Chandra the Lunar Deity

Chandra (Sanskrit चन्द्र lit. “shining”) is a lunar deity in Hinduism. Chandra is also identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma (lit. “juice”). The Soma name refers particularly to the juice of sap in the plants and thus makes the Moon the lord of plants and vegetation. On the inner level on consciousness, Chandra is the reflective light of the mind, and Soma is the sacred nectar of higher states of awareness. Chandra is also the word in Sanskrit, Hindi and other Indian languages for moon and means ‘shining’.

Originally a feminine deity, representing the goddess or the female archetype in general, Chandra has been depicted in a male form in many sculptures and images as a symptom of patriarchal dominance in the the Hindu society. The name Chandra and Soma are still common names for girls in India.

Chandra is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in it’s hands a club and a lotus. Chandra rides on a chariot across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. She is connected with dew, and as such, is representative of fertility which draws back to it’s origins as the mother goddess of the universe.

The Hindu god Shiva, ‘lord of the universe’, has a crescent moon (Chandra) as an adornment on his head, representing his eternal union with the goddess Shakti within, thus allowing him to maintain the supreme state. This representation of Chandra is also associated with it’s form as the divine nectar (Soma.)

In Vedic astrology Chandra represents the subconscious mind, emotions, intuition, higher perception, sensitivity, softness, imagination, queen and mother. Traditionally, the mother goddess in pre-Vedic religion was always associated with the worship of the moon.

On the elemental level, Chandra represents the water, and the infinite flow which binds and seperates all existence. Chandra is the aspect of the psyche that allows us to feel, perceive, and understand the world in a subtle and gentle way.

Surya the Sun God

Surya the Sun God

Surya the Sun God

Surya the Sun God, is the celestial luminary embodied in human form as a Hindu deity. In his two upraised hands he holds the lotus, primary symbol of the sun’s creative force.

In Vedic astrology Surya is considered a mild malefic on account of his hot, dry nature. Surya represents soul, will-power, fame, the eyes, general vitality, courage, kingship, father, highly placed persons and authority.

Surya the Sun GodSurya is the chief of the Navagraha, Indian “Classical planets” and important elements of Hindu astrology. He is often depicted riding a chariot harnessed by seven horses or one horse with seven heads, which represent the seven colours of the rainbow or the seven chakras.

Surya as the Sun is worshiped at dawn by most Hindus and has many temples dedicated to him across India.

Surya the Sun GodSometimes, Surya is depicted with two hands holding a lotus in both; sometimes he has four hands holding a lotus, chakra, a conch, and a mace.

Interestingly, Surya’s two sons Shani and Yama are responsible for the judgment of human life. Shani gives us the results of one’s deeds through one’s life through appropriate punishments and rewards while Yama grants the results of one’s deeds after death.

Pingala, who attends him to his right, (see left image) holds a tablet and writing implement in order to record men’s deeds; to the god’s left is his bodyguard Dandi, armed with a sword and shield. Guiding a horse-drawn chariot (usually with seven, but sometimes with one, three, or four horses) across the sky, Surya overcomes darkness.

Horus : Egyptian God of the Sky

HORUS served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably being the god of the sky. Since Horus was also said to be the sky, he was considered to also contain the sun and moon. It became said that the sun was his right eye and the moon his left, and that they traversed the sky when he, a falcon, flew across it.



Later, the reason that the moon was not as bright as the sun was explained by a tale, known as the contestings of Horus and Set, originating as a metaphor for the conquest of Upper Egypt by Lower Egypt in about 3000 BC. In this tale, it was said that Set, the patron of Upper Egypt, and Horus, the patron of Lower Egypt, had battled for Egypt brutally, with neither side victorious, until eventually the gods sided with Horus.

As Horus was the ultimate victor he became known as ‘Horus the Great’, or ‘Horus the Elder.’ HorusIn the struggle Set had lost a testicle, explaining why the desert, which Set represented, is infertile. Horus’ left eye had also been gouged out, then a new eye was created by part of Khonsu (the moon god) and was replaced.

In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra (the sun god) was merged with the god Horus, as Re-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon or hawk.

The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from deities, in this case from Horus or Ra.

In the Egyptian language, the word for this symbol was “Wedjat“. It was the eye of one of the earliest of Egyptian deities, Wadjet, who later became associated with Bast, Mut, and Hathor as well. Wedjat was a solar deity and this symbol began as her eye, an all seeing eye. In early artwork, Hathor is also depicted with this eye. Funerary amulets were often made in the shape of the Eye of Horus. The Wedjat or Eye of Horus is “the central element” of seven “gold, faience, carnelian and lapis lazuli” bracelets found on the mummy of Shoshenq II. The Wedjat “was intended to protect the king [here] in the afterlife” and to ward off evil. Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern sailors would frequently paint the symbol on the bow of their vessel to ensure safe sea travel.

Yin Yang, Sun Moon

CHINA – The Chinese concepts of yin and yang represented shadow and sunshine, with the moon as ruler of yin and the sun as yang. The beliefs and rituals surrounding Chinese cosmology were always aimed at restoring the balance of lunar, or receptive energies, and solar, or active energies.

INDIA – In India, the ultimate goal of hatha yoga—ha translating as sun, tha as moon, and yoga as union—is the spiritual practice of concentrating on the breath to achieve the marriage of the active solar and receptive lunar energies within the human body, be they male or female. Breath is also central to the Kundalini tradition of India. Here, the left nostril is believed to carry the lunar current, or Ida; the right nostril, the solar current, or Pingla, to achieve enlightenment. Practitioners of this tradition breathe these two energies, the solar and lunar, through each of the psychic chakras, or energy centers, of the body. Within the sacred tradition of alchemy, a prerequisite to male union with the opposite sex, is union within the male and within the female of the sun and the moon.

( The Navaho and the Western Psyche : Where the Paths Diverge )

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 )

Mythological Gods as Archetypes

MYTHOLOGICAL GODS – In our language a mythological god is an archetype and an archetype is always at the same time an instinctive pattern, an instinctive basis. Of the archetype of the mother, the biological basis would be motherhood, or of the archetype of the conjunctio, it would be sex. You could refer every god to a biological instinctive field; it is its meaning, or spiritual aspect. You could say that every instinctive dynamism has an archetypal image. Thus gods are representations of general complexes. Ares, or Mars, is an image of the instinct of aggression and self-defence in nature. In animal life, self-defence and aggression and fear dominate a whole part of life, and we are not exempt from this. Every god archetype is a dynamic, explosive load of dynamite and therefore uncontrolled. The gods are always a bit below the mark as compared with the human level. Even to the Greeks they were shocking, for they behaved like animals. The Stoics used philosophical arguments to explain it in a philosophical way. The role of the mother-goddess and such gods is to have measureless outbursts where they experience the greatest dynamism of life.

( Maria Louise von Franz 1972, pp.59-60 )

Solar and Lunar Channels in Kundalini Yoga

KUNDALINI YOGA – The essential alphabet of all Tantric lore is to be learned from the doctrine of the seven “circles” (chakras) or “lotuses” (padmas) of the kundalini system of yoga. (See fig. 306.)

The long terminal ‘i’ added to the Sanskrit adjective kundalin, meaning “circular, spiral, coiling, winding,” makes a feminine noun signifying “snake,” the reference in the present context being to the figure of a coiled female serpent—a serpent goddess not of “gross” but of “subtle” substance—which is to be thought of as residing in a torpid, slumbering state in a subtle center, the first of the seven, near the base of the spine: the aim of the yoga then being to rouse this serpent, lift her head, and bring her up a subtle nerve or channel of the spine to the so-called “thousandpetalled lotus” (sahasrara) at the crown of the head.

This axial stem or channel, which is named sushumna (“rich in happiness, highly blessed”), is flanked and crossed by two others: a white, known as ida (meaning “refreshment, libation; stream or flow of praise and worship”), winding upward from the left testicle to right nostril and associated with the cool, ambrosial, “lunar” energies of the psyche; and a red, called pingala (“of a sunlike, tawny hue”), extending from the right testicle to left nostril, whose energy is “solar, fiery,” and, like the solar heat of the tropics, desiccating and destructive.[4] The first task of the yogi is to bring the energies of these contrary powers together at the base of his sushumna and then to carry them up the central stem, along with the uncoiling serpent queen. She, rising from the lowest to the highest lotus center, will pass through and wake the five between, and with each waking the psychology and personality of the practitioner will be altogether and fundamentally transformed.

( Joseph Campbell: Masks of Oriental Gods )