Lesson 6) The Ladder of Magic
Welcome back to another wonderful day to learn alchemy! I see that you fared well in regards to your midterm from last time. Remember, with each lesson we are getting closer and closer to the O.W.L. exams so if you haven’t started on your elixir by now, you might not make it in time. Anyway, onto today’s topic! Continuing on slightly with Indian alchemy, I assume most of you have heard of chakras, correct? Well, whether you have or not, we will be discussing what they are, where they are located, and how your chakra affects your magic.
What exactly are chakras? Chakras are the seven centers in the human body where the energies from the physical plane and the higher plane converge. They are the key to physical health, mental clarity, and emotional stability. Essentially, your chakras act as a filtration system in that it filters out energy from the physical plane and converts it into refined spiritual and magical power. As you go through each chakra point, you learn more about yourself and in turn, you can then transform and heal your energy levels. How exactly does all of this work in our bodies though? Well, like your organs, chakras also have a fully functional system.
The chakra system is a model for the flow of subtle energy throughout all life and the human body. Subtle energy refers to a force field that surrounds every living thing. In our case, this consists of the aura and the subtle bodies. The aura is essentially the bubble that surrounds all of us to enclose the energy field and protect our life force. It’s what allows energy to circulate throughout the body. When it’s weakened by disease or distress, the aura cannot hold its full capacity of energy. A weakened aura could make you prone to illness or limit the capacity you are able to perform any sort of magic. The aura is then made up of seven energy bodies known as the subtle bodies, acting as layered filters for the life energy in our body. From the top down they are: the Divine, the Monadic, the Spiritual, the Mental, the Emotional, the Etheric, and the Physical. These seven planes are then divided into seven sub-planes each, making it a total of forty-nine levels of energetic activity that exist in the aura.
Each of the chakras themselves exist within the subtle bodies, making it a total of seven chakra points. They reside in the first layer of subtle energy and are conductors for the energy to move throughout all of the aura’s layers. Every chakra point affects different processes within the body and comprises various levels of activity, awareness, and energetic charge. The lower three chakras (Solar Plexus, Sacral, and Root) have receptive functions in which they take energy from the Earth as well as the immediate environment. The upper four chakras (Crown, Third Eye, Throat, and Heart) give out energy in the form of love, healthy attitudes, communication, and inner reflection. In other words, the lower chakras are our instinctual side while the higher ones are our mental side.
So how do these chakras affect our magic? While each chakra will control different aspects of our magical energy, all of them are interdependent. This means when one point is shut down, the rest of the chakras will compensate in maintaining your life force. Chakras have various levels of activity. When they are open, they are performing as normal. Under-active chakras are chakras that aren’t performing normally due to a lack of energy or the pathway blocking off energy. This might be experienced as having difficulty concentrating on casting a spell or tiring easily after performing a small amount of magic. Over-active chakras are the ones trying to compensate for the under-active chakras. This could be experienced as spells being completely unstable or backfiring depending on which chakra is over exerting energy. Maintaining balance in all of your chakra points is extremely important. It doesn’t make sense to force the over-active chakras to perform less as they are only compensating for the chakras that aren’t doing enough. There are several methods to open the various chakras from meditation to spiritual exercises.
The root chakra is located at the base of the spine in the perineum. It is in charge of building a structure that supports and sustains life. This chakra keeps us feeling secure, patient, grounded, and focused. For some people, this is one of the most difficult chakras to keep open because you need to feel at home everywhere. You’re comfortable in your own skin, safe no matter where you are, and unshakable. That’s a hard feat right there, however, it’s necessary to have a strong foundation. The root chakra is directly tied to our survival instincts as it’s adaptable and can remain grounded through tremendous changes. When looking at the human body, the root chakra controls the fight-or-flight reaction that activates the adrenal cortex. The cortex stimulates the flow of adrenaline in our bodies, putting us into survival mode. In relation to our magic, the root chakra strongly affects our ability to concentrate. Those with an under-active root chakra are easily distracted when initially casting a spell, and even more so when keeping that same concentration while performing dynamic spells. An over-active root chakra could result in not only aggressive and impatient behavior, but also extreme feelings of insecurity. This usually manifests as a low amount of concentration when performing a spell, causing an extreme imbalance with the normal amount of willpower, and thus the spell not working or fizzling out as soon as it is cast.
The sacral chakra is found 2 in. (5 cm) below the navel and 2 in. (5 cm) into the pelvis. This chakra embodies the entirety of our physical health and emotional state. It focuses our life force into building a strong immune system and it keeps the physical body functional and active. In order to function, the sacral chakra relies on how well we take care of ourselves and know our limitations. It can either bring us the highest degree of health or be the most dysfunctional of all the chakras. In order to have a balanced sacral chakra, it’s highly important to be in the mindset of “what we have and do is good enough.” If we become too indulgent, that will sap up the vitality needed by other systems in the body. If we hold back too much, then we begin to desire what we have been denying ourselves. The sacral chakra directly affects our ability to do wandless magic. An under-active sacral chakra can result in a denial of things you want, lack of creativity, feeling lazy or sluggish, or fatigued. An over-active sacral chakra may cause you to become over emotional and create an unhealthy emotional attachment to people. It would also make you more prone to creating unnecessary drama over small occurrences such as someone not showing up on time or your plans not working out. As the point of a wand is to use it as a medium to channel your magic, wandless magic can be difficult to perform and volatile in general since you don’t have that medium. With the sacral chakra in an under-active state, the spell might not have an effect; while in an over-active state, the effects of the spell can either backfire or they aren’t contained because the imbalanced chakra is disrupting your ability to funnel that magical energy into a functional spell.
The solar plexus chakra (also called the navel chakra) is located below the sternum and over the stomach. It rules over the totality of our personality, ego, self-esteem, confidence, and personal identity. This chakra regulates gut instincts about people and it develops throughout our lives in relationships, work, self-management, and responsibility. As the solar plexus is the chakra centered on our ego, that also means our individuality is also formed here through a perception of duality. In order to develop our inner individuality, there has to be opposition and contradiction of some sort, otherwise we stagnate and fail to mature. Remember when you first walked into a wand shop such as Ollivanders and you went through several wands until you found the one? Wands are drawn to the solar plexus when picking an owner, thus the solar plexus chakra affects our relationship with our wands. Specific wand woods and cores are attracted to certain types of personal identity in the solar plexus and are less willing to accept a new owner if they don’t have a similar type of personality. This also partially plays into rigidity as wands that are more flexible are willing to work for another person as long as their solar plexus chakra is balanced. An under-active solar plexus chakra can result in self-doubt, fear, and anxiety. It can also cause the wand to not work with you at all. Literally nothing happens when you try to use it. An over-active solar plexus chakra usually causes controlling, intolerant, and aggressive behavior. In response, a wand will typically retaliate against the user by either backfiring or doing the exact opposite of whatever the user is casting.
The heart chakra is located in the middle of the chest, much like the heart organ in our bodies. Much like how the heart pumps blood throughout the body, the heart chakra keeps the life force alive by pumping love throughout our life. It’s characterized by being in control of love, peace, unity, purity, and innocence. In order to have a balanced heart chakra, you need to be able to love yourself, love others, and receive love. Overall, you will feel joyous, caring, understanding, and at ease with not only yourself, but with other people in your life. It’s important to feel like you belong and it becomes more apparent that later in life material possessions pale in comparison to love, which explains why this chakra doesn’t fully open until you’re between ages 28 and 35. The heart chakra directly affects our willpower in magic. An under-active heart chakra will cause negative thoughts to sprout and you might feel unloved, unappreciated, or unworthy. You’ll have a hard time trusting others and letting them in. The effects caused by the under-active chakra can also manifest as a lack of willpower generated when casting spells. An over-active heart chakra may cause you to be more critical, judgemental, manipulative, and you tend to tolerate too much from others to the point of neglecting your own emotional self-care. It could cause codependency and you may become a people pleaser. With an over-active chakra, you are giving more than you are willing to receive, so in this sense, you tend to put in an abnormal amount of willpower which becomes more difficult for you to be able to channel into the spell. Backfires are more common with an over-active heart chakra due to the willpower being harder to contain.
The throat chakra is found at the, well, throat. This is the first of the chakras that differentiates humans from other life forms. It gives us the power to express ourselves and is directly related to will, communication, truthfulness, and creativity. The throat chakra also governs the ears as well and we can strengthen it by listening to our inner voice. A sign of a balanced throat chakra is when you are able to not only be a good listener, but also be able to express your own opinions confidently. Be honest with yourself and don’t try to hide or deny things that you know are true. The quickest way to shut down the throat chakra is through anger, grief, and fear. Any type of abuse (emotional, physical, or substance) can easily shut down this chakra by muting our feelings as well as disorienting our mind. The throat chakra affects incantations. As we all know, incantations are used to invoke a spell. So if the throat chakra is imbalanced, how does it affect saying an incantation? Well, an under-active throat chakra can often cause you to be misunderstood by others, you will find it hard to express yourself, and you might be considered unreliable or flaky. Much like being misunderstood by other people, your incantations may be misinterpreted and the spell you are casting may have no effect. Slurring an incantation is not uncommon with an under-active throat chakra. An over-active throat chakra will cause you to be more verbally abusive to those around you; you might interrupt others, be extremely critical, over-opinionated, and you will probably yell. A lot. It’s similar to the effects of having your incantation misinterpreted with an under-active chakra, however, because your chakra is over-active, more energy is emitted and a wrong incantation can result in negative side effects such as setting something on fire or much worse.
The third eye chakra (also called the brow chakra) is the central control center of the body and is found between the eyebrows. It’s the chakra that cultivates a strong and independent mind by providing us the energy for clear and concise thoughts, spiritual reflection, inner contemplation, psychological maturity, imagination, and wisdom. It allows us to expand our minds and how we see the world and we begin to question whether what we have been taught is true or false. When the third eye is fully activated, it stimulates both sides of the brain. The right side of the brain controls our synthetic thinking and creative activity while the left side controls rational, analytical thinking. Some people are more right-brained than left-brained and vice versa, or they use both sides equally. The third eye chakra also supplies energy to all of the senses and it connects us to the higher spiritual realms around through sensitivity and open-mindedness. A balanced chakra, with the alignment of the other chakras, will begin to open your mind to universal knowledge. You will also have a great memory and find it easy to learn new things. In a way, the third eye chakra affects your ability to perform non-verbal spells. In the case of an under-active third eye, you’ll find it difficult to understand your connection to the spiritual realm and it can block your inner transformation. It’s also characterized by a lack of empathy, common sense, and your learning and memory can be affected as well. An over-active third eye chakra is known to cause copious amounts of stress accompanied by headaches. You may seem more judgemental, unsympathetic, and you may create circumstances in your mind that might not actually be happening in reality. Overall in relation to magic, you will find it hard to recall the incantation for the non-verbal spell in question for either state. In an under-active chakra situation, actually figuring out how to cast a non-verbal spell is usually stunted by the blocked chakra. In an over-active chakra situation, getting the spell to have an effect at all is very difficult, regardless of whether or not you already know how to cast it non-verbally.
The crown chakra is the last chakra and it’s located at the top of the skull. This is the source of the healing energy in the body. The chakras act as a ladder from the root chakra all the way up to the crown chakra. This is the center where we experience a presence of an otherworldly force. It represents grace, beauty, serenity, and a connection with everything around us. This chakra typically opens during a time in our lives when we have to face either several external life challenges or difficult personal choices that are often life-changing. For most people, this happens around the long fabled midlife crisis, where we reach a sort of enlightenment of rejecting what we have been and pursuing what we can become. This chakra affects our magical ability and energy itself as well as our ability to heal. The crown chakra of a wizard differs from that of a Muggle because it opens much earlier in our lives due to the influence of magical energy in our bodies. The earlier the chakra flourishes, the more likely that the soul it belongs to has magical ability. The crown chakra is also what helps our bodies accept magical remedies in either spells or potions. Without it, potions would have the same effect on us as they would on a Muggle and we would not be able to recover as fast from mundane ailments. If your crown chakra is under-active, you lack a purpose in life, have coordination difficulties and poor balance, and newer innovative ideas will be harder for you to grasp. If it’s over-active, you’ll have trouble grounding yourself, possibly attain a god-complex, and people will find it hard to take you seriously. Regardless of the imbalance, you may feel tired after magically exerting yourself for a short while and you will take much longer to heal from injuries and illnesses.
That’s all I have for today. You’ll have an extra credit assignment along with a short quiz to turn in before we meet again for Lesson Seven. Until then, my alchemy apprentices!