Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or vortex, referring to energy centers in the body. The correct spelling from Sanskrit is “cakra” though pronounced with a “ch” as in church. The word was a metaphor for the sun, that great wheel that rolls across the sky and the wheel denotes the eternal cycle of time.

The chakras are inextricably linked with the science and practice of yoga. The origin of yoga and earliest mention of the chakras go back to the Vedas, meaning “knowledges”, a series of hymns that are the oldest written tradition in India.  These writings were created from an even older oral tradition of the Aryan Culture. Many cultures talk about the energy centers similar to chakras, Chinese have the I Ching, The Hopi Indians speak of energy Centers in the body as do the Tibetans.

Many of the traditions speak of seven basic chakras although other traditions speak of less or more. Through modern physiology we can see that these seven chakras are located near the seven major nerve ganglia that emanate from the spinal column. The Theosophists talk about seven cosmic rays of creation, with seven evolutionary races. The Christians talk about the seven days of creation, as well as seven sacraments, seven seals, seven angels, seven virtues, seven deadly sins and in Revelation 1:16 perhaps even seven chakras where it is said. “And He had in His right hand seven stars.” Carolyn Myss has also correlated the chakras to the seven Christian Sacraments. Seven-ness is also found outside of myth and religion. There are seven colours to the rainbow, seven notes in the Western major scale, seven days in the week, and it is believed that major life cycles run in periods of seven years each-childhood at age seven, adolescence at fourteen, adulthood at twenty-one.

The Chakra system is map, that will not tell you where to go, but will help you navigate the journey you wish to take.  Its focus is on integrating the seven archetypal levels that impact our lives.  With this map in hand, we can embark on an exciting journey.  In a fragmented world where the mind is severed from body, culture from planet, and the material from the spiritual, we have a deep need for systems that allow us to reclaim our wholeness. These systems must allow us to integrate mind and body and take us to new and expanded realms without denying the mundane realities we all face in our daily lives. The chakras do provide a system that we can all benefit from.

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