Spring 2007; Berkeley California.
the chakra lab
Paratheatre lab facilitated by Antero Alli
March 12 through April 30, 2007, in Berkeley.
Eight Monday Nights, 8pm - 11pm
This non-performance oriented lab represents advanced paratheatre work. Focus is accessing, embodying and giving physical and vocal expression to each of the eight chakras, or energy centers (seven in the body, one above the head). We looked to the direct experience of the energy within each chakra to guide us, rather than any preconceptions of its meaning or function as described in books. Each chakra was explored in the following week-by-week sequence:
1, 5, 2, 6, 3, 7, 4, and 8.
SYLVI ALLI, JOJO RAZOR, NICK WALKER, JULIAN SIMEON,
ANTERO ALLI, JOHN DOYLE, ROBIN COOMER
CHAKRA LAB REPORT
by Antero Alli
4-part Lab session structure
The internal landscape this lab traversed has been amongst the more subtle of my paratheatre experiences so far. Subtle, as in detecting the faint emanations originating from the body's own leylines and power spots, the chakras. These energies cannot be forced or manipulated. Great receptivity is required just to begin detecting these emanations and why this lab constitutes advanced paratheatre work (and why all the participants are seasoned vets). The space was dark with our only source of illumination, single candles at the north and south walls.
A 4-part lab structure emerged during our first week (the root chakra) that I applied to each of the following weeks, making slight adjustments to accomodate the moment. Each session's aim has been to explore that week's chosen chakra towards its embodiment and expression in movement, sound and gesture.
After the 40-minute physical warm-up of each weekly session, I asked everyone to prepare their personal area for that week's chakra. From no-form, we projected that chakra into our area, stepped inside and waited to register the emanation. Sometimes the emanations hit right away; other times, we had to show patience. This first ritual phase involved allowing that chakra's emanation to expand from its originating point throughout our entire body towards its full-on embodiment.
The second ritual phase of this Chakra lab structure involved a group polarity set up to accelerate the spin of that chakra. In the first week (Chakra 1), we worked with the polarity of Safety and Danger; the second week (Chakra 5), it was Listening and Calling. In week five (Chakra 3), we engaged the polarity of "earth-body" and "dream-body" as experienced through the solar plexus.
The third ritual phase of each session had to somehow serve and challenge the activated and recently opened chakra. This phase took on different forms each week depending on the specific chakra.
The fourth ritual form involved designating the ritual space to the "realm of the god, goddess or source" of that chakra. The intent here was to enter the space (from no-form, naturally) and find relationship with that chakra's source through sound, movement, geasture and prayer.
After the final ritual, we always met in a group circle to share our impressions if we so desired.
Personal impressions and notes
Note: links to chakra information were inserted after each
ritual session and never used to define or guide the experience
Week one; root (1st) chakra. Moving across the space as if under the skin of the earth. I felt enveloped and empowered, as if the skin containing me was also propelling me across the surface of mass; gravity as energy source. I discover the root chakra as "foundation of all existence" and its presence expressed as love.
Week two; throat (5th) chakra. Listening and Calling. Rapture erupts and ripples throughout my body (circuit five) as I commit to total listening. The call was like a signal transmitted in the fog (a lighthouse?) and this developed into an abstract transmission of my "calling"; a purposeful tone. Listening and calling depend on each other; they collapse without the other.
Week three; spleen (2nd) chakra. Group polarity of "what is mine" and "what is not mine" were quite charged for me, yielding a strong felt sense of a legacy and dignity earned in this life so far. In the "not mine" area, a sobering awareness overtook me of personal limitations around what I was not here to do or to become.
Week four; pineal (6th) chakra. I discovered the violence of vision (clairvoyance, prophecy) without compassion. I gave myself over to its fierce, forceful directives; sudden and fast movements, sharp rhythms, loud clapping of hands, short bursts of shrill shrieks. I began tempering its overwhelming power through gradual acceptance of and compassion for myself and others.
Week five; solar plexus (3rd) chakra. The group polarity of Triumph and Defeat revealed the triumph of Great Spirit and the defeat of whatever resisted it towards a refreshing revelaton of power that belonged to nobody. I suggested an additional polarity of Earthbody and Dreambody which was for me a powerful exposure of their interconnection; finding one within the other. I experience sheer delight navigating the ritual space guided solely by the vibrating fibers of my solar plexus.
Week six; crown (7th) chakra. Vertical source jogs are used to align with the crown center. After the warm-up and personal area chakra embodiment, the space is divided between "Infinity" and "Identity" (not a polarity), with group no-form along the west wall. And then between "Entity That I am" and "Creature That I am", with group no-form along the east wall. Passing between these zones yield such depth, energy and grandeur that words cannot explain. Simply astonishing. Infinity expands everything, while identity captures strands of that luminosity and creates forms, melodies and movement designs within its vibrating containment. The final ritual of "god or souce of the crown center" brought me to my knees after ecstatic vertical communion.
Week seven; heart (4th) chakra. Explored realms of the "broken heart" and "healing" (not a polarity) where I found a love renewed after letting go of love that meant nothing to me anymore. The second pass into healing revealed my unexpected role as an initiate executing the power of healing in others. The group polarity of "the heart's desire" and "the heart's remorse" proved instructive, especially around finding workable forms in the latter that allowed me to participate more consciously in remorse as conscience-building ritual. Moving with and as "the Presence of Love" throughout the night reminded me of what I am truly made of -- by expressing myself, I am expressing love.
Week eight; the 8th chakra (1-5 feet above the head). After our physical warm-up, we individually explored the embodied expression of chakras one through seven in our own personal areas. What unfolded for me was an intense initiatic serpentine eruption. With all seven chakras now opened up, we stepped into the group polarity of "Embodiment" and "Disembodiment"; this exposed for me the out of body context of the 8th chakra, where consciousness slipped out of linear time and drifted towards nonlocality.
Then, we formed a group no-form circle (backs to center) while postulating a sphere suspended one to five feet above the group circle. I suggested that we fill the sphere with either gold, silver or violet energy (in accord to our own preference) and then, draw a line of this energy down through our crowns to fill and animate our bodies. This ritual was for me the most profound. Molten gold light flowed through my bones, my veins, my intestines, my muscles, as I gasped for air while singing praises to the source of this mysterious power.
We then relocated to the periphery of the space, initiated the hollow no-form technique while designating the entire space to the sphere itself, and then re-entered the space to navigate through the ephemeral sphere of energy now expanded to fill the entire room. This ritual felt like a subtle integration of the 8th chakra, a kind of formal acknowledgement and assimilation of its presence in my life.
In the group circle that culminated this final lab's session, everyone confessed to having accessed the 8th center in some way or another. Many stories were shared. A shared gratitude was also conveyed for the commitment we all demonstrated these past eight weeks, especially to such subtle energy sources and their embodiment in physical and vocal expression.
Previous Lab Reports
"Paratheatre -- F.A.Q."
infrequently asked questions
"State of Emergence"
a paratheatre manifesto by Antero Alli
articles on paratheatre
by Antero Alli and others