Chakras and Sefirot

The Kabbalistic Sefirot

The Kabbalistic arrangement of Sefirot invites comparison with the Tantric chakras. The original Jewish Kabbalah was concerned not so much with understanding the microcosm as with theological attributes of the body of God.  In the Golden Dawn system of Qabalah however the "tree of life" - the ten sefirot and twenty-two paths - is a stylised "map" of consciousness in ritual magic.  The Sefirot constitute psychic powers or archetypes, which although cosmic in nature are also located within the human body.

In view of the many parallels between Tantra and Qabalah - both for example place great emphasise on god-forms, visualisation, and other magical practices, see the human body as the microcosm of the universe, and tabulate elaborate tables of correspondences  - it is surprising that there have not been more attempts to integrate the two.  The correspondences between the bodily locations of the Sefirot and that of the chakras are very suggestive.  Malkhut for example would seem to relate to the base chakra, Muladhara; Yesod to the  genital chakra, Swadhishthana; Tifaret to the Heart chakra, Keter to the Sahasrara or Crown-chakra, and so on.  Some referneces have been made by western occultists such as Mathers, Crowley, and Dion Fortune, to this.

Chakras and Sefirot

It has often been observed that the whole system of Chakras in Tantra corresponds to that of the Sefirot in Kabbalah.  For example the Western hermetic-occult magickal tradition, beginning with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and going through to Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, and their successors, often connects the sefirot and the chakras.  Ditto New Age writers on Kabbalah and Tantra.  There are a  number of different schemes that have been presented, but the most popular (& most reasonable) is to equate the 7 chakras with the 7 levels of the Tree (not the 10 sefirot); i.e.

Sahasrara (above head) =======     Keter
Ajna (brow)  ==========    Binah-----|----Hokmah
Vishuddha (throat) ======  Gevurah---|----Hesed
Ahanhata (heart) ========    |    Tifaret    |
Manipura (navel) ========   Hod------|-----Netzah
Swadhisthana (genitals)=====   \   Yesod    /
Muladhara (base of spine) ====     Malkhut

It is however very easy to come up with any number of alternative schemes - e.g. equating the Ajna-chakra with Daat ("knowledge" - between Binah and Hesed) and having transitional chakras (such as the Indu and Manas chakras) represent Hokmah and Binah.  All of which indicates that we are not dealing with fixed realities but with fluid archetypes, a fact that must always be taken into consideration.

web page essay Chakras, Tree Of Life and Metaphysic - by Dennis J. B.. Interesting posting on this subject - includes a useful ascii diagram.  My only disagreement is that the Crown chakra is associated with Hokmah-Binah rather than with Keter.

Chakras, Sefirot, and Chinese thought

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 21 November 1998, last modified 28 July 2004