This week, I dreamt I was bitten by a snake. I associate snakes with the regenerative powers of the feminine and to Shakti, the great feminine energy of the cosmos. However, I still researched my dream to understand the snake a bit further. I read that the snake is a reminder of my own sexual being, and that to embrace, explore, and enjoy my sexuality is natural and necessary. This explanation of the snake’s symbolism sums up svadhisthana, the second or sacral chakra.
Svadhisthana chakra, associated with the water element, is about movement, flow, sexuality, pleasure, desire, and creativity. At the first chakra, we root down. We find stability and learn to rely on the intuitive support of our inner knowing. The second chakra asks us to tune into our flow, into our desire, our sexual nature, and our desire to create—we move from the place of inner knowing to an awareness of the world around us.
The second chakra develops at around six to eighteen months of age, the time when a person begins to recognize that they are separate from the world around them. At this age, children discover their limbs and their ability to move unassisted. They begin to independently explore their environment.
Svadhisthana chakra, the “dwelling place of one’s self,” is located between the genitalia and the navel, and is depicted as a six-petaled lotus flower. At the base of the lotus flower is Makara, the alligator—an animal able to dive into water or sit on the shore. Vishnu, the Lord of Preservation, and Rakini Shakti sit above Makara, governing this chakra.
When the world is out of balance, Vishnu changes shape and arrives in the world to bring it back into balance. During the world ages, Vishnu is believed to have returned in many forms including a fish, a turtle, a boar, a prince, and Buddha. Vishnu’s energy works to bring us back to a state of equilibrium, so we function from our most radiant self.
Rakini, the Shakti or Goddess energy of this chakra, has two heads to represent the duality between one’s internal landscape and the external environment. Rakini represents the inner fluidity that allows us to move seamlessly with the duality we encounter everyday: light/dark, night/day, good/bad, push/pull. When we learn how to live in our natural flow, we connect our inner world with the outer world around us, and we connect with inner joy and happiness. To activate happiness, the essence of Rakini Shakti, chant this mantra silently or aloud: Om Rakini Namaha.
In our own lives, we are constantly falling off balance. We become rigid, fearful of change, lack of desire, guilt or shame, or inflexible in body, spirit, and attitude—all signs of a closed second chakra. Or we can become excessively emotional, oversensitive, or act out sexually, feed addictions—the signs of an excessive second chakra. When you are feeling off-kilter, ask yourself: How do you feel disconnected? How often do you repress your emotions? Do you feel shame or guilt around sex? Do you respect other people’s boundaries and need for space?
We need to find a balance between our inner needs and external conditions. We must change, move, partake in our desires, enjoy our bodies, and recognize healthy boundaries in our own lives. As we fall off balance, Rakini and Vishnu are the awakening forces that jolt us into action to find balance in our lives again.
Whether consciously or not, when our second chakra is open, we move toward our innate desires—what we most want in the world. This is the chakra that helps propel us and move us into this world with fluidity, savoring the experiences on our path.