Thursday, December 9, 2010

Western Mandalas, Chakras and Mantras

In eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, practitioners often use art to meditate with, and they call that a mandala. Tarot cards can also serve that same purpose. You can lay them out and let your eyes focus on them while you let go into that quiet state. We can use our tarot decks to create a mandala.

Robert Place, author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism & Divination and creator of the Alchemical Tarot, Tarot of the Saints, Buddha Tarot and others, notes that the idea of three chakras goes back to Plato. The idea also had a parallel among druids and witches. The idea of the seven chakra system which is most familiar to everyone is simply a carryover from the popularity of Eastern practices in the west. Although these references now dominate metaphysical literature, the western traditions have deep roots. These offer us different ways to access and work with our energy systems.

It is interesting how ideas gain currency. For example, back in the 80s and 90s, composer Philip Glass became famous for his compositions for orchestras, movie soundtracks, performance artists and plays. He practices Buddhist ways.

Many reviewers noted that the power of his work came from catchy phrases that repeated many times. Few made the connection that this might be due to Glass' familiarity with another Buddhist meditative practice, chanting.

So consider these tools. You can do the same things that practitioners of eastern religions do, without taking on all the eastern trappings.

I ma not against these things. I just observe that sometimes people can enhance their spiritual practices and psychic abilities by using tools that are already familiar, like tarot. And we can create new mantras that we feel more comfortable pronouncing, in words that make more sense to us.

How much easier would it be to remember three power centers: head, heart and low belly, rather than learn Sanskrit names for seven?

Powerful ideas can migrate between cultures and the understandings will permeate. Tarot art can take you to the same place as a mandala. Three power centers can do all the same things as a greater number of them. And the sounds that you give voice to can work as well as something you learn in another language.

Try these ideas. See how they work for you.

1 comment:

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