First off, in line with our dedication to dismantling white supremacy and Western-centrism, we’ll be referring to what are widely known as “chakras” as energy centers in this post and across The Witch’s Universe.
Though the idea of these energy bodies spans cultures and religions that are thousands of years old, we will not overlook the fact that, primarily in Western yoga practices, the term and many other Eastern ideologies have been taken, white-washed, diluted, and misrepresented. Simultaneously and as part of systemic and systematic white supremacy, POC practitioners are discriminated against or asked to make their practice more “palatable” while white yoga studios, for example, profit off the ideas. And simply, “chakras” the way most of North America understands them, are quite shallow and different from the original meaning.
We will be diving into books like The Subtle Energy Body: The Complete Guide by Maureen Lockhart, Ph.D. and other works in future posts, where we can take deeper looks at Eastern and Western perspectives (as well as the energy body, meridians, etc.). For now, below you’ll find the basic meaning and signs of imbalance for the root energy center. Sign up to receive updates about our latest posts so you don’t miss out on more information!
Lastly, please comment if you are or know someone (especially Eastern energy practitioners and POC) with insights or reading recommendations! Blessed be.
The Root Energy Center
The root energy center is at the base of the spine. It’s associated with your physical existence, literal security, stability, primal instincts (like fight, flight, freeze, fawn), trust, the essentials of basic survival, and the element of earth. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it’s most like the bottom of the pyramid: food, water, warmth, rest, and safety.
The root energy center provides the foundation for all energy centers above it, just like how, as humans, we cannot reach joy, fulfillment, or enlightenment without having our basic survival needs met. Imbalance in the root energy center can block the balancing or growth of all energy centers above it.
The root asks the question, “Am I safe and do I belong here?” and represents the things in your life related to grounding, security, and finding joy/purpose in life.
The root is where you find courage and the will to live, especially during times of stress and strife.
For our ancestors, this was quite literally surviving things like predators, famine, natural disasters, and war. In fact, the root energy center is said to carry imprints or memories of your ancestors’ responses to these traumas and threats to their survival, as well as loyalty, pain and pleasure, superstitions, and familial beliefs. These memories are “recorded” in the root energy center and passed down generation by generation, subconsciously affecting and shaping who we are and how we operate (quite interesting to think about alongside the mental health research around generational trauma and parenting).
Imbalance in the root energy center is extremely common not only because it includes ancestral trauma, but also because it involves your own struggles, especially childhood trauma and early threats to survival. Common examples of upbringing trauma include physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, literal or metaphorical (and actual or perceived) abandonment, and instability (due to poverty, for instance).
It also governs the spine (from the base), legs and feet, the rectum, the immune system, and the kidneys.
Signs of an Imbalanced Root Energy Center
Signs of general root imbalance:
- Feeling exceedingly alarmed at the thought of loss of control
- Feeling like there isn’t enough to go around, causing you to feel the need to fight for resources and defend/protect what’s yours
- Constant hyper vigilance or hyper-awareness of possible threats
- Feeling disconnected from yourself, other people, and/or nature
- Losing your passion or drive for a fulfilled life
Signs of an under-active root:
- Having a lack of trust
- Generalized anxiety
- Feeling unsupported, ungrounded, or as if you’re free-falling
Signs of an over-active root:
- Greed and materialism
- Aggression (especially as it relates to guarding resources– like a sense of over-animalistic instincts)
* Please note that while some of these things may overlap with or sound like classic symptoms of mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and C-PTSD, this information should not be taken as a solution to or diagnosis of personal conditions.
Methods & Tools for Balancing the Root Energy Center
Crystals and stones that help balance the root energy center include, but are not limited to, red jasper, garnet, hematite, bloodstone, obsidian, onyx, black tourmaline, cyanite, and smoky quartz.
Incorporating the color red into your life can also foster root balance. Examples include painting your nails, wearing red clothes or bold accessories, decorating your home with things like red art, tapestries, and flowers, eating healthy red foods like strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, and even red grains. You can also eat foods associated with grounding and anchoring: root veggies, protein-rich foods, and hot spices.
Further foster balance by meditating on the root energy center (self-guided, unguided, guided, or even visualizations), spending time in nature, and using mantras or affirmations.
Suggested Affirmation: “I am safe. I am grounded. I am secure. I live in the present moment. All is how it’s meant to be.”
Share below what you’re working on in terms of your root energy center, and happy healing!