The Creative Primal Serpent – The Necessary Path
by Michael Colantoni
The Gospel according to St John opens with following words:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
How admirably do these few words elucidate the mystery of the creation!
But we could only properly understand and appreciate these words if we could read the Bible in the Greek original. The translation is, alas, not always a correct one. The English language lacks the words for an exact rendering of the Greek text. There is no word which means the same as the Greek word logos, and so Luther translated logos with ‘word’, which completely fails to render the meaning of logos. It would have been better to take ‘verb’ because it expresses more adequately the birth of the first motion, the first stirring of creation. In Greek, logos means the creative principle, the power of God, the instrument of God which executes his will and animates the creation, as, for instance, a man’s hand, which is at the same time himself and his instrument, which is active. When logos was still in its latent primal state, before anything, even before God’s very first revelation, the creation of vowels and letters, ‘the word’ which is composed of letters likewise could not have existed. That is an essentially later phase of creation. And apart from this there is an added difficulty in understanding this text correctly. Each individual has his own interpretation of many of the words according to his lower or higher level of consciousness. The word ‘God’ means something different to each person. It is true, and can be verified in the Greek original, that God created man ‘on’ the mould of his image just as the glove is drawn over the hand, and he continues to do so today; it is equally true that man reciprocates this by creating God in his own human image. Moreover, the words used in Luther’s time are no longer suitable to express certain things. If we then try to render the meaning of these sentences according to the Greek original with modern words, it would run something like this: In the beginning was logos, the will that brings forth the deed, the power that animates and realises creation, still with God in a latent condition, as God’s potency. God was and is this power himself. Essentially, God and his creative principle, his creative power, are one and the same thing. All things were created by God through logos. God is being, is life itself, and everything that exists can only do so because the creative principle, the creative aspect of God, namely, logos, creates, animates and sustains it. God, eternal being, life, moulded man too – according to the original text – on himself, on his own image. Therefore the true Self, the very essence of man is God himself. But man in his unconscious condition is still in darkness and does not comprehend God’s light within himself. He is unaware and has no inkling that God, that is, his quintessential Self, dwells in his unconscious.
Life is therefore the creative power, logos, and everything that was created was created by logos. Everything from the rarest spirit to matter was and is created, animated and sustained by logos. But at the seventh and very highest level is the spirit of God, God himself in a perfectly balanced state of repose. From here, God, as his own creative principle – for logos is God himself – creates the entire scale of creation. From infinite space, from every point of the universe, from everywhere, life flows. At first purely spiritual forms of energy of the highest frequencies arise and take effect, then the frequencies gradually slow down, the waves become longer, and the forms of manifestation continue acquiring density and substance till the lowest level is reached, that of the so-called ‘dead’ matter, which is, however, not dead, for we know that matter is simply another form of energy. In the atom of matter, just as in the solar and astronomical systems, God’s creative power circulates, life circulates. It is in every rung of Jacob’s ladder which reaches from heaven, from the kingdom of God, down to the material world, to earth.
We human beings bear all forms of creative energy within us. We are the microcosm in the macrocosm. Our spirit, our true Self, is God, as Paul has already stated. Then logos, the creative power of the Self, descends deeper into us as in the universe, forms our ideas, creates the emotional and spiritual levels and finally the necessary resistance to these, the bearer of all higher forms of energy, our physical body. Just as logos, beyond man, and at all levels of creation, manifests and creates itself as different forms of energy, so do we human beings bear the whole Jacob’s ladder of logos manifestations, that is, entire creation as the various aspects of our own Self. And as logos is active at each level of creation in the macrocosm, so man emits and manifests in his microcosm at each level of his being, through the organs corresponding to the various frequencies of the creative power, the outward forms of the same divine, creative energy, that is to say, of our own Self.
If we draw the human spine with the brain and its extension the spinal cord, we observe the form of a serpent. This serpent is by the same token the image of the manifestation form of the logos in the macrocosm, and in man, the microcosm. It is also the image of the resistance to the logos, of its locus in man: the spinal cord. This ‘spinal serpent’ created from the finest ethereal matter is the bearer of the divine creative power, of our own life. The power emanates with gradually increasing frequencies from seven spiritual centres, by way of suitable organs which sustain the creative power as resistance.
In Ancient Egypt the initiated wore a band of gold on their headdress, which symbolised a serpent with erect head. To be ‘initiated’ meant that a man had become conscious at all seven levels of self-revelation or self-awareness, and therefore in the logos-serpent as a whole. There was no longer an unconscious element and so he was a man who had attained universal consciousness.
The erect Aesculapian serpent drinking the elixir of life from a shallow goblet also represents the creative life-force serpent in the human spine. It is the absolute wholeness, therefore health, and consequently also has the power to heal all diseases – that is to say, all forms of degeneration.
We find the same ‘serpent’ in India, there known as ‘Kundalini’. As long as man remains unconscious with his higher nerve centres still in a latent condition, the serpent rests coiled up in the lowest centre of energy which has its seat in the terminal vertebra, the coccyx; that is, in the negative pole of vital tension! As man gradually becomes conscious and his energy centres are activated in the process, the Kundalini serpent slowly uncoils itself and stretches up and up, lays hold of and animates each succeeding nerve centre, and ascends to the very highest centre, which has its seat in the uppermost part of the head, in the skull. There it unites with the positive pole which lies in the seventh energy centre. Then it stands as erect as the Aesculapian serpent.
The philosophy of Yoga lays great stress on the difference between the vital current and the resistance, namely the physical organs and nerve centres by which the current is borne. Creative power, the vital current, forms seven energy centres in man’s being, and each energy centre, known in the terminology of Yoga as chakra, has the effect of a transformer which transforms the divine creative power to a lower tension corresponding to the next centre of manifestation. Thus, proceeding from the uppermost centre, creative power is transformed six times and there are as a result seven energy centres, seven chakras.
Since we human beings have become familiar with this energy from the earthly, material level, we start counting the energy focuses, which are at the same time the levels of manifestation, from the bottom upwards. The Yoga terms for these seven centres are Sanskrit words as follows:
The first and lowest chakra is called: Muladhara (Mula means ‘marrow’); its seat is in the negative pole, which rests in the coccyx in a latent condition.
Second chakra: Svadisthana; its seat is in the nerve plexus above the genital organs.
Third chakra: Manipura; its seat is in the solar plexus.
Fourth chakra: Anahata; its seat is in the nerve centre of the heart.
Fifth chakra: Vishuddha; its seat is in the nerve centre of the thyroid gland.
Sixth chakra: Adjna; its seat is in the centre of the forehead, between the eyebrows.
Seventh chakra: Sahasrara; its seat is in the uppermost part of the skull, which is also the seat of the positive pole. Through the activation of this brain centre man attains divine all-consciousness.
In the Bible, day or light means: consciousness. Night or darkness means: unconsciousness. According to this metaphor, as Moses the great initiate says in the Bible, God creates every ‘day’ at all levels of consciousness with the vibrations pertaining to the levels, but at the seventh level of consciousness, on the seventh ‘day’, he does not create, but rests in himself. In this state there is no tension from which a creation could be evolved, because the two poles, the positive one and the negative one, are resting reconciled in one another in perfect balance and absolute oneness. Man can only experience this in a state of ecstasy as pure consciousness, otherwise it would mean physical death.
In the works of some Western scholars we read that the Indian yogi in the ecstatic Samadhi is unconscious. That is a great error! The opposite is true: he is in the state of complete consciousness, therefore of universal consciousness. He appears to be unconscious from outside only because he has no physical consciousness. Whoever has himself experienced the Samadhi state will know that, during it, the yogi is completely conscious and fully awake.
From this we may observe that there is only one truth and that the core of every religion is this sole truth. St Francis of Assisi, St Theresa and other great saints experienced the divine presence in an ecstatic state just as the Indian yogis in Asia have experienced it as ‘Samadhi’ and are still doing so.
We human beings experience these various levels of the logos-manifestations and various frequencies as various states of consciousness. Accordingly, we give them various names.
The energy form of divine power, which links mind and matter at the first level in the lowest centre, we experience in our conscious mind as the instinct for the preservation of the species, as sexual, physical urge and desire, and in fulfilment as purely physical gratification. This we call sexual energy.
At the second level we experience it as the manifestation of the self-preservation instinct, as metabolism; in our conscious mind as hunger and thirst, and in fulfilment as repletion.
At the third level divine power emanates as will-power and we experience it in our conscious mind as the urge towards volition.
At the fourth level divine power prevails through the heart centre, the feelings and emotions. In our conscious mind we experience it as sensibility, as feelings; we experience the whole scale between hate and personal love which are mirror images.
At the fifth level divine power manifests itself as our concept of time and space. Its instrument is the thyroid gland which connects us with the finite world; it links us with time and provides our time rhythm. This centre determines the fast or slow tempo of our thoughts and movements, whether we find a period of time long or short, whether we are always in haste or take things at an easy pace. Consequently this centre exercises a decisive influence on the tempo of our life-rhythm, and thus on the temporal duration of our life.
At the sixth level the logos-energy manifests itself as intuition. It flashes into our conscious mind the lightning, as it were, of spiritual light, which provides us with new ideas and insights. As a state of consciousness we experience this intuition as all-pervading spiritual light, spiritual meditation and, identical with this, as all-embracing universal love. We feel a sense of oneness with the whole universe, we understand the language of Nature and the symbolic content of every line and form.
At the seventh and highest level, through the centre in the uppermost part of the skull, we experience divine creative power as a purely spiritual state of being; this appears in our conscious mind as the profoundest self-knowledge, as supreme ‘individual consciousness’ which we experience in ourselves as ‘I AM THAT I AM’. Here there are no longer unconscious feelings or thoughts, no longer outward-looking perceptions. I am no longer happy and content, because ‘I am’ these things, all feelings, all thoughts, the radiant light of consciousness – ‘I myself am’ happiness, ‘I myself am’ bliss and peace! I am a radiant, all-embracing, all-penetrating self-awareness.
Elisabeth Haich: Sexual Energy and Yoga – Ch3 The Creative Primal Serpent pp38-43 (Aurora Press 1982)