The Tantric Tradition has a different view of the Chakra system than the new age system which was developed in the 1880’s out of a blend of Jungian Psychology, Indian Yogic teachings and the esoteric and clairvoyant studies of the Theosophical Society. Classical Tantra was flourishing in the 800’s CE in Northern India, and texts of this time make reference to many different chakra systems. These systems were used as methods for visualisation, with the ultimate aim being to realise the true nature of the Self as not seperate from Shiva (AKA God, Divinity, Universal Nature). The chakra systems in these texts were not seen as having an objective reality beyond their usefulness as meditation tools.
The Chakra system according to modern day Tantric practitioners also varies from the New Age understanding mentioned above. To the Tantrics, the Chakras are levels and states of consciousness that can be accessed through various practices such as tantric yoga, meditations and various other activities. It is understood that these level of consciousness are a vibration or frequency that exist in the universe, and when you bring yourself into resonance with the energy of that chakra, you have access to the qualities of that chakra.
For example Muladhara (the base or root chakra) is related to the energy of the earth, endurance, stability and security. Some people will naturally have a strong activation on this chakra, and they will naturally have a sense of ‘always having enough’, they will feel like a stable presence to be around, they will have a lot of endurance but will have a tendency towards heaviness and sleepiness (unless other chakras are very well developed too). If you want to access more of these qualities, it is necessary to tune into the frequency of muladhara, similar to tuning a radio to the correct frequency before you get the station you want. This might be done through certain yoga poses that have a resonance on muladhara which are held for a long duration (3-10minutes or longer) while meditating upon drawing earth energy through the body into that chakra. Or everyday activities such as gardening, certain love making positions, certain foods and certain pieces of music which have a resonance on muladhara to increase activation at this level.
Each person has more or less activation or arousal of different chakras. This is what influences our constitution and personality. According to Tantra, people are drawn into relationship with each other through a polarity (or opposite charge) of masculine energy in one person and feminine energy in the other, (this is true in same sex couples, and the male partner might not necessarily hold the masculine pole or vice versa- there are many variations). Each chakra will be more masculine or feminine in different people, or another way to put it- more receptive or more active. The chakra that offers the most polarity between a couple will be the level of consciousness that the relationship mainly exists on. A relationship at the level of muladhara can be harmonious or otherwise (as is the case for all the chakra levels). This couple would be good at saving, bills are always paid, nurturing food would be on the table and the home would be beautiful. Disharmony in a couple with strong polarity at muladhara might be a relationship that is focused only on material pleasures and wealth and are ‘stuck in their ways’. A couple with limited activation at muladhara may have many other wonderful aspects, but they may not be very good at creating abundance on the material plane. Relationships can be difficult if one person has strong muladhara and the other doesn’t have much activation there- despite there possibly being a lot of love in a relationship, there will be a subtle sense of things not being quite right. The sexual chemistry on muladhara is animalistic and passionate, the touch is strong and the physical connection is powerful. If only one person has this activation, the other may feel unfulfilled. The Tantric couple would use various practices to create a stronger polarity at every chakras, and ultimately be able to play at different levels according to mood, purpose and intention. Relationships at the level of the other 6 chakras will be explored in coming articles.