Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Omphaloskepsis – Wacky Word Wednesday

If you have ever been curious about what uses the belly button might have, get ready for today’s Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the wackiest and most interesting words from around the world!

The definition of today’s wacky word from




contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation

AA cartoon depiction of omphaloskepsis, contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation.

From combining the Greek omphalos, which means “navel” and –skepsis, which means “to reflect, look view,” research suggests that omphaloskepsis is a relatively new word, originating in the 1920s. Similarly, the term omphalomancy holds the same Greek root and is used to define “the art of foretelling the future by reading the navel.” In modern speech, we might hear the term navel gazing thrown around, which assumes the definition “excessive introspection, self-absorption, or concentration on a single issue.”

Though not quite so common in everyday speech, omphaloskepsis is still used in certain situations, especially in yoga, meditation and with regard to chakras. Chakra practitioners, for example, believe that the body’s seven chakras, or “centers of energy,” strongly influence an individual’s psychological and mental health. These seven points, located from the top of the head down to the groin, require a delicate balance to stay “open,” rather than “under-active” or “over-active.”

In particular, the navel chakra, located just above the navel, is considered the third chakra. It is also identified as the solar plexus chakra. According to the chakras school of thought, this middle chakra is important for self-confidence and personal power. An under-active naval chakra results in passiveness and indecision; alternatively, an over-active chakra creates an aggressive and domineering personality.

When imbalanced, certain physical problems can result as well, including digestive issues, ulcers, poor memory, and nervousness. In order to keep the naval chakra open, an individual should begin practicing mudras or special hand positions during meditation. Combine the meditation and mudras with omphaloskepsis, and you will surely be on your way to one healthy, open belly button…err…naval chakra!

Do you meditate? Does omphaloskepsis help your mystical exercise? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

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3 Responses

August 17, 2011

You so made this one up.

August 18, 2011

:-D Au contraire, Mr. Derbyshire, ”omphaloskepsis” is indeed a real word.

To be honest, I do enjoy spending a bit of brainpower + imagination to create new words. If only I had an outlet for that….

August 18, 2011

Haha. Such brazen accusations from a man who inserts random u’s into perfectly good words like color and labor.