Chakra Talk - The Root Chakra
Part 2 - The Root Chakra: Our Primal Self
The first of our seven main chakras is called the Root or the Base in Western culture. The Root idea appeals to me because of its connection to the idea of Earth-based energy. The Base idea also appeals to me because this chakra is the base, the starting point, the beginning. But being one who feels a deep Earth connection, I do lean more heavily to the Root name.
So, what is the Root chakra all about? Survival. The entire evolution of our species up to now has moved from one stage to the next through a need to survive in new, different, or threatening circumstances. When we reach the point that survival is our primary goal, we dig into our Root chakra and use its primal knowledge to guide our decisions and actions. We decide to fight or flee, to kill or be killed, to store basic necessities (ex. food, clothes), to seek shelter, or to procreate so the species will continue even if we don’t survive.
All of these primal urges are driven by the Root chakra which, as David Pond states, is the deepest connection between our bodies and the Earth. Located near the base of the tailbone, the Root chakra affects our gonads and the hormones they produce. When the Root chakra is well balanced, we feel secure, stable, grounded, and we experience healthy sexuality. An unbalanced Root chakra can cause insecure feelings such as jealousy or greed, lust, sexual dysfunction/dissatisfaction, obsession, eating disorders or the need to hoard. This is an ego-centric chakra because it’s main purpose is to keep the individual alive.
Patricia Mercier explains that the Root chakra helps us to pull energy up from the Earth, into the chakras along the spine, and also channels the toxic energies back into the Earth for healing. If it is experiencing a lack of activity, a blockage, or overactivity, the negative effects described above can occur. When the energy is flowing properly, we are comfortable with ourselves, with our surroundings, and with our social circles.
When we experience the negative effects of the Root chakra, we need to find a way to bring it back into balance. This requires some deep work into our own needs - not the needs we perceive based on the influence of our surrounding cultures and traditions, but our individual needs that cannot be dictated to us from an outside source. Our individual needs are part of what makes up our “I”, our ego. Not everyone needs a million dollars, and not everyone can survive in a fishing cottage on Lake Erie. But cultures are built on traditions, which are started because someone decided something had to be like this, all the time, for everyone. And everyone went along with it. Some of the people might find that it suits their individual needs, but it doesn’t necessarily fit for everyone. Communities built around a specific religion are a good example - someone in the group is going to disagree with the religious teachings that the rest of the group accept as fact. There are three ways that come to mind that a person can handle this difference in belief: leave and find a place where people agree or don’t care about others’ beliefs; pretend to agree in order to be accepted by the rest; live true to their beliefs and leave everyone else to accept that or not. The first two are selected more often than the the third, leaving many people unhappy with their lives and unable to live up to their fullest potential. There is security in the group; safety, comfort. Why would they want to leave or to live in conflict with these people? Because staying means living in a manner that is untrue to the self, the “I”, the ego; and that causes the Root chakra to change its functionality - to overwork or to fail to work - to make up for this unnatural condition.
How can we rebalance the Root chakra, or try to keep it in balance in spite of being in a non-supportive culture? There are a number of ways we can help ourselves.
Earth grounding is the first and simplest. Walking on the ground, in the grass, in the sand with bare feet is the most direct way to reconnect ourselves with the Earth, and recharge the Root chakra. This can also sooth an overactive Root. If you have the skills and time, you could use gardening as your “Earth time.” Be sure to let all the senses experience the Earth if you can - listen to the sounds of animals and insects; feel the Earth under you, in your hands, in the breezes; smell the dirt, the plants and trees, the water around you; taste the nectar from honeysuckle blooms or pick fresh berries and eat them; see the natural world around you - trees, rocks, flowers, animals, birds, crops, etc.
Color/energy work: Meditating or just concentrating on the color Red, which is the Root chakra’s energetic color. Wear red clothes, use red accents in your room or office.
Crystals and gems can also help. Carnelian helps balance the Root chakra, Emeralds and Sapphires help calm it, and Black Obsidian can help draw negative energy down from the Root to the Earth.
Use earthy aromatherapy such as patchouli or evergreen scents to reconnect the Root to the Earth.
For yoga practitioners, Patricia Mercier provides a wealth of information on yogic practices that can help.
When I was struggling with major upheaval in my life, I created a “focus” for my Root chakra, which was simply a small painting with a red background and symbols from various practices that all related to the energies of the Root chakra. Combining this with meditation and self-healing (Reiki) helped me work through the Root-based part of the issue. Basically, it helped me survive and get to the next part of my journey.
If you find some of the options here are not within your reach, be creative and trust your instincts. Find ways to connect yourself to the strength we gain from the relationship between the Earth and the Root chakra.