ANAHATA: LOTUS OF THE HEART
By Anodea Judith
The six-pointed star, made of two interlacing equilateral triangles, is
the central image within the lotus of the heart chakra. The appearance of
this symbol within the astrological configuration of January 23, 1997 may
have much significance in terms of socio-cultural planetary changes occurring
at this time. The following is a further explanation of the chakras, their
evolutionary significance, and the meaning of the heart chakra in particular.
The ancient system of seven energy centers located within the body, called
CHAKRAS, describes a comprehensive metaphysical system that encompasses
varying levels of consciousness, human behavior, colors, sounds, vibrational
qualities, and the progression of socio-cultural evolution.
The seven chakras form a continuum from matter to consciousness, earth to
heaven, and body to mind that connects our mundane physical selves to our
higher nature, without negating either. Each step upward includes and builds
upon the level below it. Each step downward is an act of creation, concretizing
our ideas on the physical plane.
The chakras are further associated with elements which symbolize their basic
essence: (from bottom to top) earth, water, fire, air, sound, light and
thought. Psychologically, the chakras are oriented to basic human life issues
(again from bottom to top): survival, sex, power, love, communication, vision,
The heart chakra is the middle chakra in a system of seven. It symbolizes
the two polarities of body and spirit as interpenetrating in perfect balance.
The upward pointing triangle symbolizes matter rising into spirit. The downward
triangle (similar to the ancient female symbol for birth) represents spirit
descending into manifestation. To fully open the heart chakra we need to
bring into balance the various aspects of our existence, such as male and
female, light and shadow, mind and body, practicality and spirituality.
It is my belief that the dawning Age of Aquarius heralds a socio-cultural
age corresponding to the heart chakra. This era marks the importance of
balancing the polarities of human existence within the dominating paradigm
of the collective conscious.
But first let us look briefly at the pattern of cultural evolution through
the chakras that has occurred thus far:
The period of the Paleolithic cave dwellers relates to the consciousness
level of chakra one. Here we were bound without recourse by the cycles of
the earth. Tribes roamed across the earth, lived in caves made of earth.
We hunted and gathered, taking what the earth freely offered. Worship was
of a monotheistic mother goddess, who symbolized the miracle of birth and
the fecundity of earth. The beginning of this age is hard to fathom -- perhaps
it had no true beginning, but is grounded in the survival instincts of the
animal kingdom from which we have all emerged.
The dawn of the age of chakra two, (element water, oriented to sexuality
and procreation) coinciding with the astrological age of Cancer (a cardinal
water sign) was marked by the agricultural revolution and the beginning
of ship building and travel by water, circa 10-8,000 BCE. Control of water
through irrigation allowed communities to settle in one place rather than
nomadically migrate across the land, and this new found freedom created
a giant leap in cultural creativity. There were cities with thousands of
citizens; great temples were built, with a proliferation of art and ritual,
and written language toward the end of this period. Archeaologists believe
it to have been a period of relative peace and prosperity. Worship was of
a polytheistic variety of nature gods, male and female, oriented toward
the agricultural cycles (planting and reaping) and the life/death/rebirth
cycle of human lives.
The age of the third chakra (element fire, oriented to power and energy)
coincides with the astrological age of Aries (a cardinal fire sign), about
1500 BCE. At this time patriarchal forces controlled culture through warlike
aggression and hierarchical domination, and with but few exceptions overthrew
the peaceful agrarian communities that preceded them. With fire, we could
forge metals, make tools, and make weapons. The male Sky Gods replaced the
earth and vegetation deities, with the worship turning toward the sun, the
storm (lightning), and war gods. The collective struggle of existence was
oriented toward power and technology. Technology freed us up from survival
demands one step further, allowing populations to continue to grow, with
greater diversification of labor as well as class status. Patterns of domination
and persecution created the need for both personal and collective power
which played out in individuals, villages, cities, and countries. These
patterns have persisted through the present day, with huge nation states,
ever increasing technology, and simultaneous increase in "sophisticated"
weaponry, such as nuclear warheads.
We have been in the latter parts of the third chakra stage through this
century. Issues of power and domination, energy and control are central
concerns on our planet. We are technologically advanced, but our technology
is also destroying the earth. Energy resources are a premium issue in power
dynamics, such as the Persian Gulf War fought essentially over oil reserves.
Much is out of balance, with the mind favored over the body, technology
favored over ecology, white over black, male over female.
The age of the heart chakra is an age where these archetypal elements come
into balance. Here the warring agressive drives begin to wane and peace
and ecological balance become the predominant concerns. Balance between
the sexes, between races, and within the Self through our conscious and
unconscious, active and passive, spiritual and material aspects of our existence,
are also elements of the heart chakra's general orientation toward equilibrium.
Increased focus on spirituality, with a simultaneous honoring of the body
and the earth, is an example of this interpenetrating balance that is emerging
today through New Age movements, therapeutic trends in psychology, and popular
literature. As the heart chakra corresponds to the element air, so too does
the sign of Aquarius, which is also dawning at this time, both in 97 (Jan
23 is the cusp of Aquarius) and as a larger era.
The actual moment that a new age begins is difficult if not impossible to
pinpoint. These are larger cultural shifts that take place globally through
many different activities, cultures and events over a broad span of time.
Yet we are now, for the first time, conscious enough to see the patterns
that emerge and watch for signposts that herald significant turning points.
I believe the astrological configuration of January 23, 1997 is just one
of those important signposts.
For more info on chakras and evolution, see:
WHEELS OF LIFE: A USER'S GUIDE TO THE CHAKRA SYSTEM
Llewellyn Publications, 1987.
Also watch for emerging new book to be released at this coming cusp:
EASTERN BODY, WESTERN MIND:
Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self
Celestial Arts, Feb. 1997.
Copyright 1996 Anodea Judith