The fifth, or throat, chakra is perhaps the most misunderstood chakra – which is ironic since it is linked with understanding and being understood. Located in our throat, it is associated with speech, and our ability to communicate. But this chakra represents so much more! It is also linked to our ears, and our ability to hear – both physically and intuitively. It is the connection between our sense of who we are inside, and how we represent ourselves out in the world. In addition, it is the bridge between our lower chakras, where we play out most of our daily ‘human’ experiences, and our two ‘spiritual’ chakras (in the sense of the energies that move through them)– our third eye and crown.
One way that the complex nature of the throat chakra is reflected is in the element associated with it within classical subtle body systems – ether. While the lower four chakras are each associated with physical elements – earth (first chakra), water (second), fire (third) and air (fourth), the throat chakra element is ‘ether’, as in ‘ethereal.’ Within the historical systems that first defined these associations, ether represented the energy that bridges the physical and subtle realms – it both surrounds us and is in us. In modern terms, I think ‘vibration’ comes closest to this meaning, and certainly the throat chakra is deeply connected to vibration through sound – sound as speech, as music, and as simple tones.
Because the throat chakra can be a difficult one to fully grasp, I think one of the best ways to do so is by looking at how blocks or weaknesses in our throat chakra manifest in our lives:
Difficulty Speaking: Although there are many ways to communicate, speech is our primary means of doing so, and from an energy body perspective, it’s a function of our throat chakra. Difficulty speaking might come in any form, physical, linguistic or psychological. It might be a stutter, difficulty projecting our voice, feeling perpetually tongue-tied, or a fear of how others will react when we speak. Of course, any fear or anxiety we feel is most likely also related to at least one other chakra, but any problem speaking is also linked to the throat.
Trouble Expressing What We Really Feel or Think: This means through any means – writing, movement, art, music – not only speech. All of us typically have one or more ways that we best express our thoughts and feelings, but if we have no outlet for this, it corresponds to a throat chakra issue. We might have developed emotional blocks in childhood from parents or caretakers who dismissed our emotions, or asked us to lie (as often happens to abuse survivors.) We might have patterns of ‘people pleasing’, where all of our expression is filtered through an analysis of how others’ might react, inhibiting true self-expression. Another possibility is that we ‘overtalk’ – engage in constant meaningless chatter as a way of avoiding communicating how we really feel or think.
Deception Issues: This may mean we ourselves have difficulty telling the truth, especially when it’s a difficult truth. It can also mean we have difficulty discerning the truth – both within ourselves, and in others. We are prone to both self-deception and/or deception by others. Our throat chakra is not just about our ability to speak truth, it’s about our ability to recognize it – it’s our ears as well as our mouth, listening a well as expressing, on intuitive as well as physical levels.
Disconnect Between Our Inner and Outer Selves: Our throat chakra is a bridge between our inner and outer selves – who we feel we truly are, and how we represent ourselves in the world. If we feel we need to hide parts of ourselves from others out of fear or repression patterns, this is associated with a holding or even blocking of our throat chakra. This doesn’t mean we need to tell everyone in our lives all about ourselves in order to have an open throat chakra. A balanced and clear throat chakra is more about an alignment between our true values and how we live and express them.
Difficulty Integrating Spiritual Insights and Daily Life: Our throat chakra is also a gateway or bridge between our psychological and spiritual selves. Our lower chakras represent our physical body (first chakra), emotional body (second chakra), mental body (third chakra), and relational self (heart chakra). Our third eye and crown chakra are linked to our intuitive, occult, and spiritual levels of being. Our throat chakra serves as the bridge between these two groups of chakras, just as our neck bridges our torso and head. When it is blocked we may feel as if we can not integrate spiritual experiences and insights into our daily awareness. For example, we may feel peaceful, calm, and wise within meditation or prayer, but not experience an increase in these feelings when we are off our meditation cushion or away from a house of worship.
Physically our throat chakra is linked to our throat, neck, mouth, ears, jaw and
thyroid gland, so within energy medicine, problems with any of these are linked to issues with our throat chakra.
The following guided meditation will help you open, clear, and empower your throat chakra through several different approaches. First, we will connect with sound vibration by chanting ‘Hum’. Then we will focus on the downward and upward flow through all of our chakras, to strengthen the ‘gateway’ aspect of our throat chakra. We will affirm our throat chakra as a bridge between our inner and outer selves with a visualization, and finish with a sky meditation that draws upon this chakra’s connection to blue and the ‘ether’.
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