Recently I finished a book on Animal Chakras and for the most part, the author took the seven human chakras and applied them to animals. Which, in my experience, works to some extent for mammals, and even many land-dwelling vertebrates. But beyond the simple placement of the chakras, the author also took the meaning and connections of each of the energy centers as applied to humans and simply overlayed them over the animal’s body.

The book in general seemed to be an oversimplification of animal chakras and energy work, something I’ve been working with since the mid 90s. In some cases, the author, an animal communicator, simply applied the ideas to her own work, the animals and clients she dealt with. The book focused on horses, dogs, and cats, common companion animals. And while I don’t think the author was completely wrong, I do think we need to not create such a human-centric view of the energy system and energy work when it comes to animals.

Animals love and animals grieve. They form close knit family bonds, and when coming from a less than ideal situation can have security and belonging issues. All of these occur much like they do with humans. However, animals, I’ve found, are also much more pragmatic about death and the loss of a member of their herd or clowder, or flock. They tend to live more in the now than humans do, though I’ve known fearful and reactive horses and animals, which would also indicate a connection with past experiences.

As energy workers, we need to be careful not to anthropomorphize our experiences with animals, just as those of us in the west need to be aware of how colonization has affected the way in which we look at other cultures and their beliefs. I’m reminded of the show Ancient Aliens, where everything that seems “beyond the primitive abilities” of a culture is chalked up to aliens. Of course it’s aliens, the show hosts say, because they cannot see past their colonial worldview to think that perhaps, just maybe, cultures that have gone before may have been more advanced than we were or came up with ingenious ways to build large monuments, that we, not living in their society, cannot imagine.

It’s the same thing with animal energy work. Just because we cannot imagine a different way of connecting, for example through the sacral chakra, or what the modern practice of spaying and neutering (which I 110% support, by the way. Please, spay, neuter and geld!), may do to the root and sacral chakras? (Have you thought, for example, what a hysterectomy or vasectomy does to these chakras, especially considering the ways in which ancient cultures thought about “vital essences” and their functions — but that’s a blog or even a Coop Dharma post for another time.?)

And what about the chakras of animals in the wild, of snakes and armadillos to think of a couple of members of our local wildlife, or even jellyfish or sea slugs? If you try to apply a human-centric chakra model to a jellyfish, you’re going to have even more problems, than the ones I’d mentioned earlier with companion animals.