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see yogayoga
[Skt.,=union], general term for spiritual disciplines in Hinduism, Buddhism, and throughout S Asia that are directed toward attaining higher consciousness and liberation from ignorance, suffering, and rebirth.
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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In the Tantric Hinduism of India, the ancient practice of yoga is a form of meditation designed to bring spiritual power through seven chakras (circles) located between the base of the spine and the top of the head. Although in the therapeutic sense chakras are viewed as the places where ch'i, or life force, is often bound up or blocked, in the religious sense they represent psychological centers or planes of consciousness through which spiritual power flows. From first to last, chakras represent spiritual growth.

The first chakra is located at the base of the spine at the rectum. Its symbol is the serpent, coiled three and a half times, and it represents the basic human need for killing and eating. The serpent, in the words of Joseph Campbell, is:

Nothing but a traveling esophagus going along just eating, eating, eating.... This is the sacramental mystery of food and eating.... In early mythologies [people] would thank the animal they were about to consume for having given of itself as a willing sacrifice. There's a wonderful saying in one of the Upanishads: "Oh wonderful... I am food.... I am an eater of food." We don't think that way today about ourselves. But holding on to yourself and not letting yourself become food is the primary life-denying negative act. You're stopping the flow! And a yielding to the flow is the great mystery experience that goes with thanking an animal that is about to be eaten for having given of itself. You, too, will be given in time.

In short, the first chakra reminds us of our place in the universe—as part of the food chain. We don't just live in nature. We are a part of nature.

The second chakra is located at the sex organs. This represents the urge to procreate, to reproduce our species and ourselves.

The third chakra is located at the navel and represents the will to conquer, to master and subdue. It is no accident that Sicilian dons in the Mafia, the godfathers, were referred to by a Sicilian phrase that translates to "men with a belly." From the sumo wrestler to the professional football lineman, a big belly symbolizes power and force.

These first three chakra centers represent the animal instincts of eating, procreation, and mastery. When we move up to the fourth chakra we enter a new realm, opening up to compassion and spirituality.

The fourth chakra is at the level of the heart. According to tradition, the Buddha was born from his mother's side, at the level of the heart. When you "open your heart" to someone you are elevated above the level of the animal.

The fifth chakra is located at the level of the throat and symbolizes creativity and communication.

The sixth chakra is located at the forehead—the "third eye" often pictured on the forehead of representations of Buddha. This is the eye that sees inward—the center of intuition and understanding.

The culminating chakra is the sahasrara, the thousand-petaled lotus at the top of the head. This is the chakra of spiritual maturity, exploding upward and outward into understanding and enlightenment.

When spiritual energy is brought up from the level of the animal to the level of spiritual awareness, it wakes up to the real world—the world of god-consciousness.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

From the ancient Hindu Kundalini, the chakra (pronounced shak'rer) is one of a number of centers of spiritual power in the body. Theosophists say they are the sense organs of the ethereal body. The Hindu concept is one of cosmic energy latent in the human organism. Hindu mystics saw the kundalini as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine. When aroused, through meditation and breath control, the energy moves up the spine, touching each of seven chakra points, or centers. The first, or root, chakra is associated with the base of the spine and corresponds with the adrenal glands. The second (sacral) is the genitals, corresponding with the gonads; third, solar plexus (lyden); fourth, heart (thymus); fifth, throat (thyroid); sixth, third eye (pineal); seventh (sahasrar or "thousand petaled lotus") is the crown of the head (pituitary).

Arousal of the Kundalini, by awakening the chakras, results in a blissful experience described as comparable to the sexual embrace of god and goddess, Siva and his Consort. Many Witches utilize the Kundalini energy, the chakras, and the colors associated with them in working healing magic.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
Enlarge picture
Image depicting the seven chakras, the psychic centers that connect the physical body to the etheric body. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Chakra is the name given to the seven psychic centers of the body connecting the physical body to the etheric. The chakras are linked with actual physical glands and are positioned at the gonads (the lumbar or base chakra), the adrenals (the second, spine chakra), the lyden (third, solar plexus chakra), the thymus (fourth, heart chakra), the thyroid (fifth, throat chakra), the pineal (sixth, third eye chakra), and the pituitary (seventh, crown chakra). The Theosophists regard the chakras as the sense organs of the ethereal body.

An energy travels through the body connecting these chakras. This energy is known as the kundalini force, sometimes referred to as the Serpent Power, from the fact that ancient Hindu mystics saw it as a coiled serpent at the base of the spine, waiting to uncoil and reach upward. Getting the kundalini power to flow through the chakras sets up a vibration, the increase of which can enhance psychic abilities. As the power flows, the chakras begin to open up, in successive order, and the individual achieves a sense of well-being and peace. The subconscious clears itself of the negative and undesired patterns of feelings and images that have been programmed throughout the lifetime. As the opening continues, the individual’s awareness and perception of life flows continually from within and a new vibrancy permeates the entire being.

Each of the chakras is associated with a color: the base chakra with red, spine with orange, solar plexus with yellow, heart with green, throat with blue, pineal gland with indigo, and the crown with violet. An exercise practiced by many mediums and psychics to “awaken the Serpent Power” is to imagine each of the chakras as a flower (traditionally a lotus blossom) and to see it immersed in its particular color. This is one method recommended by the English medium Ivy Northage. Starting with the base chakra, imagine a red-colored flower swirling around in a clockwise direction, gathering energy to itself as it swirls. It becomes a spinning ball, going faster and faster. After a while, imagine the swirling light moving upward to the second, or spine, chakra and changing color to orange. It spins there for a while and then continues on up the body, changing color for each of the different chakras. At the crown, the light will change from violet to a pure white and will expand to enclose the whole body in a ball of white light. This is how a protective shell is built up before any exercises are done, such as clairvoyance, trance work, psychometry, healing, or even meditation.


Buckland, Raymond: Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2004
Buckland, Raymond: Color Magic—Unleash Your Inner Powers. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2002
Garrison, Omar: Tantra the Yoga of Sex. New York: Julian Press, 1964
Leadbeater, Charles W.: The Chakras. London: Quest, 1972
The Spirit Book © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a steel throwing ring with a sharp outer edge, used in the ancient Indian army. The chakra was twirled around the middle finger and thrown at an enemy.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.