Person, Planet: The Chakras of the Earth

I would like, with this post, to suggest a way of appreciating the Earth alternatively as other than a commercial entity or “global marketplace”, as I described it in the last post. And to do that, I would refer you to a video that DavidM linked to in an earlier posting called “The Illuminated Chakras” which described the serpentine energy and the human chakra system of the body, which I believe are aspects of the Earth’s own chakra system or of the “spheres”, and which may deepen our understanding of Nietzsche’s summons for us to “be true to the Earth” and to “become what we are”, for I believe he had a valid intuition about this. That is to say, to become what we are already implicitly is also a matter of being “true to the Earth”.  As Rudolf Steiner once expressed it, we come to know Nature only through the body and as the body. But there may well be more to this than meets the eye.

While watching “The Illuminated Chakras”, I realised there was a one-to-one correspondence between the chakras and the various “spheres” of the Earth as described by science. Most discussions of the spheres limit themselves to four primary spheres along the lines of the classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water, or lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, respectively.

But, as there are seven chakras in the chakra system, we can also describe seven spheres of the whole Earth which correspond to the chakras of the body structure:

lithosphere — Root chakra, the earth element
hydrosphere — second chakra, the watery element
biosphere — third chakra, the firey element or solar plexus
atmosphere — the fourth chakra, the airey element or heart
stratosphere — the fifth chakra, the throat chakra, associated with the resonant or aetheric
magnetosphere — the sixth chakra, the Earth’s “aura”, the mind’s eye or brow, the chakra of light.

The ascent through the Earth’s spheres here very much resembles the course of the serpentine energy rising through the chakras — the wheels, vortices or spheres — until it activates the “crown” chakra, which is “cosmic consciousness” — the last envelope of the Earth. Considered in terms of the chakra system, the body structure very much embodies the Earth’s spheres, or corresponds to them, and in very much the same order of ascent, perhaps here especially exemplifying the Hermetic principle “as above, so below” and the doctrine of the affinities.

It is very suggestive, and I’m sure that a further investigation of the chakra system would yield even more mysterious correspondences and affinities with the Earth’s own configuration. And in those terms alone, Krishnamurti’s insistence that “you are the world” would make perfect sense.

It would make sense that if the Earth evolved the body, it would evolve the body as a correspondence of itself. That, of course, is a pretty daring conception because it imparts to the Earth the heresy of agency, and I would be locked away — even though people in the past did grant agency to the Earth as the Anima Mundi or Earth Soul or Great Mother — Gaia.

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16 responses to “Person, Planet: The Chakras of the Earth”

    • Scott Preston says :

      Well, that’s interesting that Aurobindo was writing about the “seven Jewels of the Earth” and earth chakras. But I think this interpretation of them as the continents is an error. It makes more sense that they are the “spheres” as described. Continents are actually too incontinent to serve as these jewels. They rise and subside while the spheres abide. There’s a better case to be made that the “jewels” are these spheres, and as spheres or planes more closely resemble the chakras themselves.

  1. Scott Preston says :

    If what I wrote above makes sense and is true, than it gives a much different meaning to the term “The Anthropocene”, releasing it from its more narcissistic construction. For if the body is the image of the Earth, then the Earth is also an image of the body, and in this sense the Anthropocene would be the conjunction of “person and planet”. The Anthropocene would then be the fully realised Earth consciousness effected in and through the human form as Elgin’s “Awakening Earth”. It could then be truly called “the Anthropocene” without embarrassing connotations of narcissism — a revaluation of values, in effect.

    • donsalmon says :

      Sri Aurobindo, commentary on the Isha Upanishad:

      All world is a movement of the Spirit in Itself and is mutable and transient in all its formations and appearances; its only eternity is an eternity of recurrence, its only stability a semblance caused by certain apparent fixities of relation and grouping.

      ****Every separate object in the universe is, in truth, itself the whole universe presenting a certain front or outward appearance of its movement. The microcosm is one with the macrocosm.****

      Yet in their relation of principle of movement and result of movement they are continent and contained, world in world, movement in movement. The individual therefore partakes of the nature of the universal, refers back to it for its source of ac- tivity, is, as we say, subject to its laws and part of cosmic Nature.

      Spirit is lord of Its movement, one, immutable, free, stable and eternal.
      The Movement with all its formed objects has been created in order to provide a habitation for the Spirit who, being One, yet dwells multitudinously in the multiplicity of His mansions.

      It is the same Lord who dwells in the sum and the part, in the Cosmos as a whole and in each being, force or object in the Cosmos.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      The Anthropocene would then be the fully realised Earth consciousness effected in and through the human form….

      There are long-standing conceptions that human beings are “the crowning achievement of evolution” and creation, both of which I find unacceptable. Some of us perceive all other beings with whom we share this planet — even the supposedly “inanimate” — as our relatives and not our subjects and subordinates. Though we speak of them, we don’t feel it necessary to speak for them. They do a fine job of that themselves. We need only listen.

      The indigenous are not alone in feeling this way and some of us do attempt to “speak for Earth.” Where they run into trouble, of course, is in proposing courses of action that aren’t necessarily agreeable to everyone. Are they then speaking for Earth or for themselves?

      I’m not sure anything can be retrieved from “Anthropo-cene”. On the other hand, we are living in a “Planetary” or “Global” Era…so I hear.

      • donsalmon says :

        Hi IW: I’ve had conversations about this for 40+ years, starting at a time when I massively opposed the idea of any kind of evolutionary line toward (and beyond) humans.

        I’m not going to say anything definitive, but instead, pose a few things for reflection…

        i wonder if it’s possible to take a non-dominating, non exploiting, recognizing-the-Divine-in-all-Absolute-kind-of-“seeing” (I almost wrote “view”) regarding our fellow/sister creatures – and the earth and sky and water as well – and yet still see some kind of evolutionary unfolding of consciousness?

        I wonder if our hearts are so hurt from witness environmental exploitation and cruelty toward animals that it feels like a betrayal of our mother earth and sister creatures to even pose the possibility of a simultaneous seeing of the Divine in all along with some kind of evolutionary unfolding

        an evolutionary unfolding that, far from seeing humans as a “crowning achievement”, actually sees them as rather petty way stations in the stream of evolution; there being no achievement or “better” or “worse” in any way the mind (or more likely, the pranic/vital/life force-ego in us) conceives, yet there may still be some kind of unfolding.

        I know that Gebser often protested quite vehemently in seeing what he would have considered a mentalistic linear “progression”; i’m not suggesting that either in the image of a stream of unfolding; it’s not a matter of “going” anywhere, but if it is the case that it is only the integral consciousness that can truly….. integrate the prior consciousness structures that have manifested on earth, (from long before the human, back at least to one-celled organisms, and if you accept consciousness as omnipresent, then since the earth first manifested, or really, since the “big blossoming” 13.8 billion years ago – and if you accept the prior involution, then before that, but we can’t talk about “before” time in the conventional sense…..

        there may be some kind of spiraling unfolding that is not linear, not the apparently meaningless semi-nihilistic “eternal return” but “something else” that the mind cannot comprehend.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          a simultaneous seeing of the Divine in all along with some kind of evolutionary unfolding…

          Unfolding? Yes. Evolutionary? No. I’m familiar with the chakra system and posted the Anodea Judith video in a comment to TDAB. (Scott couldn’t stream video, so we were deprived of his insights at the time. Nice to see it again.)

          The Anthropocene would then be the fully realised Earth consciousness effected in and through the human form….

          I needed some clarification on that. (It’s those pesky concepts, which are actually only one.) Also, Nietzche’s “revaluation of values” doesn’t make much sense to me. How does one revalue something that never lost its value in the first place? I’m translating that, for now, as “remembering the forgotten”. The “response of human consciousness” also makes more sense to me than “effected in and through the human form”.

          One would think English speakers all speak the same language, but we don’t.

          From Business Insider, of all places, comes this: Two-thirds of the world’s wildlife is on track to get wiped out by 2020. I might have posted the link from any number of earth-centric sites, but it’s a momentous occasion (I hope) when the “business world” takes notice of what we’ve been saying all along.

      • Scott Preston says :

        As always, its only a case of “revaluation of values”. There is nothing new under the sun. Things ascend into manifestation or return to latency. Values remain the same, only they are revalued in terms of the particular structure of consciousness within which they manifest. It is, in that sense, “eternal recurrence of same”. It’s not so much creatures that “evolve” as values, you see.

        And in that sense, there is no linear “progression”. Only arisings and descendings from the ever-present source into manifestation or return to latency or, as we might put it otherwise, from eternity into time, and from time back into eternity, or from the infinite into the finite and back to the infinite. Nothing changes, yet everything changes. So, to the perception, this looks like a world of Time and Death, but only in those terms. With Gebser’s “transparency of the world”, both Time and Death are seen through. They become something else.

        This is not the first “Anthropocene”. It’s a revaluation of values. It was once called “The Goddess” who also took a human shape. The Anthropocene is potentially not the negative manifestation of the “Emissary”, but also of the potential awareness of the “Master”, to use McGilchrist’s terms… or what Blake calls “the Universal Humanity” in its concrete realisation. The Anthropocene has the potential to be what we call “the Christ” because of this implicit polarity of things, or otherwise what Aurobindo calls “Supermind” or “Global Brain” as Bloom calls it.

        And in just the same sense, it’s not about killing neo-liberal globalisation, but of transforming it through a “revaluation of values”. This is the work of the new consciousness.

        • donsalmon says :

          Hi Infinite Warrior:

          I’m sort of vaguely inclined to a remote possibility (!) of having a dialog about what Sri Aurobindo means by “evolution.” But have had very few experiences inclining me toward it, for the most part.

          I guess I don’t quite get it if you exclude the era since human beings emerged on the scene, and you look at the different “structures” of consciousness, say, between the one-celled organisms that predominated for 2 billion years, and, oh, a cat or dog, or chimp..

          I am aware that virtually all materialistically oriented biologists refuse to accept any kind of directionality (linear/deficient mental or otherwise). The best layout of a beautiful picture for some kind of directionality (well, for me, short of Sri Aurobindo!) was created by neuropsychologist Merlin Donald.

          The best I can do now, is…. quote myself!

          Does Consciousness Become More Complex Over the Course of Evolution?

          Some scientists who dispute the notion of a hierarchy of consciousness suggest that adaptability should be the main measure of intelligence. According to this line of thought, a frog’s intelligence is no less than a human’s, since a frog’s intelligence helps it adapt to its environment equally as well as our human intelligence helps us adapt to ours. Such scientists might suggest, for example, that human beings would be hard-pressed to live on lily-pads and subsist on a diet of whatever flies we could catch with our tongues. But is adaptability the same as intelligence? Neuropsychologist Merlin Donald points out that if we use the criterion of adaptability, one might say “corporate CEO’s are no more or less intelligent in an adaptive biological sense than, say, maggots, a conclusion that may have a certain emotional resonance for many, but falls a bit short on the evidence.”
          There is another, more powerful reason for resistance to the idea that consciousness has become more complex. Many scientists are concerned that even the suggestion of some kind of directionality in evolution might open a door through which religious dogma could enter and distort their objective findings. However, as we see from the work of those like Trewavas and Nakagaki, it is possible to pursue these questions in a rigorous scientific manner.
          Some who object to the idea of directionality suggest that if we look at the course of evolution over several thousand or even several million years, it appears as though changes in intelligence have occurred in many directions rather than as a straightforward increase in complexity. However, physicist and theologian Ian Barbour suggests that if we take the long view, “evolutionary history shows an overall trend toward greater complexity, responsiveness and awareness. The capacity of organisms to gather, store and process information has steadily increased.”
          Recent studies in developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience have shown that there is a remarkable parallel between the increasing complexity of consciousness over the course of evolution and the way in which it unfolds over shorter timeframes. As Harvard neuroscientist J. Allan Hobson describes it, “Consciousness is graded across evolutionary time, over the course of development, and even continuously from moment to moment.” Hobson himself has described the emerging complexity of consciousness over the time span of billions of years. Developmental psychologists such as Susan Harter and John Flavell have tracked a similar emergence over the course of a human lifetime. Francisco Varela, Brian Lancaster and other cognitive neuroscientists suggest that a comparable progression of consciousness unfolds in each moment of human experience.
          In the sections that follow, we will describe what science has discovered about the increasing complexity of consciousness as it unfolds over these three different time frames. We will do this in terms of three categories – knowing (cognition), feeling (affect) and willing (volition). Many centuries ago, Aristotle used these categories to encompass the full range of conscious activities. While many ways of describing consciousness have since been developed, cognitive scientists continue to use a framework which is essentially the same as the one used by Aristotle. For the present, we’ll define knowing as the capacity for registering and (to a lesser or greater degree) comprehending distinctions in the environment; feeling as the largely physiological responses that accompany acts of knowing and willing; and willing as the active response to what is known and felt.

          (in our defense – that’s me, and my co-author, Jan – in these passages we’re trying to avoid offending the deficient mental consciousness of most scientists as much as possible. Later in the book we present what we think is a more integral view; but even these points remain, I think, not all that bad)

          but perhaps I shouldn’t have written so much, IW, before knowing what it was you objected to about “evolutionarily”

          • InfiniteWarrior says :

            a remote possibility (!) of having a dialog about what Sri Aurobindo means by “evolution.”

            You know… I almost wrote “Evolution? Not so much.” LOL But, well, this is me. (I’m not sure, but we could probably all empathize with that.)

            I love the way Judith put that: “revolving and evolving through time“.

            since human beings emerged on the scene

            When exactly did “human beings” emerge on the scene? I sometimes worry that scientists will drive themselves crazy trying to figure it out or “pin it down” because most (?) of them are looking at “homo-sapiens” and not necessarily “human beings” or “humans” be-ing, as it were.

            When it comes to “Integral Consciousness”, it’s pretty obvious to me that it’s always been with us. Who among the “Neanderthals”, for example, might have displayed an “integral consciousness”, one might wonder? I suppose we’ll never know.

            What we do know is that it’s been in full display by the “wisest” of our “teachers” from Jesus to Mohammed to Thich Nhat Hanh to…Carl Sagan.

            They weren’t (and aren’t) constrained by the “time period” in which they lived (and live). But here’s the thing about “wisdom”. We often apply the term, “wise” to certain people. It doesn’t seem to occur to us that those people didn’t (or don’t) display “integral consciousness” all the time. Even Hanh has suggested that Buddhism may be the only “correct” way of seeing and expressing. Mohammed? Islam? Likewise. Aurobindo? Hinduism? Likewise. Jesus? Judaism? Likewise. I’m probably a little more familiar with “Christianity”, as are most in the “Western” world. Let us remember, there was no “Christianity” at the time Jesus lived. He was living in a Jewish culture and knew that very well. But if one actually reads the “New Testament” of the “Bible”, even Jesus didn’t display an “integral consciousness” all the time.

            “Wise” or “Integral Consciousness” is not a “label” we can apply to anyone. We can, oth, apply it to “decisions” or “courses of action” or…. If you get my drift.

            When we enter the supposedly “subjective” realm of existence, we’re in uncharted territory. Why? Because everyone’s experience of the “Divine” is very different from everyone else’s.

            abdulomen may appreciate this. When I “return to the Source” or ” find my Center”, this is how I do it.

            • donsalmon says :

              I love the “this is me” image (the link in IW’s post). Our critical thinking teacher, Rachel Lauer (yes, Matt’s cousin) used to say, “Assume miscommunication.” (if she had adapted it for the online age, she might have said “Assume miscommunication on steroids!).

              You wrote: When exactly did “human beings” emerge on the scene:

              I anticipated the “there’s always been integral consciousness/wisdom, etc” objection, which is why I brought up one celled organisms (this is also in response to Scott’s repeated evocation of nothing being new under the sun)

              Leave humans or their immediate (meaning the last, oh, 3 to 30 million years) ancestors out of it.

              Is there any insight to be gained from looking at the consciousness/Awareness – the explicit, not underlying Origin, consciousness – associated with a rock, and that of a chipmunk? I know Wilber, no matter how much he tried to weasel his way out of it, whenever he talked about this kind of thing, always seemed to have an implicit inferiority/superiority “feel” to it, so (assuming miscommunication!) if I’m trying to convey anything here, if you think it sounds remotely like anything Wilber ever thought from before he was born, that’s not it!

              just sayin…..

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              I anticipated the…objection

              I’m not sure what you think I’m objecting to. I do see where the miscommunication is coming in, though. I’ve no interest in consciousness studies nor in talking about them. My interest is language.

            • donsalmon says :

              Yes, I lost you along the way. That’s fine:>)

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              Not really. We’re on the same wavelength: “revolving and evolving through time”. (The last post somewhat addresses that.) Expressions of “consciousness”interest me a great deal. Ongoing debates about the “hard problem of consciousness”, not so much.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              Re: The “this is me” image…

              It was just a little joke, of course, but this is actually a much better representation of “assuming miscommunication”. As much as can be packed into words can be packed into an image.

            • donsalmon says :

              Excellent (but wait, what does that mean??)

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