An ARTICLE derived from The Guru’s Gift: A Kundalini Awakening by Ruth Angela © 2013. This article is COPYRIGHTED to the author, Ruth Angela. Permission to use or reproduce any material in this document must be obtained from the author.
Today the word “Kundalini” is widely recognized in New Age terminology,but in July of 1979, when it was first mentioned to me as the reason for some of my incredible physical and psychological symptoms, few people had ever heard of it outside of the sacred texts of India. The word was totally foreign to me then, although I have now come to know it as representing the most intimate aspect of my being. There is virtually no other language with a directly translatable name for this phenomena. Thus it is not surprising that most people will seek the dictionary for a clarification. Unfortunately, there is “kung fu” but no “kundalini.” The nearest meaning is under “Holy Spirit” which is “spirit of God” in Random House or “God as spiritually acting” in my Oxford Dictionary.
Neither of these actually conveys the full sense of the Kundalini. If one takes the time to look up the ancient yogic texts, their explanations are often more confusing and puzzling. Can such a phenomena be universal to the human species if so little is known about it, and it is not even a part of the vocabulary and understanding of most cultures?
The answer is, “Yes.” It is a universal phenomena and it is becoming more widely understood because the incidence of its awakening, though rare in the past, is becoming more and more common. The reasons for that lie outside the domain of this essay, but there are many texts now by writers such as Barbara Hand Clow, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Greg Braden, Carl J. Calleman Ph.D., Barbara Marciniak, Ken Carey, and Neale Donald Walch that explain the awakening planet.
There are likely psychiatrists or psychologists right now trying to help patients with Kundalini awakening symptoms. Unfortunately, doctors that are trained in the traditional psychology field neither know what it is nor how to treat the phenomena. Thus hapless patients are being misdiagnosed, mis-medicated and misunderstood. There may be young people experimenting with drugs, herbs and/or yoga who have awakened the kundalini and find their bodies or emotions out of control, manifesting strange heat surges and mysterious physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological explosions. Actually, there is no one symptom that defines kundalini awakening, but a complex of symptoms can be identified as pointing to the likelihood. Yet, judging by the number of people who write to me in despair, some of these symptoms can be upsetting and frightening even to an accomplished psychologist or elevated yoga teacher. There are very few avenues available in Western culture giving clear information about the phenomena of Kundalini awakening.
I offer this article to throw some light onto the subject. I have been deeply involved in understanding my own experience since 1979, and have had the wonderful and auspicious assistance of my guru. However, just like falling in love defies exact words, so does the experience of kundalini. It is an experience and thus can only be fully understood as a living experience.
The awakening of Kundalini is a spiritual awakening, a major step towards realization of the divine. It is, in fact, a great boon, a great blessing and a magical gift. Just after my awakening that night in July 1979 when I received a mantra and was given Shaktipat, I certainly knew something divine had happened to me. This bliss was to become the beginning of a transformation process that was very dramatic for the two years which followed; it continues to this day in a much more subtle manner. It is apparent now according to Lee Sannella, a psychiatrist who has written a seminal work on what he calls “a form of psychospiritual energy” ( 8) the Kundalini Shakti, that is a “process of psychospiritual transformation” that is found in human beings all over the world “transcending personal and cultural differences” (23). I was participating in a universal human experience of transcendence. According to Sannella’s research, Kundalini is integral to the teachings of “Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese Taoism,” some “American Indian tribes, and …even of the Bushmen of Africa.” It was “most carefully studied and conceptually elaborated” in Hindu India (8).
Although the word Kundalini may appear strange for many readers and the concept of it even incomprehensible to the Western mind, in fact it is closer to each person than his own heart. Kundalini is closer than the breath in the body for it is the breather and the breath. In its dormant form it is the very essence of all life. It is the basic energy of all motion and activity. The coiled Kundalini lies dormant from birth at the base of the spine in every individual until one day it is awakened, then it ascends through the spinal column and the subtle nerve channels of the subtle body cleansing and clearing blockages as it rises towards the crown…where it merges with the energy of the higher Self. This connects the individual to the cosmic energy source so she is no longer an isolated, separated entity, but a conduit of the divine cosmic force.
In the awakened form, this uncoiled force becomes the Kundalini depicted in Indian scriptures both as a Goddess of immense power, often called “Kundalini Shakti,” and as a snake or serpent. It is She who is the manifest universe, and when She wakens within an individual, She will sweep one up in Her tremendous passion to reunite with Her Lord, Shiva–the unmanifest –in order to dance once again in his arms. Thus begins a crazy, wonderful,unpredictable ride with Goddess where She rules the body, mind and soul as she ascends through the body to the crown of the head- the seat of Shiva.
The concept of a snake out of control in our bodies seems unsettling to our Western view. We are by our conditioning and training taught to fear snakes and abhor their very existence. Yet there is a familiar symbol of it in Western culture that exemplifies the Kundalini as it snakes through the body. The symbol for medicine and a common logo on ambulances is the caduceus, the rod with two snakes coiled around it in spirals. At the top are two wings on each side of an orb. Images of Mercury or Hermes show him with a caduceus in his hand. It is also claimed to be representative of the DNA double helix. The caduceus’ central rod represents the central column akin to the spine in
the physical body called “sushumna”(a Sanskrit word with no equivalent
word in English). No surgeon will find this sushumna as it is part of the subtle body. Irving states the “kundalini process occurs in what is sometimes called the etheric,or subtle (nonphysical) body…comprised of nerve fibers not visible to the naked eye”(10).
In the manifest world, we all recognize the physical aspects of earth, water, air and fire. However, the fifth element, ether, is rarely identified with physical matter. In my estimate, it is the missing conduit between materiality and spirituality. The ether is where the true transformation takes place when Kundalini is awakened. The ether is the element of human experience which has been dormant and sleeping. When this awakening occurs, man becomes aware of all five of the elements of himself, he becomes whole and complete. Thus he can reach to and communicate with the cosmic energies and access his full dimensional self. That is, man is not just one body, nor
one soul, but a part of a multi-dimensional domain of existence
encompassing not only this universe but many other universes and on into infinity… the full extent of the expanse of the divine becomes man’s playground. A full human has unlimited capacity. The human being with Kundalini awakened is an unconquerable force unto the entire cosmic universe.
People who meditate, yogis, mystics, awakened masters and those who study the Oriental martial arts based upon Chi or Ki, are able to see this light. The great yoga masters were able to assist their “chelas.” disciples, with the ascent of the Kundalini because they could see where it was blocked or stuck, and send their own psychic power to aid in releasing it. The ascent of the liquid light is not always simple or smooth. As my first experience attests, my head was forced back very sharply in order to release my blocks, which were about my ignorance as to my true nature and my concepts of who I thought I was. The Kundalini clears out blocks in every aspect mental, emotional, physical, psychological etc. Everything is on the line for review and cleansing. Although there are tremendous rewards in the spiritual realm
with blissful ecstasies for long periods of time, for many persons such
cleansing can be akin to “hell.” This awakening can be life-altering,
shattering, awesome and devastating to many people who have constructed a concept of who they are that is based on lies or denial. Kundalini will wipe it away and replace it with love, truth, and divine understanding. Thus the importance of an enlightened master during this experience who can keep a balance for the individual as he is transformed into a “true human being.”
The Kundalini has two aspects: one manifests the world as we know it, the outer form or physical and is pervasive. In China they call this outer cosmic energy, Chi, in Japan Ki, in India it is Prana, and the nearest to it in the West is Holy Spirit. We have a limited form of Kundalini energy running through our bodies the moment we are conceived or we should not be able to move our bodies or live – it is indeed the “life force.” It is this outer energy we see in the energetic meridians that are used in acupuncture. It is this energy that pervades and enervates the world as we see it. The hidden, or inner form of Kundalini is usually asleep in a small “bulb” of energy that is stored at the base of the spine. According to Bonnie Greenwell, (Energies of Transformation): “..after Kundalini enters the fetus and activates the pranic system the residual energy coils three and a half times at the base of the spine, and goes into a dormant state. The mind becomes engaged in the process of living, and we identify with our bodies,
our genetic heritage and our mental, sensate and emotional processes,
separating from any awareness of the Self, or the Soul or the source of our existence, however one wishes to identify it. “(22)
It is a time of joyous celebration. Swami Vishnu Tirtha says that Shaktipat is “the process of spiritualizing a man with the charge of psychic force….not to be confused with mesmerism or hypnotism” because it is “everlasting and elevating” (77)
Swami Vishnu Tirtha explains the awakening Kundalini as the “dynamic
life-principle” that is the true evolution of man. Until awakening, man is in a state of involution, rather than evolution. He views involution as a static process of reincarnating again and again where there is gradual psychological development. The true meaning of evolution for him is when man is transmuted into his full God self (26).
Thus this cleansing, divine light snakes its way up through the subtle nerve threads of the body and expels the darkness of the past, unknotting any traumas that are caught in the memory of the body, so that a person ceases to be limited by past lives, present life traumas or old thought forms. The Kundalini expels the ghouls and fears of the subconscious, as past life agonies and griefs appear briefly, taking a last turn on the stage of opposites before the Kundalini transmutes them into light. It is an opportunity to become new or reborn.
References and citations for full bibliography please consult : The Guru’s Gift: A Kundalini Awakening by Ruth Angela http://TheGurusGift.com
Avalon, Arthur. The Serpent Power:
Beattie, Paul. “Alchemy and the Great Work.” Kundalini (Vol VII)
Brennan, Ann . Hands of Light & Light Emerging
Greenwell, Bonnie, Ph.D. Energies of Transformation :
Grof, Stanislav M.D. and Christina Grof. The Stormy Search for the Self & other books
Irving, Darrel. Serpent of Fire:
Krishna, Gopi, Living with Kundalini & other books
Mindell, Arnold. Working with the Dreaming Body & other books .
Sannella, Lee, M.D. The Kundalini Experience:
Tirtha, Swami Vishnu . Devatma Shakti (Kundalini): Divine