Articles

What is Reiki?

posted 26 Sep 2014, 03:59 by Debi Barr   [ updated 24 Feb 2015, 05:46 ]

Many people often ask me to define Reiki and it is quite a difficult thing to do as more often than not you really need to experience it for yourself before you can understand it. Nonetheless I thought it would make a good topic for an article, especially if you have heard of it but are unsure what it is.

So, what is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by a Reiki practitioner laying their hands on your body or just above your body while you remain fully clothed.  It is based on the idea that life force energy (also referred to by the Chinese as “chi”) flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If your life force energy is low then you are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, you are more capable of being happy and healthy.

New technological advances have made it possible for this energy field to be photographed. This is known as kirlian photography and scientists are also now in agreement that this life force energy exists in us and every living thing around us. 

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "Universal or Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "universal life force energy."

What does a treatment feel like?
A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Many have reported miraculous results.

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.

Anyone can learn how to do it!
Reiki is an amazingly simple technique to learn. Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. This ability is passed on during an "attunement" given by a Reiki master and allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of "life force energy" to improve your health and enhance the quality of life.

Its use is not dependent on your intellectual capacity or spiritual development and therefore is available to everyone. It has been successfully taught to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.

Is it a religion?
While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from Divine Source, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.

While Reiki is not a religion, it is still important to live and act in a way that promotes harmony with others. Mikao Usui, the founder of the Reiki system of natural healing, recommended that one practice certain simple ethical ideals to promote peace and harmony, which are nearly universal across all cultures. 

During a meditation several years after developing Reiki, Mikao Usui decided to add the Reiki Principles to the practice of Reiki. The principles were developed to add spiritual balance to Usui Reiki. Their purpose is to help people realize that healing the spirit by consciously deciding to improve oneself is a necessary part of the Reiki healing experience.

In order for the Reiki healing energies to have lasting results, the client must accept responsibility for her or his healing and take an active part in it. Therefore, the Usui system of Reiki is more than the use of the Reiki energy. It must also include an active commitment to improve oneself in order for it to be a complete system. 
 
“The secret art of inviting happiness 
The miraculous medicine of all diseases 
Just for today, do not anger 
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude 
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people. 
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer. 
Pray these words to your heart 
and chant these words with your mouth 
Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind”
The founder , Mikao Usui

Reiki Workshops
If you are interested in learning Reiki, please contact me for more details of forthcoming classes or visit the Reiki training page on my website. Reiki is taught in 3 Levels, Level 1, Level 2 and Master.  

The Rocks n Rituals Story

posted 2 Sep 2014, 08:49 by Debi Barr   [ updated 2 Sep 2014, 08:53 ]

Someone recently asked me how I got into this business and where the name Rocks n Rituals came from. I thought I would share the story for those of you who perhaps don't know. 

I always loved crystals and all things esoteric in nature - angels, spirits, tarot, the paranormal ... so in April 2010 I decided to do a crystal healing course and I loved it. I got to learn all about the different crystals, their healing properties and how everything in the universe is all interconnected. I also learned about working with energy which eventually led me to Reiki but I will come to that shortly!

I wanted to start working with my new found knowledge but I soon realised that not too many people were that open to crystal healing at that particular time. It was all a little to "woo-woo" for them. I realised I needed to offer some more traditional treatments perhaps before people would begin to trust me and work with me on an energetic level.

By early 2011 I had qualified in aromatherapy and reflexology. I was now in need of a good name for my fledgling business. I wanted a play on rest and relaxation - RnR - but I wanted to reference my love for crystals and magic somehow as well. I knew even then that I wanted more than just a spa type business. It was my partner who came up with the name Rocks n Rituals.

By mid-2011 Rocks n Rituals was bringing in customers for massage and reflexology but I still felt something important was missing. I wanted to work with crystals and energy healing but I was stuck. I started hearing about Reiki and determined to find out more I read everything I could get my hands on to find out more about this healing system. 

My ego brain however was still in charge at that point and was saying "don't be silly - Reiki is even more woo-woo than crystals!" I was struggling to make a decision when I opened a magazine and there was a feature all about Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Reiki. The angels were telling me to go for it - two of the things I already did plus the one I was thinking about. It couldn't have been clearer.

I found a lovely Reiki Master in Belfast and completed my level 1 and 2 training with him by mid-2011. Reiki gave my practice a whole new meaning and I was also able to use my crystals in part during the treatments. As many of you know who have had a Reiki treatment with me - I lay crystals on your chakra points to help amplify the energy.

Since 2011 I have trained as a Reiki Master and have gone on to study other healing therapies such as stress management, CBT, herbalism, acupressure and meditation. My passion though is still for energy healing and crystals. I feel now is the time to start bringing the crystal work back into focus so I can now offer some new treatments which focus specifically on crystal healing.

Click here to learn more about crystal healing and to see what treatments are on offer.

For any of you interested in learning more about Reiki please visit my Reiki training page where there are details of forthcoming workshops and training.

I also wanted to bring my love of the paranormal and all things esoteric into my business so I have started running a spiritual development circle each week. I deliberately called it a spiritual development circle rather than a psychic development circle as so many people have a negative association with the word "psychic". I believe that we are all gifted with more than just the 5 senses and that with a little work and encouragement we can all learn to develop our gifts. For more information or to find out when the next circle is beginning please either contact me or visit the Groups page.

Tarot and Angel card readings are also available - click here for more information.

Love, light & blessings,

Debi

Tarot - The Fool's Journey

posted 21 Aug 2014, 02:17 by Debi Barr   [ updated 21 Aug 2014, 02:18 ]

Tarot cards date back to the 1400’s.  They are not only used for divination but also for self-analysis and meditation.  The 78 card deck is divided into 2 sections, the 22 major arcana cards and the 56 minor arcana cards.  The major arcana deals with life events and is often referred to as The Fool’s Journey.  

The journey through the major arcana is a metaphor for the journey through life.  Each of the 22 cards (numbered 0-21) represents a point on the journey.  The overall concept is that a person must move through these various stages in life in order to realise their true calling.

The Fool (0)
The journey starts with The Fool.  This is a card of innocence and new beginnings.  He is only a fool because he has yet to gain the experience of life through the journey he is about to embark upon.  He is new-born, ready and willing to experience all that life has to offer.  He is unaware of the hardships or pain he may face on this journey.

The Magician (1) and the High Priestess (2)
The Fool sets out and immediately encounters the Magician and the High Priestess. These 2 cards represent the balance and duality of human existence – the internal psyche.  The Magician is the positive side and the High Priestess is the negative.  These terms do not mean good and bad.  Human distinctions like this have no place in the Tarot.  Each is required for balance.  Without dark we cannot have light – the two go hand in hand.  Both these cards are equal in importance and value.

The Magician represents our conscious awareness whereas the High Priestess is the mysterious unconscious.  While the Magician is the active, masculine power which underlies our creative impulse, the High Priestess represents our unrealised potential.  She is the fertile ground where ideas can arise but we need the creative spark of the Magician to actually bring these ideas into reality.

The Empress (3)
As the Fool grows he becomes more aware of the people around him.  His Mother is the first person he recognises.  This is the person who cares for him and nourishes him as he grows.  This card also represents Mother Earth, the world of nature and sensation. Just like a small child who loves to explore everything he touches and tastes, the Fool cannot get enough of these new things that enchant his senses. He relishes the abundance of nature and the joy Mother Earth brings to his life.

The Emperor (4)
The Emperor card represents the authoritative father figure.  The Fool begins to learn that there are rules and patterns in the world that he must adhere to.  He delights in finding this order to his world but may also struggle with the frustration of obeying those in authority.  He becomes aware through the patient direction of the Emperor that there is a purpose to the rules and structure of his world.

The Hierophant (5)
As the Fool grows he becomes exposed to the traditions, cultures and beliefs outside his own home.  He begins his formal education and starts to identify himself with particular ways of life.  This card can represent religious figures as the word hierophant means someone who interprets mysteries and arcane knowledge.  This card also symbolises conformity as the Fool starts to fit in with the social structure around him.

The Lovers (6)
As the Fool grows he starts to yearn for companionship and sexual union with another person.  Up until now the Fool’s journey has been mainly self-centred.  He now requires balance and wants to reach out and experience personal relationships.  It is at this point that he must also decide on his own set of values and beliefs.  He must become true to himself if he is to find happiness.

The Chariot (7)
By this point in his journey the Fool has developed a certain amount of self-control and a sense of who he is.  The Chariot represents his ego.  He is in control of himself and asserts himself over all he surveys.  He feels self-satisfied and victorious in his life.  This is the unmistakeable confidence of youth.

Strength (8)
As time passes the Fool encounters challenges and may have many occasions to draw on his inner strength to keep going.  Life may be more difficult and he needs to discover his patience, tolerance and strength.  The wilful command of the Chariot requires the balance of kindness and a softer more loving approach if he is to get through the set-backs he faces.

Hermit (9)
At some point in all our lives we ask the question “Why?” The Fool becomes concerned with the search for answers and this card represents the need to look inward to find the deeper meaning of life.  At this point on his journey the outside world begins to hold less attraction for him and he starts to seek moments of quiet and solitude.  He may even seek out a teacher or guide to help him find the purpose of his life.

Wheel of Fortune (10)
After a period of introspection the Fool begins to see how everything connects.  He has a vision of the intricate design and cycles that make up his world.  This card is a symbol of how the universe works in harmony.  The Fool may briefly grasp some of the answers he has been seeking as life experiences come to him.  Some of these events may seem like chance or fate and he may start to see his destiny as he is led to this turning point in his life.  After much soul-searching he is ready to start moving again now that he seems himself as part of a much bigger plan.

Justice (11)
It is at this point that the Fool must decide what his vision means to him personally.  He starts to look back over his life to see how he has reached this point.  He must take responsibility for his past actions so that he can make amends where necessary and move on with a clean slate.  This is decision time – a time for important choices.  Does the Fool remain true to the insights he has gleaned or will he slip back into old patterns and close himself off from further growth?

Hanged Man (12)
The Fool is determined to realise his dreams but finds that life may not be so easily conquered.  He experiences an event that is simply too difficult to endure and he has no choice but to give up and let go.  
Initially he feels completely lost and defeated.  It is at this point that he can either lie down and accept defeat or simply relinquish control and trust that this too is part of his path.  By surrendering control he learns a valuable truth – his Inner Self will support him.  He learns to surrender to life’s experiences rather than trying to control them and he feels surprisingly free. 

His world may have been turned upside-down but he can use this time to view things from a different angle.  Look at the card, the Fool is the hanged man but looks serene and peaceful.

Death (13)
This card represents the end of old habits and a new beginning.  It is a card of transition.  The Fool learns that he must cut away the dead wood and put old habits behind him if he is move on.  Whilst change may be painful it is necessary to allow the Fool to experience a new and more fulfilling life.

Temperance (14)
The Fool has come a long way from his time of solitude and introspection.  He has experienced emotional extremes and challenges on his journey so far.  He now realises that balance is key.  Moderation in everything seems to be the way forward.  Note the difference between the wilful force of the Chariot and the grace of the Temperance card.  The Fool begins to glow with health and well-being.

Devil (15)
It appears that the Fool now has everything he could need – his health, peace of mind and composure.  The Fool, however, still pursues his desire for more and comes face to face with the Devil.  This card represents the ignorance and hopelessness that resides within us all at some level.  The Fool may be seduced by material distractions and become a slave to the grind.  He doesn't even realise that he has become such a slave but it begins to show itself as an undercurrent of despair and unhappiness.  The Fool finds himself trapped within a self-made fortress and can see no way out.

Tower (16)
How can the Fool rid himself of this sense of despair that has come from being seduced by the Devil’s materialism?  It often takes a sudden and perhaps catastrophic change to release him from his inner prison.
The Tower represents the walls we each build around ourselves which protect our inner being.  Whilst we think these walls protect us they are actually a prison.  This card shows a monumental crisis which shakes the foundations of the Tower and forces its occupants to come tumbling down.

The experience depicted in this card may be painful but the pain is worthwhile as the Fool is now free.  His dark despair is blasted away allowing him to see the truth of the situation he is in.

Star (17)
After the traumatic events of the Tower the Fool begins to be imbued with serene calm.  The Star represents hope and inspiration.  The Fool regains his faith in himself and the future.  He recognises that the pain of the Tower has opened the way for better things to come.  His heart begins to sing again and he is filled with joy and wonder once more.  This is a moment of peace after the storm.

Moon (18)
Could anything spoil this serenity for the Fool?  At this point in his journey he is susceptible to fantasy and a false picture of the truth.  The Moon stimulates imagination but can also cause the sub-conscious to bring hidden fears and anxieties to the surface.  This leaves the Fool bewildered and a little lost.  We can all identify with this feeling. Can you think of a time you went through difficult transition in your life?  Afterwards whilst we are glad the event is over, we often have unrealistic views or thoughts of how to proceed.  It is important therefore at this point that the Fool takes some time to analyse his thoughts and feelings as they may not be as valid as they appear to be.

Sun (19)
The Sun shines its light into the hidden places of the Fool’s soul.  The confusion and fear is dispelled and the Fool starts to feel and understand the goodness in the world.  The Fool begins to have enthusiasm for life once more.  He rides out joyously to face life once more.  He feels alive and assured.  He is finally able to realise his potential and greatness.
Judgement (20)
Thanks to the trials and tribulations he has experienced thus far on his journey, the Fool has been reborn.  He has turned away from his ego-driven life and has allowed his Inner Self to shine through.  He realises that joy and love are at the centre of life, not fear.

He has learned to forgive himself and others.  He knows that his real self is pure and good.  He can see himself clearly for the first time and knows he has decisions to make about his future.  He chooses wisely which values to cherish and which ones to throw away.  He has discovered his true purpose and all hesitation vanishes allowing him to follow his dream at last.

World (21)
The Fool has come full circle and re-enters the World.  This time he is not the innocent and naïve person depicted by the Fool card.  He now has a more complete understanding of himself and his place in the World.  He has reached a new level of joy and fulfilment.

He knows that he must be actively involved in the world.  He provides a service to others by sharing his unique gifts and talents.  He acts from his Inner Self from a place of true certainty.  He prospers from whatever he attempts and his future is full of promise.

So his journey was not so foolish after all. He has persevered and now has re-discovered the spontaneity that first compelled him to start out in the first place.  This journey may be over but he will never stop learning and growing.

Soon he will be ready to start a new journey, one which will lead him to even greater self-understanding - and so the cycle begins again.

Stress Management - Mindfulness Approach

posted 17 Jun 2014, 06:33 by Debi Barr   [ updated 17 Jun 2014, 06:34 ]

Heard it all before? Breathe more, get more exercise and eat well. Good advice, but what else can be done? Why is stress even a problem?  

We all experience stress. A little stress is sometimes a good thing. It spurs us on to take action. If however you are constantly stressed it can be detrimental to your health.  

When we find ourselves in a stressful situation our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode. This is a natural response to danger which floods our bodies with adrenaline and the stress hormone, cortisol. Our heart rate increases pumping more blood to our muscles to enable us to fight or run. Our blood pressure rises and our breathing becomes shallow and fast. These are all natural responses to perceived danger.

Once the threat passes, the levels of adrenaline and stress hormone fall away and we return to normal. Problems arise when stress becomes a constant factor. Apart from the obvious things like increased blood pressure leading to heart problems or stroke, scientists know that cortisol encourages the body to store more fat. This is because the body thinks it needs to store resources to get it through the danger period. 

Health & Safety Executive Statistics show that stress affects one in five of the working population from the newest recruit in the post room to the board of directors. It is now the single biggest cause of sickness in the UK. Over 105 million days are lost to stress each year – costing UK employers £1.24 billion.  

It is therefore imperative that we find a way to manage our stress and lead happier, healthier lives. So what you can do? First of all you need to identify what makes you stressed. Are there certain situations, places or people that push your buttons?

The best way to identify your triggers is to make a list. Get a piece of paper and write down all the areas of your life. For example: - work, home, family, friends, leisure time, etc. You may wish to further sub-divide each category such as work: - your boss, your colleagues and your job role. Rate each item out of 10 with 10 being the most stressful.

This task requires you to become mindful. Mindfulness means that you stop to notice the world around you at a specific point in time. Try it out, simply stop and notice what you are doing right now. What can you hear? What can you see? How do you feel? Stop running on auto-pilot and become mindful.

By completing this task and writing down your triggers you have to stop, notice and take stock. This is the first step in managing your stress. Now you have something to work from. It is time now to apply the three A’s: - Avoid, Alter or Accept.

Pick one of the triggers from your list. Can you avoid this issue? For example, if a person pushes your buttons, can you find a way to remove them from your life? We cannot always avoid the things that stress us but if you can then do it. Take action and avoid the issue. If this is not possible then you should move on to the next A – Alter.

Can you do anything to change the situation? Take time to look at the issue from all angles. Is there anything that you can do differently? If the issue is about your work is there anything your boss or team can do to help? Perhaps a change of office may be possible, or a shift change? If you can’t make a physical change to the situation then can you make a mental change? Can you view the situation in a different way to make it appear less stressful?

This leads us on to the third A – Acceptance. Acceptance doesn't just mean rolling over and letting the stress take you. By learning to accept what we cannot avoid or alter you empower yourself to view the stressor in a new light.

Look at the bigger picture and see if you can find any positives. For example, if you are stressed at work you could say that a positive thing about work is that it allows you to pay your way in life. Another positive is that you only have to endure it for a certain number of hours each day. If you find yourself taking your work home with you then stop it. Put boundaries in place and respect your personal time and space.

Ask yourself, will this issue still cause anyone to worry in a day, a week, a month or a year? If not then why are you stressing about it? By learning to accept the situation you find that you naturally start to put it into perspective.

Becoming mindful each day allows you to start to notice more. An excellent way to encourage mindfulness and to reduce stress is to keep a journal. Writing about your day helps you to get it all out of your head. You can be yourself and say whatever you want. It is your journal. This exercise also helps you to sleep better as your brain knows you have written everything down and it doesn't have to remember it any more. This can help stop those sleepless nights where your mind goes into overdrive about your day.

What makes you happy? Write that down too. Focus on the things that you do like to do and start to do more of them. Set yourself a goal of doing a little bit more of what makes you happy every day – even if that is spending your coffee break simply noticing how good the coffee tastes rather than gulping it down while participating in mindless office gossip.

Stress is a fact of life but it doesn't have to take over. As philosopher Epictetus once said, "It is not the things of this world that hurt us but what we think about them."  In other words it is how you think about life’s curve-balls that determines how you handle them. Becoming mindful allows you to detach yourself and observe the situation and then you can act accordingly. Good luck and get mindful!

Crown Chakra

posted 10 Feb 2014, 03:41 by Debi Barr   [ updated 10 Feb 2014, 03:45 ]

We are almost at the end of our journey through the chakra system as we now look at the crown chakra.  The Sanskrit name for this chakra is Sahasrara which literally means thousand fold.  It is depicted as a thousand petalled lotus flower.  It is the seat of our consciousness and understanding.  Physically it relates to our central nervous system and malfunction in this chakra can be linked to depression, feelings of alienation, confusion, boredom, apathy and inability to learn.


It resonates with violet and white.  Gold, amethyst and diamonds are all good for helping to restore balance to this chakra which sits at the top of our head.

We have sprouted from our roots in the earth, moved up and experienced the fluidity of water, transformed with fire and felt the soft touch of air.  We have moved through sound and light and now find ourselves at the source of all - consciousness.  With each level we experienced new degrees of freedom and awareness and now we reach enlightenment.  However it is important to remain grounded and connected, after all even the 1000 petalled lotus flower needs to keep its roots in the earth in order to continue to blossom.

The element for the crown chakra is again spirit and its function is thought and knowing.  We need to look inside our own mind in order to gain understanding and knowledge.  We need to tend the garden of our mind.  Thoughts take form and can impact on our physical surroundings.  We are all linked together with a higher consciousness - collective consciousness.  Words are rarely enough to describe this concept - we need to experience it for ourselves.

Each chakra is a manifestation of consciousness at different layers of reality and vibration.  As we move upwards we purify with each step.  Looking within we need to ask ourselves who is minding the storehouse of memories and thoughts in our head.  As human beings this is a massive concept as we are looking within our own mind using our mind to do so.  We all have our memories and belief systems.  We are all capable of new learning and then changing beliefs.  We constantly search for meaning - this search for unity of experience and connection to others.  We all need our lives to have meaning.  We receive information and we seek to make sense of it - to find meaning.  Only once we find meaning can we then find an order.  Thoughts are things and we can use them to manifest our reality.

Our minds are like computers constantly downloading information.  The internet exists whether we use it or not, radio waves exist outside of the radio.  We can tap into information outside ourselves from the collective consciousness when we open this chakra and learn to use it.  The crown chakra is the gateway between the mortal and the divine, the temporal and the timeless, the finite and the infinite.

Meditation is key to this chakra because our minds can become cluttered with all the information we take in.  Think about this - would you eat your dinner off a dirty plate?  No, of course you wouldn't.  You would wash the plate and start with a clean fresh plate.  Why then approach today's problems with yesterday's cluttered mind?  Meditation is like defragmenting your computer hard drive.  It allows you to sort through the clutter, making sense of it and restoring order and functionality to allow you then to process more efficiently.  There are lots of studies which look into the effects of meditation on a physiological level but that is for another article.  If you are interested in learning how to meditate click here for information on courses.

So, we have reached the summit.  Let's put it all together - after all the chakras do not exist independently of each other - they are interconnected and form a circuit of energy.  Each one relies on another.  As we move up we go towards freedom, liberation from constraints and enlightenment.  We also need then to move back down through them in order to manifest our thoughts and ideas we need limitation as discussed in earlier articles.  The movement up and down go hand in hand.  We apply our newly found knowledge and understanding to the world around us.  

The chakra system is not a linear system or path - all is inter-related and connected.  The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning.  There is no destination, just the journey.  Enjoy it!

Brow Chakra

posted 4 Feb 2014, 07:29 by Debi Barr   [ updated 4 Feb 2014, 07:30 ]

We are approaching the end of our journey through the chakra system as we now reach the brow or third eye chakra.  This chakra is located in the forehead between and just above the eyes.  It corresponds with indigo and its Sanskrit name is Ajna which literally means to perceive or to command.  The upper chakras do not necessarily have an element associated with them like the lower ones do as the upper ones are all covered by Spirit but I think it would be a safe assumption to say that this chakra would be governed by light.

Its function is seeing and intuition.  It governs the eyes and malfunction of this chakra can be indicated with physical issues such as blindness, headaches, eye strain and blurred vision.  Nightmares may also be present if this chakra is not functioning well.  Good crystals for this chakra are lapis lazuli, quartz and amethyst.  You may find that lying with a piece of amethyst on your brow chakra can help alleviate headaches and can also promote insightful dreams.

We use our eyes to see and perceive the world around us.  This may be one of the most important of our senses and one which we often take for granted.  It is not our eyes though that are actually doing the seeing.  Light penetrates our eyes and is then processed by the back of the eye.  Light does not pass into our brains but instead the impression of the light on the back of our eyes is processed by the brain into recognisable shapes and images.  We are therefore using our internal organ, the brain, in order to perceive the world around us, thanks to the light passing in from our eyes.

Our brow chakra when functioning well and in balance can help us improve our intuition and our second sight.  By working with this chakra we can learn to "see" images in our mind's eye and perhaps develop our gift of clairvoyance in some cases.  We have already seen that we "see" with our brains and not our eyes so why should we shy away from trying to use our intuition and mind's eye in order to process other information which is all around us?  Our intuition helps us read between the lines as such and gives us deeper insight.  


The Sanskrit name Ajna which is translated above shows us also the dual nature of this chakra.  To perceive was the original translation and this is easy to see - we perceive, we see.  The later translation then was "to command".  We can command our thoughts and images that we perceive into our reality.  We can visualise an outcome and then command it into being.  Have you ever visualised something and then it has happened?  Your first response may be "no".  Think about it, you wake up and it is not the nicest of days.  You are visualising all the things that could go wrong with your day and you get up thinking and visualising "this is going to be a bad day".  9 times out of 10 you will then go on and experience a "bad day".  This is because the law of attraction in the universe will match the frequency of your thoughts and your visualisations and you will get what you give out.  Next time you feel like this perhaps try and visualise a more positive outcome.  A smile from a colleague.  A kind word from your boss.  A helpful stranger holding a door open for you.  As you become more practised at visualising these simple things you will notice that they start to manifest in your life.

You can take this a step further and start to use your brow chakra to visualise more complex things which you want to bring to your life.  Meditate daily.  Use guided visualisation meditations to help you develop your skills.  People often say "oh I can't visualise things - it is too hard!".  Start by closing your eyes and imagining your kitchen for example or your bedroom.  Try to imagine how it looks without opening your eyes.  As you practice this you will find it becomes easier.  Imagine looking at it as if you were looking in from the outside, as you get better at holding the image in your mind then start to think about the colours you see.  What colour is your room - can you see the colour or can you just feel it perhaps?  Is it a cool blue or a fiery red?  Keep practising for a few minutes every day and you will soon notice that your skills build and you can imagine things more clearly.  This will help develop your brow chakra and allow you then to visualise and manifest things more clearly.

Other exercises you can do to work with this chakra to develop your intuition and visualisation skills are detailed below: -

1. Meditate.  Imagine a blank screen in your mind's eye.  Ask a question and focus on your breathing just allowing your mind to clear and the screen to come into focus.  You may find words or images appear on the screen in your mind.  Keep a notepad handly and write down anything that comes to mind during your meditation.  The images or words may not mean anything now but perhaps in a day or two or later that month you may find that it all makes sense.

2. Photo Blink.  Place a photograph of someone opposite you about 6-10 feet away and then close your eyes and allow yourself to relax and become grounded.  When you are ready open and close your eyes quickly (like the opposite of a blink) so you only get a glimpse of the photograph.  What do you notice about the image in your mind.  Do you see an image?  Are there characteristics you can make out?  Are there colours?  Does anything fade quickly or does anything linger?  This exercise can help you discern aura characteristics and the strengths and weaknesses of a person's aura.

Next time we will look at the last chakra, the crown chakra.  Love, light and blessings and happy visualising!

Throat Chakra

posted 22 Jan 2014, 06:22 by Debi Barr   [ updated 22 Jan 2014, 06:23 ]

As we move onwards on our journey through the chakra system we now reach the throat chakra.  As you would guess this is located in the neck and is all about communication.  Whereas the lower chakras are all governed by various elements, earth, water, fire and air the upper chakras are governed by spirit.  However I like to think of this chakra as governed by sound as it is the seat of our communication and vocals.  Without communication life would be very difficult indeed - especially nowadays.  We are bombarded with information continuously through each day but I'm not only referring to external media, internet, TV and radio communications.  Our bodies are in a constant state of communication as well - each cell communicates with the brain and the bodily systems so communication really is key to life.

Whilst the throat chakra is mainly known for communication issues it is also a seat of creativity.  Yes I know the sacral chakra is listed as the creative chakra but the throat chakra also plays a valid role in creativity too.  If you cannot express your ideas then your creativity will be diminished to a certain extent.


The Sanskrit name for this chakra is Vishuddha which literally translates as "purification".  To achieve balance in this chakra we must have gone through some self-development and purification.  On our journey so far we have learned about our right to be here and how to balance our base chakra and stay grounded.  We learned that we have a right and a need for pleasure and we learned how to open and balance our sacral chakra.  Moving upwards we learned about the fire of our own personal will in our solar plexus and then the softer touch of spirit as we moved into the air governed heart chakra.  This development and balancing of our lower chakras allows our heart chakra to open which in turn helps to purify us and allow us to lovingly express ourselves via our throat chakra.

The throat chakra resonates with bright blue and disorders of this chakra can manifest as throat or thyroid problems.  We have all had a lump in our throats at some point in our lives when we couldn't get the words out.  This "lump in the throat" is a symptom of a blocked throat chakra.  It is important that we always speak our truth lovingly and with compassion and kindness.  Words cannot be taken back and a harsh word can do a lot of damage.

It is important therefore to always pause before reacting especially when faced with negativity or harsh words from others.  Likewise a good habit to develop before speaking is to ask yourself - are my words needed? Are my words true? Are my words kind?  Meditation and mindfulness can help with cultivating this habit of briefly pausing before you speak out or react.  How often have you received an email from a colleague and furiously typed a heated response only to realise later that you perhaps misread the email or misinterpreted the tone?

Our world is full of sound and sound is a vibration.  Within ourselves, and produced by ourselves, there is a self-born, indestructible sound – constantly repeating itself in companionship with our breathing. Sound has enormous power. One might in fact say, that it has the power to create an entire universe.  According to ancient Indian (Asian) belief in the beginning there was sound.  This sound reverberated as "Om" - and from that sound everything came into existence.  Even in the Christian bible we are told "In the beginning there was the word".

Sound is a vibration of the air around us. We interpret, via the medium of our hearing equipment, and our brains, the vibration of the air as “sound”. Scientists are beginning to recognize, just as the Ancient Sages did, that a vibration exists in the universe, which reverberates ceaselessly throughout the cosmos.

Words are formed when letters and syllables come together. Our spiritual and mundane lives are possible only because of words. Without language, we would not be able to carry out any of our daily activities. Each word we use has its own power, and produces its own reaction.

It was ironic that when I sat to write this article I really suffered writers block - I was struggling to get the ideas out of my head and on to the paper.  It occurred to me that my throat chakra was obviously not in balance. To help restore balance you can try any of the following ideas: -

Surround yourself with bright blue - wear blue clothing, wear blue coloured glasses or carry blue crystals.  Good crystals to use for restoring balance to this chakra are sodalite, angelite, lapis lazuli or turquoise.  Simply carry them with you or place them on your throat and visualise a bright blue ball of light emanating from your throat chakra.  Listening to chakra balancing music or singing can also help restore balance. 

Chanting is also a brilliant way to bring about balance in the throat chakra.  To quote Judith Anodea's article from her article on the throat chakra at "http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/256" : -

"Chanting is an activity that increases the overall resonance of our being, allowing all our internal systems to enter into a rhythmic harmony. When chanting is practised as a group activity, it enhances resonance and communication with the group as a whole. From Zen monasteries to rock concerts, this is a powerful tool for enhancing collective consciousness."

Try mantra meditations where you repeat a word or phrase while meditating.  Using "Om" is a good way to start and it can help focus your mind and bring about much needed balance and relaxation to our hectic lives.

Next time we will take a look at the brow chakra which is all about vision and light.

Love, light and blessings to you - thank you for taking the time to read this article.

Heart Chakra

posted 10 Jan 2014, 05:50 by Debi Barr   [ updated 10 Jan 2014, 05:50 ]

So last time we looked at the solar plexus chakra and learned about action and will.  As we move onwards on our journey through the chakra system we come now to the softer glow of the heart chakra.

The heart chakra is located in the centre of the chest and is governed by the element of air.  The Sanskrit name of this chakra is Anahata which literally translates as "unstruck".  Good crystals for this chakra are jade, tourmaline, emerald and rose quartz.  The chakra resonates with the colour green but pink can also be used.



As mentioned in the last article fire needs air in order to burn.  The air is supplied from our hearts.  We can use the fuel from the balanced first and second chakras to fuel the fire but we need air from the heart to keep it healthy.  We now realise that our actions have an impact on others around us and not only ourselves.  We start to realise that we are part of a larger interconnected system and if we work together in love, compassion and kindness then the world will be a better place for us all.

The heart chakra is the central chakra in the system.  We often use the phrase "let's get to the heart of the matter" i.e. the centre or crux of the matter.  Opening our hearts and having a healthy, balanced, energised heart centre will allow us to give and receive love more easily.  We learned before in our lower chakras that we have a right to be here and a right to experience pleasure.  Now we learn to love ourselves as well as those around us for if we cannot love ourselves how can we give love to others.  This is not a reference to the sexual love of chakra 2 but a more spiritually aware love.  The heart chakra in the centre of the system connects the lower and upper chakras and it is at this point that we start to feel the soft touch of spirit.

When our heart chakra is out of balance and closed we often feel constricted - tightness in the chest, heart problems and other disorders can highlight this.  We feel suffocated sometimes and this is hardly surprising as this chakra is governed by air so if it is closed off we will feel the effects.  This chakra governs our heart and lungs so disorders in these organs can highlight a problem in this chakra.  

When the heart chakra is open we feel light and feel like we are walking on air.  We feel alive, feel good and feel eager to be part of a larger system all working together for the greater good.

Working with this chakra allows us to connect with others.  We all have the same hopes and fears and by working on this chakra we can learn to work together and connect.  Love is a unifying force which connects us all.  We all spend a large part of our lives looking for love.  We forget that we need to feel it within and love ourselves before we can find it outside.  Happiness and love come from within our hearts.  Opening this chakra allows us to breathe live and love into our lives and allows us to soar to new heights.

Working with pink or green colours either in food, baths, clothes or coloured glasses can all help to balance this chakra.  Breathing exercises focussing on the breath entering and leaving your body can also help as this chakra is governed by the element of air.  Doing the breast stroke while swimming can open up the chest and open this chakra.  Hugging is also a fantastic way of opening this chakra and giving and receiving love - after all you can't give a hug without getting one back!

Next time we will move on to the throat chakra and look at how communication and sound are a massive part of our daily lives.

Solar Plexus

posted 3 Jan 2014, 04:12 by Debi Barr   [ updated 7 Jan 2014, 09:13 ]

This time as we move upwards on our journey through the chakra system we will look at the solar plexus chakra.  This chakra is all about fire in your belly!  The power of fire, autonomy, will, energy, metabolism and self-esteem.

The solar plexus chakra is located just beneath your diaphragm - the soft area just beneath your rib cage.  This is where we often feel butterflies in our tummy.  When this chakra is underactive we can feel nervous, over-sensitive or highly strung.  When it is grounded and working in balance it empowers us and vitalises us.  When overactive it can lead us to carry out ungrounded and undirected activities which may be harmful to us or those around us - we act out of character.  This chakra also resonates with the metabolism and digestive system disorders, diabetes and ulcers can all feature when this chakra is not properly balanced.  Often we can tell if the chakra is out of balance by how we feel - this chakra is linked to the element of fire so if we are constantly feeling too hot our chakra may be overactive and conversely if we are always feeling the cold then it could be underactive.  Quick or slow temperaments can also indicate the balance of this chakra as well - a quick temper being a sign that it is overactive.

The solar plexus is energised by the colour yellow - like the sun.  Its Sanskrit name is manipura which literally translates to lustrous gem.  Just like the sun shining brightly in the sky (yes I know it is January and we haven't seen the sun for a while but we can have it shine within us!)  The Sanskrit symbol is shown below.  Crystals such as amber, citrine quartz, yellow topaz or sunstone are excellent for working with this chakra.


Fire is the spark that ignites our will to action.  As our cosmic dance gathers pace we move onwards on our journey from earth to water to fire!  We have now reclaimed our bodies and acknowledged our right to be here.  We have learned how to allow ourselves emotion and pleasure.  We can now focus on finding our sense of purpose through our desire - we need to find our will and then our sense of action.

Just like fire needs friction to get started we can envisage our chakra system in a similar way.  The base chakra was all about stillness and matter, whereas the sacral was all about fluidity and movement.  By combining the two like a stick with friction we can create a spark and that spark is our solar plexus chakra.  All a fire needs is a spark to get going but it does need fuel to continue to burn.  We need to overcome our inertia to make things happen and then continue to feed our will to allow the fire to burn brightly.

Everything in life has cause and effect.  We give energy and the effect is action, without energy there is no power.  However energy alone is not enough - we need to direct our energy wisely.  Consciousness guides our purpose and therefore shapes our will thus directing activity.  We need to embrace our inner power of conscious intelligence and combine this with our bodily energy using our awakened base and sacral chakras to cause transformation.

When we block our own power by remaining inactive we appear withdrawn or cold and controlled.  This depletes our energy and we often find ourselves turning to coffee and other stimulants to try and get a fresh energy burst.  This is like pouring an accelerant on the fire - it brightens temporarily and then quickly depletes leaving the fire burning even less brightly than before.  By closing ourselves off we close off our system and like putting a damper on a fire we use up all the fuel and it burns out.

We need therefore to break the cycle of fear and withdrawal that we so often face in life.  We need to reconnect with ourselves in a loving way.  If we are not in touch with our base and sacral chakras then we have no fuel for our fire. Fire needs air and this will be looked at in more detail as we move towards our heart chakra which is governed by the element of air but by allowing ourselves connection with the base and sacral chakras we allow ourselves room to breathe and that allows our fire to burn.

We must remember that our power is within - it is not found somewhere outside of ourselves.  We all have a unique spark of spirit within us and this is linked to our self-esteem.  We have free will and we make choices.  We need to learn to stop giving our power away by making poor choices or thinking that we have no choice.  Let's take the daily grind for example, we quite often moan and groan and say things like "oh I have no choice I have to go to work". Well stop and think for a second, do you really have no choice?  Of course you have a choice - you could choose not to go to work but this would then cause other effects on your life which may then be even worse than having to work.  By saying "I have no choice" you give your power away.  If you flick the switch in your mind you can reclaim your power and change things - for example, I do have a choice to go to work today because I know that in doing so I am making a contribution to the economy and I am also facilitating my way of life.  All of a sudden, whilst you still may not necessarily enjoy your current work, you have empowered yourself and you no longer feel like a victim or slave to the grind.  Sometimes by just choosing to reclaim your power you find that everything starts to fall into place and you start attracting positive vibrations into your life which in turn allow you to feel better and so the fire burns on easily - after all it is easier to keep a fire lit once it is established rather than letting it go out and having to start again each time.

In summary, balancing the solar plexus allows us to break inertia, direct our will to action in postive ways, it prompts us to pay attention to our feelings and emotions in a grounded way and helps us to release anger by bringing in more love, laughter and self-knowledge to our lives.

To balance and energise this chakra surround yourself with bright yellow, wear it, paint a room in your house sunny yellow or if possible get out into the sunshine.  Jogging or tummy crunches are all fantastic ways of energising this chakra.  Eating yellow foods or going for power walks also help.  You can also stand up straight in the mornings and stretch your arms above your head and reach for the sky.  Bring your arms down in a sweeping circular motion and pretend your arms are making the outline of the sun.  This exercise helps to invigorate you and can also make you laugh a little at yourself which in turn puts you in good form for the day ahead.  Another brilliant exercise is to get a few friends together and all lie down in a circle on the floor so that each person's head rests on another person's belly.  One person then starts by saying "ha ha ha" really forcefully so their belly moves as they say it.  The person who has their head on that person's belly then does the same and it moves around the circle getting faster and faster until you are all actually laughing - this is called a laughter circle and sounds like great fun to me!

Next time we will move on towards the centre of the system - the heart of the matter - the heart chakra.

Sacral Chakra

posted 11 Dec 2013, 03:12 by Debi Barr   [ updated 7 Jan 2014, 09:14 ]

Last week we looked at the base chakra and discussed the concepts of grounding, limitation and manifestation.  This next article on our journey through the chakra system will focus on the sacral chakra which is all about transformation and change.  


The sacral chakra is located just beneath your navel and it resonates with the colour orange and the moon.  Crystals associated with this chakra are carnelian, sun-stone and moonstone, to name but a few.  The Sanskrit name for this chakra is Svadisthana which translates as "own's own abode".  This is the seat of our creativity and our needs.

We move up through the system from our firm grounded foundations, from solid to liquid, stillness to movement, from form to formless.  The sacral chakra's element is water and the concepts we will focus on are polarity, movement, pleasure, emotion, sexuality, nurturance and sentience.  As we journey from the base chakra we find that we require duality from unity - we long to unite, reach out and grow.  Just as the seeds in the earth need water to grow and change, to reach up and break through the soil, we too need growth and movement in order to live.  Without change there is no growth, no movement and no life!  Whereas the first chakra seeks to hold on and create structure the second chakra encourages us to let go and create flow.

The constant motion is similar to the concept of polarity, yin and yang, opposites attracting - a cosmic dance, one becoming the other.  Just as the moon affects the tides and they rise and fall this chakra is governed by the moon and water.  Physically it concerns itself with bodily functions such as blood circulation, the urinary tract and sexual and reproductive organs.  Malfunction of this chakra can lead to problems such as impotence, frigidity, uterine, bladder or kidney problems and a stiff lower back.  These are all signs of low or blocked energy in this chakra.  Over-activity of this chakra can cause you to be overly emotional or sexual and perhaps lead you to make unhealthy choices with regards to how you get your kicks.

It is our natural instinct to move away from pain and towards pleasure.  Pain generally indicates a threat whereas pleasure is safe - healthy pleasure obviously - not forced as in when using drugs, excessive alcohol or over-indulgence.  We are sentient human beings and we should readily drink the waters of pleasure.  Healthy pleasure allows us to feel more fulfilled and provides us with a solid foundation for power, love, creativity and meditative concentration which are all aspects of this chakra.

Balance, as always, is the key.  We must avoid falling into the trap of avoiding pleasure or over-indulging in an unhealthy way.  We need to tune into our bodies and listen to its needs and desires.  Allow our body its nurturance and pleasure - this is essential for our health and well-being.  From a young age we are taught in our society to repress our needs and desires - it is often viewed as dirty or wrong.  Why is it acceptable to show violence on television but not consensual love making?  We need to re-focus and remove our limiting beliefs.  We need to allow ourselves the pleasures that life affords us.  As the base chakra promotes we have a right to be here and a right to live fulfilling lives.  The sacral chakra teaches us that part of living a fulfilling life is to allow ourselves pleasure.  The delight of a little extra sleep, a relaxing walk, comfortable clothing or a hug from a friend.  All these things are important and should not be denied.

Repressing our needs and desires can lead to a backlash in emotion.  Blocking or suppressing our feelings will inevitably lead to distress.  The emotion will get stuck in our unconscious minds and may lead us to act out of character or have an emotional blow out.  The pent up emotion needs to be released to release tension and stress.  Depriving ourselves of pleasure can lead us to crave unhealthy ways to overindulge to satisfy our primal needs.  Pleasure and emotion are the root of desire through which we create movement and change.

Be tender and loving to yourself.  Care for yourself with good healthy food, energies and touch.  Nurture your body and listen to its needs.  Do not underestimate the power of touch.  Do not shut yourself off from feeling.  A hug, a kind word and smile all go a long way both for yourself and the person you are with.  The pleasure of uniting with another person should not be denied as we are naturally gregarious, sentient human beings and we need the company of others in order to thrive.

Exercises such as wearing orange, eating orange foods, colour therapy baths or wearing orange glasses can help to bring this chakra into balance.  As this chakra is governed by water you can try a simple exercise such as drinking a glass of water slowly and really feel it moving down into your stomach, cleansing and nurturing as it goes.  Bathe in water and visualise all negativity leaving your body as the water washes it away and then it leaves through the plug-hole to be transmuted into the Earth.  

Move your body - dancing and stomping are all brilliant ways to invigorate a sluggish sacral chakra.  Move your hips in circles, shout out loud, jump around or get creative - drawing or making things.  Meditations on the chakra can also help bring it into balance as you visualise the area beneath your naval as a beautiful orange flower opening and closing as the energy waxes and wanes.  Other things you can do are hug a friend, get out into the sunshine, have a belly laugh and last, but most certainly not least, have healthy, pleasurable sex with your partner!

Next week we will move up to the third chakra - the solar plexus and we will learn about the power of fire!

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