Caduceus and the Central Channel


Central Channel Meditation – Day 1  

The Central Channel is an important feature of the symbol of the caduceus. It is the rod encircled by serpents and topped with a winged headpiece. This symbol has quite a bit to report on our energy architecture, which we’ll take into meditation this week. The caduceus goes back to Roman mythos as the Caduceus of Mercury – the staff of the messenger of the gods. We also know wing-capped Mercury in his astrological association with the mind… and the mind’s esoteric representation as the gateway to the soul.

Greek mythology uses this symbol as the Karykeion of Hermes. Similarly, Hermes is the messenger of the gods. The word Karykeion means “herald’s staff” and it is formed from the root word “eruko” meaning “restrain” or “control.” It is the the restrained personality (“restrained” could be substituted with “aligned”) that allows for the soul’s wisdom to pour through.

Similar to caduceus is the word caducous, which, in botany, refers to the dropping of leaves or, in zoology, refers to shedding. So we think of the snake’s molting, or shedding of its skin, as a dropping away of the old to become new. As we evolve, we often see a dropping away of old habits and thought forms. New thoughts and approaches create new experiences and thus a new reality.

In the image of the caduceus above, we see two snakes spiraling up a rod with two wings and a capped top. This is a symbolic representation of your energy architecture. The serpents represent the ida and the pingala, which spiral along the central channel, also known as the sushumna. As the serpents criss-cross, they create the 5 chakras along the spine. The wings represent the ajna chakra (the 6th) and the cap represents the crown chakra (the 7th) at the top of the spine. In many  ancient images of the caduceus, a pineapple is featured on top. This is symbolic of the highest degree of spiritual illumination possible. The pineapple is central to the Staff of Osiris (Egyptian), the papal staff (Catholic), and imagery from many other ancient cultures and traditions. It is also associated with the Crown chakra and the pineal gland, which Hippocrates called “the seat of the soul.” The pineal gland lies deep in the brain and is affected by light; its cells resemble the photo receptor cells of the retina in the eye. Could it be receptive to the light of the soul?

It is in the base of the spine, or at the Root Chakra, that the “serpent of matter lies coiled.” “Nurtured by life and energy pouring down the entire length of the spinal column,” the serpent is transformed into the “serpent of wisdom” and then becomes the “dragon of living light.” The quotes are from the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul’s Esoteric Healing and they detail the process of spiritualizing matter or the rising of the Fires of Kundalini. The living light reference is the light of en-light-enment. We could read this as the process of aligning the personality with the soul and thus leading a purposeful, embodied, and realized life.

This week’s meditations will engage our energy architecture. Serpents, flames, pineapples, and winged gods… fasten your seatbelt! Actually, the beauty of the process is that it is always happening and has always been happening; we’re simply supporting its efficacy.

Meditation Podcast: Central Channel – Day 1

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