Are there chakras above and below the familar seven primary chakras?
Although current Sant Mat teachings of the Sawan-Kirpal tradition at least refer to only six or seven chakras, the earlier Sant Mat teaching refers to six lower and six higher centers (material in square brackets added):
"Like the six superior or heavenly regions from Sat Lok down to Sahasdal-Kamal [=Sahasrara], there are six lower or physical regions below them in Pinda, which are in reality reflections of the heavenly regions....These six regions are called Khat Chakras (six centers or ganglia). All of them relate to Pinda or the physical body, while the superior regions are related to Brahmand [sphere of Brahma or Creator God] and beyond it."
Likewise Ann Ree Colton, who seems to have been familair with this teaching, refers to six lower and six higher chakras, although her description of chakras seems to pertain to the secondary chakras. Mirra Alfassa, The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo ashram, also refers to several chakras above the head, as well as several beneath the feet.
Most books on chakras however refer to the central seven chakras only (whether interpeted on the level of primary or secondary), and it might be supposed that these represent an archetypal template of consciousness. Perhaps as consciousness evolves it moves "higher", while leaving the lower chakras behind, although the number of chakras always comes to seven, reflecting the archetypal qualities of the manifest Absolute or of the original emanations. This idea however is pure speculation on my part, and should not be taken as a provable fact. As always, one should follow one's own intuition in these matters, not someone else's.
New Age insights regarding what might be considered "transpersonal" chakras would likewise extend the microcosmic "vertical" axis in the individual up to the superconscious, levels of consciousness. Sometimes lower chakras are also mentioned, but these are also transpersonal and part of a spiritual process of transformation.
Further New Age references to a number of higher chakras above the Sahasrara is also found on the following websites:
The Chakras - A page from Angelic Outreach (which is no longer online) describing how the old seven chakras are being transformed into a new and unified system of fourteen chakras. Includes a diagram, and colour attributions
THE TWELVE CHAKRA SYSTEM at the Mahatma - Shamballa Multidimensional Healing Network Site. In addition to five chakras above the crown, centers in the hands, knees, feet, and beneath the feet (but not atavistic) are indicated in this diagram. Colours and descriptions are given here (along with correspondences for the standard chakras)
In both above cases, the conventional rainbow colours are followed for the seven standard chakras. This indicates that what are being referred to here the secondary chakras (note that Ann Ree Colton also describes the secondary chakras). Significantly, the numbers and colour attributions for the chakras above the crown differ; in fact there is not a single point of agreement regarding these two chakrologies in this regard. This adds further support to Arvan Harvat's statement regarding lack of unanimity among different chakra doctrines. So either the reality of what is being described is so multifaceted that each seer only describes one small aspect, or the whole thing is subjective.
What is agreed however among these various sources is that there are a anumber of regions, levels, resonances, or chakras above the crown, which represent higher centers of consciousness. Moreover, the Angelic Outreach statement that-
"These upper chakras open into the unified chakra and stimulate the emotional, mental, and Spiritual bodies to unify. As the heart chakra opens multi-dimensionally, the more unified the other chakras and the energy bodies become. This forms a unified energy field which becomes the vehicle for ascension as the Oversoul, the Christ Oversoul, and the I AM presence descend to merge with it. "
-has intruging similarities with the Aurobindonian concept of the descent of the Supramental Light and the resulting process of spiritual unification and divinisation (compare also Teilhard's Omega Point). As with the reference to activation of transpersonal chakras, what is being referred to is a process of collective transformation on the "subtle levels and beyond; the next stage of evolution.
Update (29 November 05)
Came upon the following web page:
Chakras - the Major Energy Centers - from Wingmaker. Refers to Eighteen Chakras, "twelve major chakras" (the standard seven plus five more) and six even higher ones. Gives a detailed description of each chakra, including balanced an unbalanced. Written from the perspective of the "Secondary" chakras (Subtle Physical being) but with a lot of information. I need to find time to go through the descriptions on the site and compare them with those I have up here.