The Three Key Systems to Activate the Human Energy Centers


In Class 2, we surveyed the Subtle Bodies of the Human Being and the specific Energy Centers where the different Subtle Bodies “anchor” into the Physical Body. This included a discussion of the 3 Anchor Points of the Human Soul (the Astral Body) in the Head (Thinking and Consciousness forces), the Heart (Feeling forces), and the Hara / Lower Abdomen (the Will forces).

In Class 3, we introduced different systems of Initiation, each of which accesses these Energy Centers and applies them for higher spiritual development.

Now in Class 4 we introduce three key systems to activate the Energy Centers, based on specific directional patterns of activation. Please be aware that the discussion below is simplified, and many schools in both East and West blend the different approaches together in a variety of ways. Knowing these 3 basic systems will help you to understand how any specific school or technique is choosing to activate the human energy field and higher consciousness.


The Three Key Systems to Activate the Human Energy Centers Vesica Institute for Holistic StudiesActivating the energy centers from the Base chakra upwards is characteristic of many Eastern paths. This is especially associated with Kundalini methods, where the Spiritual Fire of Kundalini at the base of the Spine is awakened and conducted upwards in order to activate each Chakra in sequence, until the Energy Centers in the Head are opened.

In this approach, it is vital that the Physical Body and the energetic channels in the Etheric Body are clean and clear of blockages before the powerful Kundalini energy is activated to move upwards; otherwise there can be serious side effects from the Kundalini encountering energetic blockages, which may include being diverted into secondary channels which cannot handle the voltage of the Kundalini energy. Optimally the Kundalini energy is conducted up the Central Channel of the Spine (called the Sushumna channel in Indian Yoga) and not through one of the two side channels of the Spine (referred to as the Ida and Pingala channels in Indian Yoga) or other secondary energy circuits.

The disciple was also classically kept in an environment where they would not be distracted by sexual temptations, since the Kundalini energy rising up the chakras can easily be diverted into sexual activity rather than conducted upward to the key head centers. However some schools such as the Indian Tantric tradition (especially those of the “Left-Hand” path) would incorporate an enlightened and sacred approach to sexuality in the energy awakening process; in this tradition the macrocosmic Shiva and Shakhti polarities are awakened within the microcosm of the bodies of the Initiates, and merge together into the Blissful state of Divine Unity.

We discussed in our first class of this online course that Energy in our bodies, and our state of Consciousness, are two sides of the same coin: each can affect the other. The Bottom-Up approach is primarily an Energetic approach, which secondarily transforms the consciousness as the chakras are activated with the upward progress of Kundalini. The Bottom-Up approach is also a path which activates the Will Forces in the lower abdomen first, before engaging fully the consciousness forces of the head.


ExcerptfromClass4ofEssentialTeachingandPracticesofSpiritualScience 2 The Three Key Systems to Activate the Human Energy Centers Vesica Institute for Holistic Studies

Activation of the energy centers from the Crown Chakra downwards is characteristic of more recent Western approaches. The forces of higher consciousness in the Head are activated first, then the other chakras are activated in a downward moving sequence.

This approach is particularly found in esoteric Christianity with illustrations of the activation of Spiritual Awareness in the Human Being from Top-Down. This is shown with the Christ Being entering into the body of Jesus (represented by the Descent of the Dove of the Holy Spirit) from above his head, during the Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist.

ExcerptfromClass4ofEssentialTeachingandPracticesofSpiritualScience 3 The Three Key Systems to Activate the Human Energy Centers Vesica Institute for Holistic StudiesThe next event showing the Top-Down movement is found at the time of the Death of Christ on the Cross; at the moment of his Death, it is said that the Veil over the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Solomon (the Cubical Sacred Place in the Temple which held the Ark of the Covenant, which the public was never allowed to see) was torn from Top to Bottom; this indicated the end of the old “Veiling” of spiritual realities from human sight, with a movement from Heaven down to Earth to reveal the mysteries (just as the Christ Being incarnated from high spiritual planes into the physical plane, ie moving Top-Down, and thereby becoming visible to human physical sight).

ExcerptfromClass4ofEssentialTeachingandPracticesofSpiritualScience 4 The Three Key Systems to Activate the Human Energy Centers Vesica Institute for Holistic StudiesThis Top-Down approach is then shown at Pentecost when the Flame of the Holy Spirit ignites above the Heads of the Disciples, then activates the centers below (from the Crown center downwards).

Some modern Western approaches consider this Top-Down direction of activation to be the appropriate method of spiritual development today, now that we have entered the time when human higher consciousness and the “I Am” self-awareness has been activated (considered to be intimately connected with the physical incarnation of Christ by schools of Esoteric Christianity). From this perspective, the Bottom-Up Kundalini method is considered to be atavistic, a holdover of a method that was appropriate in former times but that is no longer desirable. However, this is a complex question and a modern spiritual scientist needs to consider this deeply before coming to any rigid conclusions. As is usually the case, both directions of energy movement work together in particular ways rather than one being wrong and the other being correct.

This Top-Down approach is consciousness based, which secondarily transforms the energy body as the chakras are activated with the light of higher consciousness. This approach is considered to not require the type of isolation from sexual temptation that the Kundalini Bottom-Up approach often featured in India, as in the case of Top-Down activation the higher consciousness is already fully active by the time the Sexual Chakra (Svadishthana, the Reproductive Chakra) is opened in the downward moving sequence.

This Top-Down method is sometimes referred to as “Reversed Kundalini” to indicate the reversal of the direction of chakra activation from that of the Kundalini Bottom-Up method. It also indicates the opposite direction of the Spiritual Fire which creates the Activation: the Top-Down activation uses the “Flame of the Holy Spirit” which descends from Above the Head, whereas the Bottom-Up activation uses the “Spiritual Fire” which is lodged at the Base of the Spine of every human being.


As described earlier, the Human Soul has three Anchor Points, at the Head, Heart, and Hara (lower abdomen). Whereas the Bottom-Up system starts at the Abdominal area, and the Top-Down system starts in the Head area, the Center-Out system starts at the Heart area. This is an aspect of Bhakhti Yoga in India, which focuses first on devotional prayer and the opening of the Heart energy; it is also common in a variety of other traditions.

Some schools use the concept of the “Assemblage Point”, which is a horizontal axis of energy which runs through the entire Heart Chakra, to provide a balancing orientation — and fundamental activation — for the entire energy body.

Just as the Bottom-Up approach works with the Fire of Kundalini at the Base of the Spine, and the Top-Down approach works with the “Flame of the Holy Spirit” from Above the Head, so the Center-Out activation works with the “Fire in the Heart.”

In the Rosicrucian tradition, Steiner’s “Six Basic Exercises” are designed to activate the Heart Chakra first, so that it becomes an organizing center which balances and harmonizes all of the energy centers and currents in the body. However the sequence of the exercises is also important, as Steiner himself often stressed. The first exercise works on a Lotus Petal of the Heart Chakra which is connected to the Head center (the Control of Thinking), the second exercise is connected to the Abdominal Center (Control of Will), and the third works on the Feeling life of the Heart itself. In this way, it can be said that the 6 Basic Exercises features both a Center-Out activation (they are all devoted to activating the Heart Chakra as a primary center of the body) and also a Top-Down Activation (the first exercise works with the Thinking of the Head Center).

Also in the Rosicrucian system, Steiner emphasized that the Head Centers can only be fully activated when they are empowered by the Heart Center; this manifests when a person experiences true unconditional Love, which “Etherizes” the Blood in the Heart. In practical terms, this means that the Etheric Life Energy in the Blood is released from the Heart to rise up as a Rose Stream of Light to enter into the Third Eye Center and create a deeper activation of the Head centers.


As mentioned earlier, the three systems described above are often adapted into different sequences by various schools and teachers. One of the most flexible approaches is the Chinese Taoist school of Internal Alchemy. The Taoist school, including many of its offshoots in modern Chinese Medicine and Chi Kung practices, is very clear about using both the Top-Down (“Heavenly Chi”) and Bottom-Up (“Earthly Chi”) energies. Many practices involve opening the Crown center first (related to Top-Down activation), to allow in Heavenly Chi before any other activities. There is also a strong emphasis on the importance of the Bottom-Up activation in the form of the “Microcosmic Orbit” which brings energy up the spine (the “Governing Vessel” in Chinese Medicine) all the way up to the top of the head, and then moves the energy to the upper palate of the mouth; by touching the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, the energy circuit on the front of the body (the “Conception Vessel” in Chinese Medicine) is connected to the energy rising up the spine. A complete circulation is thus formed, where the energy up the spine (Bottom-Up circulation) then flows down the front of the body (Top-Down circulation) and becomes a continuous energy flow pattern.

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