AYAHUASCA AND ITS PHENOMENOLOGY
Typical Visions: The Appearance of the Serpent
The manifestation of the serpent is common in our imaginations. This animal is present in all visionary states, from the dreams of children to the mystical visions of ascetics and spiritual seekers.
For the Aztecs, the vision of the serpent that bites its own tail was a symbol of eternity: that is, circular time which always comes back on itself, eternally beginning, creating and destroying. Used as a talisman in ancient Egypt, it was a bringer of longevity, health and vitality; the serpent Ureus appeared on the crowns
of the Pharaos, as a personification of Ra, the Sun, and symbolised divine power, wisdom and energy. In Hinduism, the serpent is known as Ananta and also represents the infinite, the symbol of eternal cycles.
The serpent is an absolute sign of life, of immortality, of cure (the symbol of Esculapio the healer, son of Apollo). It represents the beginning of life, ancestral strength, the beginning of all designs, creativity. It’s the symbol of the goddesses, of the great creative mother who is the goddess of nature. It’s the mysterious symbol of Chacrona.
The serpent signifies flexibility and transmutation; it’s the cosmic reservoir of all that is potent and latent. For this reason the serpent is also a sign of fertility, fecundity and prosperity, as well as of wisdom and knowledge.
Because it is simple and, through this simplicity, the beginning of all shapes, the serpent symbolises the essence of forms, their pristine oneness. Because it is only a line, and yet also has within it a forked tongue, it represents, in the most profound and sacred sense, the resolution of polarity in unity, like the symbol of Tao; in ancient Mexico it was the symbol of identical twins.
In our experience, the vision of the serpent, the symbol of medicine, (principally within an experience where one also sees mandalas or multi-coloured geometrical shapes) often indicates the start of a process of change or healing, the resolution of a conflict, the acquisition of a new virtue or ability, the realisation of something intuitive, the birth of a vision, or the creation of a new alternative.
One of our associates suffered greatly from anxiety. He had been using Ayahuasca for more than a year, and the experience increased his anxiety until it became intense suffering, a fear of dying or of losing his mind. The months went by, and he had dozens of experiences with Ayahuasca, but although this state of anxiety varied in intensity, it never went away despite the fact that he went on diets, stopped drinking
coffee, used Pyper Metsiticum, tried relaxation techniques, listened to suitable music etc. Anxiety remained a disquieting background in the fabric of his emotions.
At his second ceremony in our Society, we decided to sing a quiet song expressing a metaphor about visiting a pool of water in the centre of a forest. This pool of water was a source of healing, where everyone would have access, with trust and security, to a clear and revelatory vision about themselves. The subject saw a spiral, a coloured mandala, which he described as a turbine which wanted to suck out his mind. At first he resisted, but eventually he surrendered and let himself go. To his surprise, the spiral didn’t suck out anything, but instead radiated light throughout his consciousness. While he experienced a state of dissolution and relaxation for the first time in many years, he saw up in the blue of an imaginary sky an enormous serpent vomiting universes and happy children. Finally in the open mouth of the serpent he saw the smiling face of a golden baby.
After that experience, and even until today, he has stopped suffering from anxiety and manages to remain calmer even in stressful situations. His experiences with Ayahuasca have been serene and tranquil.