Shades of Red - Muladhara

First Chakra at a glance:

Element - Earth

Purpose - Foundation

Issues - Roots, Grounding, Nourishment, Trust, Health, Home, Family, Prosperity, Appropriate Boundaries

Location - Base of the Spine

Identity - Physical

Demon - Fear

All foundations rests upon the Earth - the universal ground for all that we do. To connect with the body is to connect with the earth, to be grounded in the biological reality of existence. Our bodies are the home of our Spirit. Situated at the base of the spine, the first chakra is the foundation for the entire chakra system. It is here that we build the foundation for the temple of the body. Without a strong, rooted foundation, little else can be accomplished. We must have soil firm enough to provide stability, yet yielding enough to be penetrated by roots. The anchoring of this temple digs deep into the earth, for its Sanskrit name, muladhara, means "root support".

This chakra roots us in to our bodies, the physical world, and the earth.

The foundation contains the temple's energy by defining its scope, edges and boundaries. It defines a place, a basic context of all that happens to us. It gives us a ground, a home, and anchor point for our experience. The foundation largely determines the shape of the stucture above, determining what it can hold, how high it can build, what kind of stresses it can withstand. Thus damage to this chakra is reflected in each and every chakra above. To build a strong foundation is to gain solidity. Solidity allows us to be firm and to make boundaries. Solidity has consistency, repetition, accountability. Our bodies are the solid form of our existence; they have definable boundaries. To be solid is to face what is in front of us without flinching, to remain achored in truth in the face of opposition, and to remain calm and secure.

A healthy first chakra allows a person to be energetically grounded - a concept that is critical to understanding basic aliveness and well-being. Grounding brings consciousness into the body, and is essential for forminh healthy boundaries. When we are grounded, we can be present, focused, dynamic. Our attention is concentratedin the here and now, bringing a dynamic intensity to the way we present ourselves. Our experience is direct, sensate, immediate. We are confident yet contained, connected with our own sorce of support. Without grounding we are unstable. We loose our centre, fly off the handle, get swept of our feet, or daydream in the fantasy world. We loose our ability to contain, which is the ability to have and to hold. If we cannot hold our boundaries and build up inner power; thus, we cannot mature.

The healthy establishment of one's ground is the essential work of the first chakra, and the foundation for any further growth. Here lies the basic rights of the first chakra: the right to be here and to the right to have what we need in order to survive.

Nourishment is our most basic form of support for the body's survival. Our past history determines how we support and nourish ourselves. Without support, we fall. Without nourishment we collapse. Reclaiming our right to be here, learning to ground, and attending to our need for nourishment are all first chakra necessities.

Anything that threatens survival, such as birth trauma, abandonment, neglect, serious illness, malnourishment, extreme poverty, or physical abuse, impacts the first chakra. The younger a child is when such things occur, the more likely these threats will undermine first chakra formation. A smooth first year of life creates a solid foundationthat can better withstand or recover from difficulties later on. When a young infant faces dangeror neglect, it forces him/her to fall back on him/herslef - an independence which is developmentally impossible. Instead the child falls into an intolerable pit of fear and helplessness - the experience of having no ground. When this happens, the downward current of energy is blocked. Instead, the life force moves towards the upper chakras, which feel safer. The upward movement then becomes habitua. depleting the lower chakras and sending the system out of balance.

As the parent was to the child, so the mind is to the body.

Without the healthy functioning of the first chakra, we are hopelessly trapped on a mundane level of existence, forever avoiding and forever dealing with the same issue - a need to solidify the ground level from which all else grows. If the ground is intact, subsequent work proceeds in a more coherent fashion and strengthens the ground. Grounding is a slow and cumulative process. It is where we begin, yet it is always changing as a result of what we build above it.

One can never work on grounding too much. Our culture, so very removed from the ground of the planet, and with values that hold the body and the physical world in such low esteem, continually separates us from our ground. Reclaiming the sacred temple of our bodies, our right to be here, and our right to have what we need in order to survive can be joyous reunion with the very ground of our own being and a solid beginning to the exciting journey though the chakras.

Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind, 1996