By Kathy Ryndak and Gord Riddell
The title of the book "The Man Who Tasted Shapes" by Richard Cytowic MD is a great descriptor for the neuropsychological phenomena known as synesthesia. Cytowic defines synesthesia as a "joined sensation - when two or more senses are automatically and involuntarily coupled such that a voice, for example, is not only heard, but also felt, seen, smelled and tasted."
This neurological concept has been around for about 300 years and first blossomed in the late 19th Century with the invention of colour music through the "colour organ". The notes of classical compositions were correlated to colour so one could witness the harmony or dissonance in the music which was projected through coloured lights. The idea was short lived however, due to the rudimentary state of light instruments at that time.
True synesthesia is a physical experience of the brain as it happens outside the body and is not just a product of the mind's eye. It is also a powerful concept that has been adapted to art through metaphor and artistic manipulation (such as coloured music) to intentionally fuse the senses resulting in a multi-sensory experience.
Synesthesia is just beginning to be adapted to the vibrational arts in holistic healing. In this article, we'll explore the many modalities which are associated with the senses that help to clear, activate and balance the chakras. We will even go beyond the 5 senses to include the 6th sense for each chakra. The sense of sight will be represented by colour and shape; smell by aromatherapy; hearing by sound/musical instruments; touch by crystals or movement; taste by herbal teas or juices; and finally the sixth sense by gifts of spirit.
When working with your chakras allow yourself to be creative and don't just limit yourself to one modality. Experiment by blending these modalities or following the recipes for "Chakra Synesthesia Potions" which will activate your chakras and enliven your senses. Depending on how you sense the world and on the current state of your chakras you will favour some of the modalities over others. Also, be intuitive - what works for you one day may not be as effective the next.
Base Chakra Blend
The base chakra is about feeling grounded, secure, safe and coming from prosperity consciousness. To access the base chakra, visualize the colour red in the shape of a cube. Breathe in the scent of myrrh and hold a ruby or hematite on your tailbone. Chant the seed sound "lam" to activate this chakra; stomp your feet to the beat of frame drum and shake rattles to get things moving. If you need to ground, drink beet juice. The base chakra's spiritual gift is our connection to Mother Earth and the instinct to know when we are safe or in danger.
The sexual chakra concerns the balance of your male and female energies, being in touch with your feelings, the flow of life and your sensuality and sexuality. As the artist Sark would say, "eat juicy mangos naked". Take up Latin or belly dancing. Shake a rain stick or an ocean drum to feel the ebb and flow of life. Just above your pubic bone, visualize an orange pyramid and chant "vam." This chakra's spiritual gift is intuiting when we have great chemistry or animation with another. Place a carnelian stone on this chakra and let yourself sizzle.
Solar Plexus Potion
Your warrior lives in this chakra giving you a sense of empowerment, self-esteem, identity, and boundaries. Start to move your warrior to the rhythms of an African djembe to feel your power. Chant ram and visualize the colour of a yellow sphere to anchor the energy of this chakra. The scent of juniper will balance this chakra and grapefruit juice or peppermint tea will perk things up. Honouring your gut feelings or hunches is the gift of this chakra.
Giving and receiving love, harmony and balance as well as self-love are the qualities of this chakra. Reiki or giving someone a healing massage will balance this chakra. A rose quartz necklace will help to keep your heart open. Visualize the colour green with the shape of a crescent moon at your heart and chant "yam". The music of the flute, a soft jingle of bells or the angelic music of a harp fosters a softening of the heart. When you want to come from a loving space the scent of geranium helps as well as drinking rose petal tea. The spiritual gift of this chakra is clairsentience or an intuitive feeling about someone. Now of course red wine, as the French know, is good for the heart in more ways than one.
Throat Chakra Tonic
The part of you that is creative, expresses and has a voice lives in this chakra. Turquoise, a popular Native American stone helps you to open up these abilities. Visualize the colour blue in an inverted pyramid at this chakra and chant "ham". Try blowing an ocarina whistle on another to help them open this chakra. Chamomile tea with honey will relax your vocal chords to sing. The spiritual gift is clairparlance or inspirational speaking. Visualize a field of lavender to take in its scent.
Third Eye Energizer
Our brow chakra bestows us with intuition, imagination, clarity and vision. Lapis Lazuli, a stone of the ancient Egyptians will help you to develop these qualities. Chant "om" while visualizing the colour indigo in the shape of a pentagram at this chakra. The scent of "immortelle" reminds us that our souls live forever. The Tibetan sound of tingshas will help you to clear a foggy mind. Its spiritual gift is clairvoyance - receiving divine guidance in the form of images. To enhance contemplation, sip some black berry tea.
Crown Chakra Connector
Our connection to the Divine, our higher self and higher purpose are the many facets of this chakra. Amethyst, chanting "ng", visualizing the colour purple within the shape of an oval will stretch you to greater heights. The scent of frankincense and the otherworldly sound of crystal singing and Tibetan bowls will also take you there. Spring water helps us to purify and linden blossom tea assists in entering a meditative state. The gift of this chakra is claircognizance or an inner knowingness. As you can "see", working with the chakras does not have to be just a spiritual experience but is far more interesting when we embrace and blend the six senses. "See me, feel me, touch me, heal me" by "The Who" ought to become holistic practitioner's anthem to best describe the healing powers of the synesthesia experience.