I recently chose to create a logo with the image of a rising serpent because of the power in its symbolism and the layers of meaning it carries. The movement of the serpent seems almost otherworldly. The way it can glide quietly and effortlessly seems to evoke an electric, immaterial quality that is not commonly seen among the earth’s creatures. Their cold precision has been ascribed an evil quality, but it has also led serpents to become symbols of transcendence and wisdom.
Some spiritual traditions recognize an intelligent energy, or ‘Serpent Power’, that resides within every human. The ‘Kundalini’ lies dormant at the base of the spine until it is awakened and travels up through the body, activating various energy fields often termed chakras. Ideally, in many traditions, the student should prepare for the awakening of the Kundalini through study, yoga, meditation, and the following of other lifestyle guidelines designed to help the individual become a worthy vessel for the divine fiery spiral force. If the individual’s physical, etheric, and mental state is inadequate, they can expect a painful and traumatic awakening marked by extreme swings, from ecstatic blissful experiences to feelings of crushing anxiety and instability, among other possible effects.
An individual experiencing a Kundalini awakening becomes conscious of an overwhelming divine presence, dwarfing the previously held conception and sense of self, often uprooting and shattering previously held views of reality. Therefore, the individual that lives in balance and in a ‘grounded’ way is much better equipped to handle the shock of awakening the great Serpent. That said, the divine intelligence of Kundalini determines when to awaken, according to her own mysterious schedule, regardless of the individual’s preparation or lack thereof.
During the rising of Kundalini, the fiery Serpent burns, transforms, and reconfigures the individual’s component parts, and it discards the excess coarse material that is no longer aligned with its purpose. There are parallels that can be drawn to the stages of spiritual alchemy and the transmutation of base metal to pure gold, or the initiatory journey through the spheres of the Sephirot on the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah. These are different versions of the of the ‘Magnum Opus’, or ‘The Great Work’, where the initiate undertakes a journey of transformation and evolution, improving upon his or her being to attain a perfectly integrated state of individuation, where the physical, etheric, and mental bodies are merged under a higher unified divine purpose.