Light my fire

Energetically, physically, emotionally and mentally, we are all powerful, radiant beings. However, we may not always be living from a place where we accept and radiate our own power. Sometimes we may feel like it would be easier not to have to interact and bargain and state our worth to people at all. Sometimes we may give in and accept less than we’re worth. These are all symptoms of an under-active solar plexus chakra. Natalie Southgate

When I left my marriage seven years ago, I was a shivering mess of a woman. In fact, I should say shivering mess of a girl rather than a woman, even though I was well into my thirties.

All my life I had given my power to others, thinking everyone else knew better for me than I did, mostly because they told me that, but also I had never outgrown that childish irresponsibility of happily letting others take control.

Avoiding conflict seemed the peaceful path, and so I would give in to the needs and demands of others. It was just easier.

I had never stepped into my own power, never fully embraced my own authenticity or sense of integrity. Although I had some degree of a spiritual life, it could never fully come to fruition while I continued to place human powers ahead of my own connection with the divine.

Life is the sum of all your choices. Albert Camus

For years I was fuelled by fear and anxiety, as I forged through those hideous early months and years of separation and divorce. Trying not to take on my ex’s bitter rage, trying to sort out parenting arrangements, trying to mend bridges with my step-sons who rightly felt abandoned by me leaving them behind.

Then just as the sun seemed to finally peek back through the clouds, and life seemed to settle into a more mellow pace, my body completely crashed. It sounds dramatic I know, but that’s really what happened. The official diagnoses included depression, anaemia, low blood pressure, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut… Not to mention a whole lot of head-scratching by doctors who really couldn’t understand what was going on in my body, never mind why.

In retrospect I can see all those symptoms had one root cause, power loss. After years of giving my power away, I was bankrupt, and was running dangerously low on life force.

One of the greatest struggles of the healing process is to forgive both yourself and others and to stop expending valuable energy on the past hurts. Caroline Myss


It was during this time, researching my first blog, that I discovered Chakradance. Although I knew of the chakras and had always felt drawn to Indian mysticism, I can’t recall exactly how I found myself at the website.

Something drew me there and something about the name, the Sanskrit-inspired lettering, the colours and description of the practice set off bells and whistles in my gut. Before I even knew what I was responding to, my spirit was shouting “Yes! For Gods sake, YES!”

Thus began my Chakradance journey, which started with me dancing along to a DVD in my lounge room and has grown into a beautiful practice, a way of life and a spiritual business.

While I would never want to single out one chakra as being more fundamental than another, I think all newcomers to Chakradance identify pretty quickly where they are blocked or deficient. For me it was primarily the solar plexus.

When facilitating a class, I always explain to participants that they may encounter a chakra where the music doesn’t resonate, or where their dance feels stilted, or they just disconnect and their mind wanders off. For me the solar plexus was the triple whammy.

The tribal, warrior dance-inspired music – that I have since grown to love – was initially abrasive. My dancing, so smooth and graceful in the sacral chakra became jerky and off-beat. I often joke to people who have a similar experience with this chakra – it’s very common – that I danced like Peter Garrett, from Midnight Oil.

The Chakradance facilitator training involves a deep-dive into each chakra through dance, Jungian archetypes, energetic practices and journal writing. When I reached the solar plexus, I had little expectations because of my previous experiences.

Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. Pema Chodron 

The dance of Manipura (the solar plexus chakra) begins with a flame, and as the music intensifies, the fire increases, 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.

During the dance I became angry, outraged, I found myself growling and shouting, I was defending myself against people who had abused me, punished me, shamed me, or taken my power away. It was a stream of vitriol that started as a very young child and worked its way through to the more recent relationships in my life. Doctors, teachers, partners, family, friends, one after another I got very angry about all the times I had disempowered myself or been disempowered in these relationships.

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, there came a vision of a fiery cauldron burning away the hurts of the past, all those experiences where I was persecuted, shamed, or abused for expressing my power. An image came to me of a golden cauldron on a large fire, and I poured all this emotion into the pot, to be transformed by the fire.

That night I dreamt that a golden pot exploded – flipping its lid – with such a force it woke me up. Manipura had been activated!

Meditate there on the region of Fire, triangular in form and shining like the rising sun. Purnananda

The image of the cauldron is meaningful. In both Taoist and Celtic traditions, the three cauldrons are the energy centres which are roughly equivalent to the seven chakras in the yoga tradition. The first cauldron in the Celtic system 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.

Since then I continue to connect deeply in this chakra. After my last few months of immersion in the waters of Svadisthana, I knew I needed to wake this fire up again. I needed energy, motivation, will to power. All the aspects of Manipura.

Manipura is the seat of personal power and will. It is the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our energy, drive, and sense of purpose. Who couldn’t use some of that?

According to tantric texts, it is in manipura that the spiritual activation of the kundalini takes place, as it is the junction of two vital forces, prana and apana. As we breathe prana rises from the navel to the throat and apana rises from Muladhara – the root chakra – to the navel. Manipura is considered the activation point for these subtle energies. In the sacred alchemy described in Taoist texts, this corresponding dantien is the furnace.

From Manipura chakra emanate ten nadis appearing like the petals of a lotus. The lotus is yellow and the petals depict the ten pranas, vital forces, which control and nourish all the functions of the body. On each petal is inscribed a letter in blue, giving the sound vibrations produced by the ten nadis. Inside the yellow lotus is an inverted red triangle-shaped yantra, representing the fire element, the spreading of energy. The inverted triangle also suggests the movement of energy downward. On its three sides the triangle has svastika signs shaped like a ‘T’, representing the formative force of fire (tejas tattva). At the lower end of the inverted triangle is a symbolic animal, a ram, representing dynamism and endurance. The ram is the vehicle of Agni (the fire God) and on it is inscribed the bija mantra ‘ram’, which lies latent. This is the symbol of the Divine Intelligence presiding over fire. Arthur Avalon, The Serpent Power

So let’s start with the Sanskrit meaning of Manipura – which is city of jewels, mani means jewels and pura city. What are these jewels? The jewels of Manipura are self-confidence, self-assurance, clarity, wisdom and knowledge. Unlike the higher centres where this knowledge may be more subtle, in Manipura the gift of knowledge is translated into will and action. It is the knowledge that enables us to make authentic and empowered decisions for ourselves. The solar plexus chakra is where our mental intentions become manifest. Here our will is fired by passion, purpose and energy.

This centres awakens our sense of individuality. Where as the first and second centres activates our awareness of our physical and sensory natures respectively, it is in Manipura that we begin to individuate, we experience our sense of self as a distinct identity.

This chakra is our autonomy, our sovereignty, our authenticity. As Shakespeare said “to thine own self be true,” Manipura is where we can find this truth. Manipura is thought of as the centre of willpower, vitality, achievement. It is the force that makes us act in the world.

It has a corresponding centre in the physical body, the solar plexus, which governs our digestive fires and heat regulation in the body. Manipura regulates our pranic – or life force – energy throughout our body, controlling our energy balance, vitality and strength.

This chakra helps develop the ego, creating our self-identity. Concerned with assertiveness and personal power, it is easy to see where this chakra can be out of balance. Either in excess feeling a desire for material power and control over people, or deficient in allowing ourselves to be dominated by others.

The archetype of the warrior epitomises the energy of this chakra.

The archetypes that we live out reflect the psychological patterning of self-care and worthiness, demonstrating the degree to which we love and cherish ourselves. The archetypes are also a metaphor for the strength of our vital energy, and the degree of creativity and pleasure we enjoy. Ambika Wauters

I wrote in my last post of becoming immersed in the watery, emotional world of the unconscious. My mandala drawings were full of water serpents chasing their tails, and I see how easy it might be to sink into those waters. What I needed was the sun rise to call me up and out, to again experience the heat and fiery passion of the dawn.

While we can dive into our unconscious and dance in our sensory waters, we cannot live there, there is no momentum.The unconscious is rendered conscious in the light of Manipura. Rising from sacral depths our emotions are digested and processed in the solar plexus chakra.

Here in Manipura, we have to contend with both the fire of desire and the power of the emotions. Without the fire in our bellies we could be stuck in the mud, or stay in the dark oceanic depths. Here in this energy centre we rise like the sun and the will to action is engaged.

You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand. Irene C. Kassorla

As much as our shadow side is unconscious and hidden, it does want to be seen. Those parts of ourselves that are underdeveloped, or we turn a blind eye to, will project themselves onto other people and life circumstances to force us to see the things we try to avoid in ourselves. All this owning of our truth, our authenticity and our power comes to light in the solar plexus.

Here we experience the light bulb moment, as the light illuminates the dark and we see what we have been wrestling with in the murky depths of the sacral waters. Unconscious becomes conscious awareness.

Dancing the solar plexus chakra was the catalyst for this process, allowing me to release all the ways I had been disempowered.

Our fiery natures gets dampened through our way of life in the west, through societal conformity and a focus on relating to others, which is all very base and sacral chakra stuff. The epidemic of depression and anxiety in modern westernised cultures could reflect a generalised loss of connection to the vital core of spiritual power, based in the solar plexus.

Above the inverted triangle is the storm-God Rudra (Shiva), portrayed as an old Shiva, daubed with white ashes, who represents the power of destruction. Presiding over the subtle body, seated beside Rudra, is his consort, the three-headed, four-armed goddess of fire, Lakini. Arthur Avalon, The Serpent Power

The solar plexus Chakradance is a journey with the Warrior archetype, with our relationship to masculinity. What does ‘warrior’ mean in our world? Integrity, perhaps? Not being silenced by ideals of correctness?

Servitude, the opposite archetypal energy means following the party line, subsuming ones own needs and desires beneath the needs and desires of others.

In an age of rampant political correctness, it is a fine line between respect for difference and being silenced from speaking our thoughts because they might offend someone.

There’s certainly plenty of anti-masculine rhetoric that goes around, as if the feminine alone could save the world. What will save humanity, if indeed it even needs saving, is balance. I’m not talking homogenisation here, I mean true balance, where all aspects of our selves can be healthily expressed. Where masculine traits are not derided.

We give away our power all the time, in our choice of lifestyle, where we spend our money, what we choose to do with our time. If the power of Manipura is considered masculine, if the warrior archetype is considered masculine, if authenticity, autonomy, the will to power is masculine, I say we all need plenty of that.

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

For women, it may help to think of this archetype as sovereignty, as the warrior queens who stood their ground under all kinds of difficult circumstances, who prized integrity and autonomy as the highest goals.

As we move into the heart chakra, we begin to balance and integrate these masculine and feminine energies, but before integration comes activation, and I feel that this chakra is so out of whack in our culture. Most of us are just living in the box we were provided with, enjoying our small illusions of freedom and autonomy. While a few are overactive in the chakra wielding tyrannical control and destruction over the world.

Until we activate, acknowledge and integrate our inner warriors, the shadow warrior will continue to rage in the collective unconscious of humankind.

Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage? Pink Floyd

Like all archetypes, the warrior is a stage we must develop through, taking the lessons and integrating them as we move into the next phase of development. Archetypes are two dimensional aspects, as such we try them on, act them out, but they are rites of passage, stages we move through to differentiate and ultimately integrate the various aspects of self.

As teenagers when the energy of Manipura really fires up, we may find ourselves butting heads with the world, but at some point we have to turn all that passion and will power within to foster our own integrity and personal authenticity. This inner warrior needs discipline equal to its fiery passion.

Many people misunderstand Tantra as being about sex. What Tantra really does is provide a system for engaging with, managing and ultimately uniting our inner masculine and feminine energies. The tantric practitioner seeks union of the shakti and shiva within their subtle body, by encouraging the upward movement of the feminine kundalini energy to unite in Sahasrara – the crown chakra – with the masculine shiva energy. As in Jungian psychological terms, the goal is an inner union, an integration of forces, that he called individuation.

By meditating on the navel centre one attains knowledge of the whole body. Patanjali

5 top tips for balancing your solar plexus chakra by Chakradance founder Natalie Southgate:

  1. Take responsibility for your life; avoid blaming others, circumstances, or fate.
  2. Develop a strong sense of self and keep sight of your own unique direction, ambitions and goals. Take the right action to achieve these goals.
  3. Find appropriate self-discipline in your life.
  4. Create good boundaries.
  5. Call to mind and celebrate your achievements and successes.

Expressing power need not be an act of overpowering. It is an act of being in touch with who you truly are and having your actions follow that belief. It is being able to commit, have integrity, keep your word and deal honourably. A balanced and healthy solar plexus chakra allows us to live lives of dignity and self-respect. Natalie Southgate

Blessings!

Fire in the belly

triskelerotated

Mystical insight and enlightenment occur when the veil between the worlds is lifted, the worlds are bridged, the gap closes, and we cross over. Tom Cowan

In Celtic symbology, the cauldron features frequently. One of the major Celtic stories, that of Taliesin, begins with a magical brew of the goddess Cerridwen, to create ‘awen.’

Awen is broadly described as a flowing spirit, a kind of life essence, a source of spiritual strength, prophetic insight, and poetic inspiration. Similar to the hindu concept of shakti in the sense of being a living, feminine, flowing, creative force. 

The feminine noun, Awen, has been variously translated as ‘inspiration’, ‘muse’, ‘genius’, or even ‘poetic frenzy’. According to a 19th century Welsh dictionary, the word itself is formed by combining the two words, ‘aw’, meaning ‘a fluid, a flowing’, and ‘en’, meaning ‘a living principle, a being, a spirit, essential’. 

The story of Taliesin is filled with shamanic wisdom and clues to the practices of the ancient Celts. It includes shape-shifting, magic potions, goddesses, forbidden cities of druids, and supernatural babies being found in rivers. One of the many symbols found there, is that of the cauldron. Whilst the cauldron is used for seemingly ordinary purposes, to brew up a potion, the symbology is that the cauldron is the container for awen.

Teach to me the mystery,
Of the Cauldron’s Brew,
Let Utter Darkness give way to light,
And be reborn anew. Damh the Bard

ceridwen_post

Erynn Rowan Laurie has written about the energetic system of the three cauldrons in her book Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom. In this system, the cauldrons are energy centres, much like the hindu chakras. There are three cauldrons, roughly relating to earth, sea, and sky – referring to the chthonic, oceanic, and celestial aspects, and the correlation with the three realms. The Irish loved things in threes!

Like much of reconstructed Celtic druidry, revived from stories and poems, the concept of the three cauldrons comes from a 7th century Irish poem, called the ‘Cauldron of Poesy.’

Sources of nourishment, objects of quest, and containers of transformation, cauldrons simmer at the heart of Celtic myth. They are sought after but out of reach, redemptive yet threatening, holding mysteries that few ever plumb. Mary Pat Lynch

The poem describes the body as containing ‘three cauldrons’. The three cauldrons are known as the Coire Goiriath (Cauldron of Warming or Incubation), the Coire Ernmae (Cauldron of Motion or Vocation), and the Coire Sois (Cauldron of Inspiration or Knowledge). The poem is attributed to Amergin, an ancient Irish poet. It is an ancient poem of the oral tradition, written down by an Irish monk in the 7th Century.

The relative positions of these cauldrons within each person was thought to determine the overall health of a person as well as the state of their mind and psyche.

The first cauldron Coire Goirath, is the Cauldron of Warming or Incubation. Located in the pelvis, it represents physical health, physical movement, and life force, and should be in the upright position. It provides the heat and energy for the body, like a furnace.

sskessel2

The second cauldron, Coire Ernmae, is the cauldron of Vocation or motion, located at the centre of the chest, in the area of the heart. This cauldron is found on its side at birth and as a result of intense emotional life experiences, begins to turn and eventually become upright. It is turned through ‘joy and sorrow’, including  spiritual joy, sexual bliss, and grief and sadness. The cauldron is matured through this process of emotional growth experiences.

The third cauldron is Coire Sois, the cauldron of Wisdom or inspiration. This cauldron is upside down in most people and it is only through the intensive work on the emotions in the second cauldron and deep esoteric study or spiritual experiences, that this cauldron begins to turn. Poetry, wisdom, and prophecy are the rewards for it cultivation.

How many divisions of sorrow turn the cauldrons of sages? Not hard, four: longing and grief, the sorrows of jealousy, and the discipline of pilgrimages to holy places. These four are endured internally, turning the cauldrons, although the cause is from outside. Cauldron Of Poesy 

Right, well some holy pilgrimages and that’s me sorted!

Drawing parallels between the cauldrons and the chakra system is unavoidable for me. Energetic centres that correspond to external stimuli and that require spiritual and emotional growth, to open and produce energy, feeling, wisdom, inspiration, and prophecy.

However Laurie warns against trying to superimpose the two systems directly, she writes that “It should be understood that the cauldrons are not identical to chakras, and their functioning is different. Rather than “wheels” of energy, they are containers, holding or pouring out different substances. Within these cauldrons one may heat, boil, or brew one’s health, talents, emotions, and wisdom or poetry.”

w-beltane

The three cauldrons are said to be located at the pelvic girdle, the heart, and the centre of the head. Many moons age I had a flash of inspiration during a chakra meditation, that suggested the cauldrons loosely aligned with the chakras as such, the base/sacral/solar plexus (the ‘physical’ chakras) corresponding to the cauldron of warming, the heart chakra (the ‘bridge’ between the physical and spiritual) corresponding to the cauldron of motion (e-motion), and the throat, third eye and crown (the spiritual/etheric chakras) corresponding to the cauldron of inspiration.

My friend who has done work on the Celtic stories, aligns the chakras a little differently, with the base/sacral corresponding to the cauldron of warming, the solar plexus and heart corresponding to the cauldron of motion, and the throat, third eye and crown corresponding to the cauldron of inspiration. Elen Sentier, who writes about the celtic chakras, also combines the solar plexus and heart chakras at the centre, aligning with the Cauldron of Motion, however she couples the chakras quite differently.

The Cauldron of Vocation
Fills and is filled,
Grants gifts and is enriched,
Nourishes and is enlivened,
Sings praises and is praised,
Chants invocations and is enchanted,
Creates harmonies and is harmoniously created,
Defends and is strongly defended,
Orients and is aligned,
Upholds and is upheld. Cauldron Of Poesy

The cauldrons can be described as filling, turning, brewing, and boiling, reflecting the level of awakening and development as well as the results of working energetically with the energy centres. It is necessary to turn them to activate ‘imbas,’ the Irish word for ‘awen.’

Each cauldron can be in one of three positions: upright, tilted, or inverted. This position indicates the ability of a cauldron to function. An upright cauldron can hold and ‘cook’ its ingredients; a tilted cauldron allows its contents to slip away; an inverted one loses everything.

3CauldronSealesODubhain

Last year, I was training as a Chakradance facilitator, part of which was intensively dancing each chakra and doing some Jungian style self-analysis on each centre and it’s associations. The solar plexus chakra was a particularly powerful one for me.

You can read about it in detail in my post here, but suffice to say, the imagery was of a golden cauldron, burning away all the detritus of my past. Around the same time I had a dream so violent that I woke bolt upright in bed, after a cauldron exploded, and blew its lid. It was these experiences that prompted me to learn more about the connection between the chakras and the cauldrons.

I researched this connection and found both the Irish Celtic and the Taoist’s energy systems use the concept of cauldrons or dantian. In the Taoist tradition, the first cauldron, Lower Tan Tien, 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, it is a solar channel of yang energy in the energy body.

firetransformation

It seems that these ancient systems acknowledged a similar kind of energy alchemy. The lower part of the body, the belly and below, was the manifestation of our physical energy, our bodies, our senses, our will to action.

Unfortunately the Irish literature gives little clue as to how the three cauldrons were used. The Irish were an oral culture, they transmitted wisdom through song and storytelling – the bardic arts – and by use of pneumonic devices like the ogham tree symbols.

What remains of Celtic cosmology is somewhat fragmented, mostly due to the colonisation of Europe by the Romans where Celtic culture was almost completely eliminated. What little was recorded was often done so by Christian monks.

So here I am left to look to other cultures and how they manage their energetic systems, and to tap into the collective unconscious to access ancestral knowledge of the Irish. Therefore my practice is part extrapolation, part intuition.

Fortunately there is much in common in many ancient shamanic practices, and much work that has gone on, and continues to go on, in reconstructing these wonderful practices. I just have to be very careful – in my blind enthusiasm – not to make assumptions about apparent similarities and appropriate other practices inappropriately!

Other writers of the Celtic Shamanic tradition have interpreted the system of the ‘celtic chakras’ differently. Elen Sentier, in her book Celtic Chakras, uses the Celtic symbol of the spiral – specifically the triskele – to find a celtic inspired pathway through the chakras. (The triskele is the triple spiral image you see in the first image of this post)

Her method is quite different to mine, but I intend to try her meditations as I love the idea of using the triskele as a basis for navigating the cauldrons. It removes the sense of hierarchy that most westerners approach the chakras with and unites the energies of the lower and upper chakras. Here is a diagram of her method, which I am sure I will be writing more about in the future.

chakraspiral.PNG

So back to what I do know, the chakras we understand them in Chakradance.

The solar plexus chakra relates to our metabolism, which is basically our inner furnace. Anodea Judith says “we can assess the health of this chakra by examining our body structure at this level: tight, hard stomachs, sunken diaphragms, or large potbellies are all indications of third chakra excess or deficiency.”

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.

To dance the solar plexus chakra is to call on the ancient warrior dances. In Chakradance, fast dynamic movements ignite the fire in our belly, fuelling our dance with energy and strength. Reining all this fiery energy in, movements then become strong, purposeful and clearly defined as our inner warrior emerges triumphant, brave and strong.

Joyful-fire-dance

The lower chakras work together, the solid ground of the base, the warming passion and pleasures of the sacral, all tend to the fire in the solar plexus. Without a solid foundation or the warming of sensual delights and creativity, there is no fuel for our fire.

When the third chakra is closed down, one may feel tired, afraid, shaky, quiet, or withdrawn. There is a fear of taking risks, confronting people or issues, taking charge, and with all this, a lack of energy. Anodea Judith

The archetype of the warrior – standing strong in their power – is the vision of the healthy solar plexus chakra. It is not aggressive, but it will not subvert itself either.

Many cultures associated this solar plexus area with our life force, the entry point of spiritual energy into the body. In traditional Japanese teachings and reiki healing, the hara system – located in the belly – is the main focus for building a person’s energy.

fire in the belly

Thus if our spiritual energy is low, it may manifest strongly here in our belly and solar plexus centre. Childhood traumas or abuse can lead to a depleted solar plexus chakra, and to a condition shamans know as ‘soul loss.’

Soul loss can be symptomatically identified by asking these questions:

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? Angeles Arrien

In shamanism, soul equates to power. Each person should have guiding spirits and power animals to protect and maintain their spiritual power. During trauma, or sometimes as a result of ignorance to their existence, we can lose these helping spirits and our power with them. Shamanic healing involves reconnecting those lost parts of spirit and our spirit helpers.

It has always been the role of the shaman to go into an altered state of consciousness and track down where the soul fled to in the alternate realities and return it to the body of the client. Sandra Ingerman

It is said that power animals and spirit guides will only stay with a person if they are honoured and cared for, we must invite them to dance with us in our journeys, listen to their messages, and live our lives with the vitality they bring. Otherwise they will get bored and wander off.

I think the same can be said for ourselves. If we don’t tend to our spirit, to our life’s passion, if we don’t ignite and tend to our inner fire, part of ourselves gets bored and wanders off, abandoning ourselves, and the lustrous gem we hold within.

Affirmations for the Solar Plexus Chakra by Natalie Southgate:

“I am worthy of the best in life.”

“I am capable.”

“I am powerful.”

“I set and reach my goals.”

“I stand up for myself and for what I believe in.”

“I know who I am and where I am going.”

Centering practice with the three realms:

http://www.tendingthepath.com/meditation-practices.html

Bless!

Damh the Bard performing the tale of Cerridwen and Taliesin

Further reading:

A comprehensive breakdown of Celtic cosmology

What is awen?

The Three Cauldrons by Mary Pat Lynch

The Three Cauldrons and the Cauldron of Poesy explained by Erynn Rowan Laurie

The Celtic Chakras. Elen Sentier

The Solar Plexus Chakra by Natalie Southgate

Images:

Triskele by Dorothy Bunny Bowen

Ceridwen

Beltane by Dorothy Bunny Bowen

Three Cauldrons positions by Searles O’Dubhain

Celtic Chakras by Elen Sentier

Golden Cauldron

Fire Transformation

Fire in the Belly by Bone Goddess

Joyful Fire Dance

So it begins…

We reach for the sun and call upon the yellow ray. The ray of life, the ray of creation, the ray of consciousness, the spark of fire. We call upon the flame to burn within us and temper our passions into strength. With strength we fight the dark, pulsing and straining, to realise it is a part of ourselves, part of our strength, part of our fear. We laugh, and put down the fight, merging, becoming whole, becoming stronger. Anodea Judith

Will you take a moment and come for a mental meander with me? Follow me down a verdant garden path, under draped yellow flower lights, past a Buddha garden into another world…

I created this space. With my own hands. A sanctuary, a place of love and light, where the very walls and floors are imbued with my vision. Hand-polishing the floorboards and painting the walls, whilst practicing the Chakradance script, I have embedded the essence of Chakradance in the walls and floors of my studio.

Yes, my body aches, and hurts. My flesh is covered in so many cuts and bruises and blisters, a reality that any novice renovator would empathise with. I am physically stretched to my limits. Financially stretched to my limits.

And yet, I have never felt so happy and grateful to be alive. Hell, I have never felt so alive. Is this what to feels like to manifest your intentions? And it isn’t what I thought. Intentions do not manifest through meditation and divine blessing alone, but through hard labour, dedication and self-sacrifice. Is this what it means to set your heart on a goal and doggedly follow it through, clearing hurdles, diving through obstacles, embracing the unknown? Ah!

Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed. Paulo Coelho

flower lightsstudio

Last night, at the end of a of my first Chakradance class, I was feeling such a wave of gratitude, first to the powers that be, yes, but also, to myself. I was able to acknowledge how hard I have worked to make this dream a reality. And that’s new for me.

I am usually a ‘never enough’ kind of girl, especially when it comes to my owns achievements, I have a rather critical eye. Something about this endeavour, setting up my Chakradance studio, has bypassed that to a degree. I felt happy, I felt satisfied, I felt grateful. I told myself “You did it, girl!”

I never imagined a year ago when I bought the Chakradance DVD that it would lead me to this point. And yet everything has prepared me for this. Years of meditation, a fascination with the chakras, and healing, and inner journeying, has culminated here.

Part of me keeps expecting a crash. I mean it was only twelve months ago my adrenal system crashed, and I was unable to crawl my way out of bed for a few months.

I can’t help but think perhaps I am pushing myself too hard, and yet, there’s no evidence to suggest that. And in fact, despite my renovation-related injuries and a reasonable tiredness, I feel great. I make sure I finish each day with a salt bath and meditation, and despite some understandable muscle soreness, my body is holding up amazingly well.

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Survival is not enough – we must learn to thrive. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Perhaps its time to acknowledge the power source within – my solar plexus chakra.

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’s the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our vitality, drive, and sense of purpose.

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. In some ways, this chakra is our ‘inner teenager’ – inviting us to address issues of identity and unbridled passion.

Located in the area of the diaphragm and stomach, this chakra relates to concepts of self-definition, personal power, and positive emotional expression. This is your core, your centre.

This chakra represents our “get up and go,” our action, our will, our vitality, and our sense of personal power. Its name, Manipura, means “lustrous gem.” We can think of it as a glowing yellow Sun, radiating through the centre of our body. Anodea Judith

dance-in-todays-sun

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 energy of manipura is expressed as the element of fire. Traditional aboriginal cultures have strong relationships to fire using it in shamanic rituals and land-care, as well as for warmth and food preparation.

Jung believed in the connection between the psyche and the chakras, now it seems this connection is expanding to physiological connections between the chakras and the physical organs of the body. Jung equated the energy moving up through the chakras, known as the ‘kundalini rising’ as analogous to the awakening of the soul experienced in all cultures, described by Jung as the emergence, and ultimately the assimilation of the unconscious self. He saw the chakra system as a framework for the developmental phases of higher consciousness.

The manipura represents the stage where we are born again, into the fire of passion and awareness of a self beyond a relationship to others: family, tribe and community. It is entering the fire that allows us to emerge and connect with the spirit world, the world of the gods, and the cosmos, the collective unconscious, in Jung’s words it is “what will follow when you have made your acquaintance with the unconscious.”

But what is passion, what are emotions? There is the source of fire, there is the fullness of energy.  A man who is not on fire is nothing: he is ridiculous, he is two-dimensional. … So when people become acquainted with the unconscious they often get into an extraordinary state – they flare up, they explode, old buried emotions come up, they begin to weep about things which happened forty years ago. Carl Jung

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The Solar Plexus Chakra is particularly associated with the adrenal glands which regulate the immune system and metabolism, and the pancreas which regulates insulin production.

The adrenal glands are two glands that sit on top of your kidneys that are made up of the adrenal cortex – the outer part of the gland – and the adrenal medulla – the inner part of the gland. The adrenal cortex produces cortisol – which helps regulate metabolism and helps your body respond to stress – and aldosterone – which helps control blood pressure. The adrenal medulla produces adrenalin – which helps your body react to stress.

The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach close to the duodenum. It digests your food and produces insulin, the main chemical for balancing the sugar level in the blood. All the body’s cells use glucose (sugar) as an energy source. The level of sugar in the blood is kept constant by insulin, which is made by special cells in the pancreas. If the cells are not working properly and insulin is lacking then diabetes develops.

We often associate adrenalin with the ‘fight or flight’ response, our instinctual survival response to a real or perceived threat.

The problem is, in our busy modern lives, we tend to live in a constant state of such arousal, aggravated by excessive caffeine intake, and so our adrenals either tire out, or never get a chance to do their other important jobs. The adrenal glands release hormones that are essential for to life, so we need to take care of them.

What is this life flowing in our bodes like fire? What is it? Life is like a hot iron. Ready to pour. Choose the mould and life will burn it. Mahabharata

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Last year, in fact exactly about a year ago, I suffered from adrenal fatigue (amongst other things including severe anaemia and depression). It was health crisis most likely as a result of having thrived on stress for too long. After my divorce, well truthfully long before my divorce, my life was very stressful and I had never really settled into a calm and relaxed space.

Although I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone, it has been valuable for me to see the toll that long-term stress took on my health.

And even as I write this, I feel a touch of that bone-weariness again. I know I have been pushing myself, burning the candle at both ends. At work and then painting half the night, or at the hospital with my dad.

Good sleep habits are the best remedy for adrenal fatigue. I was prescribed 9pm bedtimes, which I stuck to religiously for 6 months or more, and it really helped. I have got undisciplined again, and it’s not highly conducive to dating or having a social life, but I need to find a happy medium.

The Solar Plexus Chakradance is the dance of the hero warrior. The music is tribal and dynamic, the guided imagery encourages us to reconnect with our inner masculine energy and power. There is something incredibly liberating about dancing like a Kiwi Haka – grunting and stamping my feet. It releases a part of me that seems to lie dormant much of the time.

Creating and holding a vision for our endeavours does not mean being attached to perfect outcomes, more it is a compass to hold and refer to when the sun clouds over and the seas get rocky. It is a vision of the direction we saw from the high vantage point on the coast before we set sail, and once we found ourselves out at sea, we can refer to that vision for guidance, inspiration, direction and courage.

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Woodchopper Exercise by Anodea Judith

Stand with feet planted firmly on the ground, knees slightly bent, heels about two feet apart. Raise arms together over the head with hands joined. Arch back slightly. Making an “ah” sound as you descend, swing the whole upper portion of the body downward bringing your hands between your legs and through. The motion should be smooth and rapid, emitting as much force and power as is possible. Let the sound be full and loud. Repeat five to ten times in a session, and feel the energy break through into your upper body. This exercise is also an excellent anger release.

Affirmations from 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.

Bless!

 

Images:

Sun Dance

Last dance with the sun by goddessathenaiegirl

Dance in today’s sun

Sun dance by visualsoup

Dancing woman

Beautiful couple dance love sun

Sources:

Manipura – The Power Chakra by Anodea Judith

The adrenal glands

Jung illuminates the fires of the solar plexus chakra

A look at C.G. Jung’s English Seminar on the Kundalini Yoga by Kevin Aiello

Taking it out into the world

creative-dance

All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost. J.R.R. Tolkien

There’s been a lot on inner work going on for me lately: chakra healing, shamanic soul retrieval, and of course, chakradancing. Now it seems it’s time to take this inner journey out to the world, to share this gift with others. And I have to say, I am feeling a little scared. It’s all very well to dance around my loungeroom, but now I’m going to put myself out there and guide others through the journey of Chakradance. Am I up for this? Am I ready? Will I do it ‘right’?

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate. Thomas Aquinas

Last week I went and danced with a dear friend. She’s been having some health problems and so we focused on the solar plexus chakra: the seat of personal power. I know that sounds a little Tony Robbins, but the power here is akin to the flow of electricity. If our solar plexus is compromised, for example, by us giving away our power through dynamics of low self-esteem and approval seeking, we can become very depleted in this area. As a result our whole system suffers as this inner ‘fire’ of digestion, metabolism and empowerment dwindles.

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One of the greatest losses of energy in this chakra comes from ignoring our intuition. We all have intuition, it is an innate gift, the issue is when we don’t listen to it. We suppress it, deny it, argue with it, throw fearful thoughts at it, and this all takes a lot of energy.

Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. John O’Donohue

Caroline Myss talks about how we have misunderstood and mis-used the notion of creating our own reality, applying this force at the level of the material and the personality (romance, power, prestige) but that is not really the truth. The reality we create is at an energetic level, in our thoughts, and where we, consciously or unconsciously, direct our energy. This concept needs to be applied it to the management of our spiritual energy, and of our energy output.

Where does your energy go? Have you ever considered this? Not just physically but emotionally, via your thoughts. Do you harbour resentments, fears, old hurts? This is the great responsibility of the human life – conscious management of our power. The chakra system is a blueprint of the management of our spiritual energy, according to Myss.

Last week my lover gave me a rune reading. It was a beautiful process, and as with tarot, can be used as a form of divination alongside therapeutic counselling, to uncover blocks and issues in the querent’s life.

The runes are the traditional writing, magical and divination symbols of the ancient Germanic peoples, which effectively covers most of Northern Europe. Specific symbols carved in wood, or representations of these symbols on cards similar to tarot, are used in a traditional formation representing the realms in Norse mythology. There is an apparent correlation between these realms and the essence of the seven chakras as explored in this article by Magin Rose.wood-runes2

The reading was in response to a query I had about Chakradance. I had felt that just as I was beginning to bring my business into the ‘real’ material world of people, there was a major block occurring. People get very excited by ideas, but when it comes down to actually committing to a physical place and time, would they do it? Would anyone actually come to my classes?

The runes selected were highly favourable, suggesting I have the favour of the gods as what I am offering is of value, and with a recurring theme of sea-faring. I saw the analogy that my business, my chakradance craft, is like a boat, a beautiful boat, but one that has never been on the sea, is it actually sea worthy?

The only solution was some good old-fashioned business planning. Planning is something I often see as boring and restrictive, yet seeing the creativity as I write my business plan, the ideas flowing of how to launch my business, how I want my space to look, are actually really exciting. And it’s real.

We all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Come to think of it, it’s not that planning is boring, it’s actually scary. My usual modus operandi is ‘fly by the seat of my pants’.

Yes, that is a kind of intuitive living, but I think you can be intuitive and conscious of your decision-making and the direction it’s taking you. I traditionally make what seems like a great decision at the time, with no real thought as to how to measure if it actually is a good decision, and if so, how I will know that going forward. And when fear and doubt creep in, as they always do, I’m lost at sea with no compass, asking myself plaintively, ‘are you sure this is what you want?”

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour. Henry David Thoreau

This week several synchronous articles have crossed my path, as I started to realise I needed more of a plan around my business, a friend’s new business was launched, with this wonderful article on why planning really helps calm the anxiety of launching a business – read it here at Confetti Design, and I received an email from Doreen Virtue about planning a spiritual business.

Johannah Chilcott, from Confetti Design, writes that there are three steps to keeping your head when starting a new business: building a solid foundation through research and planning, reducing objectives into micro-tasks to get things done without stress, and creating strategies for support, mentorship, and stress management techniques. It’s a very sensible approach, far less angst-ridden than my ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ no-planning-plan.

After the rune reading, and these gems of wisdom that have arrived in my inbox this week, the recurring message is that I need to plan, not because anything will necessarily go wrong, but because I will go into self-doubt, and a solid plan will remind me that I have prepared my boat for the ocean, I am sea-worthy. It will remind me of the reasons I embarked on this journey, and the solid ground behind and in front of me.2-seaworthy-jc-findley

Probably the most important part of manifesting my intentions is right here, this giving birth to them in the physical world, not shying away from physical limitations and obstacles, seeing this as part of the richness of what I am doing, breaking through old barriers of self-doubt and self-sabotage.

Success in any endeavour depends on the degree to which it is an expression of your true self. Ralph Marsten

I previously wrote about the book Creating on Purpose: The Spiritual Technology of Manifesting Through the Chakras by Lion Goodman and Anodea Judith in an old post here.

The jist of Creating on Purpose is that all creation is co-creation between energy forces which are always at work, and through awareness and energetic healing we can become a clear ‘bridge’ for these forces to flow through, and we can quite literally use our consciousness to change the world.

 You have the ability to draw down your own vision of what you want to create in your life and to manifest it here in the physical world. Your soul has a purpose for being here. Lion Goodman and Anodea Judith

The ancient vedic texts called the upward journey of energy throughout the chakras mukti, or freedom; Anodea calls it the ‘current of liberation’. This current enables you to liberate yourself from limitations and attachments. It is the commonly conceptualised path of enlightenment by ascending from the lower chakras through to the crown chakra.

Less understood is the downward path, which the ancient masters called bhukti meaning “enjoyment”. The descending current of bhukti is the process by which consciousness densifies into physical form. In its simplest form this can be thought of as the process used in any body movement. When you walk your consciousness tells your brain to instruct your body to walk, this thought travels via energy signals to the nerves in your legs, where it manifests physically as you walking.

This downward path of energy through the chakras is the process of manifestation, where ideas and intentions catalyse and are transformed into physical reality. This process begins at the seventh chakra at the crown and moves down to the base or first chakra.

But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. Paulo Coelho

In Creating on Purpose, Anodea and Lion outline seven manifestation principles, which describe how the seven chakras are involved in various stages of manifestation. Lion is very clear that this is not about sitting still and manifesting abundance, this is co-creation between our energetic and physical forms which requires action.

blog-post-9-1-original-lmFor an intention to manifest there has to be an idea in your consciousness (7th chakra) you visualise it, including looking at all kind of related things and letting your imagination play with the idea (6th chakra), you communicate with people who can be helpful and talk about it (5th chakra), you ensure right relationships around this intention (4th chakra), you create action plans (3rd chakra), you infuse your intention with passion (2nd chakra) and you actualise the intention in the physical world (1st chakra).

The other process is dealing with resistance. Like my aforementioned reaction to putting myself out there, it is natural to experience resistance to any new intention or action. You need to identify and remove these obstacles and unblock your chakras to allow the current to flow freely.

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. Albert Einstein 

Creating and holding a vision for our endeavours does not mean being attached to perfect outcomes, more it is a compass to hold and refer to when the sun clouds over and the seas get rocky. It is a vision of the direction we saw from the high vantage point on the coast before we set sail, and once we found ourselves out at sea, we can refer to that vision for guidance, inspiration, direction and courage.

Affirmations for starting your own business by Che Garman:

What I offer through my company has tremendous value.

My work is a labour of love.

I effortlessly channel my energy into working on my business.

I easily get the funds I need to help grow my business.

I believe in myself and in my company.

I build my business with understanding and dedication.

I contribute to the lives of others through the services I provide.

People are extremely eager to engage my services.

My chosen lifework is fulfilling and lucrative.

My company makes a positive difference in the world.

My business instincts are well-tuned.

My business is constantly growing and prospering.

My business is flourishing!

 

Bless!

 

Image:

http://wildlyfreewoman.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/creative-dance.jpg

http://witchblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/wood-runes2.jpg

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/ce/7d/5f/seaworthy-gallery.jpg

http://s90.mindvalley.us/learnmanifesting/media/images/blog-post-9-1-original-lm.png

Ignite your inner fire

cauldronfire

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

lionSit 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.

Fire meditation

stock-footage-big-flames-in-wooden-campfire-fps-slow-motionYou may want to use a candle to assist in your visualisation.

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.

Bless.

 

For more on:

Manipura read this article by Anodea Judith

Chakradance here

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 

 

Title image:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nLMuzwNcOig/Ub4wmu-yKII/AAAAAAAAthQ/nionRoomO7s/s640/L1000826_HDR.jpg

Lion image:

http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/n3quBUL5kTM/hqdefault.jpg

Fire image:

http://ak5.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/4929029/preview/stock-footage-big-flames-in-wooden-campfire-fps-slow-motion.jpg

 

Now is the time to shine like the sun

Manipura

This week’s WordPress writing challenge is The Golden Years, which got me to thinking about what that phrase means to me. I do love a challenge. Of course, then the Bowie song started running around in my head, as music is wont to do…

Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel. Golden years, gold, whoop whoop whoop. David Bowie

It’s a song of youthful exuberance – not to mention rather a lot of cocaine, apparently.

So I questioned myself. What are my golden years? Many people subscribe to the idea of school days being the best days, but I don’t. How could your best days be over before you’ve even figured out what to do with your life? And even though I loved university, my teenage and early twenties years were a time of disillusionment and descent into nihilism. If anything I became less golden, more dark and bleak. Lost in deep philosophical questions about myself and my place in this world.

My thirties were mostly happily spent mothering three boys – which I loved – and being in a difficult marriage – which I didn’t.

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing – and then marry him. Cher

My mum always said her forties were her golden years – post the frenetic years of raising very young children, and with a sense of comfortability within herself – and I tend to agree. Apart for the hiccup of actually letting go of my thirties as a concept, when the digits slid over last year, I have to say I feel better about life than I ever have. Wouldn’t mind my 25 year-old body back, but what evs.

The golden age is before us, not behind us. William Shakespeare

Let’s segue here. Thinking golden, makes me think of the solar plexus chakra, the third chakra, which is said to radiate a golden yellow energy like the sun. This week I have been meditating on this chakra. Why? Well, read on.

Known as Manipura in Sanskrit – which means lustrous gem – its themes of self-care and personal power have been recurring for me lately. It’s easy to forget about caring for yourself, in this crazy and demanding world we live in. And the result of an unbalanced Manipura? Anxiety, indecision, stifled will, and suppressed energy. Er, no thanks. 

Always believe in your soul. You’ve got the power to know you’re indestructible. Always believe in, because you are Gold – Spandau Ballet

Manipura is the seat of personal power and will. It its the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our energy, drive, and sense of purpose. Who couldn’t use some of that?

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.

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.

Part of the reason my forties feel so golden is that I have finally understood the concept of honouring my own power. In the past I tended to let others call the shots in my relationships. Trusting my intuition, as a guide to self-expression, has proved to be the most empowering thing I could do.

We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses—one foot is on the horse called “fate,” the other on the horse called “free will.” And the question you have to ask every day is—which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it’s not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort? Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love 

The fire energy of Manipura ignites your passion and will, encouraging you to take risks towards living your dream. As such it is the catalyst for your intentions, the chakra in which they transform from imagination to a will to action. 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. Anaïs Nin 

My last post, on vision boards, was all about using your imagination and creativity to visualise your intentions. This is an important place to start. However if your intentions stay at that level, they don’t manifest in reality. The solar plexus chakra is the place where intention is transformed by the will into strategic action planning, with the fuel of passion to power things along.

I am finally coming to the realization that my greatest ambition is to be what I already am. Thomas Merton

So if you are feeling lacklustre, and wondering where your get up and go went. If you find yourself feeling angry that other people seem to be walking all over you and not realising you have your own needs. If your inner fire has been doused with apathy.  It might be a good time to get back in touch with the energy of your solar plexus chakra.

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible.” Audrey Hepburn

A great place to start is by reflecting on your successes and accomplishments, a reminder to yourself that you are a unique, worthy and valuable person. As you bring to mind your self-worth, imagine a bright, golden sun in the middle of your belly. Feel its warm rays radiate out to your entire body and surrounds.

As if the sorrows and stupidities of the world could overwhelm me now that I realize what we all are.  I wish everyone could realize this, but there is no way of telling people they are all walking around shining like the sun. Thomas Merton

Let your golden chakra shine like the sun. Like manipura, life is a lustrous gem, deserving of deep reverence. Laughing ignites this chakra too, so if meditation is not your thing, try the comedy club or a funny movie.

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such. Henry Miller

So here’s to making THESE years, this year, right now, the golden years, for whatever stage of life you are in. 

If your third chakra is strong, you stay on task. You live deliberately. Your actions are in accordance with your intentions. You make a plan to do something, and you do it—without resistance, apology, or complaint. Anodea Judith & Lion Goodman, Creating on Purpose

I love these affirmations for empowering the solar plexus chakra from Therese Kerr’s wonderful website – written by Natalie Southgate of Chakradance – and this article is also where much of my information about this chakra comes from.

“I am worthy of the best in life.”

“I am capable.”

“I am powerful.”

“I set and reach my goals.”

“I stand up for myself and for what I believe in.”

“I know who I am and where I am going.”

Bless!

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