There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life. Federico Fellini
Several nights ago I was awoken from a dream, quite literally, with a bang. In my dream, a large metal pot or cauldron blew its lid with a loud explosion. Previously, I would have thought nothing of this – its only a dream, after all. Now, after reading Jung and experiencing Chakradance, I am curious about the messages my subconscious communicates to me in my dreams.
After waking from this dream, I felt quite agitated and unable to go back to sleep. There was the strongest feeling that this dream was an important message from my subconscious and I intuitively felt it was somehow related to my solar plexus chakra. So after discussing this with my Chakradance teacher, I moved on to the next chakra. During the dance, I had a very powerful experience.
The dance of Manipura (the third chakra) begins with a flame, and as the music intensifies, the fire increases, and I danced like wildfire. I became one with the fire, I was fire, flickering and wild. It felt incredibly liberating and powerful, and then all of a sudden my perception shifted dramatically.
The experience transformed from being elemental fire, to being ON fire – being burned, encased in flames – and all the powerful emotions that came with it. Horror, fear, panic. Even knowing it was just in the dance, the emotional reaction was profound. Recovering in child’s pose, I found myself saying to myself, “that was then this is now, it is safe to be powerful now.”
As I incanted this affirmation, came a vision of a fiery caudron burning away the hurts of the past, all those experiences where I was persecuted, shamed, or abused for expressing my power.
Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. Pema Chodron
The image of the cauldron is interesting. In both Taoist and Celtic traditions, the three cauldrons are the energy centres which are equivalent to the seven chakras in the yoga tradition. The first cauldron is the cauldron of heat, or Coire Goiraith, and in the Taoist tradition, is known as “the golden stove” representing the refining and vitality of the life force into the Ching energy, which is basically a highly refined, super potent form of chi, or life force energy. Ching is creation energy, associated with the creation of life through sexual union.
Caroline Myss writes that all spiritual truths are present in some form in all the great spiritual belief systems of the world. She spent many years trying to find the correlation between the seven chakras, the seven Christian sacraments, and the Judaic Sephirot, or tree of life. This got me to thinking about my ancestry, which is Celtic – mostly Irish with a bit of Scot thrown in for good measure.
This Celtic wisdom is something which I have been intuitively drawn to through my chakra work and meditation. I became intrigued with finding an equivalent energy system to the chakras in the Celtic tradition. After experiencing an inner knowing during meditation, I research these “gut feelings”, and discover they are aligned with Celtic tradition. I absolutely love this practice in trusting my intuitive guidance. Jung would say I am tapping into the collective unconscious. At some level this wisdom in encoded into my Irish DNA, as much as the red glow in my hair!
Jung believed in the collective unconscious, a collection of memories and intuition from our shared human ancestral history. The collective unconscious appears to the conscious mind as archetypal symbols, which allow the wisdom of the unconscious to come through to the conscious mind.
Every individual stands between two worlds. The world of external perception and the world of perception of the unconscious. C. G. Jung
Previously, I wrote about the solar plexus chakra – or manipura – here, in a post from March, and its interesting to reread this post and observe how my experience of the chakra has deepened. The imagery of petals unfurling – that represents many of the chakras in the yogic tradition – like a flower blossoming into full bloom, is a fine analogy for the way this feels.
When I originally aligned the seven chakras with my seven intentions, I had no idea – no conscious Idea, that is – how beautifully serendipitous it all was. As I go deeper into the chakras, I am amazed by this intuitive ‘ding’. The third chakra is related to my third intention of purpose, which is the theme of manipura – who you are, self-belief, will, and the loving expression of personal power in order to shine your light into the world.
The goal in working with the chakras is to deepen your awareness of your self and your energetic/emotional self. Margaret Juliano
Known as Manipura in Sanskrit – which means lustrous gem – the third chakra revolves around themes of personal power, physical power, self-expression, and will. It its the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our energy, drive, and sense of purpose.
The energy of manipura is expressed as the element of fire. Traditional aboriginal cultures have strong relationships to fire using it in shamanic rituals and landcare, as well as for warmth and food preparation. When entering or leaving country, Aboriginal Australians burn leaves to perform a cleansing ceremony. Aboriginal people made extensive use of low level burning of land to prevent bushfires from getting out of control.
Fire ceremonies, such as the Native American sweat lodges, have long been used in indigenous cultures for cleansing and spiritual awakening rituals. In nature, fire has a cleansing effect. Many native Australian trees have seed pods that are only activated by fire.
Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners. William Shakespeare
Manipura is about your individuality, about allowing yourself to be yourself, and accepting others as they are. It’s about taking responsibility for you and your life, not blaming or making yourself a victim. This requires belief in yourself and good boundaries with others.
Located in the area of the diaphragm and stomach, this chakra relates to concepts of self-definition, personal power, and positive emotional expression. Balancing this chakra brings the ability to create healthy boundaries, balanced personal power, will power, and positive self-value. It governs the digestive system, the lower back, and the nervous system.
The chakras are the metaphysical shadow of the endocrine system. Margaret Juliano
This chakra is adversely affected by physical abuse, or living in an environment of excessive control or fear. When out of balance, this energy of this chakra manifests in anxiety, a lack of mental clarity, lower back issues, and digestive problems.
Reading the list of issues from an unbalanced third chakra, I could be reading my prior medical history. Disassociation, anxiety, feeling powerless, a history of gut problems, and depression. Jung believed it is in the solar plexus that you hold old psychological wounds, trauma, and memories. Hence the feeling of being ‘sick to our stomach’ when witnessing or recalling a traumatic event.
Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. Shakti Gawain
Jung believed in the connection between the psyche and the chakras, now it seems this connection is expanding to physiological connections between gut and brain and our emotional/mental health. The field of neurogastroenterology – which, as it sounds combines the fields of neurology – the brain – and gastroenterology – the gut – is a burgeoning area of research and medicine, which is uncovering fascinating links between the gut and the brain. To the extent that the gut is being dubbed “the second brain”.
Current research is identifying links between the gut and the regulation of processes that are involved in: the immune system, mental illness, autism, bone density, and the regulation of mood. The most obvious example of the gut-brain connection is the feeling of “butterflies” in your stomach when experiencing anxiety.
The Jungian archetypes that relate to this chakra are the warrior and his shadow, the servant. In healing this chakra it is important to addressing any control issues, whether you tend towards the dominant or the passive end of the spectrum.
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ Jack Kerouac
Try this beautiful solar plexus chakra meditation. Just sit and listen to the sounds and breathe slowly and deeply,
It is apparent to me that this third energy centre has so much to teach me, about owning my personal power, and healing my gut and brain.
When deciding on my seven intentions, the initial word I used for my third intention was passion. Then I decided on the word purpose.
It strikes me now, that there is a space between those concepts, a place of perfect balance between passion and purpose, between that creative fire and the loving manifestation of that force in the world. Purpose, to me, can become drudgery and obligation, this chakra reminds me to always keep the home fires burning, to stoke them regularly, to allow them to flare up in magnificent displays of healthy passion and zest for life, to light my way in the darkness.
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark….Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours. Ayn Rand
The best way to stimulate the third chakra is to get your energy moving. Twisting poses and shouting also ignite this chakra, so twist and shout, baby.
This Lion pose is the perfect way to release your inner power. It releases your stomach, throat, and jaw, releasing any tensions and energy held there. It involves a powerful breathing technique that ignites the solar plexus chakra and releases emotions.
Lion’s Pose, Simhasana by Chakra Anatomy
Sit on your heals with your back straight.
Lean forward and put your hands on the floor in front of you, fingers pointing backwards.
Became aware of any sensations in your abdomen.
Take a full deep breath and allow your abdomen to fully expand.
Feel the sensations in your abdomen and connect with your breath.
Then, with a roar like a lion, throw your tongue out as you exhale the emotions and sensations in your abdomen.
Repeat this roar several times – breathing in your abdomen, connecting with your feelings, and exhaling the feelings with the power of a roar.
By releasing energy and long held emotions in your abdomen, you create space for a smooth energy flow through your third chakra.
Imagine you are sitting before a large, controlled fire. Look into the flames. Feel the flames as a reflection of your inner fire.
Visualise your solar plexus as a beautiful fiery sun. Feel its heat, its power. Allow any fears that emerge to be acknowledged and then burned in this ceremonial fire.
Ask this energy centre what is your purpose? What is your will? Spend a few minutes in quiet meditation and afterwards write or draw the wisdom you receive.
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style. Maya Angelou
Solar Plexus Chakra Affirmations by Chakra Anatomy
I love and accept myself.
I stand up for myself.
I am strong and courageous.
I am worthy of love, kindness, and respect.
I choose the best for myself.
I express myself in a powerful way.
I am proud of my achievements.
I honor my self.
I choose healthy relationships.
I am authentic.
I direct my own life.
I appreciate my strengths.
I feel my own power.
I am free to choose in any situation.
I seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
I am at peace with myself.
For more on:
Manipura read this article by Anodea Judith
And this article in Scientific American about the ‘second brain’ in the gut
Taoist alchemy practice ‘Circulation of the Light’
Jung and the yogic tradition here