Re: The Snake and the Heel
- View SourceHere follow some Anthroposophical "scientific" facts to help lay some of your tracks straight (or deflower you all somewhat). I borrow from medicine the picture of the snake as presented in the remedy Lachesis.
There is little, outside the snake's horrific feeding habits, which connote sexuality to this creature. It, rather, relates specifically to the digestive system of the metabolic (dark) pole. Just observe its anatomy and note, that from gaping mouth to virutally endless tail, it is all and only gut.
Kim is right to point out the obvious, in that the heel is close to the ground. Where sex is lust and thereby bound to the baser astral impulses of our lower (animal, unconscious) nature it does indeed pertain to the "fallen" nature of Man. This falling relates to Lucifer in a much more cosmogenealogical manner, however, more below on that.
Low-down and dirty, cold and self-satisfying as sex can make man, the problem lies in a lack of love, not the capacity for sex. Man was never punished by a wrathful God, the Anthroposophist assumes. He woke up to free choice: awareness or not. To "know" is a fine thing. Sex is not a sin, but it can be a "waste" (the real problem of sin). Taoists have known this forever. (Drunvalo describes tantric currents sexual intercourse can create fairly accurately, for the rest I am not at all sure he goes about anything the "right" way....). As in all matters of healing, or "upping" the human potential it is imperative to go about it the RIGHT way. Sexuality can help understand that. Where to proceed with this understanding comprises the bulk of Steiner's work. "Theosophy" is a good place to start regarding this central topic, which then recurs in every curative educational, medical and pastoral course.
In the snake everything is "fallen". Its senses have "slipped down" - note the permanently (if transparent) closed eye lid, the loss of taste (the horn-like tongue is an organ of touch), no hearing, etc. That is what an unconscious metabolic pole (of darkness) is all about. It's head pole is but a starting point in time, with this limited nerve-sensory and a pea for a brain; while the middle, heart section is practically non-existent, with the cold blood, and absence or severe reduction of one lung.What it gains is the passive, yin-kind of stamina of dark doggedness (b.t.w. the dog is often paired up with the snake in mythology or found at one's heels: see the Fool- Tarot card 0, e.g.).
In the mean time, this repetitive quality of the snake's vertebrae, connotes mostly Ahriman. In Eurythmy, the hissing, S is indeed associated with Ahriman, while the H of "Himmel Hoch" is a Lucifer gesture. So we may have to be more careful in identifying Lucifer with the snake outrightly. It does not say enough. B.t.w. to be precise, Lucifer did not banish Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eve, as mentioned here. Gabriel did - beautiful imagery with this (winter) angel so aptly associated with annunciation and the birthing of Christ Consciousness. Of course, at the earliest post-Atlantean time (of the Fall) there was no Ahriman....But Genesis was written not THAT long ago....
When we come to the topic of kundalini rising, with its two snakes of the ida and pingala, we stray too far from Anthroposophical Yoga. The chakra work here is modernised (with a pooling at the heart chakra, see Lubienski) since we no longer live in the fourth manvantra when this Vedic system depicted a different challenge. The Asklepios or cadeuceus, with Hermes, winged heels and all, of course, is about raising lower consciousness (the right healing). From an esoteric Anthroposophical, perhaps visionary, point of view sex has its place only in so far as it helps us work with our sexuality. To understand the point of our sexuality will be a key task for Anthroposophy in the (near) future. All the clues gathered still make but for a clumsy collage. It would go to far here to address the topic in greater depth. But it begins with the knowledge that you don't need to have sex to make love, but making love can involve sex. It all boils down to the art of Love-making. A creative faculty unique to Human Potential.The penis is meant to prompt creativity, not just serve as a pro-creative member. In spilling we learn the hard way.
Let us also, not omit to include the mercy and grace of the Christ Force in any of our reflections on love, healing, Man. It sanctifies sex and gives the snake its place. How this furthers enlightenment (darkness meeting light in the colour of love) comprises the core metaphysics of Anthroposophy.
Finally, we can turn to several other sources to find the snake as a metabolic image. Grimm's Fairly Tales do so, but perhaps the most illuminating instance is in the story of Philoctetes (by Sophocles). It makes for an epilogue to the Odyssey. Knowing what we do, about how to interpret the Odyssey Anthroposophically, this misfortunate chap with his stinking heel, left to "rot" on Lemnos by Odysseus and his crew, after he got bitten (for his own hubris) by the Pythia's snake, makes for the most charming imagery we Anthroposophics must relish. His obsession with shooting birds is also most telling (the bird is all head in contrast to the snake all lower pole). There is an interesting intervention by Vulcan towards the end, which a non-Anthroposophist finds mystifying (so they should!) and they would regard this as a flaw in an otherwise well-worth play, which depicts man in his most pityfully self-obsessed and despondent state (which quickly leads to a rather too modern, ironic and acosmic interpretation, of course).
I refer to Ralph Twentyman for more information regards the analysis of the nature of the snake and the remedy Lachesis, in "The Science and Art of Healing". "Rudolf Steiner's Vision of Love", by Bernard Nesfield-Cookson gives a splendid overview of all Steiner said on the Right path of healing (the vision behind the Represenative of Man, of course).
Finally a personal observation.
If I may indulge in a sexual metaphor: let us rember to penetrate sensitively, where we cannot deeply; and not be too easy - or easily allured by what is little more than our own sequins of Sophia. I am somewhat surprised by the vast amount of odd-balls which those who post here have raked together to represent or compare to Anthroposophy. Surely, it cannot aid the original thinker? Half of us here, surely, only find these people echo our own intuitions, but add little new direction to our quest? Anthroposophists, of course, come from all walks of life, but does this mean we should walk back down to embrace all their origins intellectually? Have we the time for this? Does it not clog up our heads? It might be an idea to start thinking about how we can comprise a new "think tank" which actually FEELS. It will have to include some specialists (is there a doctor in the house? A priest? A physicist? etc) to complement opinion and experience - Yes, I have a dream, as I stand on a sinking ship: a new-style Dornach outside a collapsing Anthroposophical Movement.