The Kundalini serpent is a popular symbolism; an explanation of the use of the serpent in various philosophies as an aid to understanding the metaphor of kundalini.

Kundalini Serpent

Serpents of the Atharvaveda ..

"Homage to the snakes which ever move aound the earth and in the sky and in the heaven. Homage to the snakes which are in the arrows of magicians and tree spirits which lie in holes. Homage to those snakes which are in the brightness of heaven. Which are in the rays of the sun; which have made their abode in the waters"

The ancient understanding of a life-force energy in nature was scientifically validated in 1986 with the discovery of a low energy, spiralling electromagnetic field. This field was found to be the responsible 'agent' for form, growth, development and behavioral patterns in nature. (ST and SP Barsamian; Journal of Biological Physics, USA, 1989)

Kundalini Serpent and Jung

In the image of the uroboros (the serpent swallowing its own tail) lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process ... The uroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e., of the shadow ... it is said of the uroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself ...

The Serpent in Australian aboriginal mythology

"The Rainbow Serpent came from Northern Australia in an era when this country was in its dreaming origins. As it travelled throughout the length and breadth of this country it created as it writhed over this land the mountainous geographic locations by pushing the land into many ranges and isolated areas".

The hooded cobra

The hooded Cobra is generally depicted in a coiled or undulating position or in the form of the double helix, is symbolic of the spiralling nature of all energies .. reflected in the galaxies spiral nebulas,planetary movements of our own solar system, in the formation of sea shells and flowers, in the flow of energy in an electric current, in the double helix of the DNA molecule .. and in water currents.

Serpents vary in description according to culture, although many striking features are retained throughout the written, oral and artistic traditions of the world. The Celtic peoples often showed great reverence for serpents, depicting them by the side of their gods. They came to represent wisdom and nobility, in a similar way to the dragons of the Orient.

Serpents and The Spiral

Just as the spiral is recorded in the engraved rock art of the Australian Aborigine, so it appears in the ancient engravings of the Celt.

Stories are told of serpents so unimaginably vast that they encircled the world itself! Jormungand the Midgard Serpent was one such a monster, said by the Norse cultures such as the Vikings to live deep under the sea. The West African Fon tribe speak of Aido-Hwedo the Rainbow Serpent, who lies coiled in the ocean under the land to prevent it from sinking. In both cultures, the serpent plays an important part at the end of the world.

One of the twelve tasks of the legendary hero Hercules (or Heracles) had to perform was to pick three golden apples from a sacred tree, protected by a fearsome serpent.

Christianity and the Serpent

The universal respect of the serpent .. perhaps the earliest symbol of 'immanence' .. clashed with the thrust for power and rule of the Church of Rome. Thus, according to both Christian and (post Roman influence) Jewish texts, serpents were depicted to be incarnations of evil; in a twist of the Greek Myth, the serpent was blamed for bringing sin to man kind by tempting Eve into eating the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden.

The image St. George crushing a struggling serpent (or dragon) under his feet was widely used in early Christian art .. a grim foreboding of what was to happen to the 'immanents' after they were labelled 'pagan' by the Authority of Rome.

Kundalini and the Serpent

the two serpents forming a double helix around the central staff ore known in yogic terms ad Ida (related to the moon, the female polarity which is electromagnetic in the field of all nature) and Pingala (related to the sun, the male electromagnetic polarity). Ida and Pingala, intertwined, are another representation of Yin and Yang of the 'Tai Chi' .. representing the workings of the two conduits of all energy.

The Serpent is unique because it sheds its skin - and are thus reborn. The old gives way to the new. The pattern repeats itself as the pattern of death and rebirth .. a that repeats itself .. metaphorically linked to the state of the universe.

Kundalini, the Serpent and Alchemy

The image of a pair of entwined serpents gave birth to the Caduceus - symbol of the medical profession.

Alchemists believed snakes embodied the cosmic spirit which brings everything to life. The 'Snake Ring of Eternity' is one of the most common motifs found in alchemical texts and picture books. Snakes became a popular subject matter for alchemists, due to their connection with Hermes (the Greek god of travel and the underworld) and Asclepius (the Greek god of healing). In ancient Greece, snakes were associated with magic and healing powers. They were often used in rituals at the Temple of Asclepius. In Egypt and Arabia as well, symbolic images of snakes were often used to portray "The Secret Arts."

Alchemists used the image of a snake biting its own tail to represent the notion of cosmic time: "There is no beginning, nor is there an end; The end is swallowed up by the beginning." (D.A. Freher. Paradoxa Emblemata, 18th century)

In other words, they believed everything in the universe will eventually return to where it came from. It is the cycle of birth and death; darkness and light. Alchemists theorized that everything originated from an original source (sometimes referred to as "The One"), and ultimately returned to that source after death. Like humans, stars die too. They eventually cease to be, but the cycle is repeated over and over again.

"Kundalini Serpent"
  … copyright 1997-2011 Transpersonal Lifestreams, Hobart, Tasmania
  … updated 21st March 2011.

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