The Pathway of the Two Serpents.

Gold Solar Serpent and the Black Lunar Serpent are alchemical opposites with different paths through the alchemical container of the body. When they meet, the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon takes place and this is when there is a possibility of immense energy. When the two serpents reach the crown, they become known as the Uraeus, which anoints the higher brain centres and leads to increased intelligence.

As they ascend, they crisscross one another to form nodes at each chakra, and magnetically energise them, as they go. The chakras spark into life as each one is touched in this alchemical weaving dance. In this way, with the interwoven pattern, the two serpents create what’s called the Central Column or Central Pillar. Eventually the two serpents reach the crown and then the hypothalamus, which is visualised as a Chalice. 

Beware all of you who are calling out for your soul mates.
The soul mate is not the soft one you expect.
He is Shiva and she is Shakti, the embodiment of the storm.
You will not live through the night when the soul mate comes.
Something you have held onto for lifetimes will be ripped away from you.
And the gods will dance on your torn body.
For they know, you have finally been humbled and vanquished.
—  Paul Ferrini

Shiva and Shakti: The Divine Masculine and Feminine

Paravati, the embodiment of Shakti, sat meditating for a thousand years in a remote region of the Himalayas. As she sat in extreme austerity, her appearance became anything but lavish. Her hair was matted into long dreadlocks that held the secrets and mysteries of the sky above and the earth below, and on her body she wore tatted deer skin and bark. The purpose of Parvati’s meditation practice was clear and concise: she wanted to reunite with her divine love, from whom she had been separated from through many incarnations. As she meditated, the story of her infinite lives played out before her….

She saw Brahma, the God of Creation, birth from his mouth an odd, indescribable, a-sexual membranous creature that looked much like an egg. Terrified, because he could not describe it, Brahma cried out: “Divide yourself!” The creature instantly split into two halves, which soon assembled into two bodies: male and female, Shiva and Shakti. Shakti was filled with awe as she stared at Shiva, who was clearly her other and herself. She couldn’t tell where one began and one ended. As Shakti reached out a hand towards Shiva, Brahma shouted “NO! You must stay divided!” In the pain of separation, Shakti turned to duality, with the unyielding hope of reconnecting with Shiva. Shiva, on the other hand, found the pain so unbearable that he took off to the Himalayas where he meditated among the ghosts on death and destruction. With discipline, Shiva liberated himself of all desire, thus obtaining the power to create and destroy. Shiva and Shakti continue to unite and separate for eternity, just like we, in our humanness, oscillate between wholeness or oneness and separateness.  

Shiva is often called the awareness and Shakti is the aliveness. Shiva is the sacred ground on which Shakti creates. Without the stillness and groundness of Shiva, the creative potential of Shakti becomes unmanageable. Without the creative potency of Shakti, Shiva becomes an observer lacking the ability to create or manifest. Shiva and Shakti merge to create Oneness and dissolve into this oneness where the masculine and feminine cease to exist and the pure consciousness of creation manifests in its place. Shiva and Shakti symbolize an intrinsic duality, balance, and the freedom to embody and dance with our devotion and prayer in any form.

I didn’t grow up listening to stories of Gods and Goddesses. In fact, my Jewish upbringing told me that idol worship was forbidden. When I was 18, a fierce mentor of mine gave me a photo of Shiva and Shakti, the divine masculine and feminine. She told me that the divine masculine and feminine lived and thrived inside of me, and that masculinity and femininity were actually not gendered. Radical. I kept this photo in a hidden place and would glance at it from time to time for a spark of inspiration and guidance. I began to explore what it meant to be gender non-conforming, and to break free from the deeply embedded patterns and intergenerational trauma that lived in my body as I moved through the world as a female-bodied, Jewish woman. This is an ongoing exploration that shifts, morphs, softens, ignites, unites, and separates.

I now have an altar in my room that is graced with symbols of the gods and goddess that have meaning to me, and the many incarnations of Shiva and Shakti. I also honor my Jewish faith on this very altar. I chant to the different forms of Shiva and Shakti in the ancient language of Sanskrit, and I chant to the divine in the ancient language of Hebrew. I believe that all symbols of the divine evoke certain qualities within ourselves that ultimately bring us back to balance or oneness. We can also serve each other in this same way. As Ram Dass says, “We are all just walking each other home.”

by Amy Rae Ruben

Amy believes yoga acts as a mirror so that we can greet and tolerate our discomfort as it shows up each day, rather than turn away or react against it. Amy trusts in yoga as a daily, embodied practice. She believes that with discipline and devotion, we can awaken the tools inside of ourselves to stay present with whatever arises and begin to trust in the process as it unfolds. Amy lives and teaches in San Francisco, California and is currently working on a Masters in Somatic Counseling Psychology.

ॐ☯The Art of Yoga☯ॐ