We have understood how stillness within the body is necessary for stillness of the mind, and that mind and body present a continuum rather than a dichotomy. We have understood that the posture of the body can also effect the success of our meditations, and that energy naturally travels along the spine. The same may be said of the subtle anatomy, and may be stirred in a controlled fashion and directed toward Illumination.
A cursory overview of the various traditions concerning the subtle body reveals all to be essentially consistent in their approach and understanding. These are also born out by modern neurology, with the cerebro-spinal system. The most well known of these is the Seven Chakra system held in common between the Hindu Tantrics of India, the Buddhist Tantrics of Tibet, the Qi-Gong system of China, and the Point Chaude (‘hot points’) of Voudon. It may also be related to the Kabalah as it is mapped on the human body, and arguably to the Axis Mundi or ‘World Tree’ as it was known among the Norse and Celtic tribes. Its popularity in the West initially came through the Theosophists, particularly the works of C.W.Leadbeater and Rudolf Steiner, and from the works of Crowley – from where it entered into the Western magical tradition.
The Seven Chakras may also be corresponded to the seven brain-states from Sub-Delta through to Hyper-Gamma.
Root Chakra; Called the Mūlādhāra in Tantric yoga, meaning ‘root support’. Associated with the Red Ray of the Mysteries (Ganesh, and the Shakti known as Dakini) and Infra-Low brainwaves. This centre is located at the base of the spine in the cocygeal region. The Root Chakra is related to instinct, security, survival and also to basic human potentiality. Physically it governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security. It is said to relate to the gonads and the adrenal medulla, responsible for the fight-or-flight impulse when survival is under threat.
This chakra is where the three main nadi of Tibetan yoga separate and begin their upward movement. In the Hindu system dormant the Kundalini serpent rests here, wrapped three and a half times around the black Svayambhu linga, the lowest of three obstructions (granthis)to her full rising. It is the seat of the red bindu, the female drop (which in Tibetan vajrayana is located at the navel chakra). The seed mantra (Vocēs Magickae employed to activate the Chakra) is LAM, pronounced lum.
Sacral Chakra; Called the Svādhiṣṭhāna in Tantric yoga, meaning ‘base of the self’. Associated with the Orange Ray of the Mysteries (Brahma, and the Shakti known as Rakini or Chakini) and Delta brainwaves. The Sacral Chakra is related to relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs and pleasure. Physically, Svadhishthana governs reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it governs joy, and spiritually it governs enthusiasm. It is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the various sexual hormones involved in the reproductive cycle, the genitourinary system and the adrenals. The seed mantra is VAM.
Solar Plexus; Called the Maṇipūra in Tantric yoga, meaning ‘city of jewels’. Associated with the Yellow Ray of the Mysteries (Braddha Rudra, and the Shakti known as Lakini) and Theta brainwaves. The Solar Plexus Chakra is related to issues of personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically it governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth. It is considered to correspond to Islets of Langerhans, which are groups of cells in the pancreas, as well as the outer adrenal glands and the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion and the conversion of food matter into energy for the body. The seed mantra is RAM.
Heart Chakra; Called the Anāhata in Tantric yoga, meaning ‘unstuck’. Associated with the Green Ray of the Mysteries (Braddha R Ishana Rudra Shiva and the Shakti is Kakini) and Beta brainwaves. The Heart Chakra is related to complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being. Physically it governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion. It is considered to correspond to the site of maturation of the T-cells responsible for fending off disease and may be adversely affected by stress. The seed mantra is YAM.
Throat Chakra; Called the Viśuddha in Tantric yoga, meaning ‘pure’. Associated with the Blue Ray of the Mysteries (Panchavaktra Shiva and the Shakti is Shakini) and Alpha brainwaves. The Throat Chakra is related to relating to communication and growth through expression. Physically it governs communication, emotionally it governs independence and the sense of security, mentally it governs fluent thought. It is considered to correspond to the thyroid, which produces hormones responsible for growth and maturation. Plays an important role in lucid dreaming and Astral travel. The seed mantra is HAM.
Third Eye; Called the Ājñā in Tantric yoga, meaning ‘command’. Associated with the Purple Ray of the Mysteries (Ardhanarishiva and the Shakti is Hakini) and Gamma brainwaves. The Third Eye Chakra is related to balancing the higher and lower selves and trusting inner guidance. Ajna’s inner aspect relates to the access of intuition. Mentally, Ajna deals with visual consciousness. Emotionally, Ajna deals with clarity on an intuitive level. Physically it governs the pineal gland that produces the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleeping and waking, and is also postulated to be the production site of the psychedelic dimethyltryptamine, the only known hallucinogen produced by the human body. The seed mantra is OM.
Crown Chakra; Called the Sahasrāra in Tantric yoga, meaning ‘a thousand petals’, it is situated just above the crown of the head. Associated with the Ultra-Violet (White) Ray of the Mysteries (Kundalini’s union with Shiva), the Bridal Chamber of the Gnostics, and Hyper-Gamma brainwaves. The Crown Chakra is related pure consciousness, esoteric wisdom, the death of the body, the release of Karma, and the condition of Samhadi (Illumination). Physically it governs the secretions of the pineal gland and their communication to the endocrine system, also connecting to the nervous system via the hypothalamus. The seed mantra is AUM.
There are said to be three further Secret Chakras that are beyond the physical and the spiritual. They are called Golata, Lalata, and Lalana and located on the uvula at the back of the throat, above the Ajna chakra, and within the soft upper palate”. They defy description in the sense of the above seven and can only be experienced once Kundalini has fully awakened. In Kabalah they correspond to the three Sephiroth above the Abyss.
There are also a further series of seven Shadow Chakras below the Root Chakra going down the legs, corresponding the base animal instincts (dæmons) and the underworld;
Thighs; Called in Sanskrit Vitala, concerned with anger and resentment.
Knees; Called in Sanskrit Sutala, concerned with jealousy.
Calves; Called in Sanskrit Talatala, meaning ‘under the bottom level’, concerned with a state of prolonged confusion and instinctive willfulness.
Ankles; Called in Sanskrit Rasatala, it is concerned with selfishness and pure animal nature.
Feet; Called in Sanskrit Mahatala, concerned with lack of conscience, and sociopathy.
Soles of the Feet; Called in Sanskrit Patala, concerned with malice, murder, torture and hatred; in Hindu mythology it borders on the realm of Naraka (Hell).