Chakras can be viewed as “gateways” in the body through which subtle energy flows. These gateways, or nodes, are also points at which the subtle (or astral) body and the physical body are connected. When energy flows freely through the chakras, all is well, but blockages can lead to dis-ease.
The word chakra comes from ancient Sanskrit and means “wheel” or “disk” with the implication of spinning or turning. According to Hindu tradition, the energy of the body is regulated by seven major and twenty-one minor wheel-like energy vortexes or chakra points located along a meridian. Chakras are visualized as wheels that spin quickly in a healthy body or as flowers that open to reveal balanced energy.
The body energy that the chakras regulate is called the chi or prana. Energy enters the body through the crown chakra and flows down through the other energy centers. Blockages in the chakras cause this energy to become stagnant in certain areas of the body and this is believed to cause illness. These blockages can be cleared using various means, including meditations, acupuncture and acupressure.
Many Western Magickal traditions, including many Wicca and Witchcraft traditions have adopted the chakra system into their practice, incorporating “opening” and “closing” of the chakras into ritual, to ground and center and to protect against psychic attack, (A good example of this is illustrated in the book The Inner Mysteries: Progressive Witchcraft and Connection to the Divine by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone.) though this practice is met with growing controversy with regard to cultural appropriation. Those cunning folk called to be healers use chakras in the manner more typical of Eastern tradition.