common experiences to learn from, but every touchstone may resonate differently for you. And that is how it should be.
The earliest recorded reference to the energy centers in the body referred to as chakras exists in Hindu writings as ancient as 1500 BCE. Chakras are recognized as focal points for the energy that courses through and animates the physical body, and that may be referred to as the subtle body. The subtle body, also called the spirit body, esoteric anatomy, and numerous other names, is a concept that existed in virtually every other culture as well as Eastern. Today in the West, study and meditation using the chakras may include influences from Native American spirituality, Chinese traditions, and newer understanding added throughout the 20th century, at least. Beliefs are different regarding chakras even within the Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. It would be just as mistaken to assume that everyone who practices yoga today ascribes to classical Hindu training. So as we experience the benefit of chakra meditation today, it is an evolved practice that is spiritual, but without specific religious adherence. As some concept of the body’s energy centers was global, so the term “chakra” has been co-opted to presently represent the phenomena, much the way the Tungas term “shaman” has come to apply to spiritual travelers who benefit others in cultures all over the world.
The word “chakra” is borrowed from Sanskrit and means wheel. As described by the ancients, the energy focal points in the body resembled turning wheels, but consider that the imagery of the day would have been limited to what people were familiar with. I personally see chakras as swirling balls of energy; for some they’re akin to waterwheels. In becoming familiar with chakras, be open to whatever visual your mind provides for your understanding. The common element of each of the chakras is that energy is contained and focused at a particular point like a pool, with a stream that flows on to others.
Earliest traditions in Buddhism taught four chakras and over time evolved to five, while Hinduism taught six in the body, plus a seventh outside. In contemporary teaching seven are almost universally acknowledged, although some masters may recognize many, many more. In my experience, the common seven major chakras felt terribly incomplete, so my studies have taught me to include several besides those. We urge you to always follow your propensities and continue your explorations.
There is one fine but very important point we need to make here. In almost every current resource on chakra meditation, the chakras are identified with specific colors. Please consider: this association wasn’t made until the 1970s, by one particular New Age author named Christopher Hills. The rest of his assertions failed to catch on, but giving a rainbow aspect to the chakras was irresistible to western explorers and almost 40 years later it’s practically canon. Most masters will agree that the chakras do not have color themselves, and thousands of generations of practitioners did just fine for centuries without such color associations. The teaching that the chakras ARE particular colors has frustrated and dissuaded plenty of people. Many do find it effective to utilize specific colors to help with cleansing and opening chakras, as specific light waves have resonance to the similar energy and sound frequencies of the chakras. Here at the Artists LeFey, we do tag each artwork with the accepted color for that chakra, but only as a means to identify it for those who use that system. You will notice that the artworks we suggest as focal tools for meditation are based on the spiritual intent in each piece as we feel it, and not because of any dominant color that follows the chakra rainbow. And as we have stated elsewhere, if you feel a different rapport for a piece than what we suggest, follow your instincts. That is perfectly fine.
Blessing to all!
Grey Forge LeFey