Root Chakra Meaning & Symbolism
Root chakra meaning can be viewed on the physical, spiritual, emotional and symbolic levels. The name for the root or base chakra in Sanskrit is Muladhara. “Mula” means “root” and “adhara” means “base or support.” The root chakra establishes the foundation for the seven major chakras. The root chakra is associated with survival instincts for food, shelter, safety, comfort and belonging.
The base or root chakra is our fundamental connection to the physical plane. This is the place where ancestral memories reside. The root chakra governs the lower part of the body, including the feet, legs, knees, hips, lower back and lower spine. These areas of the body establish balance and stability. The symbol for the root chakra reflects this functionality.
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Root Chakra Symbol Meaning
In the Hindu tradition, the root or base chakra is depicted as a lotus flower with four petals. Each of the petals represent one of the mental states associated with this chakra. The interpretations of the meaning associated with each of these petals vary widely. Most often, the four petals of the base chakra are viewed as mind, intellect, consciousness and ego.
Some of the variations in the meanings associated with each of the four petals may be due to the difficulty of translating directly from Sanskrit, a language that assigns many meanings to a single word. Thus, the judgments needed to determine the exact meaning of a word in a particular context can be difficult to make. In some interpretations, the petals represent four forms of longing:
- dharma (psychological longing)
- artha (soul longing)
- kama (physical longing)
- moksha (longing for spiritual liberation)
In addition to the four forms of longing noted above, the four petals depicted in root chakra symbols are also symbolic of four specific aspects of higher consciousness: great joy, natural pleasure, delight in controlling passion, and blissfulness in concentration.
Sanskrit Character in Root Chakra Symbolism
The Sanskrit character in the center of root chakra symbols represents the syllable LAM. This is the bija or seed syllable for this chakra. This sound (pronounced LUHM) can activate and balance the root chakra. At a deeper level, every letter in the Sanskrit alphabet carries a specific vibration.
For example, in the sound LAM, the initial “L” is a semi-vowel. This means that the “L” sound can be extended to a certain degree, though possibly not as long as a an open vowel (A, E, I, O, U). The longer the sound can be held, the more physical the effect. The absence of sound or silence remains in the spiritual realm.
Semi-vowels are connected to the four elements of nature (earth, water, fire and air) because they are halfway between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. From this perspective, LAM is the sound connected to the earth element. The sound “L” is also associated with joy, creativity and femininity. This sound is connected to happiness and Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
The short “A” in the middle (pronounced UH) is the most primal of all sounds. This is the fundamental or root vibration of the vocal chords, the most basic opening necessary to produce sound. Thus, this sound is an affirmation of life and the exhalation of breath.
The final “M” represents dissolution and transformation. The sound “M” is generally associated with the Divine Mother in Her many forms. “M” initiates the word for Mother in many languages: Mother, Mama, Mom, Mor, Ma, Madre, Mater, Mueter, etc.
Square Base in Root Chakra Symbols
Most interpretations of the Hindu chakra symbols for the root chakra interpret the central square as a metaphor for stability. This chakra provides the foundation upon which the other chakras rest. The root chakra can also be seen as connected with your personal and ancestral history.
These are the roots that can either bind you to the earth in a negative sense or give you a strong base and presence in the world in the positive sense. A balanced and strong root chakra affords the ability to stand your ground and feel safe in the world.
Upside Down Triangle in Chakra Symbols
The upside-down triangle is an alchemical symbol for water and feminine energy. The triangle in the center of root chakra symbols is balancing the earth energy of the larger square in which it resides. The triangle is the primary form that can enclose space within straight lines. The triangle is viewed as the first form to emerge from chaos.
The fundamental polarity of the root chakra is feminine. The kundalini energy that is coiled in the root is seen as the energy of the Divine Mother or the universal Goddess. This energy is drawn to the masculine energy of spirit in the higher chakras and the crown chakra.
Circles in Root Chakra Symbols
The circle is the most fundamental of all forms, symbolizing infinite space and expansiveness. The circle is present in all physical matter from the atom to planetary bodies. The circle symbolizes the central quest of spirituality: to realize oneness with all of creation.
Children begin to draw full circles around the age of three. Even earlier than that, they draw a circle with legs attached to represent people: mother, father, teacher and others. A circle represents totality and wholeness. The circle is a metaphor for the family, social unit, or sphere in which a child dwells.
Likewise, the circle represents the sphere in which we all dwell as adults. The spiritual path is generally thought to begin with clearing and balancing the root chakra. The circle is therefore an appropriate aspect of root chakra symbols as well as all seven of the chakra symbols.
Crescent Moon in Chakra Symbols
In the upper area root chakra symbols is a white crescent moon. This represents water energy and the emotions. The unconscious, connected to all the three of the lower chakras, is sometimes symbolized as the ocean.
In Hinduism, the moon is seen as a source of light protecting individuals in the darkness of the night. All forms of light are welcomed, including the secondary light of the moon. The moon is associated with the god known as Chandra.
The light of the sun is steady and bright. The light of the moon is unstable, waxing and waning through the month. Thus the moon symbolizes the cycles of life while the sun symbolizes the fundamental energy of life.
The dot above the crescent moon is similar to the Bindu, the dot often applied to the center of the forehead between the eyebrows in the East. The dot symbolizes the third eye. This is the place of spiritual vision or insight. The crescent moon and dot appear in all seven chakra symbols.
Root Chakra Sounds
In the West, there are vowel sounds associated with each chakra. The vowel sound for the root chakra is UH. In the Sanskrit musical system called Sargam, the sound associated with the root chakra is SA (sah). The musical instrument associated with the root chakra is the drum. The drum establishes the foundation and rhythm for a musical creation just as the root chakra creates the base for all of the other chakras.
There is also a seed syllable or bija mantra associated with each chakra. The seed syllables are like one word mantras for each chakra. This syllable can be chanted to strengthen the energy of the root chakra. Other bija syllables can be explored in One Word Mantras.
The seed syllable for the root chakra is LAM (pronounced luhm). A basic Vedic mantra for the root chakra using this syllable is “Om Lam Namaha.” This can be translated as, “I give honor to the energy of the root chakra.” Learn more about the sounds and mantras for all of the chakras in the article Chakra Sounds.
The Root Chakra and Kundalini Energy
I had an unexpected experience of the power of the root chakra several years ago. I was taking a swing dance class with my husband. He was enthusiastic about having me there as he was an avid ballroom dancer at the time. I was less keen on attending. However, I had agreed to go in the spirit of a shared activity.
There were twenty or thirty people in the class and the men were lined up in a circle around the edge of the room. The women would dance with one man for a moment or two, practicing a variety of spinning moves, and then move on to the next man and repeat the same steps and spins.
We were nearing the end of the hour. Since we were repeating the same spins over and over, we were actually whirling around much more than one normally would in an actual dance. Suddenly I felt a rushing sense like a campfire ignited at the base of my spine, instantaneously filling my pelvis and beginning to move upwards.
An Unexpected Experience
I had never experienced that kind of thing before but had read and studied enough to recognize what was happening. I knew it had something to do with the kundalini energy at the base of the spine beginning to rise. However, I had no clue what would happen next.
I was panicked about being in a public place during this unusual experience. Was I going to have a seizure? Would I fall to the floor twitching and writhing and humiliate myself? Would I lose consciousness? Would they have to call an ambulance for me?
“No!” I commanded instantly, “Not here! Not now!” The experience ended as quickly as it had begun. I walked to the foyer, changed my shoes and headed for the car. To my husband’s great disappointment, I refused to take any more dance classes. Going forward, I preferred to work with the chakras in a more conscious and controlled manner.
Afterward, I did some research into the whirling dervish dances of the Sufis, which seemed to be the closest thing to what I had experienced. The whirling dervishes and even Tibetan prayer wheels are based on the principle that rotational force can result in energy rising upward. Interestingly, children often play a game of spinning around until they are too dizzy to stand up. As adults, we are generally moving only forwards or backwards!
Managing Spontaneous Kundalini Energy
What I experienced seems to have been a form of spontaneous kundalini movement. The Sanskrit word “kundalini” means “coiled like a snake.” The snake is a common symbol of the kundalini, an energy curled at the base of the spine. As the kundalini moves upward, the energy flows through the seven major energy centers called chakras.
Many mystics and yogis have written and taught about the rising of the kundalini. In some meditation practices, bringing the energy to the crown of the head is considered to be the physical counterpart to achieving enlightenment. Of course, there are mystics who have achieved elevated states without any knowledge of such things. You do not necessarily have to know chakra definitions or the details of the kundalini to meditate, practice yoga or sing mantras.
All the same, if you want to cultivate this process consciously or you are seeking to understand spontaneous experiences, familiarity with these things could be helpful. There are many approaches to awakening and raising the kundalini. A wide variety of yogic techniques can guide you in that direction. In fact, even rather mechanical practices can be effective. For example, Dr. Francis Lefebure, a French physician and scientist (1916-1988), designed a device called a Gyrascope that would awaken the kundalini when used for about an hour a day.
Essential Oils and the Root Chakra
Essential oils have an ancient history of use in religious rituals as well as for medicinal purposes. Essential oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate easily. They also affect into the sense of smell, which is part of the limbic system.
This is where memories and emotions are often stored in the brain. Imbalances in the root chakra can appear as anxiety disorders, nightmares, and fears about safety and security. A strong root chakra is also important for the health of the colon, bladder, lower back, legs and feet.
Although recommendations may vary, the following essential oils are generally associated with helping to balance and heal the root chakra. These oils can be diffused or used in conjunction with chanting, meditation, affirmations or prayer. Or learn more about essential oils for all of the chakras on this website in the article Chakras and Essential Oils.
Essential oils for the root chakra include:
- Clove creates warmth and familiarity, dispelling fears
- Rosemary energizes the environment and assists with mental and emotional clarity
- Cypress stimulates ease, assists in the removal of mental blocks
- Black Pepper soothes anxiety
- Vetiver dispels negativity and restlessness
Healing Stones for the Root Chakra
Stones believed to positively influence the root chakra are Bloodstone, Jasper and Red Coral. Bloodstone is a specific form of Jasper, originally called the Sun Stone and later Christ’s Stone, symbolizing the blood of Christ. In other traditions, this stone is associated more generally with blood as the fundamental energy of life.
Bloodstone represents vitality, passion and courage. These characteristics relate directly to positive root chakra meanings. This stone’s connection to blood purification dates back five thousand years to Mesopotamia. According to folk medicine, bloodstone is particularly valued as a means to stop the flow of blood and to heal any wound. Other stones connected to root chakra meaning and function are Jasper, Red Coral, Carnelian, Tiger’s Eye and Obsidian.
Root Chakra Meaning and Hindu Deities
The deities Indra, Brahma and Ganesha are associated with the root chakra. On the feminine side, the form of the deity associated with the root chakra is Dakini. These deities correlate directly with root chakra meaning: their qualities help to establish a foundation for the higher chakras. Brahma is the creative aspect of God, Indra belongs to the heaven above, and Ganesha helps to overcome obstacles here on earth. Learn more about the deities associated with the chakras in Chakras and Deities.
INDRA: Indra is the king of heaven. He is associated with lighting, thunder, storms, rain and rivers. Indra rides on an elephant, symbolizing compassion, intelligence, and ancient wisdom.
BRAHMA: Brahma is the Hindu creator god also known as the Self Born, the Lord of Speech, and the creator of the four Vedas. Brahma is the consort of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and wisdom. Brahma is traditionally depicted with four faces and four arms.
GANESHA: Ganesha is often invoked at the beginning of an undertaking or an event. This connects directly to the root chakra as the origin of the kundalini energy flowing to the upper chakras. Learn more in Ganesha Meaning: Hindu Deity of Overcoming & New Beginnings.
DAKINI: Dakini represents the divine potential for life. Dakini is often viewed as possessing a dual p[principle: the capability for both good and evil. Forms and references to Dakini varies from tradition to tradition.
Organs Associated with the Root Chakra
The physical site of the base or root chakra is the perineum. Organs and systems associated with the base chakra include:
- the pelvis
- skeletal system
- muscular system
The base chakra governs the lower part of the body, including the legs, hips, lower back and lower spine. These areas of the body establish balance and stability. These are the organs and systems that provide a strong foundation for physical health and a platform for our presence in the world.
This connects directly with root chakra meaning as the foundation for the chakra system. Learn more about the connections between all of the chakras and the physical body in Chakras and Anatomy.
Root Chakra Flowers
The root chakra is often associated with the color red. Poppies, peonies and poinsettia are clear favorites as chakra flowers for the root or base chakra. In a purified state, the root chakra is thought to be white. Thus, white flowers can also symbolize the root chakra.
Since the root chakra also creates the base for all of the other chakras, flowers that have a strong root system are ideal choices as root chakra flowers. Thus, some root chakra flowers such as hibiscus and begonia grow on shrubs, bushes or trees.
Learn more about the unique symbolic meanings of root chakra flowers and flowers for all of the chakras in the article Chakra Flowers.
Root Chakra Affirmations
Affirmations can be used to create a strong foundation in your life. Choose affirmations that fit your situation and try using them for at least a few minutes a day until you are satisfied with the results. I think you’ll be so excited about the shifts in your life that you will want to continue using these or other affirmations indefinitely. The following affirmations can be said aloud, sung or read daily.
Root chakra affirmations are a powerful way to create safety and security in your world. Learn to ground yourself and gain healing release with affirmations. Use the affirmations below as part of your self-care practices. Root chakra affirmations emphasize the bounty of the universe and the provision of basic needs such as community, food and shelter. You can meditate on them, write them out, speak them aloud, say them to yourself in a mirror or sing them in the shower!
Root Chakra Affirmations: Release
Stagnation in the root chakra can be connected to possessiveness. This might be allowing others to possess and control you. This may also be your own possessiveness or selfishness towards others. You may feel that others need your help. Be careful not to try and control others through your assistance. A final form of possessiveness is unconscious attachment.
Attempts to dominate others can be a mental block to healthy intestinal functioning. Proper energy flow in this area help to maintain a straight back and a balanced, flexible lower body. Try the following root chakra affirmations for release and elimination:
RELEASE OF THE PAST
The past is over. My personal and ancestral history is complete.
The memories of the past are dissolved and released through the power of God within.
I live in the joyful present. I no longer condemn myself or others.
I hold fast to the good and cast out all regrets. I am filled with new life.
I allow everyone to reign as sovereign in their own lives.
I trust in the divine path of each soul. It is safe to let go and be free.
RELEASE OF POSSESSIVENESS
The pure love of my higher self now dissolves all appearances of human selfishness.
I am free of thoughts that clutter my mind and life.
I now willingly let go of every thought, condition or relationship that delays my healing.
I am blessed with healing release at every level of my being.
I release you to your highest good as a child of God. I let you find your own life and path.
I give everyone the freedom to grow and change.
Root Chakra Affirmations: Safety & Freedom
Overemphasis of the mind versus gut level feelings can result in lack of vitality and flow in the abdominal region. Challenges including constipation may result. If purely personal objectives are prioritized consistently over service to others, this may also result in a blockage in the energy of the root chakra. Fear of loss or concern about safety and security are also root chakra issues.
An imbalanced root chakra can be connected to the feeling of lack. This may be a lack of material goods or the fear of want. The fear of material loss is also part of this mental pattern. You may have a sense of a lack of time and having too much to do. Constantly pushing and striving rather than relaxing can also create stress at this level. Try experimenting with the following root chakra affirmations:
SAFETY & SECURITY
The power of God within me now guards and protects my life.
The spirit of Life within me is the unlimited power working for balance and peace.
I create a safe new future for myself.
I relax and let Life flow joyously. I am free.
I am free of all thoughts of bitterness, revenge, intolerance, injustice and misunderstanding.
All of my thoughts bring new life, happy relationships and a healthy body.
I soften and sweeten my thoughts towards those around me. I dwell on the good in everyone.
Forgiveness stimulates my body and soul. My mind and emotions choose freedom and joy.
I let go and let freedom reign is all of my relationships now. I trust in the God within each one.
Root Chakra Affirmations: The Lower Body
The feet literally represent our understanding in life. The lower body symbolizes moving forward, activity and new directions. This includes the feet, toes (details of life), ankles, lower back, pelvis, toes and knees. The muscular and skeletal systems are also governed by the root chakra. These systems provide a foundation for the structure and strength of the entire body.
I give myself permission to move forward in life.
It is safe to find new directions and paths.
I step forward with freedom and joy.
I approve of my new direction in life.
I welcome the changes that bring lightness, freedom and sweetness into my life.
I release all attitudes, experiences and relationships that do not contribute to my freedom and harmony now.
KNEES & FLEXIBILITY
I live in compassion and forgiveness. I am flexible and flowing.
I bend humbly with the Divine Intelligence and trust that all is well.
I carry the sacred flame within in honor and appreciation of life.
I release all that does not contribute to my health and core identity.
I govern the thoughts of my mind. My character is straight and upright.
The details of the future are arranged in perfect order.
I am filled with the strength, power and vitality to accomplish all that I desire.
I am free from all mental and emotional weakness.
My strength is my conviction of the goodness of life.
There is no strength or power except the good.
I am the authority in my world.
I create a strong and balanced structure to support myself.
I am in charge of my mind, body and life.
Root Chakra Affirmations for Divine Order
Divine order is now established in me by the power of the indwelling Christ.
Divine order is now established in my mind, body, relationships, finances and all life situations.
I live in divine order! Every phase of my world is in divine order.
Divine order heals, prospers and guides me now.
Root Chakra Affirmations for All Needs
The inflow and outflow of everything in my life is established in divine order and harmony.
I am peaceful and poised. I give thanks for divine order.
Divine order brings me life sustenance, increased vitality, energy and healing power.
Divine order expresses through me in freedom and joy.
Divine order radiates into every area of my life.
ROOT CHAKRA MEANING ARTICLE SUMMARY
The root chakra establishes a connection to the physical body, the earth and the environment. This is a place of security and safety. This article includes information about root chakra sounds, essential oils, healing stones, associated Hindu deities, the physical organs associated with root chakra meaning and other topics related to root chakra meaning.