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.


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!