Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peeling the Orange: Bottom Half

When I began to look more deeply into the orange, Googling brought me immediately to the second chakra, called Svadhisthana, whose color is orange.  (If you don't know what a chakra is, go here.)

symbol for Svadhisthana

This chakra is also associated with the ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life, Yesod.  The attributes and themes of Svadhisthana and Yesod are quite similar.  Both are associated with the Moon, for one thing, which I find interesting, since the moon often looks orange.  Not so incidentally, this weekend saw the biggest and brightest full moon of 2010, with orange-appearing Mars right next to it.  The reason the moon looked bigger and brighter is because it was closer to the Earth than it usually is.  This also means higher and lower tides, and I feel like it's been that way in my life lately.  I've definitely been having a high tide of orange and inspiration, but also a low tide in terms of energy and emotion.

The truly useful information about Svadhisthana/Yesod for me is that they are both related to energy centers in the pelvic region of the body.  Svadhisthana is called "one's own abode," the "seat of life," the origin in the body of chi or the lifeforce, and is associated with emotions, relationships, dualities of all kinds, and with water.

The Waterfall
by Kahlil Gibran
(I found this on a great blog called Heartsteps
which Dan Gurney called my attention to recently.)  
Yesod is "Foundation," and has been referred to by at least one Kabbalist as "the Translator," because it's seen as a bridge between spiritual energies/ideals and their manifestation in the human being and therefore in the world, the Malkuth (or Shekhinah) realm.  

In order to make an attempt at brevity (hahaha), there's a lot I'm leaving out of this discussion (including the strong association for both Yesod and Svadhisthana with sexuality.) I am grossly generalizing and broadly summarizing; all of this is more intricate than I'm making it appear.  Part of this intricacy is that different sources interpret different ways, especially with the Kabbalah.  That's one of the beautiful things about Judaism, in my view.  It's very open to creative interpretation, and encourages that more than other religions seem to.  Anyway, I've included the above links if you want more thorough information.  

My focus, what is most helpful to me in this exploration, is the series of exercises I've discovered, both physical and spiritual, whose purpose is the healthy flow of energy in and from this area of the body, and thus a healthier emotional state.  According to several sources, the pelvis and hips constitute a region where old emotions can be stored and eventually stuck.  I have had lower back and hip problems since I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, so this speaks to me.  

The descriptions I've read of what happens when the second chakra is too open (overly emotionally reactive, too absorptive of others' emotions) and too closed (shut down, apathetic, cold)  both fit me.  I go back and forth between these states, and what is between them is anger and irritability. Last year, when I was in the Malkuth/Shekhinah "class" in the mystical school of life, I learned how the physical world (especially my own body) works.  This year's class, which is teaching me to use some new tools to add to the set, is a continuation which makes perfect and uncanny sense, since Yesod is just above Malkuth on the Tree of Life.  My sap is rising. 
The Translator aspect of Yesod speaks to me as well.  I need to be able to take the amazing ideas and energies that I stir around in my head, and translate them into manifest form, some kind of creative action.  Writing is a primary expression for me, but it can't just be that.  This is my year of quiet love.  To learn to love quietly, I need to balance my emotional state and find a flow of love-energy that can be expressed naturally, through many means, not just words. 

This morning in church, one of the scriptures was the famous 1 Corinthians 13, the "love" passage.  I was struck by Paul's analogy of the gong, that one can have brilliance with words and ideas, but without love, it's worth exactly nothing:  it's like a noisy gong. Wayne, the pastor, demonstrated during the children's sermon with a cheap little clangy gong compared to a Tibetan singing bowl.   I have been feeling gong-like lately, especially around my family.  I want to be a singing bowl. 

I need to be able to feel the people around me without drowning in it or shutting myself down when it's all too much.  I need a vibrancy and vitality that flows out of me and doesn't just get stuck in my head.  Spiritual concepts, no matter how elevated, are no good at all if they are not expressed in concrete action.  And the time for that action has come.  What good is peeling an orange if you don't eat it?

The trick now is to get all of this wonderful information from my head into the rest of my body.  My brain has been overstimulated with this stuff, and I have yet to actually apply it and do the friggin' exercises.  My body, my emotions, and my energy level are suffering for it.

The word Svadhisthana means sweetness.  This is a sweetness not only to consume but to share.  I've peeled the orange; now it's time to take it in and let its nutrients move through my body, into my heart, and emanate to others through my very skin.

Bhramari Devi, Hindu bee goddess.
She is a manifestation of Kundalini:
the buzzing of her bees ascends up the spine,
awakening the chakras.


  1. Yum! The color orange! And I love your juice new header!!
    Reclaim that belly, Susan! I say it on the side of being an active cheerleader as I do the same for myself - not because I have it figured out.
    Might I suggest standing with your feet about 3 feet apart...hands on belly and do hip circles. Do three minutes each direction. Go slow, fluid...feel the fullness of your whole belly...the fleshy front but that bony sacrum at the back side. Listen to nurturing music, too.
    Okay, reality is that when you have kids, there they will be...ha ha ha! Do what you can, or only do two minutes in the bathroom as you pretend that is what you are doing.

  2. This post reminds me of the saying that's been on the January page of my TNH wall calendar: I am DETERMINED to cultivate only thoughts that increase TRUST and LOVE. (Emphasis not added; that's how it's printed on the calendar.)

  3. Noisy Gong. I am going to contemplate that today.

  4. Jenny - Thanks for the header compliment. I've been having a lot of fun increasing the saturation in some of my photos to bring out the orange.

    And thanks for the exercise suggestion. I will definitely try that.

    Dan - Thank you for sharing that. That is a good mantra for me right now.

    Kate - It's an image that kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

  5. Paying attention to Chakras sounds like a really healthy way to live one's life, and not just physically, either.

    "Don't be a gong, be a glass bowl."

    Resonant stuff.

  6. Yes, and it's amazing how different systems recognize the same energy centers. There's definitely something to it.

  7. This is a great article about the orange. Yesod has also been associated with the number 9 and Friday in the week, and also Psalm 97:11 - Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.


  8. Thanks! That verse really speaks to me today.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

Search This Blog