I’ve been interested in the historical and psychological mention of Kuṇḍalinī’s location in the Mūlādhāra (the belly/the root chakra where Kuṇḍalinī begins)—and its relationship to the womb. In particular, the creative energy it possesses and its transformative capability. One experiences a rebirth after undergoing a Kuṇḍalinī awakening. I’m interested in its dormancy and potential to strike up through the central channel. Like some possession energies I have researched in the past, such as the Zār (‘Red Wind’), often originating in the Middle East and North Africa, the Zār finds space in female bodies, more so than men. Like Kuṇḍalinī, it does not go away. It requires a series of ceremonial practices to calm the energy down to remain in a dormant state. Of course, possession and spiritual awakening can be two separate experiences with different consequences.
In some cases, they overlap. For example, the deity Śakti permeates the yogin’s body to meet Śiva once a Kuṇḍalinī tantric meditation begins. But most importantly, I wonder what these energies teach the host? And how this energy works as a technology for disruption? Its potential for transformation, rebirth and death of the old. The belly vessel as a placeholder for knowledge and procreation—the space for which it inhabits and holds the energy. I’m interested in the lack of female authors writing about their experiences of Kuṇḍalinī within the Kuṇḍalinī tradition. With so much South Asian iconography for the ‘divine mother’, I wonder why there is such a gap for non-western testimonies, or maybe I’m not looking hard enough...
The duality and entwinement of male and female principles—and its fluidity of these sexes (see statue of Ardhanarishvara for the androgynous portrayal of Śiva and Śakti).
Egyptian Zār ritual
Art and Meditation: Traditional Imagery and Contemporary Parallels as Seen Through Children’s Meditational Art
Madhu Khanna presents an experimental study of the universal symbols and colours experienced during meditation. In her seminal essay Art and Meditation: Traditional Imagery and Contemporary Parallels as Seen Through Children’s Meditational Art (1999), Khanna discusses the intention of her experiment to understand how tantric meditation can be measured or understood through visual representation.
The study took part in various schools, in which children from the ages of ten to eleven were drawing in pre-meditative states and post-meditative states. The studies below show similarities in the mandala symbols, tantric shapes (circle, square, triangle), and some chakra colours denoting the various states of consciousness the children encountered. Khanna was sure to include cross-cultural comparisons (experimenting with Sweden, Indian, Dutch and British children) to reinforce her point on the universal language of yogic vision and symbolism.
What is moving about this experiment is how this research can finally shed some light on the importance of tantric meditation and, particularly, how these motifs match the historical scriptures, which Ajit Mookerjee’s research in Yoga Art (1975) emphasises.
Fig 1: Art the Integral Image, page 139
Fig 2: Art the Integral Image, page 140
Fig 3: Art the Integral Image, page 141
Fig 4: Art the Integral Image, page 142