Intertwined Twin Kundalini Serpents

KUNDALINI SERPENTS – The two serpents intertwine as a symbol of the relationship between two opposites: the sun and the moon, on the cosmic level, and within the sacred physiology of the subtle body, the solar nadi and lunar nadi, as they are described in the texts of Tantric Hinduism. The opposites manifest themselves in the cosmos and within the individual psyche, and they reflect the complementary aspects of the divinity, out of which all things flow.

The two snakes in this image represent complementary forms of divine energy. The same forms are represented by the sun and the moon, the male and the female, heat and cold. Central in this symbolism is the notion of energy. In the Hindu worldview, the term for this energy is prana, which means “breathing forth.” It may refer to the Ultimate as the transcendent source of all life, to life in general, to the life force of an specific being, to respiration, to air, and to the life organs. It is the creative force that underlies and pervades all being. In this sense, prana is related to the Greek pneuma (“spirit”) and the Melanesian mana (“power”). All of these terms refer to an invisible force that moves and empowers cosmic life.

That this energy should be represented in two of its aspects by two snakes is not surprising, since the primary divinity involved in this ritual process is also depicted as a snake, that is, Kundalini. In the West, we tend to symbolize spirit as a bird, especially a dove or an eagle. In this way, we stress the freedom and transcendence of the spirit. However, the snake is also a common symbol for spirit, because it is believed to possess the powers of healing and immortality. Shedding its skin, the snake appears to undergo rebirth. Further, it is believed to have a special connection with the life-giving powers of the earth in which it dwells.

In his study of Kundalini, C. G. Jung emphasizes the value that the traditional spiritual disciplines offer the individual during the process of psychological development. The traditions provide both a symbolic context and the techniques necessary for integrating activated unconscious material (dreams, visions, physical symptoms, etc.). In his commentary on Gopi Krishna’s personal experience of the awakening of Kundalini within his own body, James Hillman restates the importance of an ideational context for psychological experience. “To our loss in the West, we are so lacking in an adequate context that we do indeed go to pieces at the eruption of the unconscious, thereby justifying the psychiatric view. Fortunately, Jung’s analytical psychology gives in its account of the process of individuation a context within which these events can be meaningfully comprehended. Fortunately, too, Jung studied as a psychologist this branch of yoga. He called the Kundalini an example of the instinct of individuation. Therefore, comparisons between its manifestations and other examples of the individuation process (e.g. alchemy) provide a psychologically objective knowledge without which there would be no way of taking hold (comprehending, begreifen) what is going on. Very often, therefore, it is of utmost value during a period of critical psychological pressure in which the unconscious boils over, to provide the sufferer with psychological knowledge” (Krishna, 95).

Squaring the Circle

Squaring the circle was a problem that greatly exercised medieval minds. It is a symbol of the opus alchymicum, since it breaks down the original chaotic unity into the four elements and then combines them again in a higher unity. Unity is represented by a circle and the four elements by a square. The production of one from four is the result of a process of distillation and sublimation which takes the so-called “circular” form: the distillate is subjected to sundry distillations so that the “soul” or “spirit” shall be extracted in its purest state. The product is generally called the “quintessence,” though this is by no means the only name for the ever-hoped-for and never-to-be-discovered “One.” It has, as the alchemists say, a “thousand names,” like the prima materia.

( Carl Jung )

Jung on Alchemy

Jung on Alchemy - At the end of Mysterium Coniunctionis, Carl Jung sums up the meaning of alchemy:

…the entire alchemical procedure…could just as well represent the individuation process of a single individual, though with the not unimportant difference that no single individual ever attains to the richness and scope of the alchemical symbolism. This has the advantage of having been built up through the centuries… It is…a difficult and thankless task to try to describe the nature of the individuation process from case material… No case in my experience is comprehensive enough to show all the aspects in such detail that it could be regarded as paradigmatic… Alchemy, therefore has performed for me the great and invaluable service of providing material in which my experience could not find sufficient room and has thereby made it possible for me to describe the individuation process at least in its essential aspects.

Jung on the Realm of Eros

Regarding the realm of Eros –

In classical times, when such things were understood, Eros was considered a god whose divinity transcended our human limits, and who therefore could neither be comprehended nor represented in any way. I might as many before me have attempted to do, venture an approach to this daimon, whose range of activity extends from the endless spaces of the heavens to the dark abyss of hell; but I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love. Eros is a kosmogonos, a creator and father-mother of all higher consciousness. …. In my medical experience and my life I have again and again been faced with the mystery of love, and have never been able to explain what it is. … No matter, no worse expresses the whole. To speak of partial aspects is always too much or too little, for only the whole is meaningful.

Love “bears all things” and endures all things” (1 Cor. 13.7) These words say all there is to be said; nothing can be added to them. For we are in the deepest sense the victims and instruments of cosmogonic “love.” I put the word in quotations marks to indicate that I do not use it in its connotations of desiring, preferring, favoring wishing, and similar feelings, but as something superior to the individual, a unified and undivided whole. Being a part , man cannot grasp the whole. He is at its mercy. He may assent to it, or rebel against i; but he is always caught up by it and enclosed within it. He is dependent upon it and is sustained by it. Love is his light and his darkness, whose end he cannot see. “Love ceases not”-whether he speaks with the “tongues of angels,” or with scientific exactitude traces the life of a cell down to its uttermost source. Man can try to name love, showering upon it all the names at his command, and still he will involve himself in endless self-deceptions. If he posses a grain of wisdom, he will know, ignotum per ignotius-that is by the name of God.

That is a confession of his subjection, his imperfection, and his dependence; but at the same time a testimony to his freedom to choose between truth and error.

( Carl Jung – Memories, Dreams and Reflections p. 354 )

Jung on Archetypes as Ancestral Experiences

There is no human experience, nor would experience be possible at all without the intervention of a subjective aptitude.  What is this subjective aptitude?  Ultimately it consists of an innate psychic structure which allows man to have experiences of this kind.  Thus the whole nature of the human male presupposes woman, both physically and spiritually.  His system is tuned into woman from the start, just as it is prepared for a quite definite world where there is water, light, air, salt, carbohydrates, etc.  The form of the world into which he is born is already inborn in him as a virtual image.  Likewise parents, wife, children, birth, and death are inborn in him as virtual images, as psychic aptitudes.  These a priori categories have by nature a collective character; they are images of parents, wife, and children in general, and are not individual predestinations.  We must therefore think of these images as lacking in solid content, hence  as unconscious.  They only acquire solidity, influence, and eventual consciousness in the encounter with empirical facts which touch the unconscious aptitude and quicken it to life.  They are, in a sense, the deposits of all our ancestral experiences, but they are not the experiences themselves.

(Carl Jung, 1972: para. 300; quoted in Turner 1987, p.172-3)

Jung on the Ego and Archetype

Jung on the Ego and Archetype -

Archetypal statements are based upon instinctive predictions and have nothing to do with reason; they are neither rationally grounded or can they be banished by rational arguments. They have always been part of the world scene-representations collectives, as Levy-Bruhl rightly called them. Certainly the ego and its will have a part to lay in life but what the ego wills is subject in the highest degree to the interference, in ways the ego is usually unaware, of the autonomy and numinosity of archetypal processes.

( Carl Jung Memories Dreams and Reflections p. 353 )

Jung on Alchemy

JUNG ON ALCHEMY – C.G. Jung’s research revealed to him that analytical psychology coincided with Alchemy. Jung states:

“I had very soon seen that analytical psychology coincided in a most curious way with alchemy…  The experiences of the alchemists were, in a sense, my experiences, and their world was my world. This was of course, momentous discovery: I had stumbled upon the historical counterpart of my psychology of the unconscious. The possibility of comparison with alchemy, and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to Gnosticism, gave substance to my psychology. When I pored over those old texts, everything fell into place: the fantasy-images, the empirical material I had gathered in my practice, and the conclusions I had drawn from it. I now began to understand what these psychic contents meant when seen in historical perspective.”

( C.G. Jung Psychology and Alchemy CW 12, pars. 345ff )