Simply put, this book is epic. With 827 pages of content, about 20 pages for the glossary, 120 pages for the endnotes, and 31 pages for the index, Cyndi Dale presents with her newest book Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Chakras an extensive look at the chakra systems from around the world.
This is a fantastic reference for anyone interested in studying chakra medicine and chakratology more deeply. With suggestions for practices (119 exercises), the reader is also able to explore this vast topic experientially. The breadth of information covered in this book, including the history and cosmology of cultures and mystical orders, is not only interesting but very impressive. The authors, researchers, and writing referenced makes a good list for further reading and study. Ready to jump into the rabbit hole for some fun tangential exploration?
How the Book is Organized
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Chakras is well organized, with the information divided into two sections – Chakra Fundamentals and Basic Practices and Chakras in Depth – Historical, Scientific, and Cross-Cultural Understandings. The first section includes three parts – What are Chakras, The Hindu Chakra System, and Fundamentals of Chakra Medicine. The second section has six parts – The History of Chakra Knowledge through the Lens of Ancient India, The Science of Subtle Energy, Chakra Systems of Asia, Ancient Chakra System Across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, Modern Western Chakra Systems, and Chakras Et Cetera: Natural and Unusual Chakras.
How to Use the Book
This is a reference book. For some people, linear reading (from first to last page) may work but would likely be a daunting task for many. The sheer volume and quality of information cannot be understated.
You can start with the most relevant or interesting sections. For example, if you are looking to speak more freely and confidently, try looking up the throat chakra in all the systems and incorporating the exercises you are drawn to into daily life. Even for non-beginners, reading the first chapter, Your Spinning Wheels of Light to get a review and overview is highly recommended for a strong foundation.
Another approach is to study the chakra systems you are least familiar with to gain an expanded view. Or perhaps it is the creation myths of various peoples that grabs your attention. There is a lot of related information (hara line, kundalini, Akashic Records, chakras and embryonic development, and auric fields) that makes this book comprehensive, a compendium of physical, psychological, and spiritual knowledge.
What we decided to do for this “look at the book” article was to read up on the heart chakra in some of these systems.
What is a Chakra?
At the simplest level, a chakra is an organ of the body that manages energy.
The chakra is the most powerful energetic force within and around the body, useful for performing healing, attracting what we need, obtaining guidance, and expanding and elevating our consciousness.
The chakras, meridians/nadis, and auric fields make up the three primary systems that work with subtle energy. Different cultures perceive and work with their own system, of at least one chakra located in and around the body. The Hindu system many people are familiar with works with seven major chakras. Each chakra is associated with a different number of petals, according to their number of vortexes,2 which exist on both the front and the back sides of the body.
Everything is energy. Energy is information. Chakras manage and process energy. “Chakras literally help us operate on every level of reality, seen and unseen, many of which have been codified by esoteric professionals.”3
The very long list of what each chakra is associated with, according to Cyndi Dale, is:
“Sanskrit and other names, a bodily location, chakra purpose, chakra colour, chakra age-related activation, a related endocrine gland, associated body parts and physical diseases, element, an action organ, vital breath, related diseases, psychological functions, archetype, personality profile, deficiencies and excesses, a sound, sound carrier or representative, number of lotuses, attribute, cosmic plane, goddess and god, planet, granthi, intuitive gifts, auric field, secondary chakras, and more.“4
Understanding the Heart Chakra
The Heart Chakra is the fourth chakra called Anahata in the Hindu system. Anahata means “unstruck sound”, “unhurt”, and “unbeaten”.
Through the heart chakra’s energy, we learn to follow our heart, to make decisions in support, to deepen compassion and honour, and not fall prey to the lower realms of lust and anxiety. We learn to remember that each and everyone of us deserves to receive love.
The back side of this chakra is “a portal to the wonderful playground of our soul. Divine energy enters through the back side to stimulate our heart’s desires so they can be realized.”5
According to the Hopi, we now live in the fourth world, having been through three separate worlds on the planet, which ended because we followed earthly plans rather than divine plans with our vibratory centres. The “vibratory organ of the heart pulses with life. It asks us to be of one heart, as two-hearted people permit evil feelings to enter.”6
How do we get stuck?
When we are faced with a challenge or trauma, we often seed ourselves with an unhelpful idea (e.g. we are unworthy), which over time develops into a pattern of repetitive and subconscious response which then can become resistant to change. These are what Cyndi Dale calls a block and a stronghold. A block is congested energy, “extra energy” like a knot that prevents the natural flow of energy and “can be composed of physical microbes or inflammation, repressed or stuck feelings, dysfunctional beliefs and other people’s energies, as well as myriad other factors.”7 While meant to protect us from attacks and therefore pain, the effect is the opposite. It cuts off energy flow and our access to universal life force and love.
Based on studies and her own work with clients, Cyndi Dale has created a “cheat sheet” (page 231 to 233) that lists beliefs that may be related to strongholds. For the heart chakra, the elbow is about making space, with the left side about making space for oneself and the right side, making space for others. The left side ribs are beliefs about boundaries we deserve while the right side are boundaries related to love. The left side of the heart is the ability to receive love and self-love and the right side is the ability to give love. The body parts related to the heart chakra are: the arm, elbow, wrists, hand, fingers, sternum, ribs, heart, lungs, breast, and diaphragm.
Knowing our blocks and strongholds will help us heal and align our chakras. Cyndi Dale shares many chakra medicine practices, along with other suggestions such as pranayama, asanas, mudras, yantras, gemstones, symbols, homeopathy, and meditation.
The Heart (chakra) is seen to be the bridge between the lower and the higher chakras, and according to the Tsalagi (Cherokee), heaven and earth. To them, the heart is the “source of intellect, surrounded by two electrical fields: none moving clockwise and one counterclockwise. These formulate our purpose, the manifestation of dreams in concrete reality.”8
Every chakra is important to our wellbeing on every level. Higher chakras do not denote superiority and lower chakras do not denote we are less spiritual. The idea is to have a healthy physical body to hold and anchor the high frequencies and energies and working with our blocks to allow the natural flow. All our chakras have their role to play and clearing, healing, and aligning them all is essential.
As bands of frequency, chakras are unlimited in their outreach. often energy is received from the outside world through the correlated auric field and then transferred into the related chakra, which then disseminates data every which way – chemically, electrically, and through fields and frequencies. The reverse is also true. Whether they are operating physically or through colour or sound, chakras interpenetrate all of reality.9
Reading this book is a journey that follows the thread running through systems and cultures. The information has come through the ancients, early mystics, Theosophists Madame Blavatsky, Charles Leadbetter, and Alice Bailey, esotericist Rudolf Steiner, who believed that “the chakras are the sense organs of the soul: vehicles for unlocking deeper truths”10 and more recently, Barbara Ann Brennan, Caroline Myss, Donna Eden, and Cyndi Dale herself. As our level of consciousness evolves, so too will our access to information about chakras and “new” chakras appear.
In addition to the more well-known chakras, we also learn about transpersonal chakras (earth star, hara/navel, causal, soul star, and stellar gateway chakras) and subtranspersonal chakras (incarnation point, incarnation, sub personal leadership, earth-centring, and earth star chakras). The last chapter – New and Unusual Chakras and Chakra Systems – offers very interesting information and perspectives of chakra medicine. While extensive, this chapter is only meant to whet the reader’s appetite for emerging chakratology.
|Hindu||Kalachakra Tantric system (Tibetan Buddhism)||Korean||Yoruba||Scandinavian|
|Name||Anahata||Dharma Chakra||the Mind Palace||Yemoja Orisha||Heart, our centre|
|Other||8 Petals||1 of three internal energy centres (dahnjons)||Orishas are akin to Catholic saints and can be seen as “angelic beings that also emanated into the physical body… internalized in a specific area of the body, thus opening the body to the One, or Oldumare, and the free flow of ashe (universal energy)||Nordic World of Midgard, the middle world, the land of human beings|
|Gland||Heart and Thymus|
|Physical Functions||Monitors heart, circulatory system, blood, lungs, breasts, thymus, shoulders, cardia plexus||Overall health||Womb, liver, breasts, and buttocks|
|Psychological Functions||Love, ability to relate and bond with others and the Divine|
|Spiritual Functions||Ability to attain highest forms of love and service, intuitive gifts relating to control of air (e.g. levitation)||Move beyond our personal ego to connect to others||“As the mother of waters, Yemoja represents sexuality and nurturing. She is the protective energy of the feminine.||Motivation = Love|
|Activation||21 through 28 years old||Number of petals show the number of days it takes to mature in utero; completed at one year of age and matured through yoga practices in adulthood|
|Archetype||Lover (positive); Actor (negative)|
|Deficiencies and Excesses||Deficiencies : inability to forgive, loneliness, lack of empathy, lack of self-love, indifference, withdrawing, becoming aimless
Excesses : jealousy, co-dependency, martyrdom, egotism, self-centredness, tribalism
|Gemstones, Herbs||Kelp, cohosh, dandelion, aloe, yarrow, and the mints|
This table is a brief summary of the some of the systems covered in the book, which goes into greater details.
1 Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Chakras by Cyndi Dale. Llewellyn Publications. 2016. p 9 + 10
2 Ibid., p. 9
3 Ibid., p 22
4 Ibid., p 11
5 Ibid., p 815
6 Ibid., p 640
7 Ibid., p209
8 Ibid., p 642
9 Ibid., p 458 – 459
10 Ibid., p 740