"Be as wise as serpents and as
harmless as doves."
Snakes are fascinating. Whether they fill you with horror or delight, there is something magnetic about serpents. This is presumably why they appear as important symbols in many religions and spiritualities. And they are used with the same extreme ambiguity. They can be seen either as a sign of evil or alternatively as a sign of wisdom and healing.
That is seen in the way the Bible talks about serpents. On the one hand, the serpent is the symbol of greatest evil, the Devil tempting Adam and Eve and causing everything to go wrong (Genesis). On the other hand, the serpent-rod of Moses is a symbol of God's liberating, triumphant power that releases the captives from slavery (Exodus 7:8-13 and throughout the story of Moses).
Snakes are used as a form of punishment by God to tell his people off for complaining about everything but that very same punishment becomes a source of healing when they look towards the serpent lifted upon the pole. (Numbers 21:4-9) Later on that healing serpent pole was destroyed because the people had started to worship it rather than God who worked through it (2 Kings 8:14).
However, Jesus compared himself and his own destiny as the crucified healer to that healing serpent when he said "Just as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up that he might draw all men and women to himself " (John 3:14-15). Ancient Egyptians also believed in this ambiguity of snake symbolism. For them, they were a very real threat and they described evil as a snake. But they also believed in a gigantic serpent, Wbwawoot, who would eat up all the other dangerous snakes and thus ensure a safe passage from death to the after-life.
So when Moses and Aaron confront the Egyptian magicians it is not so much a competition between them but rather, God speaking to the Egyptians in the stories of their own culture. This is seen even more clearly in the Koranic version of the story when the Egyptians start to believe in the Lord of the Universe,the God of Moses and Aaron because they recognise the supreme power of good working through Moses' serpent-rod. (The Heights 7:110-125)
I do something similar with the culture of complementary medicine and the snake kundalini, believing that the God of Jesus may work through it to heal and free people from obstacles that bind them.
Kundalini is part of the belief in chakras. These are Sanskrit words and the ideas come through Eastern philosophies. Put simply, chakras are key points in the human body which are especially sensitive in emotional and spiritual issues.
The word chakra means wheel and is used to symbolise the intensity of energy at those points. Some Western doctors are now acknowledging that they do, in fact, mark the points where many nerve-endings come together.
Now here's the snake!! - kundalini literally means 'she who is coiled round' and refers to the energy which enables a person to become the unique person that they actually are.
In the chakra system, kundalini energy lies coiled at the bottom of the spine. For a person to become truly mature, truly themselves, that energy must be allowed to uncoil and permeate through the whole of the body until they 'walk tall'. But it can be blocked - through hurt, abuse, lack of confidence, sinfulness or stubborness - and when it is blocked it usually shows at one of the chakra points. I have
given each of the chakra points an appropriate verse from the Bible.
- BASE CHAKRA: Ruth 3:3-9
- SACRAL CHAKRA: John 3:14
- WOMB CHAKRA: Romans 8:23
- HEART CHAKRA: Ezekiel 36:26
- THROAT CHAKRA: Romans 10:9-10
- BROW CHAKRA: Revelation 22:4
- CROWN CHAKRA: Isaiah 62:3
I can pray the Biblical chakras in a variety of ways. For example, I seek to discern, through prayer, whether each chakra is open or blocked. Or I can anoint the chakra points with oil. Or simply chat through with you what the chakra points and their verses mean to you. There are no hard and fast rules and no techniques which must be followed for it to work. I do not believe in a healing
technique but in the healing God who frees a person from anything that is blocking their true self developing and enjoying abundance of life.
Kundalini energy is particularly (but not exclusively) associated with feminine energy and with women's power to be whole, strong and confident in all aspects of their personality including their sexuality. That is why I find it so useful to use when praying with survivors of sexual abuse. But it can be used in a variety of situations and for men as well as women. The important thing is to pray through the Holy Spirit to uncoil a person's energy until they are standing up straight like 'the serpent on a pole'.