|Change the Paradigm|
The Serpent, Religion and Spiritual Awakening
Serpents are common symbols in many religions, belief systems and mystical traditions. Their meaning is translated variously as everything from the most evil to the most holy. The Serpent is either a deity or important symbol in Hindu, Ancient egyptian, Ancient Mesopotamian, Ancient Semitic, Ancient Hittite, Ancient Babylonian, Ancient Assyrian, Ancient Greek, Ancient Minoan, Ancient European, Ancient Iberian, Ancient Norse, Ancient African, Ancient Aztec, Ancient Peruvian, Hopi, Ancient Mound Builders, and many other religions, mystical traditions and cultures. How did a common symbol become widespread? It must have had a common origin or understanding.
In fact, there are numerous contemporary sects including Christian sects that either worship or treat the serpent as an important positive symbol.
In some mystical traditions, the rising serpent is symbolic of rising kundalini energy. Rising kundalini energy is a Spiritual awakening that can bring forth healing, empowerment, knowledge and wisdom. The rising serpent has nothing to do with a reptile or animal. Rather, it is symbolic because the rising energy would appear as a serpent wrapped around and ascending a staff. Activated kundalini energy and the power that accompanies it does not make a person more ethical or moral. Rather, choices are always there and it is the responsibility of the individual to use all of their power of all kinds wisely and compassionately.
It seems obvious that ancient priests and wise men must have had access to knowledge about Spiritual awakening, kundalini energy, what it means and how it works. Those who didn't have access to the information or were incapable of understanding it, may have been tempted to worship the symbols rather than the substance of this ancient knowledge. Thus, a distortion was introduced and serpent worship and serpent cults came into existence.
The Christian Bible contains several references to serpents, or to creatures often interpreted as serpents, using different Hebrew terms. The most common term is "nahash". It is found at least 30 times in the Old Testament, and means "to make a hissing sound," as well as a "venomous reptile with deadly fangs." Another term is "tannin", which can also be translated "monster", "dragon", "sea serpent", or "crocodile" and can mean any large sea creature or reptile. It is sometimes translated as "serpent" and sometimes as "sea-monster" and, at other times, it is apparently ignored. "Saraph" is another term that is translated to mean "fiery serpents". The point here is that translating from one language to another and from one cultural context to another, especially across thousands of years of time and without loosing the meaning and intent of the original authors is very challenging.
In the book of Genesis it is the serpent that tempts Eve to turn away from God and be tempted by the promise of power. Because of this, the serpent is seen as evil.
This is the story of the separation of the individual Spirit from oneness with the Source, the Divine or God. The serpent, in this analogy, represents temptation, rebellion, selfishness and self aggrandizement. To "know good and evil" is to embrace duality rather than unity. To "know good and evil" is to embrace separation from the Source rather than maintain the Oneness with the Source. To "know good and evil" is to embrace limited thinking and a win/loose model of living and surviving.
The symbol of the serpent is seen again in the story of Moses and his relationship with the Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians were the descendents of a more ancient civilization that was far more enlightened, wise, powerful and knowledgeable than the Egyptians of Moses's time. While they were more corrupt and less wise and enlightened than their predecessors, the priesthood still had and used residual mystical knowledge and power. The symbol of the serpent was prominent in ancient Egypt. The uraeus was a crown in the form of a golden cobra worn by the Pharaoh. It later times, it symbolized the Pharoah's power and authority over the land and people. In earlier times, it symbolized the Pharoah's mastery of the kundalini energy, the power it represented and the spiritual status of the Pharoah who was also the high priest. Depending on the time period and context, the serpent represented both good and bad: life energy, resurrection, wisdom, power, cunning, death, darkness, evil, and corruption.
This passage can be seen as Moses receiving instruction in the mastery of the kundalini energy.
This description sounds very much like a duel between sorcerers using their magical powers in confrontation with each other. The serpents represent that power or the kundalini energy expressed by the individuals. Aaron prevailed as his kundalini energy / serpent (staff) overcame that of the Egyptians.
The term "Kundalini" comes from India and is a core concept in the yogic traditions. Kundalini is described as a sleeping, dormant potential force in the human organism. It is one of the components of an esoteric description of man's 'subtle body', which consists of (energy channels), chakras (energy centers) and prana or vital energy. The symbolic image is that of a serpent coiled 3 and a half times around a spine or central rod or staff. Through meditation, and various esoteric or yogic practices, the kundalini is awakened, and can rise up inside or alongside the spine. The progress of kundalini through the different chakras leads to different levels of awakening, mystical experience, purification and expression of spiritual powers.
It would appear that the ancient Egyptians were well acquainted with these practices and traditions. So were Moses and Aaron. It was Aaron's staff (kundalini energy) that parted the Red Sea.
So, how is the serpent symbolizing the kundalini and spiritual awakening related to the serpent in the garden of Eden? The serpent in the garden of Eden represents separation from the Source and the emphasis of self-interest, rebellion against the oneness of all life and the seeking of personal power over others (the fall of man). The rising serpent as in rising kundalini represents the awakening of the individual and reconnection with the Source. The rising kundalini activates consecutively the energy centers (chakras) requiring them to purge their negative energies and destructive properties.
The fiery serpents biting and attacking the people is symbolic of the rebellion of the individuals from the Source or "against God" with the consequence that the kindalini or serpent energy is misused and causes harm. The symbol of the brass serpent placed upon a standard or pole represents the rising of the kundalini energy and the transformation or Spiritualization of the material or base energy. This is, in effect, healing the separation of man from Spirit or of man from God. This corresponds to a healing both Spiritually and physically. This symbol of a serpent rising and wrapped around a pole or staff is common in ancient Egypt and other areas. This same symbol is used today as the caduceus, the symbol of medicine and healing.