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The Mysterious Power Of The Kundalini


By James Donahue


Most people involved in esoteric matters understand that the word kundalini is a reference to a mysterious serpentine energy believed coiled within each human. The practice of yogi is among the known ways to awaken this energy and thus expand the context of our spiritual and physical life.


In ancient Sanskrit the word kundalini means “she who is coiled.” It is a metaphor of the power of a serpent that many believe is located at the base of the human spine. Some see it as an image of the human spine itself, while others utilize a sexual connotation, linking the uncoiling of the kundalini with the erection of the male penis.


A traditional Indian description of the kundalini experience is that it is the release of shakti, or energy, at the base of the spine. When “awakened” it rushes upward into the head and creates a mystical state of consciousness.


This energy, according to psychiatrist Dr. Lee Sannella, author of The Kundalini Experience, is said to be an aspect of the transcendental consciousness that “precedes and yet also pervades the entire cosmos.”


In other words, the awakening of the kundalini is another way of describing an altered state of human consciousness. It is a state of mind that everybody subconsciously seeks, often through the use of drugs. It is a natural state of mind, however, that some say can be achieved not only through the practice of yogi, but by listening to certain forms of music.


There is an interesting passage in Crowley’s strange writing: Liber al vel Legis in which the energy of the universe, Had, proclaims: “I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down mine head, and shoot forth venom, there is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one.”


It is clear that Had is identifying himself with the kundalini. He describes this energy as a secret coiled serpent, about to spring. Strangely this is regarded as a bad image by the Christian and Hebrew people, who identify the serpent with the rebellious archangel Lucifer, cast from Heaven to Earth. Yet to the spiritual practitioner, the kundalini energy is a good thing that each man and woman desires to master and learn to release on demand.


Because Had is the energy of the universe and the light within each star, or existing human, the kundalini thus becomes a perfect metaphor to use in describing his existence. Also the image of the serpent portrays the phallus and a sexual union with the universe, or Nuit.


This energy can be unexpectedly released through other stimuli, including mere thought. When it occurs without warning it can cause a sense of alarm and confusion. Dr. Sannella, a psychiatrist, wrote his book based upon treatment of patients unprepared to deal with the effects of this rush of energy throughout their system. A specialist in this field, Sannella actually founded a Kundalini Clinic in San Francisco to assist victims of “sudden kundalini arousal.”


In his book, Sannella describes a classic symptom of the kundalini experience as described by one of his patients: “My body is swept by muscle spasms. Indescribable sensations and sharp pains run from my feet and up my legs to my back. My skull feels as if it is about to burst. Inside my head I hear roaring sounds and high-pitched whistling. Suddenly I am laughing, overcome with bliss.”


Because Christian beliefs deny meditation and experiences in the eastern arts, westerners regard this arousal within themselves as harbingers of insanity. They are unaware that the kundalini experience has a sacred and hallowed spiritual tradition among practitioners of the mystic arts, or that people have studied yoga for thousands of years and know how to utilize this energy in productive and creative ways.