Further deconstructing the serpent’s meaning

Shingai Rukwata Ndoro : Chiseling the Debris

The uplifted serpent of ancient Egypt was called Uraeus, the royal cobra deity.

“The Uraeus was the symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity, divine authority and was worn on the royal head-dress or crown. According to a pyramid text, Geb awarded the cobra to the king as the legitimate holder of the throne of Egypt.

“Over the millennia, the serpent increasingly came to be associated with evil. However, in most ancient times, the serpent was a metaphor for duality, being simultaneously creative and destructive. The purity of the serpent’s straight and narrow form is an inherent contrast to its crooked path and the duplicity of its forked tongue.

“The double helix formed from two serpents is an ideal symbol for the duality of life itself . . . In the reproductive process, a single DNA strand from the mother and one from the father are combined to form a new life.

“Genesis 2:24 states, ‘a man . . . shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. This is . . . referring . . . to the creation of one life from the genetic contributions of two’’.

“In Egypt, the serpent icon stood for ‘a guardian spirit or a hostile force’. The lowly serpent strikes suddenly from the ground, or can ascend the loftiest tree and even ‘fly’ among its branches in pursuit of a victim. In this regard, the serpent was a fearful deterrent to intruders.

“In addition to its other unique properties, male and female serpents have two sets of reproductive organs, which came to be associated with fertility. In Egypt, the serpent represented not only earthly but cosmic fertility. The sloughing and renewal of a serpent’s skin symbolises immortality and therefore, divinity.

“The progress of the serpent is comparable to the path of a seeker, and for that reason the serpent symbolises wisdom. The serpent was characterised as wise and clever, but in a negative sense, also devious and beguiling.” ( Chales N Pope, “Living in

Truth: Archaeology and the Patriarchs”)

In esoteric or theosophic Judaism, the serpent represents the nervous temperament, related with the head, because in the head we have the brain and the spinal column and the rest of the nervous system where the solar force, the energies, are circulating in the body.

The serpent represents the feminine aspect and the eagle represents the masculine energy. The peaceful nature of calm life force is symbolised by a dove.

Today’s insignia of many medical and physician associations, pharmaceutical companies including that of the World Health Organisation is a serpent coiled around the Plant of Birth — a depiction shown in the relics of ancient Sumer to be Enki’s (Osiris’) emblem.

The serpent means three things: universal life force/cosmic energy; the sign of the power of such as a universal life force; and sexual desire.

Metamorphically, a person is a serpent in the physical plane/Lower Self nature and the serpent is phallic and nakedly so.

A human being can be symbolised by a serpent in that the serpent represents rebirth — shedding of the old skin and being reborn into a new body. An eagle is also representative of the Essential, Real or True Self for an eagle has to swallow or subservient the serpent which is symbolism of personal transformation and a painful metamorphosis process of “resurrection” to achieve a state of the Essential, Real or True Self.

Relatedly, the lion is a beast that roars and symbolises the bestial, animal desires. In most cultures and civilisations, the first great work is to kill a lion, symbolising the conquering of the “beastly self”.

After one has conquered the beastly self, one dresses up using the skin of the same animal to symbolise courage. This means the Essential/Real/True Self does not detach itself from the physical body after conquering it.

The physical body becomes the instrument/vehicle of the Essential, Real or True Self.

“Our sages explain that when two Hebrew words have the same numerical value, they are of the same essence on a more subtle and hidden level. Perhaps this is why the Hebrew words mashiach (messiah) and nachash (serpent) have the same numerical value of 358. While on the surface they seem to represent the two diametrically opposed forces of good and evil, they are related in their essence . . .

“Life is a celebration to be lived, and when we deny our own natural instincts, we deny the very human glory within us; we deny life itself. If we allow our passions and desires to increase in (innovative) and creative expression, we can truly blossom. Those of us who allow our primal energy to emerge will enter the doorway to the Divine, travel the road back to the Garden and experience the return to the Temple of (the Divine).” (Rabbi Michael Ezra, “The Serpent And Its Transformative Power: Serpentine Symbolism”)

Resources:

Professor Arthur Edward Waite, “The Secret Doctrine in Israel: A Study of the Zohar and its Connections”, 1922
“Sex: The Secret Gate to Eden DVD: Alchemy, Tantra, and Kabbalah in the Mysteries of Adam and Eve”, 2007
Aunel va Daath, “Secret Teachings of Moses: Sex, the Soul, and God in the Garden of Eden”, 2010

Feedback: [email protected] and Twitter @shingaiRndoro. A gallery of previous articles can be found at www.sundaymail.co.zw/author/shingairukwata

 

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