The Secondary Chakras

the Major chakras (front view)
illustration from Barbara Brennan, Hands of Light, Bantam Books 1987, p.44

The secondary chakras are the chakras described by Theosophy, the New Age movement, Christopher Hills, Barbara Brennan, and many others.   Unlike the archetypal Primary chakras they have a specific form (usually described as vortexes of energy), colour and a specific precise location in the auric bodies (although these qualities will vary according to the individual).  These chakras are etheric and pertain to the subtle physical being, which includes not only the ordinary everyday consciousness but even psychic, occult and many transpersonal and mystic states.

List of Secondary Chakras (front and rear) and psycho-auric zone each pertains to.

psycho-auric zone
rear chakras
(governor channel)
front chakras
(descending channel)
Back of Head
upper forehead
Indu /forhead
Manas /forehead
Mouth of God
Intuitive Feeling
Back of Neck Throat
Base of Neck Base of Throat
Shoulder Blades
Solar Plexus
Door of Life
Navel / Sea of Ch'i

The Secondary chakras (front and rear) according to Barbara Brennan and Mantak Chia

The Chakras according to Barbara Brennan
The chakras located at the front (feeling) and rear (will) of the body, as described by Barbara Brennan, .  The psychological characteristics of each chakra are emphasised, but there is no conception of a circulation of energy. The idea of an energy axis down the midline of the body, rather than along the spine, is not found in other books and may be a result of artistic (mis)interpretation.
diagram from Hands of Light, Bantam New Age books, 1988, p.46.
The Microcosmic Orbit

The microcosmic orbit showing the yin (descending, in black), and yang (ascending, flame) points which can be equated with the Secondary chakras.  This is a dynamic conception involving the circulation of Ch'i energy.  However there is little emphasis on the psychological aspects of these centers.
diagram from  Mantak and Maneewan Chia Awaken Healing Light of the Tao (Healing Tao Books, 1993), p.170. 

The secondary chakras can be awakened into a rhythmic microcosmic orbit through meditation and disciplined practice (this is the initial stage of Taoist Nei Tan or Internal Alchemy).   This microcosmic orbit - called the Circulation of the Light - is actually (I believe) the equivalent of the macrocosmic cycle of evolutionary metamorphosis, as described in theosophical and anthroposphical teachings (Rounds, Root Races, etc).

In occult, spiritual, and New Age literature the secondary chakras are almost always confused with the Primary Major Chakras.  This confusion is due to the imperfect state of esoteric knowledge at the moment (equivalent to science in the 16th or 17th century). In fact the two types of chakra are quite distinct and easily distinguished.  The following table gives some contrasts:

Primary Chakra
Secondary Chakra
Inner Being (Archetypal) Outer Being (Etheric)
No spatial location except by analogy Spatial location along front and rear midline of body
Vertical (rising) orientation Cyclic (rise along back, descend along front)
Stylised (Tantric) iconography - lotus flowers Clairvoyantly described as vortexes
correspond to mantric letters, planes of consciousness, deities etc correspond to subtle body / aura (Barbara Brennan) and psychological types (Christopher Hills) 
non-rainbow colours
(colours usually red, white, blue, smoke etc)
usually rainbow colours
(although this modified in higher bodies)
Heart Chakra locus of Soul/Higher Self (Jivatma) Heart Chakra can channel love but 
not the locus of soul
 Kundalini located in the lowest chakra (Muladhara) No Kundalini (although Kundalini-like energy, if poorly activated, may flow through, reading to possible psychosis and other dangers - c.f. Gopi Krishna's writings on the dangers of Kundalini)
Chakra inactive until awakened through yoga Chakras active during everyday life, may be open, 
blocked, or closed
Chakras never at front of body - energy never descends Chakras sometimes represented e.g. Theosophy, at front of body, sometimes energy descends down front, in some New Age visualisations you are told to raise the energy along the front of the body!!!

Types of Chakras

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 24 May 1999, last modified 24 November 2005