The Spin on Chakras: A History

Blog post description.

6/17/20232 min read

a person holding a small rock
a person holding a small rock

In the vast cosmos of our daily grind - bills, deadlines, and an endless parade of lattes - it's easy to overlook the sparkly disco balls of energy dancing within us. The word 'Chakra' comes from the ancient language of Sanskrit and means 'wheels' or 'disks', but these aren't your garden variety spinning wheels. They're the spiritual powerhouses pumping life's very essence through us.

Our chakra journey begins in the land of yoga, samosas, and Bollywood – India! The concept of chakras made its debut in the oldest Indian scripts, the Vedas, as early as 1500 - 500 BC. But it wasn’t until the Upanishads, the philosophical MVPs of Hindu texts around 200 BC - AD 200, that chakras found their mojo, becoming central to many yoga and meditation practices.

However, the real party started in the 6th century with the Tantra tradition. The 'Tantras' - ancient texts associated with the fun, colorful traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism - painted chakras as hotspots of divine energy. While there was some friendly bickering about how many chakras were invited to the party, the consensus eventually settled on a seven-chakra soiree.

These magnificent seven, now regulars in the modern Western chakra circuit, are the root (Muladhara, our energetic "home base"), sacral (Svadhishthana, the fiery house of emotions), solar plexus (Manipura, the power-packed champion), heart (Anahata, the love guru), throat (Vishuddha, our internal speaker), third eye (Ajna, the visionary), and crown (Sahasrara, the cosmic connector). Each chakra has its own unique charm, representing different vibes, colors, tunes, and roles. Together, they are our spiritual A-team!

So, how did these chakra celebs make their way to the Western red carpet? Well, it all began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the Theosophical Society, led by the mysterious Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, became infatuated with Eastern philosophies. A special shout-out goes to Sir John Woodroffe, the English judge and part-time spiritual explorer, whose translations of pivotal Tantric texts helped the chakra cause. His hit book, 'The Serpent Power,' is still considered a chakra-lovers' must-read!

By the mid-20th century, the chakra concept was the new kid on the Western New Age block. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, a rockstar in the world of psychoanalysis, gave chakras a cool new twist by interpreting them as signposts on our personal journey of growth and self-discovery.

Today, chakras are like the global pop-stars of the spiritual world. They're central to yoga, Reiki, meditation, and holistic healing practices all around the world.

So there you have it – a quick, breezy spin through the history of chakras. From ancient philosophical texts to modern yoga studios, these seven spinning "wheels" have been lighting up our inner lives for thousands of years. They're here to connect our physical and spiritual selves, encouraging us to find the rhythm of balance, health, and conscious expansion. Whether used as a meditative focus, a framework for personal development, or a healing tool, chakras undoubtedly have a rich history and offer fascinating insights into the unexplored realms of human consciousness.