Several years ago I wrote a number of essays exploring metaphysical themes in Harry Potter. In the past, I have shared these at Harry Potter conventions, now I share them again here with you. I will post a new one each week.
Chakras and Horcruxes
The word Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “spinning wheel” or “vortex of energy.” These energy centers exist throughout the body, even in the hands and feet. However, the seven primary chakras are situated along the spinal column, the midline point of the body. They begin at the base of the spine and end just above the top of the head. The first documented record of the chakra system was found in the Upanishads, which are ancient Hindu scriptures. Each chakra corresponds to specific aspects of awareness, health and inner development. When our chakras are open, we live in state of spiritual balance and unhindered personal growth. When they are closed, there are blocks in our awareness, which can result in harmful attitudes and emotions, as well as various health problems. The openness and flow of energy through our chakras determines our state of health, balance and well-being.
In the Harry Potter universe, A Horcrux is a powerful object in which a dark wizard or witch has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality. These objects tend to be valuable trophies or objects of sentimental value. Creating a Horcrux gives one the ability to resurrect oneself if the body is destroyed; the more horcruxes one creates, the closer one is to true immortality. Creating multiple Horcruxes is suggested to be costly to the creator, by diminishing their humanity and even physically disfiguring them. The word Horcrux may be derived from the French dehors, meaning “outside,” and crux, meaning “soul.” In other words, “the soul outside.”
The seven horcruxes from the Potter books have links to the seven primary chakras.
The associations are as follows:
- Root Chakra: Tom Riddle’s Diary
- Sacral Chakra: Nagini
- Solar Plexus Chakra: Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring
- Heart Chakra: Slytherin Locket
- Throat Chakra: Hufflepuff Cup
- Third Eye Chakra: Harry Potter
- Crown Chakra: Ravenclaw Diadem
Let’s examine each of these in more detail.
ROOT CHAKRA: TOM RIDDLE’S DIARY
The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine, and its color is Red. The Root rules those issues related to self-preservation and survival, living on the material plane, providing for one’s family, security, stability, self-image and attachments to material possessions. It is also linked to the sense of smell and the element of Earth. Tom Riddle’s diary was a blank diary which Tom transformed into a Horcrux. The diary used its magical influence to possess and force Ginny Weasley to re-open the Chamber of Secrets, but it was destroyed by Harry Potter with a basilisk fang. In a diary we write our innermost secrets, our insecurities and fears, things we dare not share with others. We learn that Ginny had written in the diary, “Noone’s ever understood me like you, Tom…I’m so glad I’ve got this diary to confide in…It’s like a friend I can carry around in my pocket” (CS). Ginny wrote all of her deepest feelings and secrets in the diary, even her feelings of infatuation towards Harry Potter. Her emotional insecurities allowed the fragment of Voldemort’s soul within the diary to take partial control of her mind. Her Root Chakra was under Tom Riddle’s control. In Deathly Hallows, Hermione says about horcruxes, “While the magical container is still intact, the bit of soul inside it can flit in and out of someone if they get too close to the object. I don’t mean holding it for too long…I mean close emotionally. Ginny poured her heart out into that diary, she made herself incredibly vulnerable. You’re in trouble if you get too fond of or dependent on the Horcrux” (DH). When the Root Chakra is closed, like Ginny we feel insecure and fearful. Whatever security we derive from material things can become threatened. The diary was a source of security for Ginny. People who have feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt try to compensate for these feelings by acquiring, keeping and controlling material possessions, by becoming addicted to material things, much like Ginny was with the diary of Tom Riddle. It provided her with a false sense of stability and groundedness. The Root Chakra at the base of the spine is the home of Kundalini, or the “sleeping serpent.” When this Chakra is clear and balanced, the serpent energy Kundalini can awaken and begin its gradual rise.
SACRAL CHAKRA: NAGINI
The Sacral Chakra is located just below the navel, and its color is Orange. It is regarded as the basis of individual human existence, where our unconscious personality, previous experiences and mental impressions are stored. It is linked to the sense of Taste and the element of Water. It also rules matters related to lust, sex, passion, emotion, allowing buried material to surface, prejudices and personal hangups, emotional volatility and hypersensitivity. It is at the Sacral Chakra that we first see Kundalini beginning to rise. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word that means “sleeping serpent” or “she who is coiled.” As Kundalini rises up through the chakras, it uncoils like a serpent, until it reaches the Crown Chakra, fully extended. Kundalini is an expression of the life force, the “fire of spirit” awakening in the body. It lies dormant at the Root Chakra until is “awakened” through meditation, yoga or other spiritual practices. Kundalini energy is believed to be of female origin. It should also be noted that a serpent uses its tongue to perceive, or “taste” its environment, and many thrive in water. In the Potter universe, Nagini is a long, female snake belonging to Voldemort, with whom she had a special bond. Nagini was a Horcrux, and contained a fragment of Voldemort’s soul. Dumbledore says of Voldemort and Nagini, “I think he is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything. He certainly likes to keep her close and has an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth.” The word Nagini is derived from the Sanskrit word “Nagin,” which means ‘female snake’. The Nagini also appears in some Indian mythology as a “half-woman, half-snake” creature. Voldemort’s Nagini was rather cunning and deceptive, and seemed to understand how humans behave. These are qualities related to the Sacral Chakra. In magical lore, the Serpent guards the secrets of the Underworld, and is a symbol of the Shadow Self, the things we keep hidden from others. Voldemort had a special relationship with Nagini, as she was his companion and one of his horcruxes. According to Dumbledore, Voldemort had strong feelings for Nagini that he had not for anyone else. She was the one thing that he cared about. With Nagini, he had a telepathic and emotional connection, one that included the memories of his past, the mountains of ‘buried material’ and emotional instability that he fought so unsuccessfully to keep hidden and suppressed. Here we see many links between the serpent of Kundalini, Voldemort’s serpent Nagini and the Sacral Chakra.
SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA: MARVOLO GAUNT’S RING
The Solar Plexus Chakra is located at the belly area, and its color is Yellow. The Solar Plexus rules issues related to inner strength, self-control, letting go of self-inflicted restraints so that one’s true nature can shine through, personal power, self identity, and finding one’s purpose. It is linked to the sense of Sight and the element of Fire. When the Solar Plexus is out of balance, one experiences feelings of superiority, an inflated ego, and a hunger for power and status. On the flipside of this, there can also be insecurities about one’s self-image and self worth. In a magical sense, the Solar Plexus is one of the areas in the body where we sense energy. If we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, or around certain people, or in a place where the atmosphere feels a bit “off,” one of the first places we can sense this disturbance is in the Solar Plexus. There seems to be a strong connection between the Solar Plexus and the Third Eye Chakra, and an exchange of communication between the two. In the Potter universe, Marvolo Gaunt’s ring is yet another Horcrux, but it is also one of the three Deathly Hallows. The ring was an heirloom of the House of Gaunt, descendants of Salazar Slytherin and Cadmus Peverell. It is a gold ring inset with a black stone, (actually the Resurrection Stone but neither Marvolo Gaunt nor Lord Voldemort were aware of its existence), engraved with what Marvolo Gaunt thought to be the Peverell coat of arms, but was actually the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. The symbol consists of a triangle (to represent the Cloak of Invisibility), a circle (the Resurrection Stone), and a vertical line through it (to represent the Elder Wand). We will examine this symbol in detail in a later chapter. Marvolo Gaunt was very prideful in his assumption that his family was pure-blood. We read in Half-Blood Prince, Marvolo Gaunt says, “See this? See this? Know what it is? Know where it came from? Centuries it’s been in our family, that’s how far back we go, and pure-blood all the way! Know how much I’ve been offered for this, with the Peverell coat of arms engraved on the stone?” Marvolo was unaware that the stone in the ring was actually the Resurrection Stone. Over time, the ring found its way into the hands of Tom Riddle, who turned it into a Horcrux, and then hid it in the same place he had found it: the Gaunt shack. Dumbledore found the ring, and recognized its significance. When he placed the ring on his finger, he fell under the curse that Tom Riddle had placed on it. Dumbledore attempted to break the curse, a fatal one, but he could only delay it (with the help of Severus Snape), for one year. Before his death, Dumbledore placed the Resurrection Stone inside the same Snitch Harry had caught at his first Quidditch match. The snitch read “I open at the close,” and would only open and reveal the Resurrection Stone to Harry when he was about to yield himself to death. As Harry was about to be “killed” by Voldemort, he put the snitch to his mouth and said, “I am about to die,” and it opened. Harry then used the stone to bring back the spirits of James & Lily Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, who comforted and protected him as he fulfilled his purpose, offering his own life so that others could be free. By using the ring, Harry connected to his identity and personal power, letting go of everything, even his own life, so that he could realize his destiny. His Solar Plexus Chakra was now fully “open at the close.”
HEART CHAKRA: SLYTHERIN LOCKET
The Heart Chakra is located at the center of the chest and its color is Green. It is linked to issues related to our ability to love, compassion, forgiveness, hope and how we relate to others. This is the chakra through which we connect with others whom we love or have affection towards. It corresponds to the sense of Touch, the element of Air, and is very important in spiritual healing. It sits at the center point of the main chakra system, balancing the world of matter (the lower three chakras) with the world of spirit (the upper three chakras). Through the Heart Chakra, we open to and connect with harmony and peace. The health of this chakra determines the quality and power of love in our lives. When the Heart Chakra is blocked, feelings of jealousy, envy, anger and fear can result. Salazar Slytherin’s locket was a piece of jewelry originally owned by Salazar Slytherin that became an heirloom of his family. It was made of heavy gold, with a serpentine S in glittering green stone inlay on the front. The locket is on a chain, worn around the neck so that the locket rests near the heart. After descending down from Slytherin, it came into the possession of the Gaunt family, and Marvolo Gaunt treasured this heirloom of his pure-blood heritage along with the ring. In Deathly Hallows we read that Harry “…looked at the serpentine S, inlaid with glittering, green stones: It was easy to visualize it as a minuscule snake…concentrating on the letter S, imagining a serpent…Behind both of the glass windows within blinked a living eye, dark and handsome as Tom Riddle’s eyes had been before he turned them scarlet and slit-pupiled.” It should be noted that the color of Slytherin house is also Green, like the Heart Chakra, and its animal totem is the Serpent. In magical lore, the serpent guards the secrets of the Underworld and is a symbol of the Shadow Self. When Salazar Slytherin created the locket, he enchanted it so that only a Parselmouth like himself could open it. We learned earlier that those who have Slytherin qualities are in touch with their shadow self, their hidden natures. This enables them to connect with serpent energy and speak the “snake language” of Parseltongue. The Slytherin Locket had a negative influence on those who wore it, making them irritable, suspicious and angry. It had the most profound effect on Ronald Weasley. Out of the three (Harry, Ron, Hermione), it was Ron who was the most insecure and the most out-of-touch with his emotions and feelings. He had hidden many things within his heart, things that he would not acknowledge or deal with properly. When he first attempts to destroy the locket, all of these aspects of his Shadow Self come rushing to the surface. We read in Deathly Hallows just before Ron destroys the locket, a voice comes out of it saying, “I have seen your dreams, Ronald Weasley, and I have seen your fears. All you desire is possible, but all that you dread is also possible… Least loved, always, by the mother who craved a daughter… Least loved, now, by the girl who prefers your friend.. Second best, always, eternally overshadowed…” In the film version, the locket speaks, “I have seen your heart and it is mine.” The locket played on Ron’s hidden insecurities, and his fear that Harry and Hermione were in a relationship and that he, in Hermione’s eyes, would never be as worthy as Harry. Before Ron could destroy the locket and its influence over him, he first had to acknowledge his misplaced fears and insecurities, thus bringing his Heart Chakra back into balance and openness.
THROAT CHAKRA: HUFFLEPUFF CUP
The Throat Chakra is located at the neck region, and its color is Blue. It is often symbolized by an open chalice, and it is associated with the sense of Hearing, including psychic hearing. It is linked to the ability to communicate and self-expression, unhindered speech, the individual will, and speaking one’s truth. When the Throat Chakra is open, we have clear intention and decision-making skills, tactfulness and strength of purpose. We know who we are and what we want, and we are not afraid to speak up to defend ourselves or those around us. We are hardworking and loyal. If the Throat Chakra is closed, we are passive, untrustworthy, unreliable, unfocused and have no awareness of our own authority. We allow others to take advantage of us and we do not stand up for our rights or the rights of others. In the Potter universe, the Hufflepuff Cup was a magical item created by one of the founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Helga Hufflepuff. It was a small golden cup with two finely-wrought handles, and a badger engraved on one side. The Badger is the animal totem for Hufflepuff house, and this seems to be one of the primary links between the Cup and the Throat Chakra. Badgers are not afraid to make their presence known when they are threatened. They are tenacious defenders. If the Badger is your totem animal, it can teach you to fight for your rights and spiritual ideas. It has no problems with self-expression, boldly proclaiming its presence to those who may be a threat. We learned earlier that because of its digging ability, it has been considered by medicine women and Native American tribes to be an animal closely connected to the magic of herbs, roots and plants. Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak, says, “The jaws (of the badger) are the symbols of powerful expression. This ties the badger to mysteries of the “word” – particularly the magic of storytelling … This might be why stories are its symbolic means of communication. It is often easier for those with Badger Medicine to relate through stories than to have to do it directly.” We see here connections between the Hufflepuff Cup and the attributes of the Throat Chakra.
THIRD EYE CHAKRA: HARRY POTTER
The Third Eye Chakra is located at the mid-point of the forehead, and its color is Indigo, the color of the night sky. The animal associated with the Third Eye is the Owl. In esoteric terms, the Third Eye is an invisible eye that provides perception beyond ordinary sight. It rules our psychic and intuitive abilities, and is connected to all the elements. It transcends time and space, and it is through the Third Eye that we receive information from the astral realms. Astral Projection, Divination and Intuition are all abilities that are activated by the Third Eye. When visualizing this chakra in meditation, not everyone pictures an actual eye. Some see a star, a ball of energy, even a lightning bolt. The Third Eye is the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. When this chakra is highly developed, a person will have expanded spiritual awareness and insight, and is able to perceive and interact with the unseen realms. The Third Eye chakra is located on the forehead, between the eyes. In Philosopher’s Stone we read, “Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.” The Potter books never mention specifically where on Harry’s forehead the scar was located. The films place it above an eyebrow, but it seems more likely to be in the center of the forehead, at the location of the Third Eye. Throughout Harry’s life we see him experiencing both the positive and negative aspects of this chakra. From the very beginning, he has an awareness of things that others around him do not seem to have. He frequently interacts with the spirit realm, and uses visualization and intuitive skills. When Voldemort unsuccessfully tried to kill Harry, he left the scar and unwittingly imparted some of his dark nature, and some of his abilities into Harry, activating his Third Eye chakra. Harry was able to sense Voldemort’s emotions and see through his eyes. He also frequently had prophetic and clairvoyant dreams, seeing things that were happening that very moment. These are all things associated with the Third Eye. As the Potter books progress, we see Harry growing magically, spiritually and metaphysically. He becomes a wise and knowledgeable teacher, and a master of magic, what many today call an adept.
CROWN CHAKRA: RAVENCLAW DIADEM
The Crown Chakra is located just above the top of the head. Its color is Purple, though some see it as White. The Crown Chakra is our connection to Divine Wisdom, our consciousness in union with Divine consciousness. It is the mind of deity, and our higher self united with body/mind awareness. Our desire to experience the wholeness of life and Oneness with the Universe rests in the Crown Chakra. It is from here that we can find the ability to exist on all levels of reality. It is here that the Serpent Kundalini is fully uncoiled, and where the Spiritual Alchemist achieves a new state of enlightenment known as The Philosopher’s Stone. Characteristics of a balanced Crown Chakra are Understanding and Wisdom. In the Potter universe, the “Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw” was the only known relic once belonging to Rowena Ravenclaw, one of the founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was said to enhance the wisdom of its wearer, which is Ravenclaw House’s most treasured attribute. Etched upon its surface was Ravenclaw’s famous quote: “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.” The Diadem had a blue sapphire shaped like an oval. We read in Deathly Hallows that a Diadem is, “…a kind of crown. Ravenclaw’s was supposed to have magical properties, enhance the wisdom of the wearer.” The Crown Chakra is the seat of higher wisdom and the energy that comes from this wisdom. Indeed, it is referred to by many as the “Wisdom Chakra,” thus its connection to the Ravenclaw Diadem.