For those of you digging Anodea Judith’s framework, here are the basics on the crown chakra:
Color: purple (or clear/white)
Orientation: self knowledge (of the divinity of self)
Purpose: to understand (higher consciousness)
Rights: to know, to learn
From the above, we can begin to piece together how the crown chakra is the energy center that facilitates the feeling of the divinity within in connection with the divinity of All That Is. As compared to the third eye’s connection to the collective consciousness (the All in the One), the crown emphasizes the experience of unity, of oneness, of the One in the All. It is a two-way flow in and out (or “up” and “down”), from the heavens to ourselves and vice versa.
What is really important to emphasize is that for this center to be balanced, we need to be balanced within our entire being—meaning we have to be grounded in the lower chakras as well. This isn’t a matter of “transcending” the physical by meditating on a mountain 24/7, but about being able to come down off that mountain and mindfully chop wood, carry water as the human beings that we are.
The element of thought dominates this chakra, but what good are thoughts if they don’t eventually become things? This is also a good reminder of the importance of “right thought,” as the Buddhists put it, because thoughts do indeed flow through our entire chakra system, informing the vision we have of our future, the messages we speak internally to ourselves and aloud to others, the feelings we carry in our heart in relation to all of creation, the actions we take in the world, the emotions that we feel, and eventually the very tangible things and experiences that we manifest into our reality that directly affect our sense of safety, security, abundance, and belonging, etc.
It might not be so obvious upon first glance, but the enemy of thought is attachment, because attachment (to what we know and who we are because of what we think we know) is what shuts down our minds to opening to uncertainty and taking in new experiences. This is what I keep referring to as beginner’s mind. How can we grow if we are constantly standing in “I know”? We grow by being softening that stance into “(Maybe) I don’t know,” and therefore, “I learn.”
A sign of a balanced crown is the ability to perceive, process, and assimilate new information. These individuals are thought, intelligent, and aware. They are open-minded, which doesn’t preclude a healthy dose of skepticism. They are able to question what they don’t understand without being so defensive of currently-held views. Wisdom, mastery, a broad understanding, and a higher perspective are also hallmarks of balanced energy flow in this center. Being able to think for oneself gives each of us a stance of intellectual and spiritual autonomy, and from that position we can experience the true nature of our being and how we relate to the greater reality of the universe.
Traumas to the crown chakra include experiencing information being withheld (“Why do you need to know that?” “Stop asking so many questions!”), boring educational experiences (shutting down the delight all children naturally take in learning), forced religiosity, spiritual abuse (e.g., cults, sexual abuse from clergy and spiritual leaders, etc.), invalidation of beliefs, misinformation, and being forced to blind obedience.
Deficiencies in the crown chakra often relate to excess energy in the lower chakras, indicated by a propensity towards greed, materialism, and a tendency to dominate others. It is also manifested in spiritual cynicism, learning difficulties, rigid belief systems, limiting beliefs, and attitudes such as the “know it all” or the “need to be right” at the expense of everything else.
Excess in the crown, by contrast, is marked by a lack of grounding, including over-intellectualization, being too much “in your head,” spiritual addiction (always chasing the next spiritual high; being able to reach transcendent states but unable to maintain healthy relationships or pay the bills), confusion, overwhelm, dissociation from the body, and in extreme cases, psychosis. One very common sign of excess crown energy is when we work very hard on a project, and our head is so saturated with information that we don’t know how to proceed or even where to begin, because we can’t think straight.
Healing these imbalances depends on whether we’re dealing with a deficiency or an excess. In cases of excess where the problems is a lack of grounding, we turn to practices that help us connect to our bodies and to earth: exercise, spending time outdoors, consuming nourishing foods, or merely shaking our heads / dancing / doing jumping jacks and bringing that confused energy into our lower regions can do wonders for us almost immediately.
In cases of deficiency, taking time for spiritual practice (meditation, prayer), connecting to your inner wisdom, uncovering and working through rigid or limiting beliefs (via therapy, e.g.), or learning something new all help.