As of late, I have been doing extensive research regarding the topic of the Kundalini, or Serpent Fire, and its relationship to the mysteries and Immortality. Any discussion regarding this topic would not be complete without direct referencing from the great Manly P. Hall. We know that the ancients combined philosophy and science into the singular study of the human body. Most contemporary sciences, however, like to separate these ideas; but not so with the ancients. You see, the functions of the body, despite all our medical advances today, remain a mystery. Therefore, the mysteries we study today also involve the human body, or bodily mysteries. So much of our symbols do relate to and correspond to the mysteries of the body and its mind, and its purpose, which is regeneration. Therefore, what did Manly P Hall have to say on the matter?
First and foremost, Hall related the concept of Kundalini to that of Hiram Abiff (CHiram), the central figure in Blue Lodge Masonry. Furthermore, he also referred to the topic as the Spirit Fire, and the Lost Key of Masonry, or human regeneration. He further related it to 33 degrees of Freemasonry and the human spinal cord. And finally, Hall also discussed the importance of raising the Spirit Fire up the vertebrae to the pineal gland:
Sufficient similarity exists between the Masonic CHiram and the Kundalini of Hindu mysticism to warrant the assumption that CHiram may be considered a symbol also of the Spirit Fire moving through the sixth ventricle of the spinal column. The exact science of human regeneration is the Lost Key of Masonry, for when the Spirit Fire is lifted up through the thirty-three degrees, or segments of the spinal column, and enters into the domed chamber of the human skull, it finally passes into the pituitary body (Isis), where it invokes Ra (the pineal gland) and demands the Sacred Name. Operative Masonry, in the fullest meaning of that term, signifies the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened. E. A. Wallis Budge has noted that in some of the papyri illustrating the entrance of the souls of the dead into the judgment hall of Osiris the deceased person has a pine cone attached to the crown of his head. The Greek mystics also carried a symbolic staff, the upper end being in the form of a pine cone, which was called the thyrsus of Bacchus. In the human brain there is a tiny gland called the pineal body, which is the sacred eye of the ancients, and corresponds to the third eye of the Cyclops. Little is known concerning the function of the pineal body, which Descartes suggested (more wisely than he knew) might be the abode of the spirit of man. As its name signifies, the pineal gland is the sacred pine cone in man–the eye single, which cannot be opened until CHiram (the Spirit Fire) is raised through the sacred seals which are called the Seven Churches in Asia (Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages, 1929, p. 79).
Hall further relates Hiram Abiff (CHiram) to the three gates of the temple, and the northern gate, in which the sun never shines; like that of a Lodge room’s empty seat in the north. You see, the body is represented by the crystallized water/spirit of the north; and man’s light shines always to the north. For this reason then, the moon can come to represent our physical nature. As such, Hiram is the fiery or airy water that must be raised, which is further symbolized by the ladder (2nd degree of Freemasonry). Furthermore, Hiram also passes up by means of the ladder of the spinal cord, or Tree of Life. Moreover, the sacred number of man is nine, which is symbolized by the sacrum and coccyx; the lower part of the body, often termed the Land of Egypt. And like Moses coming out of Egypt, the human mind is illuminated by raising the brazen serpent (Tau Cross), which is personified by the Spirit Fire of the human spinal cord being raised:
As applied to Masonry, the three sunbursts represent the gates of the temple at which CHiram was struck, there being no gate in the north because the sun never shines from the northern angle of the heavens. The north is the symbol of the physical because of its relation to ice (crystallized water) and to the body (crystallized spirit). In man the light shines toward the north but never from it, because the body has no light of its own but shines with the reflected glory of the divine life-particles concealed within physical substance. For this reason the moon is accepted as the symbol of man’s physical nature. CHiram is the mysterious fiery, airy water which must be raised through the three grand centers symbolized by the ladder with three rungs and the sunburst flowers mentioned in the description of the Hindu painting. It must also pass upward by means of the ladder of seven rungs-the seven plexuses proximate to the spine. The nine segments of the sacrum and coccyx are pierced by ten foramina, through which pass the roots of the Tree of Life. Nine is the sacred number of man, and in the symbolism of the sacrum and coccyx a great mystery is concealed. That part of the body from the kidneys downward was termed by the early Qabbalists the Land of Egypt into which the children of Israel were taken during the captivity. Out of Egypt, Moses (the illuminated mind, as his name implies) led the tribes of Israel (the twelve faculties) by raising the brazen serpent in the wilderness upon the symbol of the Tau cross. Not only CHiram but the god-men of nearly every pagan Mystery ritual are personifications of the Spirit Fire in the human spinal cord (Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages, 1929, p. 79).
Along this same line of thinking, Hall mentioned that man’s lower nature is symbolized by a leviathan, or sea serpent, or dragon. Furthermore, all serpentine forms have come to represent solar energy. As such, the serpent signifies the imprisoned life force, or divine energy, rushing through man’s body; it’s passion, lust and even greed are present until it is transmuted and controlled. And Jesus has also come to represent this concealed divine nature within man himself:
According to many scattered fragments extant, man’s lower nature was symbolized by a tremendous, awkward creature resembling a great sea serpent, or dragon, called leviathan. All symbols having serpentine form or motion signify the solar energy in one of its many forms. This great creature of the sea therefore represents the solar life force imprisoned in water and also the divine energy coursing through the body of man, where, until transmuted, it manifests itself as a writhing, twisting monster–man’s greeds, passions, and lusts. Among the symbols of Christ as the Savior of men are a number relating to the mystery of His divine nature concealed within the personality of the lowly Jesus (Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages, 1929, p. 86).
We now see Hall relating the ancient understanding of Kundalini/Serpent Fire to that of the medical profession through the sign of the Hermes staff. Moreover, the serpent is aligned with the ideas of wisdom and even salvation; regardless of Christendom’s contemporary view of evil. In fact, the serpent tempts man with the knowledge of himself. Like that of the tree of life being compared to the spinal cord, calling it the spinal fire, which is the gift of the great serpent. And perhaps most boldly, Hall relates this Serpent Fire to the redemption of the savior, Jesus the Christ; and he uses the example of Moses raising the serpent in the desert as his example, and the example of Christ telling his disciples to be as wise as the serpents:
In the ancient Mysteries the serpent entwining a staff was the symbol of the physician. The serpent-wound staff of Hermes remains the emblem of the medical profession. Among nearly all these ancient peoples the serpent was accepted as the symbol of wisdom or salvation. The antipathy which Christendom feels towards the snake is based upon the little-understood allegory of the Garden of Eden. The serpent is true to the principle of wisdom, for it tempts man to the knowledge of himself. Therefore the knowledge of self resulted from man’s disobedience to the Demiurgus, Jehovah. How the serpent came to be in the garden of the Lord after God had declared that all creatures which He had made during the six days of creation were good has not been satisfactorily answered by the interpreters of Scripture. The tree that grows in the midst of the garden is the spinal fire; the knowledge of the use of that spinal fire is the gift of the great serpent. Notwithstanding statements to the contrary, the serpent is the symbol and prototype of the Universal Savior, who redeems the worlds by giving creation the knowledge of itself and the realization of good and evil. If this be not so, why did Moses raise a brazen serpent upon a cross in the wilderness that all who looked upon it might be saved from the sting of the lesser snakes? Was not the brazen serpent a prophecy of the crucified Man to come? If the serpent be only a thing of evil, why did Christ instruct His disciples to be as wise as serpents (Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages, 1929, p. 88)?
Despite the prevailing thought that the serpent is evil, Hall counters such ideas with some esoteric thinking. He claimed the serpent represented Immortality and is a symbol of reincarnation, due to the shedding of its skin, and it being given the luster of a new skinning body. You see, metaphorically, the serpent never dies, except by violence or by injury. And the serpent is also emblematic of God, because like a serpent swallowing itself (eating its tail), the creator reabsorbs his universe back into himself:
The accepted theory that the serpent is evil cannot be substantiated. It has long been viewed as the emblem of immortality. It is the symbol of reincarnation, or metempsychosis, because it annually sheds its skin, reappearing, as it were, in a new body. There is an ancient superstition to the effect that snakes never die except by violence and that, if uninjured, they would live forever. It was also believed that snakes swallowed themselves, and this resulted in their being considered emblematic of the Supreme Creator, who periodically reabsorbed His universe back into Himself (Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages, 1929, p. 88).
The history that the serpent is a universal belief, like that of the cross, and even predates Christianity, was pointed out by Hall, especially when he mentioned its origin is from that of Atlantis, “Atlantean sun worship has been perpetuated in the ritualism and ceremonialism of both Christianity and pagandom. Both the cross and the serpent were Atlantean emblems of divine wisdom (Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages, 1929, p. 34).
Hall further related astral light to that of a depiction of a serpent eating it own tail, and the colors of black and white, “the alternately black and white serpent of astral light“; and further related this topic to cosmic motion, “Vishnu sitting in the blossom of the lotus on a couch formed of the coils of the serpent of cosmic motion (Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages, 1929, p. 77). Both of which relate to the purpose of Kundalini, which is further consciousness, which can only be sought in the etheric realm.
There is, of course, much much more to Hall’s writings regarding the Serpent Fire/ Kundalini, but I think I have made my point; this was just a teaser. I highly recommend any ardent student of the esoteric sciences take the time to delve further into his writings. In fact, there are over 154 references to the term serpent in Hall’s book Secret Teachings of all Ages (1929). If one is seeking a better understanding of the esoteric science of Kundalini, especially from a Masonic perspective, I highly recommend this course of study; I know I did.
So Mote It Be!
Blue Lodge Master Mason – Scottish Rite Mason – York Rite Mason – Knight Mason – Allied Mason – York Rite College – Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest – Red Cross of Constantine – Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis.