Do you ever feel at war within yourself or stuck in a rut? The chakra system has a huge impact on our feelings, thoughts and behaviors. The more you understand your inner energy centers, the more you can learn how to mature and grow as a balanced individual.
This blog will look at chakra meaning, symbolism and how to unlock the seven primary chakra centers that exist within each person. To learn more, check out my Modern Chakra Guide.
What is Chakra Energy?
We were made with extremely complex and intricate systems. There are invisible forces at play within us, and balancing those energies allows us to enjoy more control, freedom, power, health and happiness.
Chakra energy is like the hard drive of our system and keeps everything running. If your chakra centers can become blocked, weak or unwell, you might experience symptoms without even knowing what is wrong!
The understanding of chakras came from Tantrik tradition and was first recorded in the Vedas between 1500-500 BC. The Sanskrit word “cakra” “wheel” or “disk.” These spinning centers are aligned with organs and nerve bundles, marking where important meridians in the body converge. Each chakra center impacts our physical health and emotional well-being in different ways.
While there are many chakra systems articulated in history, the seven chakras (or 6 + 1) have been the most widely accepted as explaining the most powerful centers within the human energy system. There are minor chakra and other energy channels as well. In total, there are 114 chakras and 72,000 Nadis (energy channels) in the human body.
How are Colors Connected to Chakra Centers?
Each center is symbolized by a color and aligns with an element. Colors have a frequency that impacts our systems. We call that a color ray in the energy healing world. The chakra color ray is fed into us by universal energies, and we can use color to feed specific chakra centers.
Traditionally, yogis practiced opening the main energy centers by repeating the mantric syllable (or one-syllable sound) associated with a specific center. The sound vibrations caused by repeating sounds impact our energy flow and can help open those centers.
What are the Seven Chakra Symbols?
While the chakra and Nadis system is extremely complex, we can start by learning about seven central points occurring along the central median. These are the seven chakra symbols, purposes, colors and mantric syllables to help you better understand this system.
Root Chakra (LAM)
This center is also called the Muladhara chakra and is the hub for survival and action. Your root chakra is located in your pelvic region and is considered the base or foundation of your being.
Our survival instincts and ability to meet basic needs are controlled by this center. The root chakra can help us feel safe and secure when it is open for the flow of energy. It can also help us clear prejudice and negative ancestral energy.
The color red is often associated with passion and action. Red stones, like garnet and ruby, can be used to help empower the root chakra. Red foods associated with strengthening this center include apples, strawberries, beets, peppers, raspberries and pomegranates.
Root Chakra Symbol: Inverted Triangle
The most complex symbol for the root chakra includes a 4-petaled lotus flower, square, inverted triangle and the seed mantra लं (RAM) in the center. The inverted triangle is the common symbol for this energy center, pointing towards the earth as a reminder to be grounded.
Action: I Am
The root chakra is the very foundation of your being and connects your physical body to everything around you. While it is not the totality of you, it is a starting place for your energy centers. Therefore, our root chakra focus should be on truths about who we are in order to inform our path forward.
Sacral Chakra (VAM)
The second chakra is called Sradhisthana and is located in the lower part of the abdomen (or the gut). It is what empowers creativity and sexuality within us. The sacral chakra governs the experience of pleasure and self-expression. Without a balanced sacral chakra, you will have difficulty feeling intimate with loved ones or closely connected to others around you.
Considered unique, warm and friendly, orange depicts the sacral chakra. Some of the best stones for activating or unblocking the sacral chakra include tiger’s eye, amber, carnelian sunstone, orange quartz and citrine. Oranges and carrots are the kinds of foods that can empower this center.
Sacral Chakra Symbol: Circle
The symbol for the sacral chakra is the circle within a circle, creating a crescent moon within a six-petaled lotus flower. This imagery represents the tides of water that ebb and flow with the phases of the moon.
Action: I Feel
Your feelings are valid, but they may not always be helpful to your course forward. Letting go of what you feel to create what you want to feel gives you power over your perspective and reality. This doesn’t mean suppressing your feelings, but by acknowledging them and giving yourself permission to feel something more beneficial to you instead.
Solar Plexus Chakra (RAM)
Our willpower and drive for many things in life come from the solar plexus or Manipura chakra. Located at the base of the ribs and just above the stomach, the solar plexus is where you will find the seat of your personal power and ability to stand tall. A balanced solar plexus can lead to powerful, positive energy.
One of the things we relate closest to the color yellow is our sun. This life-giving ball of fire is extremely powerful and responsible for many good things in this world. The color yellow typically feels safe, happy and powerful to us. Yellow stones that can activate the solar plexus system include malachite, peridot, yellow jasper, citrine and labradorite.
Solar Plexus Chakra Symbol: Power Burst/Sun Ray
An explosion of power and light can represent the third energy center. The solar plexus chakra symbol can also be shown as an upside-down triangle within a circle, encompassed within a ten-petaled lotus. Like you can see in my illustration of exploding light, the many-petaled lotus flower creates a kind of starburst explosion that is best related to this energy center.
Action: I Do
When you know who you are and believe in your path forward, you act. When your chakras are all open, thinking, action and feelings become unified. Who you are informs what you do, just like what you do affects who you are-it’s an infinite circle we sometimes have to break down and reshape into something better.
Heart Chakra (YAM)
Love and goodwill come from the Anahata center or heart chakra. This is your fourth chakra, located at the very center of the seven primary chakras.
The heart chakra is also considered the gateway chakra. The element for the heart chakra is air-light and gentle and times, while harsh, powerful and intense at others. In Sanskrit, “Anahata” means unbeaten and unhurt. A healthy heart chakra should provide a sense of calm, serenity, empathy and compassion.
The heart center represents our connection to life. Green is associated with nature and life around us, offering a balance between energetic and calm. Green stones can offer balance to this center, including jade, green tourmaline and green calcite.
Heart Chakra Symbol: Heart
In my chart, you will see the heart chakra represented by a literal heart shape. In other charts, you may see it depicted as a 12-petaled lotus containing a circle and two intersecting triangles.
Action: I Love
It’s important to note that before you can truly love others, you must be able to love yourself. Your internal love informs your ability to show compassion, empathy and consideration towards others. The heart center should enable you to give true love (not guilt-ridden action) towards everything around you in a balanced and healthy way.
Throat Chakra (HAM)
The Vishuddha chakra is responsible for our expression and communication abilities. Your ability to speak up with good ideas or express your opinion are reliant in part on a healthy fifth chakra.
The fifth energy center is represented by the element ether or empty space where everything exists. It is most often associated with sound. If your throat chakra is blocked, you may struggle to voice your opinion or stand up for your beliefs.
The color for the throat chakra is one we usually consider loyal and reliable. Blue is also the color of the sky where we draw breath. Blue stones, like lapis, amazonite and turquoise, can help release this center’s power.
Throat Chakra Symbol: Outward Flowing Energy
I drew a kind of wings or outward flowing energy on my colorful tower of chakra symbols. You might also see the throat chakra symbol pictured as a 16-petaled lotus with an inverted triangle containing a circle and the symbol हं (HAM).
Action: I Speak
You have the ability to express your understanding of the world by using your throat chakra. While you can use body language, appearance, facial expressions and energy output to also communicate, nothing is quite as apparent in our current state as a spoken word.
Third Eye Chakra (SHAM)
The Ajna chakra offers intuition and insight, aligned with your pineal gland and between the eyes. Many are enamored with the mystery of the third eye. It provides clarity of thought and inner wisdom that goes beyond knowledge alone.
A blocked sixth chakra often leads to feeling unsure of your path forward, nervous, easily confused or anxious. It’s easy to override your third eye with “rational thought” because the Ajna center is not something we can see or quantify. However, strengthening your intuition and believing in your mind’s eye can provide you with a more insightful understanding of reality.
The deep purple-blue color of indigo represents the third eye chakra. Stones like azurite and lazuli can help open your third eye and improve your natural intuition.
Third Eye Chakra Symbol: Eye
An eye between your eyes is often depicted to represent the third eye. I’ve used an eye in my image, even though it can also be represented by a two-petaled flower encasing an inverted triangle. If you ever see it done with the petals, you will notice the whole shape takes on a kind of abstract eye.
Action: I See
You can’t fully see with only your physical eyes. You have to use your inner eye to get a full picture of reality. With your third eye active, you will be able to truly see a path forward.
Crown Chakra (OM)
Spiritual connection and insight come from the Sahasrara center. This is where your physical self connects with the divine energy, located at the top of your head. The seventh chakra is important for listening and being informed by a source outside of yourself. When unblocked and active, the crown chakra offers a connection to spirit, healing and deep thought.
Amethyst is often considered a healing stone of wisdom that works well for the crown chakra.
Crown Chakra Symbol: Triangle
This capping triangle on my pillar represents a crown, pointing upward towards the divine. In traditional form, the crown chakra is illustrated with a 1000-petaled lotus surrounding the symbol OM.
Action: I Know
Some ancient practice doesn’t use any chanting for the crown chakra-others repeat the familiar “OM.” Regardless of what you use, this center should be one where you listen and absorb inspiration.
How to Use and Activate Chakra Symbols
I have found unlocking, unblocking and balancing these centers leads to healing, joy and internal power. In order to use and activate your chakra centers, they need to be unblocked. Memorize the colors and symbols for each center so you know how to focus on them when needed.
- Create your own chart illustrating the centers in your own way
- Wear the color you want to focus on to activate energies in your system
- Visualize the symbol and color active within your center to activate it
- Repeat the mantric syllable to clear the center with sound vibrations
- Eat foods or wear stone jewelry that aligns with the center you want to focus on
Remember, if one chakra is blocked, you’ll sense an imbalance in your entire being. Realign your chakras by understanding what they are and how they operate.