“Let the snake inside you dance to the tune of the universe”
Serpent Mysteries were, like the serpent who penetrates the very earth itself, pervasive in our ancient world. They come to us now shrouded in shadow and bearing the threat of danger, as a serpent might in the wild. They wield a primal fear against us, keeping the timid at bay and alluring others with their otherworldly eyes into a path of riddles that is paved with the bones of our very spine.
The Story Of The Lindworm
The serpent, in its many forms as a snake, dragon, and other reptilian beasts, often plays the role of the villain. As in the fairytale “The Lindworm,” the serpent rises up to ruin the plans of the royal privileged, who would rather go on their way without dealing with the creature. But it insists, calling upon ancient rights, ancient pacts which it means to fulfill, seeming to bring the otherwise perfect kingdom to its knees, swallowing each princess sent to appease it.
At last, a princess who has found a magical elder to teach her faces the serpent’s riddle with her own, and doing so invokes the many layers of shedding that keep the serpent trapped within itself. She brings forth the purified human imprisoned in the serpent with patience, courage, and skillful communication. It was this prince who had been outcast as a monster and was demanding his right to the royal line, his right to spiritual dignity, that the serpent is transmuted into. It is the will of the princess that makes it so. Enigmas of Deep Time are taught in this tale that invites us to cook in its heat.
The Dragon’s Dignity
Dignity is what the serpent seeks, the dignity of the soul put right or upright, as does our spine when we wish to “stand tall.” For certain, there is much to be said for cultivating a healthy spine. Yet it is not something that all, through birth or injury, have access to. Paradoxically, as Dragon Mysteries will be, it is often these very people, these “dis-abled,” in the spine or otherwise, who learn to access the depth of soul much easier, even deeper, than those with a more perfect picture to work with. As Rilke has said:
“And one of the things I find most moving is the way people with infirmities manage to embrace Life, and from the cool flowers by the wayside reach conclusions about the vast splendour of its great gardens. They can, if their souls’ strings are finely tuned, arrive with much less effort at the feeling of eternity; for everything we do, they may dream. And precisely where our deeds end, theirs begin to bear fruit.”
The Serpent’s Kiss
The danger of the serpent is in its bite, which has become far more dangerous as our ancient covenants of elderhood have fallen away. Many whose psychic senses open too abruptly or deeply, those not held in the container of initiated elders born of generations of tending to the soul’s unfolding, find this bite too much to bear. Without the inheritance of skillful means, we have only our wits and grace to help us find our way, to transmute the venom on our own. Yet if we do manage to endure the path of poison, if we follow the wound to the depth where it struck, we will find a depth of soul access we may not have found, much less have even considered possible, otherwise. To do so is to discover the power of transmutation, the deepest mystery of alchemy, soul, and nature. And with that knowledge, we can rebirth the ancient ways in forms both new and profound.