At the base of our spine, a secret serpent lays dormant, waiting to awaken. It is said to be guarding our inner treasure. When this serpent awakens, it is believed that it coils upwards and ascends through the energy centres in the body till it arrives at the crown chakra.

When the snake has completed its ascension process, the soul that inhabits the human body awakens.

This process is known as a kundalini awakening.

A kundalini awakening is said to rouse the feminine energy that resides in the human body. In images and renderings, it is depicted as a shy coiled serpent. And if there’s one thing I do know about serpents, it is that they are best left undisturbed.

So why do we seek to awaken the serpent?

In Asia, where I’m from, we usually depict deities as ‘guarded’ by either serpents or dragons. In the Abrahamic faiths, however, the serpent is an evil tempter that leads to the mythological fall of mankind.

In Hinduism, there are many mythological snakes, each of which have their own characteristics. There’s Vasuki, Ahir Budhnya, Ananta Shesha and so on. Some of these snakes are male, while others are female. Some of these snakes are indeed tricksters, while others are wise. The wise snakes wish to be left alone. The trickers, however, are always up to mischief.

Through yoga, breathing, meditation, reciting mantras and so on–it is believed that we can activate the dormant kundalini energy that resides within every human being. This is a tantric practise. The term tantra was coined by Western scholars to describe the many esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism that developed in India from the middle of the 1st millennium CE onwards.

The earliest usage of the word tantra meant ‘loom’ or any sort of device that one used to weave. It did not have the same connotation it does today.

The Unmanifested Energy

Within every human being, there exists unmanifested energy–in other words, dormant capabilities that have yet to be actualised. From musical abilities to entrepreneurial tendencies, we are capable of far more than we realise. The moment we begin to manifest these latent traits, we realise that we are capable of doing much more than what we initially thought.

But till it is evoked or awakened, these latent talents and abilities lay dormant; waiting to be aroused, so to speak. Due to societal conditioning and dogma, we are ‘guided’ to choose certain paths–occupation, choice of spouse and so on–at the expense of others.

Once we begin tapping into our inner potential, we realise that we are capable of miracles. A completely new level of energy and modality of being becomes available to us. We begin to behave in a completely different way.

Our consciousness expands and we become aware of aspects of the Self that have been ‘lost’ or ‘discarded’ along the way. We begin to live far more integrated lives.

The Manifestation

A kundalini awakening has been described by some as dangerous. Why? The answer is simple. We are not meant to manifest all our dormant capabilities. We incarnate for a particular purpose. In the context of Vedic astrology, our Rahu and Ketu placements shed light on what we have been born to heal, to amend and to live out (as well as not live out).

In light of that, we need to be careful regarding what we manifest and how we manifest it. We could manifest our deepest and truest desires or our worst nightmares. We could create beautiful things or we could wreck havoc on the planet. It all comes down to our intention, our awareness and where our inner compass is headed.

People who come into their own power before they are truly ready have a way of making many unnecessary mistakes that can be averted, if only we were aware of the consequences of our actions. At the same time, that is no reason to remain small. We are capable of so much more than we realise.

In either case, we are only visitors on this planet for a brief sojourn and it is best if we remain as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.

The multi-hooded Vasuki wrapped around the Mount Mandara, during Samudra manthan, the churning of the ocean of milk. ca 1760

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