Theosophical Serpent

firepyramid1_en_0The Kundalini Serpent (Eighth Chakra)
Written by Andy Lloyd, 2002

In my essay ‘The Secret Knowledge of Nibiru’ I described the possible connection between the Dark Star and the Eighth Sphere of the Theosophists (1). It seems that this Eighth Sphere was once a closely guarded secret of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophy school, itself an already rather esoteric discipline.  However, the Theosophist A.P. Sinnett publically drew attention to a belief held by Inner Order esotericists about an invisible Sphere which was counter-balanced by the Moon (2).  This revelation isn’t exactly news, of course, as Sinnett’s faux-pas was made at the end of the 19th Century.  But it may have some relevance to my own research into possible ancient Dark Star symbols contained within esoteric lore.

On the face of it this piece of esoteric trivia doesn’t exactly set the world alight.  Until the significance of the counter-balancing of the Moon is considered.  In Alchemy, Luna balances the Sun in a divine coupling that hints at the Yin/Yang relationship in Taoism, or the relationship between the Hindu Shakti and Shiva.  What business does the ‘Eighth Sphere’ have counter-balancing the Moon when the task already clearly falls to Sol?  This usurper runs the risk of over-turning one of the most basic tenets of accepted ancient wisdom; the duality at the heart of reality.  The Duality would be in danger of becoming a Trinity of three celestial bodies.  The Sun and Moon would have another contender vying for their pre-eminence.  Is this why the existence of the ‘Eighth Sphere’ was once held as such an important secret by the esotericists of  Theosophy?

VulcanWhat evidence is there that this Eighth Sphere relates to an undiscovered planet whose symbolic character rivals the Sun itself? Another strand of Planet X research involves the fabled ‘Vulcan’, the Roman god of fire.  Barry Warmkessel’s search for Vulcan is based to some extent upon the writings of  Madame Blavatsky, from her work ‘The Secret Doctrine’.  According to Warmkessel, Blavatsky herself lays down the clues as to where to find the hidden planet, which she calls Vulcan (3).

Once again, clues to the existence of Planet X are to be found in esoteric writings.  If Blavatsky bases her claims upon an ancient tradition that she is privy to then then we can conclude that the Dark Star was indeed the subject of a secret tradition, and may represent the Eighth Sphere that ‘counter-balances’ the Moon.

Given its Theosophical name of ‘Vulcan’, the concept that the Dark Star is a warm body such as a brown dwarf becomes more probable still.  Not only that, but Vulcan is guarded by a ‘bevy of monkeys (seven in all)’, seemingly alluding to the fiery Dark Star’s seven companions, or moons (2).  The above detail is of Vulcan’s Chariot from the ‘Months’ fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara, as described by Mark Hedsel.  It would be certainly be difficult to explain the seven companions if Vulcan simply symbolised the Sun, and Vulcan does not appear to represent a constellation either.  With the clue from the Theosophists about the Eighth Sphere we can begin to appreciate the subtleties of the esoteric message.  Perhaps other esoteric paths can enlighten us further.

8chakras1_en_0The Chakras

The Hindu or Tibetan system of Chakras describes the centres of energy within the human body that can be discovered and activated through meditation.  Classically there are seven chakras, although there appear to be a myriad of other minor chakras dependent upon what you read.  Bob Frissell contends that the chakras are like ‘lenses through which we interpret reality’ (4) with each chakra related to a level of human consciousness.  Perhaps on a more mundane level this is related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but the act of self-knowledge through meditation is the key to the spiritual progress of the adept in Frissell’s quasi-religious context.  I’m no expert on Eastern religion, but I think I’m correct in saying that the Theosophists were interested in amalgamating Eastern and Western philosophies, and drew extensively upon the religious ideas of the Indian sub-continent.  As Peter Marshall explains in the context of the study of alchemy:

“The Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875 by Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, took up the seventeenth-century Rosicrucian programme of building a bridge between science and religion and of developing the latent spiritual powers of humanity.  The Masters of Theosophy were said to guide humanity’s destiny from their headquarters in Tibet, the centre of Buddhist alchemy.  The teachings of Ku-Hu-Mi, mentioned by the Rosicrucians, were made known to advanced Theosophists by Madame Blavatsky who claimed to have been one of his personal students in Tibet”.  (5)

So it wouldn’t be a big stretch to infer that the Theosophists were influenced by the same ancient teachings from which were derived knowledge of the chakras.  In other words, the Eighth Sphere has a place in the Microcosm as well as the Macrocosm.  This would be in keeping with the alchemical tenet of Hermes Trismegistus:

“That which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that to which is above, to accomplish the miracles of the one thing”. (6)

Marshall draws our attention to the pranas, or primary channels of energies of the Nadi tree.  The 5 pranas are similar to the 7 chakras, and are associated with colours, planets and elements (the latter explaining the number 5, no doubt).  The 7 ancient planets are partially doubled up to fit into the prana system, which seems somewhat contrived.  For instance, both Venus and the Moon are represented by the Apana channel, while Mars and the Sun find a common home in the Samana channel (5).  The seven planets would seem to fit better within the Chakra system, and such a correspondence is alluded to by Rachel Finney who recently pointed out to me the relationship between the chakras, planets and various esoteric centres in Europe:

“Each of the major cathedrals along the pilgrimage were on ancient sites representing the seven major chakras of Europe. ‘Pilgrims’ or ‘initiates’ went to each one in turn to learn the ‘knowledge’ associated with each chakra.  This actually goes back to the time of the Druids. When I say went to each one in turn, that might mean several years of study at each one in order to master the widsom and insights for that level/degree of study.

The sites were:

Cathedral of St. James at Compostela          (Moon Oracle)            – base chakra
Notre-Dame de Dalbade Tolouse                   (Mercury Oracle)        – sacral chakra
Orleans Cathedral                                          (Venus Oracle)            – solar pelxus chakra
Chartres Cathedral                                        ( Sun Oracle)               – heart chakra
Notre Dame de Paris                                     (Mars Oracle)              – throat chakra
Amiens Cathedral                                          (Jupiter Oracle)           – brow chakra
Rosslyn Chapel                                              (Saturn Oracle)            – crown chakra”  (7,10)

The upwards motion through the chakras corresponds with the movement through the celestial spheres as they were understood in ancient times, so one would expect that a hidden, eighth ancient planet would be represented by an eighth chakra located above the head.  Also, one could reasonably anticipate that an eighth geographical centre of esoteric learning, of more significance even than the famous Rosslyn Chapel, would exist for the most learned Initiates of European esoteric mysteries.  In keeping with the secrecy of the Eighth Sphere, this centre would also remain hidden and jealously guarded.

The Eighth ChakraSo is there an eighth chakra?  I quick look at the diagram above, from Frissell’s book, shows that there is a belief in an eighth chakra located above the head.  A search through various Internet sites devoted to this kind of religious study confirmed his opinion.  So, the eighth chakra appears to be associated closely with the normally dormant energy that itself travels up through the other chakra centres.  This is known as the Kundalini and, significantly, this energy is associated with a spiralling, or circulating, fire serpent (8).  Here’s Peter Marshall again with some words of warning:

“I was told by the tantrist Swami Yogi Prakash that awakening the sleeping power of Kundalini is not to be taken lightly.  It requires careful initiation and long practice.  To raise its energy is literally playing with the fire of the cosmos”. (5)

I am greatly encouraged by this association between the ‘serpent fire energy’ of Kundalini, that lies dormant before its potentially catastrophic journey through the known chakras, and the hidden Dark Star whose perihelion passage could be equally devastating through the system.  ‘As above, so below’, as the alchemists say.

I am very tempted to propose that the Dark Star is the ancient source of the symbol of the Eighth Sphere, itself incorporated into the religious teachings of the Hindu and Buddhist yogis in the form of the eighth heavenly chakra.  I think that the Dark Star is the third apex of the celestial Trinity (9), and is beautifully alluded to in this verse from the Hevajra Tantra:

“There are Moon and Sun, and between them the Seed.  This last is that Being, whose nature is Joy Supreme” (5)

azoth1_en_0In the alchemical diagrams of Renaissance Europe, the third aspect of the Trinity is often expressed as a bird, either the ‘Hermes bird’ or the fiery Phoenix.  It encroaches upon the duality of the Sun and Moon and is sometimes symbolised by Mercury.  The alchemical dragon Azoth, for instance, is shown with three celestial heads, the Moon, the Sun and a third ‘sun’, depicted as mercury symbolically, yet like Sol in radiance and power. I believe that this is the “Philosopher’s Mercury”, rather than plain-old Mercury, and is the secret ingredient alluded to in the instructions for making the Red Elixir, or Philosopher’s Stone.  Is this ‘Philosopher’s Mercury’ symbolised by the Eighth Sphere, or planet?  Indeed, does the red Stone itself, that is said to be simultaneously seen, yet unseen, reflect the nature of the Dark Star?   I suspect that this may be a closely guarded secret of alchemy, although their knowledge of this eighth body may be understood in an altogether different way by esotericists.  Nevertheless, the hidden physical and celestial source of the symbolism is one and the same.

Furthermore, the relationship between the cross and the number eight is hinted at by the English alchemist John Dee in his Monas Hieroglyphica.  Discussing a glyph formed by the symbol of Mercury in Aries, Marshall points out this possible high secret:
‘Dee hints darkly that the cross in a ‘most secret manner’ signifies the ‘octonary’ which earlier magi did not understand but which the initiated reader ‘will especially note’.  I mention this for the adpts among you’. (6)

So does this tie the Eighth Sphere in with the Messianic Star, amalgamating East and West as the Theosophists endeavour to show us?  Was the original Christian concept of the Trinity a bringing forth of Hermetic hidden knowledge about the importance of the Phoenix?

All of this speculative reasoning brought me a moment of self-reflection, one that may be shared by others interested in the search for Planet X, the Dark Star or Nibiru.   I wonder whether our Macrocosmic search for this hidden fiery ‘planet’ represent our own spiritual yearning to achieve self-enlightenment through the release of inner Kundalini energy?  In other words, deep down the hunt for the Eighth celestial sphere, or planet, is a spiritual journey as much as an empirical one.

Being of Western stock, and raised on English empirical philosophy, I cannot claim to have a full grasp of the deep meanings attached to the Eastern teachings regarding the chakras.  But the alchemical associations are compelling, and an underlying pattern has emerged that brings a simple solution to the mystery of the Theosophist’s Eighth Sphere.  That fiery realm of heaven may exist within, as well as without.

As for my extrapolation of a hidden centre of esoteric learning; that question remains unanswered in my mind.  If such a place exists, I would expect it to be a major focus of Freemasonry and other Western esoteric schools, and would be represented by the serpent fire in its symbolism.  Perhaps a link can be made here with ‘Chnoubis’, the lion-headed cosmic serpent of Gnostic traditions.  Perhaps this eighth geographical chakra is lost in the same way as the Dark Star itself, an ancient place long forgotten in time and place.  If we follow the logic of the European centres of esoteric learning, then they follow a trail northward to Rosslyn chapel in Scotland. 

The location of the eighth chakra is above the head in a bodily sense, while beyond the family of planets in an astronomical sense (the Dark Star hidden among the comets), so would be north of Scotland geographically.  Which potentially takes us into all-new territory…



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