The Seven Chakras
There are now recognized to be over 100 chakra points in and around the physical body, but for the purpose of simplicity we will focus on the seven "main" chakra centres.
Chakras are the energy centres of the physical and etheric body, through which energy and information should pass freely, in order that we operate to our full potential physically, mentally and spiritually. The word "chakra" derives from Sanskrit, where it means "wheel" - which is how each chakra can be visualized - a spinning wheel of energy radiating the particular colour(s) associated with it. In Eastern traditions each chakra is also associated with the lotus flower, the flower having a different number of petals for each chakra. Each chakra also has a symbol and a sound.
Our energy can be deeply affected by partial or complete blockages at or between the chakras. Blockages or partial blockages can be caused by many things - physical illness, emotional problems (which may exist on a sub-conscious level and which we may not even be directly aware of), problems caused by past trauma (which may be related to past lives as well as current), negative relationships, etc. We can even pick up information on a psychic level from other people we may be close to, and this too can effect our chakra system. If the passage between the chakras is blocked, it prevents them from functioning properly, which can lead to problems in our every day lives, on a physical, mental and spiritual level.
Crystals and the Chakra Centres
Certain stones and colours resonate with each chakra centres, and can help to clear blockages, and to open and activate the chakra centre, enhancing general balance and well-being, spiritual development and healing. Bearing in mind that when using crystals you should always be guided first and foremost by your own intuition, here is a (by no means comprehensive!) list of corresponding Chakras, Crystals and Colours:
BASE/ROOT (1st:Chakra): Positioned at the base of the spine/lumbar region. Energy: the base chakra relates to physical energy, will, living in the physical plane with a strong earth connection, passion. It rules the kidneys and the spinal column. Colours: black and red. Related crystals: hematite, garnet, black/snowflake/mahogany obsidian, black tourmaline, black onyx, smokey quartz, red tiger eye.
(SACRAL (2nd Chakra): Situated approx. 2 finger widths below the navel. Energy: desire, creativity, sexuality. Rules the digestive and reproductive systems. It is the centre of wellness for the body - often illness will manifest itself in this area as the body tries to purify itself. Colours: orange and blue/green. Related crystals: carnelian, red/green jasper, bloodstone, red agate.
SOLAR PLEXUS (3rd Chakra): Situated between the breastbone and the navel. Energy: power, confidence, ambition, intellect and focus. Protects against negativity. Rules the stomach, liver, gall-bladder and pancreas. Colour: golden yellow. Related crystals: citrine, gold tiger eye, gold/yellow calcite, yellow jasper, golden topaz, golden labradorite, tangerine sun aura quartz.
HEART (4th Chakra): Situated at the centre of the chest, level with the heart. Energy: compassion, unconditional love, one-ness, serenity and calmness. Rules the heart, thymus, circulatory system. Colours: pink and green. Related crystals: rose quartz, rhodochrosite, rhodonite, pink, green and watermelon tourmaline, malachite, morganite, pink kunzite, green aventurine, peridot.
THROAT (5th Chakra): Situated at the neck, above the collarbone. Energy: communication, sound, creativity through thought and speech, writing and song. Energy and understanding in verbal and mental communication. Rules the thyroid gland, throat, lungs, vocal chords, breath. Colour: blue and turquoise. Related crystals: turquoise, aquamarine, blue lace agate, blue topaz, blue chalcedonay, amazonite, sodalite, aqua aura quartz.
BROW/THIRD EYE (6th Chakra): Situated in the centre of the brow, just above the eyebrows. Energy: psychic awareness, clairvoyance, intuition, clarity of mind, concentration and mental agility. Rules the nose, central nervous system, left eye, pituitary gland. Colour: indigo violet. Related crystals: amethyst, iolite, sugilite, charoite, lapis lazuli, tanzine aura quartz.
CROWN (7th Chakra): Situated at the top of the head (crown). Energy: Spirituality, cosmic consciousness, enlightenment, awareness, connection to the Source. Rules the cerebrum, right eye and pineal gland. Colours: violet and golden white. Related crystals: quartz crystal, fluorite, rutilated quartz, apophylite, danburite, azeztulite, phenacite, selenite, Herkimar diamond.
Ways of Working with Crystals and Chakras
A set of chakra stones is a very useful thing to have as part of your holistic toolkit! These can be bought already made up (see our "Chakra Sets" page in our On-line Shop for a selection of carefully chosen sets), or you can make your own and build up a lovely, personal set of chakra stones which you resonate with.
You can use your chakras stones in a number of different ways. Whilst lying down, place all 7 of your stones/crystals on the chakra points and relax for 10 mins. in meditation whilst absorbing the energies of the crystals. (see our "Chakra Meditation" below). Using them this way will help to balance the chakras, and help them all to work correctly.
If you are aware of a particular chakra which needs attention (eg communication difficulties could suggest a blocked or partially blocked throat chakra, or lack of confidence which could relate to the solar plexus), you can choose a corresponding stone and focus on its energies. You can do this by placing the stone (or wearing it as jewellery) directly at the chakra centre, or by holding the stone in meditation whilst using visualization to remove blocks from this area. Carrying a particular stone with you, and surrounding yourself with a relevant colour as much as possible, can work quite powerfully over a period of time, having a very clearing and cleansing effect on the chakra you are focusing on, and infact on the entire energy field. Bear in mind that you may experience strong shifts in emotional and physical release/detoxification as the chakra is cleared of negativity and re-activated. It is important to drink lots of water when carrying out this kind of work to keep yourself clear and keep the energy flowing.
Pendulums and wands are often used in working the chakras, to establish which are blocked or partially blocked, and which are open and clear. With some practice these can be excellent healing tools.
A Chakra Meditation
Create a peaceful environment for yourself, with maximum privacy. Light some candles, burn some meditation incense or oil, and play some relaxing music/natural sounds if this helps you to relax.
Lay your collection of chakra stones infront of you, and take some time to focus on the individual stones, getting to know them and tuning in to their individual energies. Place your stones somewhere within easy reach as you lie in a position comfortable to you for meditation, placing any cushions you may need around you for support. As you will be placing the stones on to your body, lying down whilst in meditation is preferable. However, if this is not possible for you, simply hold the stones individually in your hand whilst carrying out the visualization.
As you relax into meditation, become conscious of your breath. Focus as you inhale slowly through your nose, and exhale through your mouth, clearing the mind of everyday thoughts, enjoying this feeling of stillness as you continue to focus on the breath.
When you are ready, in your own time, and when you are in a light meditative state, pick up your base chakra stone, and place it in the area of this chakra, becoming aware of the grounding energy of the base chakra as you do this.
Visualise a bright, vibrant red emanating from this area. See a beautiful, bright red flower there, and watch as the petals gently open to reveal a vibrant, glowing centre. Allow this chakra to continue to glow red whilst selecting your orange sacral chakra stone, and placing it on the sacral area. See a bright orange flower opening and glowing with the creative energy of the sacral chakra. As the orange continues to glow, move to the solar plexus, and place your golden stone there, feeling the bright, light confident sun energy filling solar plexus as the golden flower opens and radiates brightly. Next focus on your heart, choosing either your pink or green stone and placing it at the heart centre, filling it with beautiful, gentle pink/green light, opening to unconditional love, comforting and nurturing. As your heart chakra flower opens, move now to your throat chakra, place your blue stone at your throat, and visualize it filling with vibrant blue light. As the flower opens, see it removing any blockages, allowing you to express yourself clearly and confidently. Next focus on the brow/third eye chakra, placing your indigo violet stone on your brow and as you do enjoying the purple light that emanates from the opening flower, clearing and activating this centre of intuition and clarity. Lastly move to the crown chakra, placing your clear/white stone at the crown of your head. As you do this, visualise a strong, pure, white light emanating from a beautiful multi-petalled flower as your crown chakra opens to connect with your higher consciousness.
See this white light pour down your body, covering every inch of you - sides, front and back, surrounding you with a comforting and protective energy. Visualise this white light going around your feet, and flowing back up through all of your chakras in turn, from base all the way up to crown, then again flowing out through the crown and back down to begin the cycle again. Continue this visualisation for as long as you like - you will know intuitively when to stop.
Carrying out this visualization works deeply on your chakra centres, opening, activating and balancing them.
As you have worked to open your chakras, before you come out of meditation, you should now close them. This is important to keep your energy intact, safe and protected - leaving your chakras open as you go about your daily life can leave you feeling vulnerable and hyper-sensitive. The work you have done during your meditation will not be lost, and your chakra system will remain balanced and working fluidly for you as you go about your everyday activities.
So, beginning at the crown chakra, visualise a beautiful, glowing white flower gently closing its petals. When this is done, work through your third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral & base, using the same visualization with appropriately coloured flowers for each chakra to gently close them down. As you reach your base chakra, begin to reconnect with the earth and bring yourself gently back in to the room. In your own time, begin to wiggle your fingers and toes, open your eyes and re-familiaise yourself with your surroundings. Remove your stones one by one, holding your base chakra stone in your hand for a moment or two to connect with its grounding energy.
Be aware of any chakras which you experience resistance or difficulty in visualizing or opening during meditation, as these may be areas which you need to work on further.
Be gentle with yourself as you have carried out some deep healing work on yourself during your meditation. Drink plenty of water, and be aware of any changes you may experience on a physical, emotional or spiritual level following the meditation. Carry the meditation out as often as you feel drawn to, and investigate the many different chakra meditations out there to see what works best for you.
There are many excellent books available on the chakra system. Two that I found particularly helpful are:
"the Chakra Bible" by Patricia Mercier, publ. Godsfield £12.99 is an excellent book for all levels of experience.
"wheels of Life: User's Guide to the Chakra System" by Anodea Judith, publ. Llewellyn's New Age £18.99 offers a deeper exploration of the subject.