Monthly Archives: May 2011

Greek Kundalini Monsters

There’s a lot of over-generalized rubbish on the net about cross-cultural kundalini, the whole seven seals = seven chakras thing etc., which is a shame because there is in fact evidence of it as a widespread phenomenon. A great key there is that it can awaken in people who don’t practice at all and merely go through an NDE for example, with absolutely typical symptoms. But you can also get a lot of clues from looking at cultural objects. Most people who have seen the Caduceus of Hermes know they are in all likelihood looking at an Ancient Greek version of the familiar serpent power, in symbolic form.

Caduceus

There are other interesting Greek hints, which provide clues for the modern seeker. One has to be careful because snakes were associated with spirits generally and the spirits of heroes in particular, but occasionally they plainly had more to do with the serpent power.

Gorgon statues are particularly interesting. Of course we know that the hair of medusa was often said to be composed entirely of live snakes, but gorgon depictions often showed her very differently — as an ugly or monstrous woman, but with two intertwined serpents at her waist which actually recall the caduceus.

Gorgon with Snakes at waist

Kundalini is often associated with the monstrous feminine via the Hindu goddess Kali, so this is a Greek continuation of a traditional trope. We get the confirmation we need from the fact that Medusa’s blood came up in two streams (again recalling the Caduceus, as well as the ida and pingala channels etc.) one a deadly poison used by Athena afterwards, and the other a wonderful healing balm used by none other than Asclepius, who was also one of the few definite examples in actual Greek Myth of a divinized mortal, and whose Rod shows the method by which he got his divinity plainly enough.

Rod of Asclepius

The story doesn’t end there though, because it’s also said in some Greek myths that Pegasus, the wonderful flying horse, sprang from the blood of the slain Medusa or was otherwise somehow gorgon-birthed. Nowadays we definitely think of Pegasus as winged, and in some depictions he gets his wingedness from Medusa. The monstrous feminine is demonic — but holds the key to achievement if one can conquer or harmonize its monstrous element in oneself. The horse pre-eminently (amongst many other symbolic roles of course) is an OBE animal cross-culturally. Both Mohammed and Odin, for instance, journeyed in the non-physical on the backs of horses with mythical attributes.

But not all Greek art shows Pegasus as winged. We get a great clue from a 5th c. BCE terracotta relief from Melos.

Bellerophon fights the Chimera, mounted upon Pegasus

It shows the hero Bellerophon on the back of Pegasus, fighting yet another monster, the chimera. The chimera has a tail which is a snake, yet the unwinged Pegasus also has front hooves being raised off the ground by a snake, suggesting that the snake is in some way his means of flight. One snake lifts the magical horse and thereby the hero, whilst the other forms part of the monster which the hero must conquer — yet the snakes are very alike. The monstrous chimera represents a nervous system out of control, but Pegasus is an animal nature that has risen harmoniously and is able to soar. It’s the poison/healing balm duality again. It’s a duality within us all.

Bellerophon may have had kundalini but clearly he did not achieve full enlightenment, since he is specifically remembered as having been thrown off Pegasus in his attempt to assume immortality, when Zeus stung the horse with a gad-fly — he ended his days as a misanthropic cripple, and did not join the likes of Asclepius (or Heracles) in becoming an immortal.

However, Pegasus himself did make it to immortality.


Reading List Reorganized

New post tomorrow… just to let you all know that the Reading List has now been re-organized by subject matter. Some interesting posts coming up, so stay tuned!


Talking Statues and Bitch Swords

The power of sacred objects — a very big subject. One can only guffaw as, one by one, even some quite savvy psychologists have tried to explain: oh their power is merely symbolic.

The fact is, there are numerous practices for making sacred objects which really do have a life of their own, and numerous examples of interaction with them. Some methods involve what in Hermetics have come to be known as ‘fluid condensers’ — substances that absorb chi or energy. Recipes range from simple to extremely complex. I’ve used simple ones, based on calendula for example, and they work. Take your liquid and paint it onto an object — hey presto, the object will be able to absorb chi and become ‘energized’. A lot of the clever wands and mirrors described by people like Franz Bardon and Draja Mickaharic depend on this kind of thing.

Statues and pictures can be enlivened by the same method. Bardon gives good instructions. Such items were well-known to the Ancient Greeks. Medea’s process in making her living statue of Artemis, involving pharmaka or herbs, doesn’t seem to differ much from the modern approach — see Faranoe 1992. Hephaestus and Daedalus were responsible for a number of Greek living statues having remarkable reputed powers. It was Hephaestus who made the dogs at the door of the palace of Alcinous in the Odyssey. The Hermetic Asclepius gives details on how such statues foretold the future and meted out justice.

If the Greeks practiced this, the Egyptians (like the Assyrians for that matter) did so even more I suspect. The Buddhists still do such things, with their stupas for example, if reports are to be believed. The Hindu ‘murti’ are another instance — here’s a nice discussion, if a little over-worthy for my taste, in which the enlivening process is described, a rather different one from the Hermetic method but with points of similarity. As its author, the redoubtable ‘marxist yogi’ Peter Wilberg, puts it:

The idolization of a Holy Book is a recognition of the truth that it is more than a material artifact of paper and ink. Similarly however, there is more to a temple, cathedral, synagogue or mosque than brick or stone, more to music than man-made material instruments and the sound vibrations they produce, just as there is more to a painting than its pigments, more to a great religious sculpture or ‘idol’ than wood, stone or bronze or some idle fancy of the sculptor.

… and, one might add, more to the human body as well.

Frank Perry, a highly-achieved player of the Tibetan Singing Bowls, says he has several which have had spirits placed in them. He goes hunting for them all over the East. More than one person has also insisted the British Museum is crowded with very old objects that remain ‘alive’. A well-known teacher and writer on astrology, for example, told me that a statue of an Egyptian goddess had spoken to him on a visit there. He wasn’t usually one for this kind of woo-woo, more the staid and academic type. (To his consternation she still speaks to him even though he’s back in the states.)

Most people in that museum will go to the Egyptian stuff first if they are looking for ‘ensouled’ items. But not Glenn Morris — he always headed straight for the Japanese swords. He used to say there were a couple in the British Museum still ‘putting out’ (chi), and in a not-altogether-nice vibe at that. Since much else he told me has turned out accurate, I believe him.

Glenn’s story of his ‘bitch sword Lydia’, from Path Notes, is a very cute tale, here is Glenn’s inimitable telling:

I have an old sword made by Yoshida Tamekichi of Seki. It’s a night sword, which means the blade is mottled and smoky in appearance so that it’s hard to see. Same principle as bluing a knife or gun. I bought it from an antique dealer for $75 as it was pretty beat up and the bloodstains in the officer handle wrappings weren’t particularly attractive. Its owner probably didn’t make it home. Every time I tried to sharpen it or clean it up, I’d get cut – once to the bone on my left thumb knuckle. I read a biography of Tesshu (one of the last great samurai swordsmen to achieve enlightenment) and decided to try running energy into the blade as well as meditating with it in my lap. One night as I was meditating the sword became very cold and a woman’s voice spoke to me saying, “You keep that ninja to (short straight-bladed sword favored by boat warriors) beside your bed instead of me. How can you be such a fool? Don’t you know I deserve better treatment than this?!”

I got up, moved the to out of the bedroom, and put her beside my bed. She has been light and easy to handle ever since. I haven’t been cut since. I had her scabbard and handle decorated by my mystical jeweller friend for a whopping fee. I had her nose redone even though it dropped her value as a bushido collector’s item by ten thousand dollars. The sword sometimes seems to move about me on her own when I do sword drills as a form of compassionate compensation. I don’t have the faintest idea how a swordmaker trapped a female spirit in a sword three hundred years ago.

Glenn named the sword ‘Lydia’ after Kenneth Roberts’ Lydia Bailey, and passed it on to his student Rob Williams before his death:

Glenn Morris passing 'Lydia' to Rob Williams

So don’t believe anyone who tells you magic items appear only in D&D games! Nor anyone who says that there is nothing more to them than ‘belief’. Idolatry’s future is bright.


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