Ajna the third-eye chakra: the key to vision

By Todd Mangum


Location: between the eyebrows.

Governs: circadian rhythms.

Main issue: intuition.

Externalizes: as the pineal gland.

Element: light.

When balanced: we feel imaginative.

Color: is a harmonic of INDIGO.

Key words: vision, seeing, sleep, dreams, trance, clairvoyance, color, rainbow, psychedelic, holographic.

Influences: eyes, nose, sinuses, forehead, occiput.

Deficiencies:  manifest as hopelessness, despair and a lack of vision and insight.

Excesses:  appear as hallucinations, schizophrenia and manic behavior.

Imbalances:  manifest as sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, frontal headaches, mood disorders, sleep disturbances, insomnia, blindness and eye diseases such as conjunctivitis, keratitis and retinopathy.


Through the fifth chakra we experienced the vibrations of sound. Through the sixth, carried on the vibrations of light, we can transcend physical limitation and journey to other dimensions and realms. Here, through meditation, visions and dreams we can summon the power of color and light.  Cultures throughout history have understood this possibility. Since the beginning of time shamans have, with the aid of totem animals and psychoactive plant allies, and through dancing, drumming and music, opened their third eye seeking enlightenment.

The Sun continuously bathes Earth with its entire living electromagnetic light spectrum. These emanations are both information and energy. This spectrum includes the intensely powerful, high frequency, cosmic, gamma, X and ultraviolet rays on one side and infrared, micro and radio waves on the other. In between ultraviolet and infrared we have the colors of the rainbow, from lower energy red on through orange, yellow, green, blue and indigo to higher energy violet.

How is it we presently fear something so much that energizes every cell of our being, that we in fact owe our very existence to? Extreme sun exposure certainly has its consequences, but now people shield themselves in every way from sunlight with creams, glasses, hats, clothes and staying inside. I do not believe in the inherent toxicity of the sun but instead think we have somehow polluted the effects of its rays the same way we have polluted everything else. Natural light, fresh air, pure water and clean food are the essentials of life.

Stop and think: Do you really believe talking on your cell phone, covered in chemical sunscreens driving 60 miles an hour is safer than a modest amount sunlight?

The endocrine gland which interfaces with the sixth chakra is the pineal gland. The size of a pea, it is located in the geometric center of the head in a cavity known as the third ventricle of the brain. In some animals the pineal is still located very near the surface of the forehead and is directly influenced by light radiation. In humans, the influence of light is mediated through the retina of the eyes and propagated along a complex nervous pathway to the pineal gland.

The pineal secretes the hormone melatonin which is responsible for synchronizing our internal rhythms with those of the natural world around us. Melatonin affects virtually every cell of the body. It plays a pivotal role in regulating hormonal levels, sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, immunity, reproductive capacity and longevity.

Melatonin is a potent antioxidant and has been used in numerous therapeutic regimens from treating cancers to preventing cardiovascular disease. Melatonin secretion is inhibited by light and stimulated by darkness. Levels are normally low during the day and begin to increase in the evening, reaching their peak after midnight.

Throughout life, melatonin production reaches its peak during early childhood and then declines.

Melatonin’s most familiar and popular usage is for the treatment of insomnia. It has been called “nature’s sleeping pill.” The amounts needed to successfully treat insomnia vary widely. Some people don’t respond at all. Recommendations range from 300 micrograms to 10 milligrams. There is no universally accepted dosage or schedule for its long-term use. One milligram, however, is generally considered quite safe.

Melatonin has also been used extensively to minimize the effects of jet lag. Three milligrams taken the first three nights one hour before bedtime at your new destination has been shown to be the best regimen.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression which occurs most often in late fall and throughout the winter. Melatonin was mistakenly suspected as the cause of SAD. It was assumed that the longer periods of darkness increased the production of melatonin which then caused the depression. The real problem is an insufficient exposure to bright morning light which stimulates the brain to produce the mood-elevating neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

With our increasing photon phobia, SAD may be an increasing cause of depression all year long. The cycle of production of both melatonin and the neurotransmitters can be disrupted by stress, many medications and erratic sleep schedules. Chaotic electromagnetic fields from computers, power lines, cell phones and microwaves all can be problematic. Anything which requires electricity to power it will generate an electromagnetic field. Luckily most gizmos don’t pose any problems unless they are within inches of the body. This is why sleeping under electric blankets or very close to power cords and outlets is considered unwise. Electrical appliances with spinning motors, like fans, however, can generate fields which can radiate several feet or more, depending upon the size and type of the motor.

Those who are particularly prone to SAD can suffer not only from insufficient sunlight in any season but also from an unbalanced spectrum of light emitted by most indoor lighting. Regular florescent lighting is especially problematic for those who suffer from SAD. Fluorescent lighting has been shown to increase the incidence of problems from headaches to ADHD.

The best treatment for SAD, and a fine idea for most everyone else, is getting outside each morning for 30 minutes of bright unfiltered light exposure. If this isn’t practical or possible there are special light boxes which are both bright enough and balanced to mimic some of the benefits sunlight provides. Look for a lamp (LED or fluorescent) that emits 10,000 lux of full-spectrum UV-free light closer in composition to that of Sun. These lamps are available through catalogues marketing earth- friendly and health-enhancing products.

All seven chakras are associated with one color of the rainbow, from red at the root to the violet at the crown. It is through the sixth chakra, however, that we are able to envision the entirety of their kaleidoscopic beauty.

To activate your sixth chakra and open your third eye, hang prisms in windows to cast rainbows around your home. Practice creative visualization. Trust your intuition. Use your imagination. Keep a dream journal. Celebrate the solstices.

We need both the light of day and the dark of night to realize our full visual capacity. With one we are able to see the beauty that surrounds us, with the other, during our dreams, we can see the beauty within.


Todd Mangum, MD, of the Web of Life Wellness Center in Salt Lake City, is a holistically oriented physician in practice for 30 years.


Editor’s note: The Chakra Series, by Todd Mangum, MD, first appeared in CATALYST in 1995 and was repeated in 2009 and 2013. These stories remain among the most read in our online library. In 2020 we are bringing you an updated version, which began with January’s Introduction to the Chakras.

This article was originally published on July 1, 2020.