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The Wisdom of the Chakras
“The Wisdom of the Chakras, Tools for navigating the complexity of life,” by Ellen Tadd
“What better place to review this book?” As I write this review I am actually in the sky – in a passenger jet aircraft. This might be reminiscent of that open-crown-chakra feeling were it not for the cramped quarters and air pressure against my eardrums. Yet here I am, flying – soaring, if you will.
Last summer I attended one of Ellen Tadd’s workshops in Boston. During some of the exercises I received images as sometimes I do when in a deeply meditative state. I took this as an indication that Ellen is an excellent spiritual facilitator, leading me to my interest in her book. Yet, though I did find the book interesting, I found the process of reading it interesting, too.
After circumstances delayed my receipt of it from the publisher, events continued to interrupt my reading of it. I had experiences that I believe furthered my progress on my spiritual path in the mean time, so at the end of the book I find myself in quite a different place than at the beginning. Like Ellen, I believe that everything happens for a reason – for example, that I should finish this book after these experiences, on this flight, and begin, only now, to write this review.
Ellen takes a non-traditional approach to the chakras, looking at them from the top down instead of from the bottom up. The logic of the tradition is revealed in Ellen’s writing – the topmost crown chakra is the chakra of spontaneity whereas the bottom-most base chakra is the center of order. One could argue it is better to develop the center of order before one concentrates on the center of spontaneity, but in Ellen’s view the advantage to learning about the crown and third eye chakras first is that these top two chakras are key to the health of all the others.
For the most part, “The Wisdom of the Chakras” is a clear and concise owner’s manual for the chakra system. A section is devoted to each individual chakra with good and effective parts descriptions, troubleshooting advice and exercises for improving their performance. Ellen adds generous personal examples from her practice and the practices of others to illustrate her points, adding a valuable personal perspective. She takes for granted the readers’ belief in the chakras – a good thing because proof of the existence of the chakras is really a completely different topic than their care and use.
And really, belief in the chakra system is not necessary to benefit from Ellen’s work. As the author says, the chakra system is a tool for spiritual development. As described in this book, the chakras represent our qualities of spirituality, receptivity, emotion, harmony, identity, and executive functioning. To separate these qualities into cubby holes (i.e. chakras) for the purpose of considering them individually is a good exercise even in the absence of spirituality.
“The Wisdom of the Chakras, Tools for navigating the complexity of life,” Ellen Tadd, Copyright 2010, Lantern Books