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The 12 Chakras System And How To Activate Each Energy Center

Written by:

Gemma Clarke

Last updated:

12 chakra system

The chakra system is an intriguing yet scientifically unproven concept, which continues to draw the interest of modern-day yoga, reiki, and new age practitioners. The chakras are energy centers, which are part of the subtle body, one that cannot be seen. However, they are illustrated as colorful symbols that you can find on the walls of most yoga studios and spiritual stores.

The chakras originate from India, with roots in Hinduism and Tantra. What we know about them today is limited, including how many there are. Some people claim there are 7 main energy centers, while others say there are 12 chakras. However, according to some ancient texts and scriptures, there could be over 100. In this article, we’ll explore the 12 chakras system.

How Many Chakras Are There?

The most familiar understanding is that there are seven main chakras, which run from the base of the spine to the top of the head. These seven chakras have associated colors, mantras, symbols, frequencies, and elements, and all govern particular parts of our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Before we go further, let’s take a brief look at the seven major chakras:

  • Root Chakra – Located at the base of the spine. Governs our safety, security, and sense of groundedness.
  • Sacral Chakra – Located in the lower belly near the sexual organs. Responsible for creativity, pleasure, passion, sexuality, and emotions.
  • Solar Plexus Chakra – Located in the upper abdomen above the belly button. The center of our personal power, strength, courage, and resilience. 
  • Heart Chakra – Located in the center of the chest. Governs our ability to love and be loved, feel compassion, empathy, gratitude, and joy, and forgive others. 
  • Throat Chakra – Located in the center of the throat. Responsible for communication and self-expression.
  • Third Eye Chakra – located between the eyebrows. Center of our intuition, vision, and imagination.
  • Crown Chakra – located above the top of the head. Governs spiritual connection and enlightenment. 

Many ancient yogis believed many more energy centers exist aside from the above seven. For example, Dr. Sri Amit Ray believes there are 114 chakras in the human physic body and 72000 Nadis. He then splits the chakras into seven major chakras; 21 minor chakras, and 86 micro chakras. 

The seven main chakras run up the spine. However, the rest are distributed around body parts like the feet or knees or located off the physical body. 

One of the newest beliefs among new-age practitioners is the existence of the 12 chakra system. ​​This includes the seven major chakras and an additional 5 (or 6) outer chakras (transpersonal and subpersonal). These new chakras exist outside the body and represent our interconnectedness with higher spiritual realms. 

Order Of The 12 Chakra System

When it comes to the 12 chakra system, there is much lack of understanding of the order of the additional chakras. However, one common interpretation is as follows:

  • 1st Chakra: Earth Star Chakra
  • 2nd Chakra: Root Chakra 
  • 3rd Chakra: Sacral Chakra 
  • 4th Chakra: Solar Plexus Chakra
  • 5th Chakra: Heart Chakra
  • 6th Chakra: Throat Chakra
  • 7th Chakra: Third Eye Chakra
  • 8th Chakra: Crown Chakra
  • 9th Chakra: Soul Star Chakra
  • 10th Chakra: Universal Chakra 
  • 11th Chakra: Galactic Chakra
  • 12th Chakra: Divine Gateway Chakra

Another interpretation of the 12 chakra system actually features 13 chakras, but the Earth Star Chakra is named Chakra 0. This variation then includes the five chakras above the crown.

  • Chakra 0: Earth Star Chakra
  • Chakra 1: Root Chakra 
  • Chakra 2: Sacral Chakra 
  • Chakra 3: Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Chakra 4: Heart Chakra
  • Chakra 5: Throat Chakra
  • Chakra 6: Third Eye Chakra
  • Chakra 7: Crown Chakra
  • Chakra 8: Soul Star Chakra
  • Chakra 9: Spirit Star Chakra
  • Chakra 10: Universal Chakra 
  • Chakra 11: Galactic Chakra
  • Chakra 12: Divine Gateway Chakra

Because so little is known about the chakras beyond the seven major chakras, you may also come across other variations of the chakra system that feature a different order and different chakra names. Therefore, when learning about the 12 chakras, bear in mind that there is no scientific evidence to prove they exist. 

The Meanings Of The 12 Chakras

Every chakra has a unique purpose and possesses specific qualities that affect a particular part of our mind, body, or soul. Knowledge of some of the 6 additional chakras is limited, but let’s discuss what we know about each part of the 12 chakra system.

Earth Star Chakra

The earth star chakra, Vasundhara in Sanskrit, is a subpersonal chakra located below the feet. The energy center is off the body, but the exact distance is unknown, estimated to be between 6 to 18 inches below the soles of your feet. 

The earth star chakra has a grounding, earthy energy like the root chakra and is described as the “grounding cord” that pulls our Lightbody towards the earth’s center. The associated color is black when unactivated and magenta (purplish-red) when open. 

The earth star shares many of the same qualities as the root chakra, as when activated, it allows you to feel centered and grounded and, thus, function efficiently on the physical plane. This involves the ability to maintain a job, handle finances and look after your health through diet and exercise. Conversely, if this chakra is unactivated, a person may lead a self-destructive life, struggle with addictions and struggle to find order. 

In modern-day, the earth star chakra allows you to slow down the pace and connect to nature to avoid burnout from a fast-paced lifestyle. Thus, it can help us balance our responsibilities and not lose our center. 

How To Activate The Earth Star Chakra

One effective way to activate the earth chakra is by “earthing,” meaning to walk barefoot on the ground. This is one of the best ways to reconnect with mother nature and increase the earth element within us. 

You can do this activity anywhere, but it is best on natural earth such as grass or sand rather than concrete pavements. As with all chakra healing techniques, conscious attention is essential so stay present while “earthing” and focus on the sensation of the ground under your feet.

Root Chakra

The root chakra, Muladhara in Sanskrit, is located at the base of the spine, near the tailbone. It works with the earth star chakra to create a sense of safety and security, possessing grounding energy. When this chakra is open, a person feels centered, secure, and at ease with themselves and their surroundings. The root chakra’s associated color is red.

How To Activate The Root Chakra

As the root chakra is connected to the earth element, spending time in nature is one of the best ways to bring more life force to this energy center. Taking a walk in the forest or hiking a mountain has powerful grounding qualities and helps clear the mind and calm the spirit, releasing fear and anxiety.

Sacral Chakra 

The sacral chakra, Swadhisthana in Sanskrit, has its position in the lower belly, close to the reproductive organs that it governs. This chakra handles emotional regulation, creative potential, sexuality, and the ability to feel and pursue pleasure. 

The Swadhisthana chakra is connected to the water element. Someone with an open sacral chakra can flow with the ups and downs of life and find ease rather than be overtaken by their emotions. The second chakra’s color is orange.

How To Activate The Sacral Chakra

Connect with the water element by spending time in or by large pools of water, preferably from natural sources. Swim in an ocean, kayak in a lake, or paddle in a river. Alternatively, soaking in water by taking baths can help to activate this chakra.

Solar Plexus Chakra

The solar plexus chakra, Manipura in Sanskrit, sits in the upper belly below the ribs. It governs our digestive organs and manages our level of confidence, courage, and self-belief. When activated, we tap into our inner strength and personal power and feel determined, resilient, and unstoppable. The Manipura’s color is yellow and is connected to the fire element. 

How To Activate The Solar Plexus Chakra

Building heat in the body will increase the fire element and thus, activate the energy of the Manipura chakra. High-intensity exercise is a great way to do this, as it is a natural mood and confidence booster. In addition, core work, such as sit-ups, is beneficial as they directly work in the solar plexus area, creating targeted heat.

Heart Chakra

The heart chakra, Anahata in Sanskrit, is located in the center of the chest, bridging together the lower and upper chakras. It is equally balanced between the physical and spiritual realm and has calm, healing energy.

Anahata’s qualities include unconditional love, joy, gratitude, forgiveness, and understanding. When activated, a person can give and receive love freely and fully. The associated color is green.

How To Activate The Heart Chakra

You can activate the fourth chakra by directly increasing the positive qualities it possesses. For example, keep a gratitude journal where you state three things you feel thankful for each day. Alternatively, practice metta meditation that promotes love and kindness to all beings.  

Throat Chakra

The throat chakra, Vishuddha in Sanskrit, sits in the throat center and controls our communication and self-expression. When activated, a person can express themself freely without fear and has the confidence to say what they honestly think and speak their truth. Additionally, they can listen well to others and consider contrasting opinions while remaining authentic. The associated color is light blue. 

How To Activate The Throat Chakra

The Vishuddha is connected to the voice box. Therefore, toning these muscles through singing, chanting, speaking aloud affirmations, or practicing public speaking will increase the life force of this chakra. 

Third Eye Chakra

The third eye chakra, also known as the brow chakra or Ajna in Sanskrit, is situated between the eyebrows. This energy center has more spiritual qualities than the previous ones, such as intuition, vision, and inner wisdom. 

The Ajna chakra is also associated with the mind. If activated, a person can think clearly, see things from other perspectives and sense their inner guidance. Its associated color is dark blue (indigo).

How To Activate The Third Eye Chakra

Practices that help clear the mind and slow down the thought processes like meditation, are ideal for awakening the third eye. In particular, visualization and manifestation practices stimulate your imagination and tap into the qualities of this center. 

Crown Chakra

The crown chakra, Sahasrara in Sanskrit, sits just above the top of the head, resembling a floating crown. It is linked to spiritual connection and higher states of consciousness. When activated, a person knows they are more than just their physical body and understands that divine energy is all around. The associated color is purple (violet).

How To Activate The Crown Chakra

Meditating and other spiritual practices will help you deepen your connection with the universe and open the 7th chakra. Reading spiritual books and texts can heighten spiritual awareness, and stargazing can connect you with the cosmos.

Soul Star Chakra

The soul star chakra (Sutara in Sanskrit) is the 8th energy center located 6-12 inches above the 7th chakra. The 8th chakra is also known as the halo chakra, as it represents a luminous circle of divine light above your head.

This chakra is the primary channel for divine energy to travel to the rest of the chakra system below. As a transpersonal chakra located above the body, the 8th chakra represents the higher planes of the etheric body. Its associated color is fern green.

This energy center is also associated with past lives and karmic cycles. It allows you to access Akashic Records, an energetic library of data containing the details of your soul’s journey. In modern-day life, it enables you to cultivate peace and find your purpose in life. 

How To Activate The Soul Star Chakra

Spiritual practices like meditation and yoga and the best ways to channel the energy of the soul star. Visualization, in particular, is very effective.

Imagine bright light coming down from the universe and connecting to the etheric body by running through your seven primary chakras. See the light healing you physically and spiritually and then returning to the universe, leaving your soul purified and your purpose clear.

What’s more, as this chakra is related to the act of letting go, releasing negative thought patterns and traits can help activate it.

Spirit Star Chakra

The spirit star chakra (or spirit chakra) is located above the soul star and is connected to profound levels of connection with the divine. The chakra is associated with communicating with angels, light beings, and guides and represents the expansive spiritual realm. Its associated color is turquoise (blue-green).

While activation of the soul star chakra allows you to connect to your true purpose, spirit chakra activation enables you to tap into the full extent of your soul’s gifts and abilities. Your ability to manifest and create increases through this direct connection to the divine.

Universal Chakra 

The universal chakra is the 10th chakra located directly above the spirit chakra. It is represented as a pearl white color and governs all universal aspects of being. Here, we experience a merging of our masculine and feminine energies, allowing us to tap into the best qualities of both.

The universe chakra is the portal to the limitless flow of creation. When activated, you completely align your light being with your physical being, resulting in perfect harmony with the universe. 

Galactic Chakra

The 11th chakra, known as the galactic chakra, is related to time travel and carries supernatural powers like teleportation, instant manifestation, and bi-location. This energy center encompasses total cosmic wisdom, and when activated, it is said that a person can travel beyond the limits of time and space.

The galactic chakra’s color is believed to be either pink-orange or a mixture of violet, gold, and silver. 

How To Activate The Galactic Chakra

You can connect to the energy of the galactic chakra with a light language vocal activation meditation. Visualize a diamond crystal as you chant the mantra Cha Numi Go Loa Sho like in this guided meditation.

Divine Gateway Chakra

The last of the 12 chakras is the divine gateway chakra, also known as the stellar gateway Chakra. This final point on the chakra journey represents full ascension and complete oneness with the divine.

Activating this energy century opens the door into the divine world. It is believed that a person who has opened this chakra has the spiritual knowledge to guide others along their chakra journey to cosmic connection. The 12th chakra appears as golden or multi-colored, shimmering energy.

12 Chakra Symbols

Not all 12 chakra symbols are known, but there are illustrations for the seven major chakras and the earth star. 

  • Earth star chakra – Star Tetrahedron, also known as Merkaba. It features the intersection of 2 pyramids, making a six-sided 3D star hexagram, as illustrated above.
  • Root chakra – Red Lotus with four petals formed by a downward-facing triangle within a square within a circle.
  • Sacral chakra – Orange lotus flower with six petals. There are multiple circles and a crescent moon inside.
  • Solar plexus chakra – A yellow flower with ten petals and an inverted triangle inside.
  • Heart chakra – A green circular flower with 12 green petals and two intersecting triangles inside
  • Throat chakra – A circular flower with 16 petals. Inside is an inverted triangle and a smaller circle.
  • Third eye chakra – A two petal lotus flower.
  • Crown chakra – A lotus with one thousand multi-colored petals.

Final Thoughts

Unraveling the meaning of the 12 chakras is no easy task, especially when we cannot see or feel the energy centers directly. However, the activation techniques in this article can help move energy to the chakras we sense are the weakest. Working with the chakras is an excellent way to progress in your spiritual journey, increase your vibration, and gain new perspectives. 

About Gemma Clarke

Gemma Clarke is a certified and experienced yoga & meditation instructor. She has been practicing meditation since 2014 and teaching since 2018. Gemma specializes in yoga and mindfulness for emotional wellbeing, and she has taught in Thailand, Cambodia, and the UK. Gemma is passionate about sharing her expertise and experience with meditation to inspire others to live more mindfully, becoming happier, healthier, and calmer.

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