Probably one of the most difficult current trends in symbolic art and spirituality is the vast number of modern spiritualities that refer to the Chakras. There are 7, and they relate to areas of the body which hold emotional energy, memory, trauma and of course healing and vision. This is actually a current modern interpretation. There are very specific descriptions of what they look like. Go to any spiritually minded bookstore or gift shop, and you will see them hanging as individual units or as banners around the store. Everyone knows they are rainbow structured, and sacred geometry is within each diagram and description of their forms. If we study them, we find out the spiritual, healing, emotional and physical significance of each chakra. There are gods and goddesses associated with each of them and if not gods, spiritual divine energies. We are possessed by the spiritual materialism of these derivate forms and functions.
This is, for me as a Toltec artist, ripe for recapitulation. The very fact that it is a pattern and a structure that was laid down before I ever got here, makes me demand to recapitulate the whole downloaded program. Thus have I spent years meditating and connecting to this system of symbols, sounds and patterns. What I found out is that like all religions, philosophies and cultural spiritual traditions, this one has been co-opted, simplified and is working very hard to distract the original intent and lineage to which the ancient seers created them to be.
First and foremost, the chakras are not fixated descriptions of how things are in this moment, nor even within our bodies. They are proscriptive in that they are an energetic processes that the ancient seers used to activate shifts of the assemblage point. Yes, they were struggling with the same issues as we are today as seers. How can we create a practice that is liberating yet close enough to our known universe so as to aid the initiate in breaking the fixation of the assemblage point on the gods and goddesses of their/our times? The original practice of the chakras, which means “wheel” as in the wheels of the cart or vehicle to freedom, was one of sound not image. The sounds associated with the classical big seven (there are many more chakras in the current tradition of seven) were connected to seed syllables in the Sanskrit language. Aka the abstract sounds which constructs words, not words or descriptions themselves. In fact it was these abstract sounds that were meant to break the fixation of the ration on words, to find the root source behind our descriptions of the world with words.
Words demand fixation of the assemblage point. Descriptions create our world and maintain the stability of the world through the definitions we come to love and obsess on. Words, the ancient seers realized, make the world and limit our ability to see beyond. Thus the ancients created this yogic tradition of the chakra chants as a system, which if done correctly, amplifies certain universal energies allowing for perception to be altered or shifted. The original chants meant nothing. Rather their dynamic quality of sound and energetic form would force the ration into retreat and open channels within. Thus one can change the world as it is through this practice and attain freedom… or “moksha” – the blowing out of the bright candle of the fixated assemblage point – aka self.
The second difficulty that the current chakras have is their supposed location on or within the body. As a Toltec we know that form follows emptiness and that all of it is created based on the position of the assemblage point, which is the perceptual matrix that stabilizes our world. The current way of seeing the chakras related to specific points in the body is actually not related to the lineage of the ancient seers of this tradition. The first chakra, associated with the earth, the base of the spine, as it was chanted was not activated at the base of the spine, far from it. It was activated throughout the whole body. It was meant to allow the whole being to shift and become…. something more abstract. Only by inference do we come to associate this point with earth energies and with the root of the other chakras. At best one would have chanted the first chakra at the center, to the assemblage point, so it would shift or move, opening up new channels of awareness, new lines of intent.
As this technique became a fixation of a process, the old seers of this tradition, realized that one could actually chant these chants and focus on any point on the body. Thus by using for example the energy of being-ness (1st chakra) to change specific areas of the body. For instance, if your hand was in need of earth energies, or a significant change, one could manipulate the energy of the hand by visualizing and chanting that chakra into the hand, thereby shifting and changing it to something else. The old seers found they could heal themselves from within by re-energizing any point of the body with specific energies. This became for the old seers a system of highly complex and secretive healing, dreaming and visualizing techniques to move into and manipulate reality to their own means. A rather morbid way of using a liberating technique to sustain and maintain certain perceptions. And in the long run, to extend life itself beyond its normal span. But in reality what the old seers discovered that was different from the ancients who created these techniques, was that all parts of the body contain all of the chakras. That all points are a reflection of the assemblage point. And one could shift any single area with any chakra chant… thereby changing its nature. The dark side of this, and there of course is one, if one was not careful one could cause imbalances by focusing too much of one energy in a specific area (even if it was inherently good energy) and actually cause disease. Thus the initiate had to go through a rigorous process of fasting and prayer to prepare to use this system correctly. The system became very esoteric and secretive with its development.
Thus the system became wildly complicated. Yogis would search for new formulas, chants and actions, to activate and create new states of awareness, healing and vision. The chakras began to multiply rapidly during this phase of their history as the yogis were exploring the vast number of positions of the assemblage point that were possible. In other words, chakras became assocated with other locations within our energy body where we can assemble reality and realities. The number increased because there are an infinite number of positions of the assemblage point that are possible. And they actually learned to physically shift and change their bodies into other things, beings etc including the worlds that were opened up with those shifts. The yogis felt that if they could “find them all” then they could burn the final burn of awareness and transcend all life and all fixations of all assemblage points. This was a complex road to ride the cart (chakras) to freedom.
About 2000 to 400 or so years ago, the chakra systems where written down. Certain texts where more comprehensible to people’s ration and thus these forms and descriptions became more easily memorable and important than the original techniques surrounding the practices. What emerged is a common set of chakras that were, when looking at the many, the ones that most all of the new seers of that tradition could agree upon. But their color, form and function were often hotly debated. Simplification pushed the chakras to be related to specific classical elements, earth, water, fire, air, aether, etc , which has roots in the Greek science not original Indian. Abstraction and simplification created a post-modern fixation of specific sounds related to 108 sounds. This is actually a magical number which repeats throughout Indian philosophy. 108 when multiplied creates certain numbers like 4,321,000 or the length of a kalpa or age… This is too complex to relate here, but realize that the significance of sounds is manipulated, not actual and not authentically connected to the original yogic tradition of chanting pure sounds that meant nothing. The system became rational, fixated and study-able. The modern association to the rainbow is actually totally western and not related in any way to the Indian forms.
If this sounds like every other religion in the world and its history, it is. Humans throughout history have repeated this pattern over the past 10,000 years since the ancient seers chose to leave the planet.
My own journey with the chakras has been to create chakras that hint at their post-modern interpretation, but also attempts to start to break away from the fixated interpretations that have become associated with them. Thus I created the following new chakras to describe the energy, not the symbols of them. They are each whole and total. One can meditate on one, groups or none. Heck, make up your own, that was the original point anyway. In the process of creating them, I also listened to the seed syllables being chanted or classical sound chants and also new age musical interpretation of each chakra. Note the descriptions are just single words. But Eye could be focused on the butt (LOL)… not just that it is located at the eye point.
At any rate, enjoy the images. Prints are available for purchase, both individually and as a group. Click on any of these to make them larger.