One of my biggest issues with current Kundalini literature is that it is either not from direct experience (and this is abundantly clear to anyone that has actually experienced Kundalini), it is from a psychotherapeutic model which has distinct limitations in this realm, that it is new-age(y) and has no basis in what actual Kundalini experiences are like… or that it is from someone who has had a Kundalini stirring, or experience, or even an awakening but is still struggling with the lower layers of this (you can read about different Kundalini experiences here and the basic phases of Kundalini here).
It should, of course, be noted that there are “greater” or “further” or just slightly different experiences than I have had. One of my favorite authors on Kundalini is Gopi Krishna, and his autobiography (in my booklist) is the first that I read (after reading twenty or so books on K in the early days) that I actually knew that he knew what he was talking about, and just the fact that someone was so humble while having experiences such as this, while being a fully awakened individual, was something that I deeply admired (and still do). There are other books on my booklist by B.S. Goel (Third Eye and Kundalini) and Robert Svoboda (Aghora II) and Swami Muktananda (Play of Consciousness) that I highly recommend for anyone who is having a Kundalini awakening.
All that being said, I thought I would talk a bit about my personal, direct experience with Kundalini awakening…
I was always a bit of a strange child who felt things and saw things more deeply than others around me. I was also interested in writing, painting, reading, and utilizing my imagination so I was given the archetype “artist” so that others could readily explain what was different about me in childhood and high school (this still works to this day, now that I think about it). I naturally have always been really sensitive, have been easily able to travel through realms, to see through people, and to see and interact with things that are beyond “normal” sight or experiences (you catch my drift).
In my childhood and early adulthood this was really difficult for me. I was highly empathic, which meant that I picked up everything around me like a sponge. I also experienced headaches and stomach aches, which turned into migraines in my early teenaged years. It is hard to explain this to people without this ability, but I really had no idea who I was because I was always changing my emotions, my physical presence, and even my beliefs towards the dominant energy in the room. At the time, I had no idea I was doing this, why I was experiencing roller-coasters of emotion, why I had such difficulties sitting in class and being in crowds and grocery stores, and why I saw and felt what I did. I realized from an early age that what I was seeing and feeling nobody else around me did. I knew that what I saw and felt and was experiencing was out of the ordinary and made me different so I shut up about it so that other people wouldn’t find out.
My parents understandably took me to counselors and therapists. The best diagnosis they could come up with for me was seasonal depression. I was living in Minnesota at that time, and nowadays I wonder who in Minnesota doesn’t have seasonal depression. Although some of the therapy was moderately helpful, none of the therapists had the knowledge base to help me understand or work with what I was experiencing, or even were able to suggest that I might be sensitive and having difficulties because of those sensitivities. Mostly they did what therapists did– focus on the early childhood, relationships with parents, etc.
In my late teens I went off to college. At college I began having disturbing dreams about being torn apart by animals (you can read about dismemberment dreams here) as well as being eaten or visited by a large snake. Although a topic of a different blog, perhaps, I was experiencing simultaneous Shamanic awakening/calling and a Kundalini awakening. I began experiencing severe spirit-led initiations in 2000/2001. My sensitivities also began increasing, but because I was in college I was able to numb them, as well as the initiation experiences, through various substances. When I was in my last year of college I began receiving guidance (this was totally subconscious at this point by the way) and would randomly (or so I thought) start getting booklets from acupuncture schools and emails about Reiki classes. I only faintly remembered signing up to receive those things, and had no understanding about why I asked for them. My undergraduate degree was in English and Publishing, and I always thought (or knew) that I would be a writer– it was my consistent answer to people when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I graduated from college and moved with my husband back to the Chicagoland area. I began working in retail and doing store sets (basically setting up merchandise according to plans sent by corporate), and then got a job as an obituaries editor as well as took my first Reiki course. This broke something open in me, and I became obsessed… getting many Reiki attunements within a very short period of time (I think about ten within two years or so). I also signed up for massage school, Asian Bodywork school, CranioSacral Therapy classes, and Acupuncture school, and began my meditation practice and research into the occult again.I had been interested in meditation, magic/the occult, and mythology/fairy tales since I was very young, but as a typical teenager these interests ebbed and flowed, and although I had a knowledge base in them starting as a teenager or even a young child, I didn’t start actually having a consistent practice in them until my early 20’s.
If interested, you can read about the intense amount of education from physical sources that I received over a ten year period starting in 2002 here…
My Kundalini awakened. Although I can now see signs of it emerging prior to this, it fully erupted at the age of 23. At the time I blamed the Reiki classes, I blamed the meditations I was doing… I thought that there must be a sort of logic about this happening. All of a sudden I felt a huge volcanic blast going up my back into my brain and above my head. It was dizzying– I felt unwell for weeks after. I knew that something profound had change, had shifted, but I was in too much chaos, in too deep in the trenches of the process, to be able to understand anything about it.
My Kundalini erupted first more Pingala-oriented (which emerges to right of the spine and flows up to the nostrils and third eye- google for a picture, but basically it forms the shapes of the chakras along with Ida going up the spine) as well as the central column (Sushumna). At the point of the eruption I felt huge surges of heat and electricity in my body, my pulse rate increased from low 70’s to high 80’s (I was in Acupuncture school at the time, which involves a lot of pulse taking), and my fingers and toes began twitching and spasming.
Then my body began shaking and going into spontaneous yoga poses. I also occasionally experienced body locks, or bandhas, where a portion of my body (it began with my diaphragm, but then would move to my low back/kidney area/sacrum, heart, and throat) would spontaneously contract sucking all of the breath out of my body for periods of time. My migraines increased, and I began experiencing severe itching in my lower body.
I began to be unable to read, to think, and was deeply afraid of what was happening. I was also having a lot of material come up to process. At first memories from childhood, from teenager years, and then from my entire lifetime came up. This was like being in bed and watching a filmstrip of your life flash before your eyes, but also with spontaneous body movements and pain in the area where they were emerging from (memories, or unprocessed memories, are held in the chakras, certain areas of the body, and even the cells until they are resolved and when coming up you will feel pain in the area they are emerging from). This still continues to this day, but is more manageable, especially since I know what is going on and have learned to surrender.
After the first active cycle of Kundalini (the burst above my head) it returned to my lower body… my first chakra. I experienced a lot of heat in that area as well as a lot of emergence of issues held in that chakra. It was overwhelming– in some awakenings a story or a singular memory will emerge. This emergence was of lifetimes of held memories, traumas, ancestral history, my personal history, family issues… everything held in that chakra (well not everything, but a lot) coming up to clear at the same time. This caused me to basically be non-functional. But Kundalini energy is odd… at the same time that I was non-functional I was also hyper-functional, going to Acupuncture school, accomplishing what I was guided to.
Kundalini was very physically oriented, very heat oriented as it rose through my first three chakras. Although there were a lot of emotions that arose, specifically fear, the first three chakras and Kundalini processing energy through them created a lot of physical issues for me. My nervous system was consistently in “fight or flight” mode, my muscles would contract, specifically in the area where Kundalini was clearing blockage, and my thyroid, endocrine, and immune systems took a nosedive. I began having medical issues that no doctor could figure out, huge waves of chills (from Ida, the other side of the body opening up), and periods of time where I had severe insomnia and lots of energy and then another period where I couldn’t get out of bed due to fatigue. My migraines also increased during this time– where I might have had them once a month prior I now would have one once a week with the whole right side of my body contracting.
It was also during this time that I became intolerant of a lot of foods and having difficulty with my digestive system. I could no longer eat ice cream, or dairy, or spice/heat, or complex food (food with too many ingredients in one dish), and became severely allergic to chemicals and hormones in food. I lost a lot of weight in a fairly short period of time, and found that I needed to eat simple dishes (like rice with not much in it) otherwise I would get severe waves of nausea and vomiting. I experienced constant low-grade nausea, a constant headache, and dizziness during this time.
I also began to realize a lot of things about my life and my abilities and understandings of the world began to profoundly change. Around the age of 26 Kundalini began ascending and clearing past my lower three chakras and I began consistently feeling divine flow go through me. I was constantly aware of an ocean of energy within me and surrounding me.This feeling was flickering though, as I returned to processing and the more difficult aspects of the experience. But this flow was blissful, and expansive, and the memory of this flow got me through a lot of the more difficult times.
Once Kundalini cleared a pathway through the first three chakras quite a few of my physical symptoms abated. I began to feel flow through my heart (a bit) and into my throat, which was quite blocked. I also began feeling increased “top down” energies, which I had always felt, but increased from feeling energy going through my crown to feeling of a huge waterfall flowing through my crown. Both the energy going up (kundalini) as well as the energy coming down were greeted by a lot of blockage in my throat and third eye.