Mankind’s original spiritual practice began over 40,000 years ago and was passed on through storytelling. This weaving of ideas created a rich tapestry of cultural heritage and tradition. Nature, which included trees, wind, stars, the sun and moon were the original sources of inspiration that formed the beliefs of today’s world religions. The desire to know how a soul travels through lifetimes created epic stories that connected earth to the heavens. These stories often incorporated deities who ruled over the heavens and earth. Eventually they created conflict and separation. By bringing awareness to these stories we can see how they inform our personal consciousness as well as the collective unconsciousness. From this place of awareness, we can consciously begin to heal the wounds of separation and judgment. The wise shamans, seers and sage’s saw how these ancient stories of conflict were written in our hearts. As we heal our hearts and open our minds, we honor those who came before us and clear a new way of living for our children. When we reconnect with our true nature as human and divine, we will see that our diversity is what makes us strong. When we move through the walls that divide us, we can focus on our shared roots. Our hearts will help us to see that we are all sharing the same dream of love and living in peace. Mandala Chakra aligns belief in a chronological order beginning with the root chakra as our indigenous roots.
Note: This is not intended to be seen as a hierarchy, it is organized as a natural progression of chronological events for each belief and how they align with the chakras. My hope is that better understanding the basic historical context of each belief and how they subconsciously align within us that we will be able to see through walls of separation and awaken to all that is within each of us. Our diversity is what makes us unique, our unity is what makes us whole.
Root Chakra – Our Roots – Indigenous Belief “original belief” was practiced by various cultures throughout the world beginning around 40,000 BCE. These original beliefs were based in man’s observation of nature and their relationship with it. As hunter gatherers they were deeply connected to all of nature through their senses. They honored the seasons of the sun and the cycles of the moon. Woman were seen as sacred because of their ability to give birth, to nurse and to destroy life when necessary. As agriculture began they charted the sun and moon by observing shadows cast from trees and stones and built structures to track the planets and stars. They created calendar systems as a way to plan ahead. As mankind looked to the stars they shifted from ancestor spirits to deities (Gods and Goddesses) that took on many forms. When agriculture grew the “seed” was seen as more important than the “container.” This gave birth to patriarchy and the need to rule and protect grew in importance. Early seers, sages, mystics and shamans were often women who provided an important role of passing on wisdom and teachings based in nature. To be “pagan” is one who lives in the country.
Sacral Chakra – Our Duality – Taoism originated in the far East with the WU Shamans of China around 5000 BCE. They developed a circular cosmology based on the harmony of opposing forces (Yin/Yang) in nature. The dots within the Taoist symbol represent aspects of the other. Taoists see life as a continual balance between Yin and Yang, any shift to one extreme will be self-defeating. Yin is the feminine, receptive aspect of nature as seen in earth, lakes, marshes and fire light. Yang is the masculine, penetrating aspect of nature seen in the sky, mountains, thunder and large bodies of water. These eight aspects of nature are directly related to the four primary and four secondary directions on a compass. This sense of order and connection to nature led to the creation of the Bagua around 1200 BCE. This compass-like tool was used to help channel Chi or Life Force energy. It is used in the practice of Feng Shui (Wind Water). These same eight aspects of nature also form the foundation for the I Ching, which is still practiced today.
Solar Plexus Chakra – Our Fire – Hinduism was officially formed around 1500 BCE, when the Rig-Veda (Rig “to praise”, Veda “knowledge”) was written. The first deity mentioned in the Rig-Veda was Agni, the God of fire and wisdom. Agni serves as the messenger between man and the heavens. Offerings, also known as sacrifice, are given to Agni fires to carry blessings on paper or to carry the soul after death. Atman is the Hindu word for Soul. Brahman is the “spirit” of the Atman. The spirit of the soul is expressed through multiple deities (Gods and Goddesses.) Some Hindus are followers of Shiva (Destroyer God) or Vishnu (Preserver God.) Brahman is the unifying “spirit.” Hinduism is not one unified religion but a diverse set of practices and beliefs that evolved over time. Many Hindus consider their religion as an “eternal path” or “sanatama dharma.” Reincarnation is a central belief for all Hindus. The Atman or Soul, as the divine self, is eternal. The soul is affected by karma (action). When the soul reincarnates into a human body, a person’s actions create reactions. This is the eternal law of karma, which impacts future incarnations. This cycle of reincarnation is called Samsara where the soul is reborn over and over again according to their karma. The goal is to achieve liberation (moksha) and be free from Samsara. Agni fires are used to help clear karma within lifetimes and to carry the karma of souls between lifetimes.
Heart Chakra – Our Heart – Buddhism is an off shoot of Hinduism. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) was born a Hindu Prince in 623 BCE. His father, a warrior king, sheltered him from the world. Siddhartha left the palace and saw an old man, an ill man, a dead man, and a suffering man. He feared that suffering was the inevitable end of life and renounced himself as Prince. He dedicated his life to seeking the meaning of suffering and almost died in search of it. On his 35th birthday, Siddhartha sat under a Bodhi tree to contemplate life. When a seedpod fell on his head, he saw that he had the choice to feel hurt or to see it as a gift. In that moment he chose to be free of suffering. This awareness transformed him into the Buddha or “Enlightened One.” Buddha taught this lesson until his passing at the age of 81. Buddhism is a form of positive atheism for he renounced the idea of god by believing in the laws of karma and reincarnation as they manifest within the heart or soul of a person and the choices they make.
Throat Chakra – Our Stories – Judaism represents the roots of the monotheistic tradition (the belief in one God – which includes Judaism, Christianity and Islam) All three faiths have roots to Abraham of UR in Sumeria, modern day Iraq. It was the voice of God who spoke to Abraham asking him to cast away all others Gods and believe in only one true God. Judaism is based on the oral tradition of storytelling that was passed down from the time of Abraham. The Persians who ruled the land around 500 BCE, asked the Hebrew people to write a book of “laws”. The five books of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) were then written by the Sanhedrin or “Men of Great Assembly.” Historically the Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 2100 BCE), is the first “story” to be etched in stone. It also originated in Sumeria, the land of Abraham, and shares many of the same themes found in Genesis. Stories passed from on from one generation to another can change over time, but once they were committed to writing the “word” became law and formed the foundation for monotheism. Judaism’s roots are also based in the ancient mystical traditions of the Kabbalah, known as the Tree of Life. Studying the Kabbalah is a process of receiving and revealing wisdom from and for the self and soul to join as a spiritual one. The roots of this story were forced underground. The throat chakra reminds us to consciously heal the stories we received from our ancestors so we can reveal them to help future generations.
Third Eye Chakra – Our Knowing – Christianity is inspired by Jesus of Nazareth, who lived in the land of Galilee during 1 ACE to 34 ACE (modern day Palestine and Israel). Jesus was born into a Jewish family during a time of Roman rule. Around the age of thirty, Jesus began teaching that the “Kingdom” was within. This was contrary to Jewish belief and Roman law. He taught Jews, Gentiles (half-Jews) and Samaritans (non-Jews) to recognize their own divine spark. He spoke of non-judgment to his followers; including men, women, fisherman, tax collectors, rich and poor. Most saw Jesus as a teacher or Rabbi; or a charismatic rebel. Others called him “King of the Jews.” Jesus traveled to Jerusalem for the annual Jewish Passover Festival. He was arrested and brought before the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate who asked him if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world,” Pilate crucified him for challenging Roman authority. Some called Jesus “Christ” and his followers “Christians.” Many Jews felt that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic prophecy, thus alienating Jesus from Judaism. Some followers of Jesus were Gnostics (gnosis means knowledge) who felt he taught people to seek spiritual knowledge. The third eye chakra reminds us to see through the illusion of chaos to believe in our inner wisdom. In 110 ACE, Father Ignatius used the word “Katholike” (an Aristotelian word meaning: throughout the whole, of the four winds) to describe this belief. Romans persecuted Christians and Jews until 325 ACE, when Emperor Constantine converted Rome to Christianity. The First Council of Nicaea gathered in Turkey defining Jesus as Christ, the Son of God, second in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Roman Empire forced conversion to Christianity onto the people it conquered. Knowledge became forbidden as books were destroyed and the understanding of how math and science were interrelated with nature was deemed “pagan (to live in nature.”) Intuition or inner knowing was judged as evil and feared, which closed the third eye from understanding our the wisdom of true nature. The “Dark Ages” refers to this loss of sight, the “Renaissance,” in contrast, is called the “Age of Enlightenment.” The pineal gland is directly associated with the third eye or inner knowing and is considered a light receptive organ that has calcified due to inactivity over the past 2000 years. Interestingly Jesus often taught that the “light” was within.
Crown Chakra – Our Dreams – Islam was originally based on a series of “night visits” (visionary dreams) between the Archangel Gabriel and the reluctant Prophet Muhammad. Islam is the newest of the three Abrahamic faiths. Ishmael and Isaac were sons of Abraham who were told they would be Fathers of Great Nations. Ishmael is the elder son, born of Hagar. Muhammad is believed to be a descendent of Ishmael. He was born in Mecca in 570 ACE. Orphaned as a child, he began receiving visions in his dreams at the age of 40. Gabriel serves as a messenger angel in Jewish scripture. At forty-one, Muhammad experienced what is now known as the “Night Journey,” when Gabriel asked Muhammad to ride Buraq, the winged horse of Abraham. They flew over the Holy Lands until they came to the Heavenly Lote Tree rooted in Jerusalem. Gabriel introduced Muhammad to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others who spoke of the original stories. When he entered the 7th heaven, he saw a luminous canopy of leaves. It was here that he learned of the universal spirit and divinity in everyone. In 630 ACE, Muhammad reclaimed Mecca and worshipped Allah as the Lord of the Kaaba. Muhammad died in 632 ACE. The Kaaba, (Arabic for cube) is in the most sacred mosque in Mecca. The Kabbalah may have influenced Muhammad to receive this information in three ways. Islam, Iman and Ihsan. Islam is the outward practice. Iman is the inward practice. Ihsan is the practice of spiritual union with the divine. Sufism is the mystical aspect of Islam based on Ihsan. They seek knowledge through direct experience with the divine within.
Note: Today Christianity and Islam are the largest religions of the world followed by Atheism. Judaism is eleventh. Atheism, Hinduism, Pantheism, Taoism/Confucianism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Juche (North Korean state run belief system) and Spiritism (communicating directly with the spirit world) fall in between in that order.
“The mystic discovers symbols. . .symbols are windows through which we can view the essential nature of our being.” – Ngakpa Chogyam