What is the Root Chakra? An East to West Perspective
The Root Chakra or Muladhara is the first chakra in the 7 chakra system, and in this blog we will explore what is the root chakra. We will first learn about the symbolism of the east and then understand the psycho-spiritual approach. Additionally, we will understand some ways we can open a blocked root chakra.
This blog is for those who are seeking more information on the ancient symbolical meaning of the chakra, for those who want to discover the psycho-spiritual aspect to aid them in healing or balancing their root chakra.
Furthermore, this blog is part of the series Explaining Chakras from an East to West perspective. We’ll continue to explore chakras using Sat Chakra Nirupana and Eastern Bodies and Western Mind.
Root Chakra Symbol
The location of Root Chakra or Muladhara is at the base of the spine around the uro-genital area. The chakra has four petals which are of the crimson hue.
On each petal there is a Sanskrit letter Va, śa, ṣa and Sa written in gold. The aim is to meditate on those letters in a clockwise direction.
Inside of the lotus we find a square which is the symbol of earth element or Prthivi. Around the square there are 8 spears that are of a shining yellow color and their beauty is parallel to lightening. Those spears are those of the goddess Dakini and symbolize the 8 directions on a compass.
In the square we find the sanskrit syllable LAM which is also the root mantra for the element of earth. The Root mantra LAM is the same mantra for both the god Indra and Earth Element/Prthivi. Prithvi is also considered a tattva which is not just an element but the blueprint of the element.
Below LAM, we find Airavata the elephant of Indra, which reinforces the qualities of the Earth Tattva. In his lap the child creator which represents the immaturity of consciousness at this level.
The God and Goddess presiding over the root chakra
The presiding god of the root chakra is Brahma, the creator god. He has four glowing arms and four heads which symbolizes the four Vedas.
The presiding Shakti for the Root Chakra is Dakini, she is portrayed with four arms and her eyes are brilliant red. Her resplendent nature is like many suns rising at the same time.
She is the door keeper of the Root Chakra, the carrier of pure intelligence and enables the yogi to acquire the essence and knowledge of the tattva.
The triangle just below LAM symbolizes the powers of Will, Knowledge and Action. It is also know as Kama(desire), this is where desire stems from. Inside of the triangle we find Svayambhu(self-existing) Shiva in his linga form.
The depiction of Linga is similar to a leaf bud in shape and pale green in color. Over the Linga we find Kundalini which is dormant and wraps three and a half times around it. She covers the mouth of Brahma-dvara(the opening entrance of sushmna nadi). Kundalini is as fine as the fiber of the lotus-stalk and described as jagan-mohini (the creator of Maya).
Root Chakra from a Psycho-Spiritual Perspective
What is the root chakra?
The Root Chakra concerns itself with building a solid foundation. A solid foundation enables proper boundaries, the ability to be consistent and accountable.
The function that this chakra governs psychologically is survival. Survival is instinctual it is a base programming that all living beings on this planet have. Imagine you have to remember to breath while navigating through your daily activities?
When you are comfortable and secured in your environment this programming runs in the background. You are comfortable and can approach other activities with ease. When there is a threat to your survival, then this chakra becomes out of balance.
A threat to your survival can happen in a variety of ways, for example, you can live in a violent environment or you are subjected to poverty and constantly have to struggle to meet your daily ends.
If you are experiencing constant thoughts about your survival, then there is a block in your root chakra. Alternately, if your survival needs are already met but you want more in terms of materiality your root chakra is in excess and overactive.
Grounding/Earthing is also related to the root chakra. When we ground, we navigate the world with greater clarity and direction. Grounding bring us back into our body. Have you ever felt like you are floating outside of your body?
This is the most basic concept in energy work, when you ground not only are you connected to yourself and your environment but it also facilitates concentration and ability to get a better sensory experience.
A lack of grounding creates an imbalance in the root chakra, we are not able to go through daily activities in a consistent manner. Being ungrounded also means loose boundaries and being lost in daydreams and fantasies which takes a lot of energy and focus.
Nourishment is also a form of grounding and support. We nourish ourselves daily not just by eating but also by taking basic care of ourselves. Some simple self care can raise the root chakra and make us feel self satisfied.
How to open Root Chakra
Different people have different ways to work on the root chakra. You may be more inclined towards energy work, deity work or even psychologically work on your shadows, therefore, use those points as guidance to complement your current practices.
- Identify the fear and find the limiting beliefs and values that limit your root chakra. If you were abused as a child for example, find the faulty foundations that currently limit you. Once you have identified the belief and/or value that limits you, it is time to deprogram from it and rewire yourself into something that promotes growth and expansion in you.
- Be aware of your physical environment and how you interact with the earth element. As mentioned previously, grounding can be very beneficial. However, if you have been through traumatic events, escapism is something you would indulge on auto-pilot. Grounding is something that can help us in a variety of ways and also brings us closer to our environment and our life on planet earth.
- Releasing childhood programming and rewiring your psyche. Childhood experiences forges our psyche and also our foundation. Most of those beliefs and values now run on auto-pilot dictating how we navigate life. When we work on our childhood we also release ourselves from generational limitations that has affected not just us but our families. Hence, ending a cycle that has been on repeat for a long time.
- Learn what is acceptable to you and what is not. Grounding provides solid boundaries. When have boundaries we honor what is acceptable for us and what is not. It is easy to get embroiled in the affairs of others until it becomes abusive and we get lost into someone else. At worse we are no longer able to identify ourselves from others.
In this post we explored the root chakra using the ancient eastern symbolism. We started with the petals and looked at all the symbolism in the petal till the Kundalini energy. Furthermore, we looked into root chakra in a psycho spiritual manner. We looked into survival and grounding as two functions of this chakra. And finally, we explored some ways in which you can start to unblock your root chakra.