Today, in the age when we are free to share and access information, complete spiritual knowledge is at the tip of our fingers. But in the past, this knowledge was hidden from the masses. Only the selected few could access it.
One of Kundalini’s most common universal symbols is the serpent, but it is not the only one. There are many others that were used in the art and stories of the East and the West to visually depict this process.
Once we started diving deep into the imagery and metaphors for Kundalini, we found the list is almost endless. Artists have developed countless ways to hide this knowledge under plain sight.
We collected some of the most common Kundalini symbols in this article, and hope they’ll help you better understand the Kundalini energy and the process of its awakening.
Perhaps it will inspire you to embark on this hero’s journey yourself.
- The Serpent
- The Caduceus
- Sacred Marriage
- 1000-Petal Lotus
- Holy Grail
Let’s start with the symbol we predominantly associate with Kundalini energy – the serpent.
Even beginners to the knowledge of Kundalini have heard of the Kundalini snake, coiled at the base of the spine. This represents the Kundalini energy, lying dormant in the Root Chakra until fully awakened.Kundalini Yoga, we have written a whole, detailed article about it. If you’re curious to learn more about the Kundalini snake you can read it here.
The Process of Kundalini Awakening
The central staff represents the spine, which acts as a channel for Kundalini energy. The two serpents that raise up the staff represent the feminine and masculine duality, which merge into one in the process of Kundalini awakening.
At the top of the Caduceus, there are two wings. These represent the expansion of consciousness as the result of a Kundalini awakening.
3. Sacred Marriage
Unity of Two Polar Energies
The sacred marriage is a common symbol in both Alchemical and Christian art and is said to be a metaphor for the unification of the inner polarities, Shiva and Shakti, which are present within all of us.
Shiva represents masculine energy whilst Shakti represents feminine energy. By reaching inner unity, we are also able to reunite with God.
In alchemical imagery, a royal marriage represents this sacred marriage. The king who represents the male polarity is usually shown in red and the queen, who is the female polarity, is in white.
There are other symbols that represent this merger of the two poles, such as:
In Hinduism, when Shiva and Shakti are united, they become a half-man, half-woman god known as Ardhanarishvara.
He symbolizes the union of the feminine and masculine aspects within us, which leads to a mystical oneness – attuned to the balance of the entire cosmos.
4. 1000-Petaled Lotus
The Completed Process of Kundalini Awakening
Known in Sanskrit as the Sahasrara Padma, the lotus with a thousand petals symbolizes the completed process of Kundalini awakening, and spiritual enlightenment.
This lotus represents the Crown Chakra – the energy center which holds the power of all other chakras and the point where we connect with the universal, divine energy.
The Crown Chakra is also where Shiva resides and where our inner Shakti (Kundalini energy) and Shiva finally meet.
In the West, the completed process of Kundalini awakening has been shown by other symbols, such as:
We can find the symbol of the double-headed eagle since ancient times. It symbolizes the realization of God and the moment when the spirit wins over the matter. The two heads of the eagle symbolize the aforementioned two poles, finally merged into one.
This symbol is shown in both Alchemical and Christian art.
Magnum Opus (alchemy)
The completed process of Kundalini awakening in alchemy, a mystical spiritual tradition of the West, is known as the Magnum Opus.
Just like the Indian yogis, alchemists have followed a difficult path of self-discipline, to reach spiritual enlightenment or the realization of God.
This process is symbolized by phases, each of which was shown in imagery by a different color – black, white, yellow, and red.
These colors were represented in many different ways, for example, there are paintings with spheres or birds in these colors, and they were also often depicted in images of human characters, usually with other alchemical symbols.
The Purification of The Ego During the Kundalini Process
However, symbolically, it is believed they also represent the process of Kundalini awakening – the crook (staff) symbolizes the spine, and the flail shows three strands, each of them representing one of the energy channels present in the Kundalini awakening.
Furthermore, the image of a flail or whip, which was later also present in the story of Jesus, talks about Kundalini awakening being an extremely painful and purifying process. All emotions and false identifications are brought up to be processed and removed.
Another symbol talks about this difficult process of discarding the ego, as the key step toward Kundalini awakening:
Both the sword and the act of decapitation symbolize the effect of how a Kundalini awakening destroys our ego.
Figuratively, the historical images show a head being decapitated, but the deeper meaning is that one must lose their ego if they want to reach awakening.
In Hinduism, one of the best-known stories of decapitation is the one of Ganesha, the elephant god. Shiva was his father, and he decapitated Ganesha when he was young when he was very angry.
Later, he felt sorry for his son and replaced his head with one of an elephant. This elephant head, with larger ears and brain, symbolizes the expanded consciousness and senses of an awakened human being – but first, he lost his own head (or ego).
In Christianity, one of the best-known stories of decapitation is the one of Goliath and David. Esoteric spiritual schools teach that Goliath symbolizes David’s ego. David first threw a stone into Goliath’s forehead to kill the ego, then completely decapitates him using a sword.
6. Holy Grail
The Kundalini Energy
We talked about the most common symbol of Kundalini energy at the beginning of our article – the serpent. But, there are other, lesser-known symbols for this energy, and one of them is the Holy Grail.
The Holy Grail is known from the story of King Arthur and it is said that it holds the blood of Christ. Some writers state that it is the cup that Christ drank out of during the Last Supper.
But the symbology of the holy grail is that it is the Kundalini energy. We can connect it with the sacred elixir, which sits in the center of the aforementioned 1000-petaled lotus.
The legend of the Holy Grail confirms it, if we look deeper. It’s stated that drinking from this cup brings complete healing and eternal life. This is exactly what happens during a Kundalini awakening, and researchers believe this Elixir of Life was a symbol of the Kundalini energy.
Another less-known symbol for Kundalini energy is the Eight-pointed morning star.
The Spine Holding the Awakened Kundalini Energy
The pillar symbolizes the three energy channels within our bodies – Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. This can be found not only in Indian art but also in the paintings and stories in the rest of the world.
There is another common symbol of the spine with the awakened Kundalini:
Just like the pillar, the tree is a universal symbol for the spine with the awakened Kundalini energy.
Some trees were represented in art for this purpose more often than others. The palm tree is one of them; the bare trunk represents the spine, and the broad crown represents the Crown Chakra.
Kundalini Symbols – The Takeaway
We will conclude our exploration of Kundalini symbols here (although we could easily talk about this topic for ages).
The biggest revelation and summary of our exploration would be that the topic of Kundalini wasn’t only present in the East, but was also known in the West.
However, this knowledge was hidden in plain sight with the use of symbols in the works of visual art for centuries. We are lucky to live in an age where this knowledge is accessible.
If you want to find out more about Kundalini, take a look at this article: