Alright, who is on the staff at Pixar? I would like to shake your hand.
After watching Tangled two evenings in a row, it clicked — it’s a solar plexus movie.
Then I got to thinking about all the other Pixar films. Many of them fit into the chakra schema, as it turns out. This list is up for debate, so tell me in the comments what you think!
Root chakra: Coco
In Coco, Pixar explores the themes of family, belonging, and roots — literally back through generations. Energy work often taps into ancestral patterns, and Coco does the same. It describes a specific cultural perspective that nevertheless rings true no matter what faith or background you come from. It also really jives with my most fundamental understandings of family relationships in the afterlife.
The root chakra, of course, deals with tribes, family groups, and connectedness, especially in contrast to striking out on your own. Miguel believes that to be himself he must leave his family’s traditions, livelihood, and rules, until (spoiler alert) he finds out that he can lovingly accept them even as they lovingly accept him.
Deep reds and blacks in the scenery and settings as well as the skeletal Dia do los Muertos decor throughout the movie support the root chakra, too. Coco is an excellent movie for describing (or stimulating) the root chakra! If it makes you cry (as it does me, almost every time) breathe into those feelings and see if you have any ancestral patterns to heal or awaken.
Sacral Chakra: Inside Out
If your root chakra connects you to your “tribe,” your sacral chakra connects you to wider collectives, creativity, and expressing yourself. It’s often known as the chakra of sexuality and emotions, but it goes so much deeper than that.
Fundamentally, the sacral chakra is concerned with the energy of exchange. In Inside Out, Riley grows and learns through the flow of energies through emotions, which teach her to understand herself as a part of a broader social group than just her immediate family. Riley has to navigate shifting realities as her family moves halfway across the country, leaving her vulnerable and confused. After developing firm roots in one part of the world, Riley now has to learn the difficult skill of balance in newer, constantly changing environments. From living in a small, relatively stable community with familiar friends and hobbies, she has to adjust to living in a big city alive with opportunity and change.
For the first time, Riley has to view the world as bigger, and her emotions go through an inner uprooting until she learns to tap into that energy of exchange. Inside Out rightly and succinctly reminds us that feelings are complex. As we reach a certain age, we are tasked with the opportunity to express and feel our emotions with understanding and grace. The inner and outer journey of emotions from concrete to fluid sums up the sacral chakra perfectly.
Solar Plexus: Tangled
The sun imagery fromTangled matches the solar plexus chakra, which develops in our teenage years and represents our coming-of-age (which Rapunzle goes through in the film). The solar plexus teaches, “I am a unique individual with an important role to play.” As Rapunzle matures, she realizes who she is as an individual, learns to stand in her own power, and discovers her true identity as royalty (read: divine child of the Universe). And, most importantly, she learns to stand up for herself in the face of abuse. Essentially, she builds healthy boundaries with someone who has interpreted her identity for her her entire life.
Of course, from the beginning of the movie she is already pretty strong in her identity: she knows what hobbies she likes to engage in, she states firmly that she is staying in her tower by choice to protect her unique gifts, expresses her opinions freely, and is very clear on her goals and desires. Still, all of us could use improvement in this area, and by the end Rapunzle has become a role model for standing regally in her power. Rapunzle shows us that it’s okay to accept your unique gifts and share them with the world in your own special way, but it’s also okay to show unconditional love while doing so. She found the balance between confident and loving, without turning hard or cruel in the process of overcoming her challenges (read: abuse and trauma). Also, the sun imagery is deeply embedded in the film: the kingdom is named Corona, the sun is their emblem, it’s in the golden flower, Rapunzle’s paintings…it’s a solar plexus movie, through and through!
Heart Chakra: Up
The opening sequence of Up is often described as the most compelling love story of all time, and it’s all of ten minutes long. In Up, widower Carl Fredricksen’s heart chakra is very, very closed…and for good reason. Trauma leads us to close up the heart chakra for safekeeping. However, a closed heart doesn’t get us very far, in the end. Carl has to learn that, however safe it might feel, a closed heart chakra brings us no closer to our dreams.
The movie centers around Carl’s heart chakra, which (spoiler alert) is open by the end. The beautiful animation sequences, the lush green jungles, and the entire premise circle the heart chakra, illustrating how openheartedness is key to connection with others and the world around us. Dug, the golden retriever, epitomizes the heart chakra when he says, “I have just met you, and yet, I love you!” Dogs represent unconditional love, both on the symbolic level and also through their loving behavior. If someone hides under your porch because they love you, they have an enormous heart!
If Ellie, Russell, and Dug, (and, toward the end, Carl), represent open heart chakras, whereas the villain, Muntz, epitomizes a closed heart through greed. Carl, growing up as a timid child, was taught to open his heart through his relationship with Ellie, closes it for safekeeping, and then opens it again through the encouragement of Russell and his accomplishment of his dream to go to South America. Interestingly, energy experts are starting to view the heart chakra as an important chakra for manifestation, as your heart chakra energetically brings you what you send your love to — although the outcomes might surprise you, in the end. Carl ended up living his life dream because he had the courage, in other words, the heart, to do so.
Throat Chakra: Frozen
In Frozen, both Anna and Elsa must navigate their own complex identities by speaking their truths, which they learn to do in a variety of ways. Anna, as a more extroverted, vivacious character, initially seems to speak her truth readily but in fact has much to learn about setting healthy boundaries, navigating communication challenges, and knowing when to keep quiet and listen. Elsa, as a more introspective, quiet energy, holds back certain parts of herself that inadvertently burst forth when she can no longer hold it in — as is evidenced by her first big song, “Let it Go!” (a good belting throat chakra song if I ever heard one). Both of them have throat chakra work to do!
The subject of truth telling, truth withholding, boundary setting, (mis)communication, hidden pasts, and other throat chakra concerns begins with the first Frozen movie and continue through the sequel, which riffs on the theme. Not only do multiple characters learn to live their personal truths, they also learn to communicate with other characters, share their unique gifts, and transform their community through truth-telling.
Interestingly, characters who are not what they seem serve both protagonist and antagonist roles, illustrating that we all must learn to live our truth, in the end. Hans, Kristoff, the foreign minister, the trolls, Anna and Elsa’s parents…they all could use clearer communication skills. Things could have turned out much differently if everyone had just been more open with each other (although I suppose it wouldn’t have been a very long movie if they had…).
Side note: Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert from Tangled is a throat chakra character. He has the “gift of gab,” hides a secret identity, and clears his throat often. If I were working with him in a session I’d ask him if he had thyroid issues! The connection between the solar plexus and the throat chakra in the movie is interesting, as well.
Third Eye: Monsters, Inc.
James P. “Sully” Sullivan in Monsters, Inc. is a bright blue, introspective character, and his movie explores the “inner knowing” when something’s “off,” or not quite right in the world. Working for what turns out to be a (spoiler alert) corrupt corporation, Sully is the model employee…until he learns that everything is not what it seems.
After the big reveal, Sully uses his visioning skills to create a new company from the basic template of the old one, but in a way that nurtures, rather than jeopardizes, the well being of his fellow-creatures. From at first being regularly voted the Top Scarer, a prominent and front line role, he later becomes the brain trust of the organization, operating more in the background (presumably as the CEO). As leader of the new organization, Sully lets others’ talents shine through in the company through a more “behind the scenes” role that nevertheless supports the entire enterprise through his ability to imagine alternate realities. He uses his third eye first to uncover hidden corruption and then to envision a more efficient and nurturing business model.
The third eye chakra asks us to open ourselves to “missing” or “hidden” knowledge just outside the tangible realm but can be accessed by “connecting the dots,” or “putting two and two together” in ways that go beyond the obvious. Intuitive gifts, visioning, intention-setting, and other ways of asking “what if?” are right in line with the third eye chakra. Monsters, Inc., utilizes the color scheme and the power of the third eye chakra to show us how to trust our gut in any situation.
Crown Chakra: Soul
I’ll be honest — before I watched Soul, I knew it was a crown chakra movie. I actually watched it on purpose to finish this post, and I was not disappointed. Not only does the psychedelic guru Moonwind make a passing reference to the crown chakra in the film, the crown chakra is intimately connected with the very concept of, well, soul. The crown chakra represents our innate spirituality, our ability to recognize that we are all part of the Divine. Even the movie’s design is suited for the crown chakra, with deep purples and pearly whites, paired with an ethereal ambient soundtrack (combined with jazz, of course).
More importantly, Soul is concerned with universal consciousness, the idea that everyone is part of everyone else. The movie explores the “Great Before,” or where we were before we came to this Earth, which resonates with my beliefs about each soul having a mission and choosing, to some extent, the life path they walk in the physical realm. Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher, thinks his soul purpose is to play jazz piano, but (spoiler alert) he finds out that there is so much more to life than proving your worth by living your dreams. So much of the enjoyment life, in fact, is actually in the so-called “mundane” parts of being alive. Of course, I also resonated with 22’s certain reluctance to experience Earth life! And yet, in the end, I found myself experiencing, with her, that there is much to love about finding the spiritual in the supposedly un-glamorous elements of living. She saw the world through infant eyes, which, almost paradoxically, fits with the crown chakra’s call to Oneness.
Although not all teachings on the crown chakra explicitly tie this last chakra to a person’s “soul purpose,” to me, opening all seven chakras and being really deeply in alignment means that your true self will shine through, and that means being in alignment with your “spark,” to use the film’s terminology. The movie explores the idea of being one with life in every sense — not just “living our dreams,” but being truly, deeply alive. Many of us living in these Ascension times feel the call, deep within, to awaken our soul’s purpose by tapping into that universal Oneness. In the end, we are all just spiritual beings having a physical experience, and Joe Gardner learned that connecting with everyone and everything is the real reason for living.
Movie marathon, anyone?
Watching these movies assists me in assessing my own chakras and teaching others about how to develop good “chakra skills” (like setting good boundaries and developing one’s own unique gifts).
I suppose the real question is, why is Pixar so intent on making me cry? They’re good at it, somehow!