If you are looking for a straightforward and practical guide to the chakras you should find Avalonia’s Book of Chakras by Sorita D’Este and David Rankine useful. Accessible enough for beginners it is also very handy for energy practitioners as a reference tool.
I requested this book for review from Avalonia Books as I noticed it received positive feedback on Amazon. This slim tome deserves its praise as it contains all of the basic chakra information you’d find in my chakra articles here on Bellaonline, plus extra chakra information less easily located, drawing everything together into one neat work.
First an explanation of the chakra system is given, including useful information on Kundalini energy and the nadis, which are often ignored in chakra reference texts despite forming an integral part of the energy system.
The chakras are then each analysed in individual chapters, starting with an overview which covers the meaning of their names, the meaning of the traditional symbols used to represent them, the associated gods and goddesses, and the function of the chakra.
Some discussion of healthy chakra development and why development might be disrupted is given. Ways to promote each chakra’s healthy functioning are suggested and some of the physical, mental and emotional problems we might encounter if the chakra is unbalanced are identified.
A useful correspondence table for each chakra gives at a glance information on the associated animals, colours, elements, energy states, foods, forces, goddesses and gods, inner states, metals, musical notes, planets, seed sounds, senses, yoga traditions and yoga poses. The result is a lot of information contained in a small space.
The next table was the most useful to me as a practitioner as the conditions associated with each chakra are described. Although the information wasn’t new to me this is the first time I have seen it presented so neatly and clearly.
Keywords are listed to describe the state of a person in which the chakra is Too open (excessive energy), Balanced, or Blocked (deficient energy). To give you an example some of the following states might be observed if Ajna, the brow chakra, was too open:
Ungrounded, detached, fantasy-prone, too selfless, deluded, overly optimistic, effusive, foolish, illogical or manic.
Whereas if Ajna was in a state of ideal balance the person might exhibit the following states:
Intuitive, spiritual, visionary, caring, imaginative, realist, charismatic, wise, pragmatic and calm.
However if Ajna were blocked you could expect some of the following states to manifest:
Materialistic, atheist, unimaginative, self-centred, unperceptive, pessimist, withdrawn, cynical, logical and depressed.
As the states are presented in a table, you can quickly scan for each chakra and analyse your own states and those of anyone else easily. I will be using the tables on my client sheets to help me track and evaluate their progress.
Advice on working with each chakra is given through aromatherapy, colour, crystals, incense, mantra and meditation. It would depend whether you were already trained in one or more of these disciplines as to how useful you find the advice. As a crystal therapist the information on crystals was too limited for me, but it might be useful to someone with a few crystals looking for basic guidance. However I did like the incense recipes as I enjoy blending my own mixtures and I hadn’t come across chakra related incenses before.
The chapters on the major chakras are followed by a chapter on the minor chakras, which are often quickly glossed over or left entirely unmentioned in other texts, but which can have profound effects of their own depending on how they are functioning. The authors don’t cover all of the minor chakras, there are too many, but they do cover most of the ones I have come across and it is good to see some explanation of their function written down as I have had to intuit most of my work with these chakras.
A chapter covering more ways to work with the chakras as a system rather than individually follows; this includes basic, but important, opening and closing exercises and an elemental meditation which I will be using with my own students. I was interested to read the Wish Fulfilling Tree Exercise, which I haven’t seen anywhere else. This draws on the power of the Hrit chakra, a minor chakra located between the heart chakra and the solar plexus chakra:
(The Hrit) contains the Wish Fulfilling Tree, which is the vessel for realisation of the wishes of the seeker.
The final chapter is an analysis of the Sri Yantra, an ancient and complex symbol which contains within it representation of all of the major chakras. The Sri Yantra can be used to gaze upon as a visual meditation tool and the explanation given here is the best I have yet come across. It isn’t strictly necessary to understand the symbolism to get benefits from meditating upon the Sri Yantra, but such knowledge can open the symbol up for deeper exploration.
I am very pleased to have this neat little book in my collection and will be putting the information it contains to good use. Thank you Avalonia!