Be Ye Therefore Wise as Serpents, and Harmless as Doves

Pigeons at Buckingham Palace (JN 2017)

The Serpent, one of the most venerated symbols in the Left Hand Path and occult symbolism, is strongly condemned in Judeo-Christian religions as the symbol of evil. On the other hand, the Dove, adopted as the symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christianity, is usually an object of contempt and false meekness among the Left Hand Path workers. It is, therefore, interesting indeed to see these animals taken together as the two faces of the exemplary approach to one’s spiritual Work.

It is an old idea in the brotherhood of the Star of Azazel to take Jesus as a Gnostic teacher, a Satanist of his times, so to say, who rebelled against orthodox religion in order to establish a new kind of healthier spirituality. In the latter, he mostly failed since “the new covenant” (Christian faith) quickly ended up as unwise and stonehearted as were the zealots of “the old covenant” (Jewish faith).

But the attempt was both brave and true. The quotation in the name of this text comes from the Gospel of Matthew 10:16, where Jesus instructs his disciples how to act among people who are likely to persecute them for their heretic approach to the established doctrine: mundane on the one hand, orthodox on the other. Thus, the teacher encourages his disciples: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (10:28).

What is this “killing of the soul?” One’s soul is, most of all, his principle of inner integrity; it makes him whole and healthy on the inside. The disease of “losing one’s soul” is also a common notion in the old folk religions. One of the important duties for a shaman was to retrieve a soul of a person who had lost it and, as a result, had become lifeless, joyless, and disinterested in the land of the living.

Today, many people have experienced this “loss of soul” because they – very understandably – have not been able to endure the extreme soul-killing tendency of our contemporary culture. They have perhaps sought meaning from the places where it cannot be found, or they have not even realized they should make time for such a vital search. They – us – have become anguished, disinterested, lost to ennui. This is, for a significant percentage of people all around the globe, the very heart of our times.

For we have not been able, or willing, to follow that timeless teaching to unite the paths of the Serpent and the Dove, the two occult virtues; to make ourselves both wise and loving, intelligent and peaceful. In those quite rare cases where a person is actually interested in spirituality, he most often falls into only one of these categories and either seeks occult knowledge or wants to help one’s fellow beings with his or her best ability.

The new attitude of adoring snide intellect is the way of the Serpent, alone. But equally wrong are the people who peacefully follow the hard facts of life, like cattle taken to slaughter. This seeming meekness is often just a lack of courage, vision, and/or dynamism. The way of the Dove, personal harmlessness without the wisdom and energy of the Serpent, is empty and useless. Lack of resistance is no better a virtue than overemphasizing resistance – opposition as a value by itself. 

The critical, sacred state is in the middle, joining together the two extremes. By joining these two equally important animal symbols, we get the serpent bird, the symbol of the dragon, the fiery flying Serpent, known in all the different mythologies in varying forms. This divine or angelic messenger of both energy, wisdom, attainment and power is known as kundalinî. It is the flaming bird of Pentecost, the “blazing divine dragon of wisdom,” the spirit of magic and soul’s resurrection, the bringer of light and enlightenment.

To this attainment and this presence, we must strive. By joining together the efforts of both truthfulness – including the ardent search for the actual reality behind empty facades – and kindness, our sincere wish to become soulfully living individuals. For that is the direction where the occultist’s apotheosis, the long-sought final adepthood and actual, enduring being, will be found.

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