I've read Carl Jung's Western Consciousness and Eastern Insight (Ways to integration, Psychology of Kundalini Yoga - Indian saints - the I ching - Zen-Buddhism) and well, it's fascinating! I've read the best description of the chakras I've seen anywhere and will share it in short with you here (read the book!), I've also added the short wiki description for some extra info.
||The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga|
The raising of the dormant coiled serpent power, through individuation and yoga practice, to achieve liberation, truth-realization, enlightenment - to move from the personal 'me' to the transpersonal 'Self'. To escape Samsara and enter Nirvana. (thus the next pages in the site series of the afterlife & reincarnation do not apply in that case.) Yoga here means the group of spiritual practices, not the asanas part of it which has become known as simply yoga in the West.
Patanjali's Eight limbs of Yoga are:
[It is of the upmost importance to pace one's practice (maybe with a respected and competent teacher), as premature rising through forcing the kundalini can result in severe bodily discomfort, mental ilness and even death.]
Shinzen Young's 4 principles on the path of Vipassana meditation (one of the many ways to liberation):
Then the purification will continue. Even if fear comes up, the generic phenomenon of fear - the phence - that is arising without any reason, observe the fear.
Because you're close to going beyond the limited identity. All along the vipassana path if you apply these 4 principles, you will always have the answer for what to do.
1. Muladhara Root Chakra - Earth element - Elephant
The square in the middle is the symbol of the Earth, and the Elephant is the supporting power of the surface, the psychic
energy of the libido. The elephant is the most powerful land animal on Earth. The name Muladhara which means root-support, shows us that we are in the area of
the roots of our existence, which would be our personality on Earth. The gods are asleep.
We are but a seed, it's of the upmost importance to be born - to realize that your situation is the best you could desire or you will not release from Muladhara - You were supposed to come into this world, otherwise you can not realise the 'self' (the transpersonal) and the goal of this world is missed. You have to leave some trace or other in this world, show the world you were here, otherwise you have not realised yourself. If one succeeds in awakening Kundalini (energy of consciousness), so that she can release her pure potentiality, then you set into motion a world that completely differs from ours: it is an eternal world. The personal side is in fact completely negligable in comparison with Kundalini's visions. Because her visions could be the visions of whoever, because they are impersonal. They correspond with the world of Kundalni, and not with the Muladhara world.
First of all, if the Yogin, or a western person, or anyone, succeeds in awakening the Kundalini then what sets into motion is NOT a personal development (however the inpersonal development can influence the personal one, as that so often and benficially happens). What starts are inpersonal events, with which one would do good to NOT to identify with. If you do, you will receive 'inflation', you will be completely WRONG. Observe objectively what happpens, you'll then see that all events that happen in the inpersonal, non-human order of things, have the very unpleasant quality of grapsing on to us. It's as though Kundalini pulls us in her upward motion, especially in the beginning. We are seeds in us, seeds in Muladhara that when come into motion have the effect of an earthquake, that shocks us naturally - sometimes so severely that our house breaks down.
The image of an inpersonal, mental/psychic experience is so strange to us, and extraordinarily hard to accept that we have severe difficulty to dis-identify with it.
In Samkhya philosophy, the concept of Muladhara is that of moola prakriti, the metaphysical basis of material existence. Muladhara is the chakra that draws down spiritual energy and causes it to assume a physical existence. It is like the negative pole in an electrical circuit, which provides the potential for the evolution of form. Within this chakra resides/sleeps the kundalini shakti, the great spiritual potential, waiting to be aroused and brought back up to the source from which it originated, Brahman.
2. Swadhisthana Sacral Chakra - Water element - Leviathan/Crocodile
When one has awoken from Muladhara, one goes into the water, which represents the unconscious where one faces the Leviathan/Crocodile from the depths which are ones own demons. The Leviathan is the biggest and most fearsome creature of the watery depths. (but it represents the same animal as the elephant, the one that supports your earthly life seems to become your worst enemy when you reach the next center, because here you leave this world and anything that hangs around is your worst enemy. It is the waterelephant, the whale that eats you, the same that has nurtured and supported you. The goodwilling mother that raised you becomes a devouring one.) When one dreams of baptising, taking a batch, the ocean or in water generally - you must realize you are being pushed into the unconscious for purification, you have to go into the water because of the renewal. But it remains unknown what comes after. When one passes through this baptising, you reach Manipura.
Swadhisthana is associated with the unconscious, and with emotion. It is closely related to Muladhara in that Swadhisthana is where the different samskaras (potential karmas), lie dormant, and Muladhara is where these samskaras find expression. Swadhisthana contains unconscious desires, especially sexual desire, and it is said that to raise the kundalini (energy of consciousness) above Swadhisthana is extremely difficult for this reason. Many saints have had to face the temptations associated with this chakra.
3. Manipura Solar Plexus Chakra - Fire element - Ram
Passed through the water, the Sun arises. The first light after baptising. The Pharao climbs in the sun-bark
of Ra, travels through the night and conquers the snake, after which he rises together with God and sails
heaven in al eternity. After baptising you go straight into hell. Because what is passion, what are emotions?
There is the source of Fire, there is the abundance of energy. Someone who is not on fire is nothing, he
is ridiculous, 2-dimensional. He has to be on fire, even if he makes a fool of himself. There has to be a fire,
otherwise there is no light, no warmth, nothing.
Rebirth, you receive the immortal soul you at first did not posess, you are a twice-born. Like Jesus you are now no longer a simple personality, but a non-personality or symbolic personality, you now belong to the entire world, which is somewhat more important than the role of being the son of Joseph and Marie!
Manipura is the center of identification with God, where one is part of the divine substance. You are now already part of timelesness, no longer merely 3-dimensional, but now belonging to a fourth-dimensional order of things where space does not exist and time is not - but only eternity exists. We see a new image of ourselves.
The Ram is a far less imposing creature than the elephant or leviathan/crocodile, when this evolutionary stage is reached, it is relatively easy to quell the passions, subdue the ram, and proceed to the Anahata Heart Chakra. The ram is Aries, the house of Mars: the firy planet of the passions, impulsiveness, violence etc. It is again the elephant but in a new form. Not longer the unovercomable power but an animal of sacrifice, the small sacrifice of the passions. The danger has become less, your passions are a lesser danger than drowning in the unconscious.
It is positioned at the navel region and it has ten petals which match the vrittis of spiritual ignorance, thirst, jealousy, treachery, shame, fear, disgust, delusion, foolishness and sadness. Manipura is associated with dynamism, energy, and will-power. It is associated with the power of fire, and digestion. Manipura is said to radiate and distribute prana to the rest of the body. In this sense, it is roughly similar to the Chinese idea of the dantian in qigong.
4. Anahata Heart Chakra - Air Element - Antelope/Gazelle
The situation of Earth is released into the Air, disattachment with the Earthly realm. Mindfulness,
you are no longer identifying with your emotions and desires. Individuation! Becoming what is not 'me': The Self,
the transpersonal. Where psychic things have their origins. The me is an appendage of the Self. Realising
values. The beginning of Purusa, the essence, the "Self" which pervades the universe.
Individuation means: becoming what is not me, nobody understands what the Self is, because the Self is exactly that which you are not, it is not the me, the me is merely an appendage of the Self.
As Saint Paul said: I live, but not me, Christ (consciousness, Buddha consciousness) lives within me. In which he meant his life became an objective one, not his own, but the life of one that is higher, of the Purusa.
The purusa is identical with the psychic substance of your thoughts and values or feeling. In recognizing feelings and ideas you witness purusa. This is the first suspicion of a being withing your physiological and psychological existence that is not yourself; a being that encapsulates you, that's bigger and more important than you are, but has an entirely psychic existence.
In Manipura still don't know where we are, we are still with our feet on the earth in Muladhara, but in Anahata they are lifted from the surface through the air element.Animus, spirit, comes from the greek anemos, which means wind. And pneuma, mind, is also greek for wind. Arabic ruch = wind or soul or mind. Hebrew = ruach is mind and wind. With your last breath the spirit leaves the body.
Instead of following your impulses, you could think of a ceremony where you can distance yourself from your emotions and observe them and rise above them. You stop yourself in a wild moment and ask yourself: why am I acting this way? When one discovers one can release themselves from emotion: he becomes a real human.
Crossing from Manipura to Anahata is quite difficult because the recognition that the psyche acts on its own, that it really is something other than yourself, is extraordinarily hard to realise and admit. Because it means that consciousness that you call yourself has a border. However if you understand it in the right manner, then - as Tantra Yoga shows - this recognition of the psychogenic factor is in fact the first recognition of Purusa.
The Antelope or Gazelle, again a transformation of the original power, it resembles the ram somewhat, though it is not domesticated as the ram, and it's not an animal of sacrifice. It is not an agressive animal, to the contrary it is shy and slippery, very lightfooted. It's gone in a glimpse of an eye. If you encounter a hurd of them you are amazed at how fast they all vanish again. They seem to fly with great leaps through the air. There are antelopes in Africa that can jump six to ten meters, like they have wings. Light as the air, and just touch the earth here and there. An animal of the earth but seemingly released from gravity. Perfectly symbolizing the power and lightness of the psychic substance: thought and feeling. Closely resembling the unicorn, a symbol of the holy spirit. (Also symoblized by the Green Lion - green is the color of Anahata.)
Anahata is associated with the ability to make decisions outside of the realm of karma. In Manipura and below, man is bound by the laws of karma, and the fate he has in store for him. In Anahata, one is making decisions, 'following your heart', based upon one's higher self, and not from the unfulfilled emotions and desires of lower nature. The 'wish-fulfilling tree', kalpa taru, resides here, symbolising the ability to manifest whatever you wish to happen in the world. It is also associated with love and compassion, charity to others, and forms of psychic healing.
5. Vishuddha Throat Chakra - Ether Element - White Elephant
Here one rises above the emperic world, and lands into a world of concepts. With certainty we realise our
psychic existence as the only reality through experience. Another way to look at the series of chakras
would be that ist is like climbing form rude matter to a fine or psychic form. It is where Tantra Yoga and
Western Alchemy intersect, the transmutation of crude matter to the subtle form of spirit.
As people learn in Anahata that their feelings should be based on facts and not on assumptions, people must un-learn this when passing to Vishuddha. One even would have to recognize that psychic facts have nothing to do with material ones. For instance the anger you feel toward someone or something, how justified it may be, is not caused by external causes. It is a phenomenon onto itself. In other words: Your worst enemy may be in yourself.
If you've reached this stadium, you're leaving Anahata, because you have succeeded in loosening the absolute unification of the material external facts with the internal or psychic facts. Whatever you experience, whatever adventure you live in the external world: it is all your own experience. The entire game of the world is your personal experience.
In Vishudda we reach above our contemporary ideas of the world, in a certain sense we reach out to the etheric plane. It is as if a rocket has propelled us into space, a space where the psychic reality is the only reality. This world will be reached if we succeed to build a symbolic bridge between the most abstract ideas of physics and the most abstrac ideas of analytical psychology.
Here the (white) Elephant reappears in Vishudda, where it does not carry the Earth but it supports the things we think are the most unreal, the most fleeting, namely human thought. It is as if the Elephant makes realities of concepts. We recognize that our concepts are none other than our imagination, producs of our feeling or reason, abstractions or comparisons that are not supported by any physical phenomenon. That what unites them all, what expresses them all, is the concept of energy. According to Chakra Symbolism, the power of the Elephant is now granted to psychic realities, that our reason would like to consider as pure abstractions.
For instance it is in reality impossible to bring forth a concept of God, because it is not a physical concept. It has nothing to do with experience in space and time, and because of that you can not expect an effect. But if you have the psychic experience, if the psychic experience imposes itself on you, then you understand and you can make a concept out of it. The abstraction, or projection, the concept of God, then comes from experience. And psychic facts are the reality tin Vishudda.
Vishuddha is associated with the faculty of higher discrimination, between choosing what is right and wrong, and it is associated with creativity and self-expression. It is known as the 'poison and nectar' centre, closely related to the Bindu chakra, and the secret of immortality is said to reside there. When Vishuddha is closed, we undergo decay and death. When it is open, negative experience is transformed into wisdom and learning.
6. Ajna Third Eye Chakra - Winged Seed
The Sixth Chakra is the Ajna, and looks like a winged seed, it does not contain an animal symbol. Instead of the dark germinating seed, it is here in full light, the white beaming light, completely conscious. In other words the God that was asleep in Muladhara, is completely awoken. The only reality, and because of that this center is called the situation in which one is united with Shiva. One could say this is the center of the mystic union with God. I mean that absolute reality where you are nothing but psychic reality, and yet confronted with the psychic reality that you are not. And that is god. God is the eternal psychic object. God is simply a word for non-me. In Vishudda the psychic reality was still opposite of the physical reality. That's why we still used the help of the white elephant to distinguish reality from the psyche. Psychic facts still found a place within us, even though they had their own lives. But in the Ajna center the psyche grows wings. Here you know you are nothing but psyche.
Ajna is considered the chakra of the mind. When something is seen in the mind's eye, or in a dream, it is being 'seen' by Ajna. Residing in the Chakra, according to some beliefs, is the deity Ardhanarishvara a hermaphrodite form of Shiva-Shakti, symbolising the primordial duality of Subject and Object, and the deity Hakini Shakti is also present in this chakra. In kundalini yoga, different practices are said to stimulate the Ajna chakra, including Trataka (steady gazing), Shambhavi Mudra (gazing at the space between the eyebrows), and some forms of Pranayama (breath exercises). Various occultists[attribution needed] have tried to make kabbalistic associations with Ajna, and it has been associated variously with the sephirah Kether, Da'at and the primal duality of Chokmah and Binah (who represent a similar archetypal concept to that of Shiva and Shakti in tantric cosmology).
7. Sahasrara Crown Chakra
Speaking of the Sahasrara, the lotus of a thousand leaves, is completely obsolete, because it's a pure philosophical concept. Without any substance to us. It is above all experience. In Ajna there is still the experience of the self that is seemingly different from the object, the God. But in Sahasrara there is no difference. The next conclusion could be that there is no object, no God, there is nothing but Brahman. There is no experience because it is One, without a second. It is asleep, it is not, and that is why it is nirvana. (non-dual)
Sahasrara is positioned above the head or at the top of it and it has 1000 petals which are arranged in 20 layers each of them with 50 petals. For a discussion about the petal count see also petal (chakra) Sahasrara chakra symbolizes detachment from illusion; an essential element in obtaining supramental consciousness of the truth that one is all and all is one. Often referred as thousand-petaled lotus, it is said to be the most subtle chakra in the system, relating to pure consciousness, and it is from this chakra that all the other chakras emanate. When a yogi is able to raise his or her kundalini, energy of consciousness, up to this point, the state of samadhi, or union with God, is experienced. In the West, it has been noted by many occultists[attribution needed] that Sahasrara expresses a similar archetypal idea to that of Kether in the kabbalistic tree of life, which also rests at the head of the tree, and represents pure consciousness and union with god.