The intricate symbol for the root chakra or Muladhara in Sanskrit contains multiple images with linear meanings. Always illustrated as red — the color of vitality and awakening — it is governed by the element of earth and Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of vitality, destruction, and regeneration. Depicted as the “Master of Animals,” Lord Shiva governs the root chakra with the help of wise, powerful animals.
Animal symbolism associated with the root chakra
Historically revered as a symbol meaning wisdom and strength, the elephant represents the root, or Muladhara, chakra. In various spiritual traditions, from Hinduism to Shamanism, the elephant is symbolic of compassion, intelligence, confidence, and ancient wisdom. All of which are representative of the base chakra and the Kundalini energy it houses.
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The image within the first chakra symbol, the elephant possesses seven trunks — each symbolizing the seven treasures of the earth — as recognized by Ayurveda, the system of Hindu medicine. The seven treasures, crucial to sustaining life, are:
Majja (bone marrow)
The serpent is most the widely recognized image associated with the root chakra. As a symbol meaning wisdom and power, the serpent rests within the chakra coiled upon itself three and a half times. The three coils may represent the three states of consciousness as well as the past, present, and future. The half coil represents transcendent consciousness or time, depending on which interpretation you go with.
Symbols of the Awakening the Mind
Two remaining elements of the Muladhara chakra symbol are the lotus flower and inverted triangle.
The root chakra image is surrounded by four red lotus petals — each representing a different element of the human psyche, which are:
Housed within the root chakra symbol is an upside down triangle with a dualistic meaning. The most common explanation is the downward cone shape is indicative of the funneling of knowledge to the seed (the triangle’s point) out of which wisdom and spiritual awakening sprouts. From the other direction, the triangle’s sides are symbolic of the broadening of one’s consciousness.
Lizzy is editor in chief of Chakra Magazine and chakras.info. She is trained in several energy healing modalities including Reiki and Healing Touch. In addition she has spent many years studying ancient traditions such as the chakra system and Tibetan spirituality. She merges this knowledge with her passion for sharing information through journalism. Her mission is to offer accurate, up-to-date, reliable resources about topics that matter to readers with regards to the chakra systems.
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