“The force inseparable from consciousness, who animates creation and who, in her particularized form in the body, causes liberation through her upward, illusion-shattering movement.” That’s how Oxford University’s esteemed Hindu scholar Gavin Flood describes Kundalini, a key concept in Hindu tantra that’s recognized not only by academics and occultists, but by on-the-ground practitioners like acupuncturists and yoga teachers too.
Kundalini refers to a personal reservoir of deeply empowering universal energy that lies dormant at the base of our spines, by the root muladhara chakra. It’s part of the spiritual endocrine system described by Eastern thinking. In the Sanskrit language, the work Kundalini means ‘coiled’, and the energetic force is visualized as a snake. Yogis (experienced and otherwise) attempt to ‘awaken’ Kundalini through meditation, pranayama breath work, and other techniques.
Magick.Me community stalwart Chet Zar talks below about how he may be directing Kundalini energy from his spine though energy centers in his palms (there are seven minor chakras in the hands). This is likely to be positive for him as he uses it to manifest the work he creates as an artist. However, he’s struggling with finances so maybe the energy might be better off directed to the lower chakras. The Alchemy of Chaos course goes into detail on advice touch points exactly like these, presenting a practical guide to manifesting meaningful results in your all-too-real modern life. Because while we’re awakening energy serpents, we still need to pay the energy bills.
Activating Kundalini floods your system with cosmic vitality as the serpent uncoils and rises through your chakra system. Transcendental enlightenment is believed to occur as Kundalini reaches the uppermost sahasrara chakra, liberating the ecstatic amrita power held there. Tantric Hindus believe kundalini to be a personal aspect of ‘Shakti’ an omnipresent universal creatrix comparable to the Christian supreme being.
A great deal has been espoused about Kundalini over the centuries, but the concept can be simpler than it's normally made out to be. In Western terms it is the concentrated energy of the nervous system: the overlap between the brain, nerves, and consciousness itself. Psychologist Carl Jung presented on the topic at Zurich’s Psychological Club in 1932, where he compared Kundalini awakening to his own notion of individuation, and ‘higher consciousness’ as discovering one’s ‘best self’. Psychedelic researchers point out the prolific snake-like visions shared by ayahuasca drinkers in Shamanic ceremonies. And scientific-minded kundalini awakeners talk about ‘DNA activation’, citing the 83% or so of our genetic material that isn't translated into anything… for now at least.
While merely accessing Kundalini is a noble goal of many Yogic meditators, it’s important that we direct the power to where it can manifest productively. When working with Kundalini and the chakra system as a whole, it’s easy to neglect the earthly concerns of our base chakras while we’re chasing enlightenment through the higher energy centers.
Those base chakras exist for a reason, to keep our physical form safe and secure as a vehicle for the development of our consciousness. Spend the necessary time working on these chakras to ensure you're getting adequate nutrition, a stable living situation, and are listening to your True Will. Only then can you truly develop the higher chakras in a grounded way that is most beneficial to you and all other beings.
What does a Kundalini awakening feel like?
Practitioners report unfamiliar but highly pleasurable muscle fluctuations around the perineal area that are neither contractions nor relaxations, but somehow both, simultaneously. Keen to perpetuate the awakening, the practitioner feels torn between concentrating on the sensation and encouraging it, or experiencing the process and abandoning oneself to it.
This contrast is in keeping with tantric notions of dualistic experience. Indeed, Kundalini awakening methods are either considered ‘active’ as they include techniques to rouse it, or ‘passive,’ where the body surrenders to its power.
Shepherding Kundalini to the uppermost chakra is a lofty objective. Most Kundalini practice is aimed at simply liberating creative potential and honing the True Self.
Unsurprisingly for such an exciting and romantic notion, Kundalini and ‘goddess energy’ have been appropriated by the New Age movement, and ‘Kundalini Serpent Awakening Ceremonies’ are a growing angle for spiritually-inclined yoga teachers in the West.
So how do I awaken my Kundalini energy?
Modern-day ‘Kundalini yoga’ mixes techniques from bhakti yoga for devotion, shakti yoga for power, and raja yoga for mental power and control. Selected kriya techniques and sadhana meditations are encouraged daily.
The mula bandha ‘triple lock’ pose, for example, unblocks the sushumna nadi passages connecting the chakras allowing energy to flow between them. This exercise is very good for building strong posture, which many psychologists equate with personal happiness and efficacy.
If this all sounds a little overwhelming, don't worry. You can activate your Kundalini energy in a more straightforward way. Pranayama breath work and asana poses combined form a powerful, and simple (but not easy!) way to activate your Kundalini energy. This technique is beneficial in many disciplines, and forms the core of every practice at Magick.Me.
Cosmic energy for everyday needs
Many of us in the modern West come to spiritual practice starved of transcendental experience. We're seeking personal meaning in a world that's been scrubbed clean of all the things that give the human experience depth and fulfilment. Naturally we become intrigued by the higher levels of consciousness! But before we can effectively explore our higher chakras, we may be better off attending to our lower, base chakras which are responsible for material well-being.
Most people manifest energy downwards, through physical pleasure and reproduction. Directing it upwards might cultivate our spiritual self, but we mustn’t consider this more distinguished or worthwhile. Indeed, we cannot attain enlightenment until we have at least reconciled our material responsibilities on Earth.
If you’re broke, lacking in energy to enjoy pleasure, or frustrated with your career path, you may be better served by directing energy to your root chakra (muladhara), sacral chakra (swadhisthana) and core chakra (manipura) respectively.
Taking care of life’s basics is a vital, but too often overlooked, aspect of the mystic tradition. We take a deep-dive into spiritual housekeeping with our wildly popular Alchemy of Chaos course. The program uses sceintific and occult techniques to directly improve financial, physical, and emotional health in the 21st century – providing firm foundations for you to evolve spiritually, and begin examining more sophisticated magickal concepts. Even if you've never taken any of Magick.Me's core curriculum classes, the Alchemy of Chaos course will walk you through each concept to take you from beginner to true mastery at a pace that fits your lifestyle.