There are a number of ways we might experience the heart. The feeling of love or the more profound flow of divine love. As an open space. As a flame. As containing a being the size of the thumb. As a vortex of energy. And as a lotus flower called Anahata with 12 petals. The symbol or yantra for the chakra is the Star of David seen on the Israeli flag; 2 overlapping equilateral triangles. This symbol is also said to represent the combined male and female, Shiva and Shakti.
But the lotus flower is not the flower of this article. Instead, we’re looking at the fleur-de-lis, the Lily flower. Though often considered a French symbol, it shows up in the earliest civilizations. This is symbolic of the three-fold nature of the center chakra: the triple flame, the holy trinity, and the tri-devi or three Goddesses who represent the three primary aspects of the Divine Mother.
To understand this, we need to look a little more deeply at our energy system. Aside from our more primary 7 chakras running up the spine, there are a number of secondary centers such as in the hands and feet. Two of these are known as Hrit (heart) and Manas (mind). They are non-intuitively located to the sides of the main chest chakra, between the shoulders and breasts. The three across has the effect of a sort of cross, marked by Christians who cross themselves. Left to right: Hrit, Anahata (centre), and Manas.
The energy flow of the 3 forms a fleur-de-lis pattern. However, this isn’t as evident until later as the primary connections to the secondary chakras come from above, near Ajna, the head chakra. After that is enlivened, then the connections from the side chakras to the center chakra become more noticeable.
Hrit (heart) is the female, love energy with 8 petals. It’s upper channel runs from the Makara point, just above the 3rd eye. When the kundalini breaks through the 3rd and final cap to reach Makara, it becomes stable and prepares for the final steps to the crown and awakening. At Makara, the connection to Hrit may be enlivened.
Understanding what is “heart” in this case is a little mixed. Hrit is where the spark of light initiates life in the body. It is the energetic seat of the physical heart. Some confuse aspects of Hrit with the main Anahata chakra, although one can experience Hrit aspects through Anahata due to their close relationship. I certainly feel love more in the centre. There also seems to be some confusion of Hrit with the Surya (sun) centre lower down.
Manas (mind) is male, power energy and has 8 petals. These can be seen as 8 ways of seeing the world, similar to an Enneagram but more light and dark. It’s upper channel runs from the Manas point (Manasthana) below the 3rd eye/head chakra and clairvoyance window and under the final cap. Thus, it will tend to be enlivened before Hrit. However, those on a more heart centered path may still feel Hrit more.
As I noted in the opening, there is a wide range in how the energy system is experienced. There are a number of ways for it to unfold in our awareness and what we experience of that will vary widely. This leads to the large range in descriptions. And then those without experiences gather and interpret, further extrapolating the ideas. The end result is the messy understanding of kundalini these days. That’s why I like to seek out the underlying process that demonstrates the various experiences.
But it’s also fascinating to see how many ancient and common symbols of our culture have deep meaning, below their currently recognized symbology.
Note: some of the detail of this article comes from the book Kundalini Vidya. While available on Amazon, its less expensive and more current via it’s source. The site is rather lacking in detail but the book is over 250 8.5×11 pages, full of illustrations and charts. Their specialty is helping people with problem risings.