Summary and  key points

– What is a Figure of Eight energy?
Figures of Eight in other cultures
– How we can work with them? 
– Working with kinesiology
– Groundwork


Figure of Eights energies are an integral part of the body’s natural energy anatomy. This is well described by Donna Eden in her classic book “Energy Medicine” (reference 1). The body’s energy anatomy is made up of four systems: the Aura which contains all of our energies; the Chakras are the energy stations; the Celtic Weave provides a web or interlacing network which strengthens them and finally the Basic Grid provides the foundation. Figure of Eight energies form part of what she names the Celtic Weave.  The movement of energy in a Figure of Eight occurs in several cultures –  including our own scientific culture – and I will explore these briefly. I will then go on to look at how we can work with these energies and incorporate them in an equine energy practise, to the benefit of ourselves and our horses.    

Energy Architecture Overview

Donna Eden gives a succinct overview of energy architecture in her book Energy Medicine (reference 1). The Aura encompasses our entire energy system and spreads out wide around us. Depending on our form, the aura can be very large. When we are not in good form, it will contract.

The Aura is multilayered and offers protection. We have all experienced that presence at home when one of the family is in the grumps! That is their Aura that we are picking up. The Aura is generally believed to have seven bands and these are beautifully detailed in Barbara Brennan’s “Hands of Light” which I highly recommend (see references 2, 3)

The Chakras are foci that interact with both the Aura and the Meridians (see my last article, reference 4). The word chakra translates from the Sanskrit as disk, vortex, or wheel.

There are many of these, though the most commonly known are the seven Chakras, comprising Root (Muladhara), Sacral (Swadhisthana), Solar Plexus (Manipura), Heart (Anahata), Throat (Vishuddha), Third Eye (Ajna), and Crown (Sahasrara) Chakras. These are also linked to Archetypes,  and can help us on our spiritual journeys (reference 5, see Chakras and their Archetypes, Ambika Wauters). We will come back to these archetypes in a future article because the Chakras are shared by your horse and your Chakra fields interact. 

The Celtic Weave is a term favoured by Donna Eden and is a criss-crossing energy network that exists within the aura, around the chakras, and consists of many small energy vortices, constantly turning and twisting. The Figure of Eight energy forms part of the Celtic Weave.  She calls this the connective tissue of the energy system. 

The last part of our energy architecture is the Basic Grid. Donna Eden sees this as the core component of the human energy network. She actually visualises these layers, much as Barbara Brennan and others, so when she describes energy, she is describing what she sees  much as another would describe a landscape. The Basic Grid is very different in appearance from the Chakras which form spirals of energy. The Basic Grid is just that, a grid which covers the body. The Grid is a deep energy structure and can be damaged in the case of deep trauma. This is the most fundamental energy level in the body.  See Figure 1a to 1e for a description of the four energy layers.  Figure 1e shows the layers superposed.


In Kinesiology, what we call Cloacals energies also flow along the Basic Grid (see Figure 1d). These are a more superficial energy according to Eden, though nonetheless of importance.  I will be writing a future article about working with the Cloacals in horses and releasing Cloacals energies. 

What is a figure of Eight Energy?

The Figure of Eight energy is literally an “eight” structure, just like the arabic numeral. See Figure 2. It is similar to an infinity loop. Whilst many writers link this to entities such as our DNA, I prefer to look at this in a simpler way. If we radiate energy it will go out in a straight line. If we absorb energy it comes into us as a straight line. If we circulate energy it must go around in an ovoid — either a circle or an ellipse. If, however, we are going distribute energy between the centre and the periphery, it’s path must have some kind of looped structure. The most ergonomic of these is of course the infinity loop. You will see as you trace a Figure of Eight with your finger that this forms a harmonious pattern and it is hardly surprising that nature uses this form to irrigate our bodies with energy!  Our bodies are full of Figure of Eight energies. Small ones and large ones. In, out, up and down. We can test this with kinesiology too as we shall see below!

Figures of Eight in other cultures

The Figure of Eight is the symbol for infinity and most commonly associated with the lazy eight curve, which is technically called the lemniscate (reference 6). The symbol was first used in a treatise on conic sections, in the 17th century. It caught on quickly and was soon used to symbolize infinity or eternity in a variety of contexts. The symbol also appears on the Tarot card known as The Magician in the classic Rider-Waite deck, and indeed, in the Two of Pentacles.

The symbol however also appears in a natural context, and this is specifically the case of electron clouds that enable chemical bonding in the atom.  Whilst the 1nelectron shell can contain only two electrons, both of which will occupy a single spherical orbital, the 2n electron shell, can contain up to eight electrons. Of these eight electrons, the first two will occupy the 2s orbital and any additional electrons will occupy one of three p orbitals.

Since the probability of finding an electron at the node is zero, it is explained in quantum dynamics that in fact the electron can cross from one dumbbell shaped node to the other opposing node as a wave, rather than a particle. If you look to Figure 3, you will see the paired dumbbell shaped clouds and these take on the form of an infinity loop. Beautiful to see this loop at a most fundamental level of the atomic structure. No wonder “eights energies” are so fundamental. 

Working with Kinesiology

In Kinesiology, we can check the “eights energies” by disrupting the Celtic Weave.  If we disrupt this layer by waving a hand through it rapidly and then testing a strong indicator muscle, we will see that the indicator muscle has weakened. This means that the “Eights energies” are not automatically reforming by themselves because the field is weak. To strengthen, we simply draw “Eights” all over the body, and then retest. The simple act of drawing “Eights” is itself enough to eform the field. Retest and we will see that the “Eights” now reform, following perturbation of the energy field. A simple practise, for ourselves and our horses, is to draw figures of eights over the body, a dancing lazy-eight, that will simply strengthen the field and reinforce it. 

Groundwork and dressage

Figure of Eight exercises are important to help a horse bend properly since they combine circle exercises on both reins.  The horse has not only to bend correctly in one direction – the  Figure of Eight will require a change of bend in the middle.  Straightness training (Marijka de Jong) explores in depth the fact that all horses have a natural curve and will naturally turn on one direction in a more natural way than in the other (Ref 7). 


Whilst “Figures of eight” are of obvious importance in dressage, from an energetic point of view this work is taking both rider and horse into an “Eight”of greater dimension. My suggestion before any groundwork or dressage would be to work over both yourself and your horse with “Mini-Eights”, prior to the training session. In this way, the larger “Eight” becomes an expression of the” infinity loop” and we join microcosm with macrocosm. Whilst in Kinesiology we combine this for muscle testing, waving your hand over your horse’s back, and then drawing eights in the air, small and large, will enable you to “reset” the “eights energies”. And you should of course do this for yourself too! This is a small act of energy hygiene, and takes only a minute. We are all, in the end, made of patterns of flowing energy. Bringing such small acts into play each time we are with our horse is a way of acknowledging the deeper energy structure of both the universe and the nourishment of a deeper relationship with our horse.  

Ref 1. Donna Eden, see her book Energy medicine.

Ref 2. Barbara Brennan, Hands of Light.
Bantam books; Reissue edition (1 Feb. 1990)

Ref 3. The seven aura layers, their functions and meaning

Ref 4. Peter Jeffs:  Scar tissue and healing in horses.

Ref 5: Chakras and their Archetypes, Ambika Wauters
Crossing Press,U.S. (1 Aug. 1997)

Ref 6. Rudy Rucker: Infinity and the Mind, the science and philosophy of the infinite.

Ref 7. Marijke de Jong, Straightness Training Academy