Ancient wisdom traditions from the four corners of the globe demonstrate striking similarities to key aspects of the chakra system. Most of these traditions describe a non-physical energy body, many describe movement of energy along subtle pathways, and some describe specific energy centers that correspond to the chakras.
Native American Beliefs
Because Native American culture is transmitted primarily through oral tradition, there are no ancient texts, yet images from ancient tribes throughout the Americas indicate intriguing correspondences with the chakra system.
For example, a sculpture of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl depicts on the crown of his head a 1000-petalled sunburst of spiritual illumination and the serpent of the liberated spinal fire (Hall). Forms of this feathered Serpent deity were important in art and religion in most of Mesoamerica for close to 2,000 years, from the Pre-Classic era until the Spanish Conquest (Wikipedia, “Quetzalcoatl”). A picture manuscript from the Mixtec tribe shows a serpent deity in a double helix resembling a modified caduceus (Bruyere). The ancient Incan deity Viracocha was depicted with a nimbus, or halo, signifying the external expression of an internal supernatural force; its light signifies intellect or mystical knowledge (Hall). More recently, a drawing of a Navajo doll shows bits of stone, coral and shell inserted into the figurine at the locations of the seven chakras (Bruyere).
Turning to living tribes of North America, we find even more striking correspondences to the chakra system. Hyemeyohsts Storm, teaching from the Cheyenne Tradition, writes the following: “How you balance your Self – Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically, and Mentally, is the challenge you must accept…while you live here on Mother Earth…” He then shares detailed teaching about the “Energy Field” of the human body and the “spheres” of the body (i.e., the Stomach, the Brain, the Mouth/Throat/Voice, etc.), and maps them on the Medicine Wheel. He also quotes one of his teachers describing the shamanic path of the “Flower Soldier: “Those who learn from you will be a rainbow. That can be their destiny if they choose it”.
According to The Book of the Hopi: “The living body of man and the living body of the earth were constructed in the same way. Through each ran an axis … along this axis were several vibratory centers … The first of these in man lay at the top of the head … just below it lay the second center, the organ called the brain … The third center lay in the throat … The fourth center was the heart … The last of man’s important centers lay under his navel, the organ some people now call the solar plexus…The fifth center, the one under the navel was said to be “the one which directed all the functions of
Robert Ghost Wolf, his own lineage Lakota and Iroquois and having had teachers from several North American tribes, discusses our energetic “light bodies” and the phenomenon of “ascension”, when the physical body is left behind and the light body merges with the Light. He states that there are seven rays of the rainbow each of which “influences our Hu-man consciousness and the spinning of the dream called life, the dream of temporal existence”. The following chart indicates possible correlations between his descriptions of the seven rays and the chakras.
Ray – Color – Wolf’s Description = Chakra Correlation
First Ray – Red …in which …this earth is held. It is the Ray of Leadership = First Chakra
Second Ray – Sky Blue … the Ray…of Understanding…of Knowledge = Sixth Chakra
Third Ray – Green … the Healing Ray…in harmony with …Divine Nurturing = Fourth Chakra
Fourth Ray – Yellow – The Sun radiates the Yellow Ray and all life is stimulated to growth = Third Chakra
Fifth Ray – Cobalt Blue …the Ray of Scientific Understanding…understanding how thought creates all reality = Fifth Chakra
Sixth Ray – Rose …the Ray of Devotion…allows us the state of Oneness…abundant in spring skies and young flora…youth and new beginnings = Second Chakra
Seventh Ray – Violet … the Ray of Transition of the Physical and Spiritual…the Ray of Transformation = Seventh Chakra
Michael Drake, a ceremonial drummer of Cherokee descent, draws a direct correspondence between Native American energy centers and chakras:
“The spiritual traditions of the Hopi, Cherokee, Tibetan, Hindu, and other cultures teach us that there are vibratory centers within the human body. All describe spinning wheels of energy called chakras, lying along the spine. There are seven major chakras situated along the vertical spinal axis from the genital region to the crown of the head… Chakras function much like electrical junction boxes, mediating spiritual energy throughout the entire mind-body system. They are the interface among the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of one’s being. Imbalances in chakras lead to imbalances in body, mind, and spirit.”
(Other non-Native American sources allude to other correspondences. For example, one states that the Huichol Indians of Mexico speak of energy fields which radiate from various areas of the body, while the Cuna Indians of Panama and Colombia believe that eight “spirits” inhabit the body in the chakra locations. However, these assertions could not be confirmed by Native sources.)