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Maṇipūra : freedom / engagement

Meditations on the Solar Plexus

I believe that I am confusing to most.

People can be unsure of how to receive me. I have been called aloof in some cases, and too intense in others. I have never felt like I picked an archetype and ran with it; if I have, it is an under-represented one within our culture.

As a happy Piscean, it seems natural to kick back and understand the vibe of everyone else, moving as necessary. Like watching from the other side of a mirror. However, since the illumination of the Aries New Moon, I have been asking myself some triggering questions regarding my place in the world in a very material sense.

What do I bring to the table? Would I be able to support a partner in need? Am I proud of what I have? Do I feel that I have earned it?

I would say that I am currently undergoing a career change. But in all honesty, I have not had a clear career path before. I have worked from job to job, aiming for journalistic prospects, making ends meet and trying to make art in whatever form it takes.

My journey to become a Yoga teacher may have been the greatest investment I have ever placed in myself. And now, as I bend and twist my body to engage Maṇipūra, I find myself concerned with who I want to be, my dream life and home, and how this emanates inside.

With Chiron in my 10th House, I have naturally encountered issues in my professional life and questioned my skills.

My mother was always a fiery authority figure who kept me regimented under strict timetables since I was four years old. I remember fighting with her for years to quit piano, to quit swimming training and other extra-curricular activities I never chose. In some ways, I am grateful that I had these opportunities to explore and grow but the battle to simply say “I want something else for myself” was frankly, quite ridiculous. At around the age of ten, I also remember equating the pressure to an *upside-down pyramid burrowing into my head*. No shit, verbatim.

(In 2018, I even wrote a poem dedicated to this dilemma and my defiant yearnings.)

To this day, I find it difficult to see the value of my inner life and what I truly want to project into the world. It has often seemed like an endless cycle of seeking validation, losing direction and striving for accomplishment.

Meditating on the Maṇipūra chakra has been the most difficult for me, by far. Yet, I cannot shake the feeling that this is the most fateful. It is Aries Season as I write this; the dawn chorus is singing to Spring and I am on the cusp of creating a new reality. Interestingly, the glorious jewel in the city is associated with the ram, also indicative of Aries. All seems to be in the heat of a distinguishing moment.

In my mind’s eye, I saw a blue flaming flower open and rise. Encouraging but perhaps, the most typical and influenced vision I have received yet. Maṇipūra is located in the upper part of your belly and is usually depicted in a golden yellow colour, the red downward triangle representing the fire of life. Characterised by the expression of will and asserting your power in the world, I associate it with the Sun card.

The Sun is often connected with the cerebral cortex, the centre of human consciousness. In Tarot, I believe it symbolises a moment when we are set free. The Hero has undergone a significant metamorphosis, seeing the world with the fresh and innocent eyes of a child yet no longer suffers the naivete of the Fool. I find it a momentous point in the monomyth, as it states you no longer have to withdraw to experience spiritual growth.

Aleister Crowley states that it is a simple card, signifying “Heru-ra-ha, the Lord of the New Aeon in his manifestation to the race of men as the Sun, spiritual, moral, and physical.” Crowley’s own exploration of the chakras in his work, Liber 777 (first published in 1909) led him to associate the Maṇipūra with Hod, Netzach and Ti’feret of the Sephirot. So, here I am, doing the chores of the soul, wringing out my dirty laundry, twisting from the Solar Plexus.

I suppose what fascinates me about the traditional Vedic imagery are the stormy coloured petals. They stand for the 10 vrittis, or whirlpools, of spiritual ignorance:

(डं) shame / shyness

(ढं) slander / treachery

(णं) envy / jealousy

(तं) lethargy / laziness

(थं) melancholia / despair

(दं) passion / cruelty

(धं) thirst / craving

(नं) attachment / delusion

(पं) aversion / disgust

(फ़ं) fear

I am ecstatic that I saw these petals flicker into nothingness within my meditation. For the past five years, I have been participating in persistent self-enquiry and although I am by no means holy or perfect, I can say with confidence I have done tremendous spiritual work. And continue to do so.

Today, I did Yoga out in the Sun. As we approach Beltane, the warmth creeps closer to the bones. Basking in śavāsana, I had another incredible vision that I believe to be associated with the Maṇipūra and the effort I have put into exploring it within myself.

It appeared as if I was floating, the bright light of the Sun came streaming from behind my silhouette, along with millions of ants and tiny insects. I was calm and beaming in the joy of death and transformation.

I have been steadily shaking the guilt, shame and sense of hardship around my chosen career path by finally finding one that simply flows with the course of my life, my passions and interests. I never noticed how much I had been living for my mother.

Dear Mum, when I was younger, I did not want to be a Journalist. I wanted to be a horse.

Looking back on it, all I wanted was to be free. Over the last few years, I have actually had many dreams of being a horse and riding horses, moving with them as one entity. I long to embody the momentum, the spark of spontaneous expression, the expansion, the support, the strength, the focus.

It has taken me a long time to see myself as the *free spirit* or *wild one* others have deemed me to be, as I have hit so many hurdles and found so much struggle along the way. There have been many moments of re-hashing old lessons, taking the tests again. Nonetheless, I have always kept faith during the dark moments, understanding life as a creative act towards self-effulgence.

Money has never come easy to me because I have not been offering my abilities with feelings of worth. Status was never huge motivator either. My work has always needed a deeper aspect to propel me forward, to capture my involvement.

With this more profound, humbling sense of realised worth I have been cultivating with Yoga, I hope people will feel my drive and see that I have begun living from the heart once more. In the words of Carl Jung, “the privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

As Maiden, Mystic and Lover, I have arrived to increase the natural state of Yoga and the heroic stories of the heart.

Notes & Recommendations

  • Wheels Within Wheels; Exploring the History of the Chakras, Book 2: Chakras Come West by Phil Hine

  • YouTube channel and website by SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies

  • Theories of the Chakras by Hiroshi Motayama

  • The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley


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