It was during a spiritual ceremony that a dear friend got me involved with.
Snakes and/or serpents hold ties to many religions and religious ceremonies (Adam and Eve and the snake that tempted them-the caduceus symbol with two snakes winding around a dagger that we associate with the Medical Symbol-even those crazy Pentecostals with their snake handling).
My strongest idea of this image is the concept of Kundalini Shakti which is the release of the force that lies coiled at the base of the spine. This force lies dormant at the base of one’s spine until it is awakened-usually after years of intense yoga, pranayama and meditation.
Once this coiled power is released, this energy travels through the central axis of the spine (or the Sushumna central nadi) up to the top of the head (or the Sahasrara chakra)- resulting in a strong mythical experience or enlightenment.
Kundalini awakening is the goal of most yogis as it is the point where we find union with the Divine.
This is mostly a Hindu belief with the concepts of the chakras and pranayama as tools to achieve this higher state of consciousness.
However, the caduceus has also been (wrongly) used as the medical symbol we associate with Hippocrates. The real medical symbol is the Rod of Asclepius after the Greek God who is the God of Medicine and who’s daughters were named Hygieia (hygene), Iaso (medicine), and Aceso (healing).
It is because of a snake’s ability to shed it’s own skin and rejuvenate.
But, the concept of “Snake Oil” has become associated with quacks who sold it as a healing agent to cure all things from pain (in China) to baldness (in early Egypt) then to the character in the Western movies.
Even today, one can buy snake oil in Chinatown.
So, this image is an ancient and often confused one.
A few weeks ago, I entered into a very intense spiritual ceremony that forced me to face my fears head on and part of that was working with snakes. Not literally, however, it seemed so at the time.
Now, I am no fan of snakes. I once dated a guy with an albino boa constrictor and I refused to sleep at his place-fearful that I’d wake up wrapped in it. (He later presented me with a belt as a gift that looked strangely similar to snake skin)
What I received was more than I can put into words. It took me into the depths of despair and required me to face old patterns and fears that were holding me back. Snakes coiled around my spine and dared me to fight them off.
I had to struggle to fend these serpents off and rid myself of all of the things they represented-bad habits and actions that prevented me from maintaining my connection with my Divine.
Perhaps it is necessary for there to be a ‘‘death’’ of some part of the self in order to open space for new concepts or ways of being (rebirth).
I struggled so hard that the attendants of the ceremony had to comfort me and rein me back in.
Finally, I experienced the connection with the Divine who lead me through to the other side. She was fierce-in the form of Kali or Durga-and she showed me her strength and the immense love she has for me, and the entire Universe.
The last time I’d done ceremony, she showed my future path-showed me riding an elephant in India (which I later did), showed me crossing a marathon finish line (well, I just did the 21 miler in Big Sur-so close!), showed me happy and successful and well-loved. This time, the Goddess showed me the strength I’ve had to get me through the past year and the amazing people I have around me. I got home around 3:30 am yet woke up at 8 full of energy and light.
And, the next day, a little bit sleep-deprived, I got to spend time with some dear friends as we got ready for my big birthday bash! We dressed 70’s style and started the evening off by having a drink with my dear friend Griffen before heading to Lucky 13 for an AMAZING performance by Tom Jonesing.
As I looked around the room, I saw my friends from yoga, from Burning Man, running friends, freaks and Soul-Sisters. And, after throwing size XL granny panties at Tom and eating one of the 100 cupcakes my dear friend Erin made-I realized I didn’t need to subject myself to serpents and snakes to find my Divine Love-it was all around me the whole time!