(This article is an excerpt from Dragana Blagojevic’s new book: “Individuation and Homeopathy Through Symbols – In the Light of Jungian Psychology, Alchemy and Mythology.
“We fear our serpent,” he said, ”as we also fear the numinosum –
so we run from it…
All we have to give the world and God is ourselves as we are.
But this is the hardest of all tasks.”
(Carl Jung, J.E.T; Page 178.)
Through the famous ancient story “The Churning of the Ocean of Milk” with Vasuki cobra (Naja) in the central role, we will recognize the essence of Naja’s homeopathic remedy, not only through many individual symptoms, but as a profound process that is symbolically ‘written in the source’ of the Indian cobra (Naja), revealing its immense healing power through application of Naja as a homeopathic remedy.
The Churning Of The Ocean Of Milk
The Indian cobra is highly valued in Indian mythology and culture. The Hindu god Shiva is often depicted with a cobra called Vasuki, coiled around his neck, symbolizing his mastery over “maya” or the world of illusion. God Shiva is known as the “destroyer and the transformer” within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that also includes Brahma and Vishnu.
Legend of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk is one of the greatest stories in the never-ending struggle between the demigods (devas) and the demons (asuras).
According to the legend, during the great flood, many divine treasures were lost, including the nectar of immortality. God Vishnu advised demigods to unite with demons in the churning of the Ocean of Milk in order to recover the nectar. Churning of the Ocean of Milk was a complex process.
Mount Mandara was torn out from the holy Mount Meru (Mt Meru – the world axis, Heaven/ Earth, Macro/Microcosm), to be used as a churning stick.
Vasuki cobra took a crucial part in the story. Both the gods on one side and devils on the other, tied up cobra to Mt Mandara and used Vasuki as a churning rope in order to extract the nectar from the ocean of milk. Cobra was in the center of the struggle.
The demons were pulling its tail while the demigods were pulling cobra’s head causing the mountain to rotate, which in turn churned the Ocean of Milk.
However, instead of nectar, from the ocean came the poison known as Halahala (Sanskrit: ’Black Mass’ or ’Time puzzle’).
The Ocean of Milk is, according to one interpretation, symbol of the Milky Way, as one of the brightest galaxies (Greek: galaxias kyklos – the “milk circle”).
According to other interpretations, the Ocean of Milk symbolizes the Mind or human consciousness.
Both explanation bring us to the third, which connect previous two: “The All is Mind – Universe is mental” (Principle of Mentalism, Kybalion)
Further, Principle of Correspondence teaches: “That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing” (From Isaac Newton’s translation of the Emerald Tablet, c. 1680.).
The aphorism metaphorically explains how the Microcosm, or the physical and spiritual world in which we live, is reflected in the Macrocosm and vice versa, so various interpretations of the Hindu legend Churning of the Ocean of Milk are expression of an universal concept which is found across many religions and spiritual traditions.
“Churning the Mind of Naja“
Naja is known as the most spiritual snake. People who need Naja as homeopathic remedy are very noble and gentle with high sense of duty and responsibility. On the other side, they are feel wronged and neglected by those they have a duty towards. These polarites often create an intense revengeful feeling that they want to harm the person who hurt them. Translated into homeopathic rubrics:
- Mind, duty, neglected
- Mind, neglected, that he is
- Mind, wrong, everything seems
High sense of duty and revengeful feeling results in antagonism between their higher (human) and lower (animal) nature. There are two wills in two directions (symbolically, like dragging of Vasuki cobra: “one towards the gods and the other towards the demons“).
- Mind, Delusions, superhuman, control; is under superhuman
- Mind, Will, contradiction of
- Mind, Will, two, feels as if he had two wills
Placed in the centre of the moral struggle, causes Naja to brood over troubles that are more imagined than real which often results in paralysed and suicidal feeling.
- Mind, Brooding, troubles, imaginary
- Mind, Delusions, wrong, suffered wrong; he has
- Mind, Suicidal disposition, axe, with an (1/1) (Wants to split head in two! – symbol of severe inner conflict)
As mentioned above, in the Story of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, the gods and demons were coiled Vasuki cobra (Naja) around the mountain. They are playing a sort of tug-of-war with the cobra, as their divine rope by screwing and drawing up her body. Interestingly, Naja as homeopathic remedy has very specific sensations:
- “Sensation as if heart and ovary were drawn up together; a sense of contraction or drawing together between the organs, as if heart was screwed together“ (Hering)
- “Neuralgia of left ovary; seems to be drawn to heart. Organs seem to be drawn together“ (by William Boericke; Homeopathic Materia medica)
The main theme in the homeopathic remedy Naja is the internal struggle between nobility and vengefulness, between the BRIGHT and DARK SIDE of PERSONALITY.
If the Ocean of Milk symbolizes the mind or human consciousness, then Churning of the Ocean may symbolize the deep healing process that happens in the mind in order to achieve the “nectar of immortality.”
But that process requires opposites which are not in conflict, i.e. INTEGRATION BOTH POSITIVE (LIGHT side) and NEGATIVE (DARK side) aspects of the personality (symbolically, from the Hindu story: ‘union of gods and demons’).
- G. Jung called that process the Individuation. According to Jung, the individuation is a path of accomplishing of the individual wholeness or the realization of the Self. In Jungian psychology, the Self is an archetype that represents the UNIFIED unconsciousness and consciousness of an INDIVIDUAL.
“As a totality, the Self is a coincidentia oppositorum or unity of opposites, it is therefore bright and dark and yet neither”.
Jung often found inspiration in alchemy. The process of individuation is similar to the Great Work in Alchemy (Latin: Magnum opus). The Magnum opus represents the steps of individual and spiritual transmutation in order to create the Philosopher’s stone or elixir of immortality. The Philosopher’s stone is an alchemical term that is equivalent to the archetype of the Self.
But there is a long journey to be take. The individuation process can’t be time limited. According to Jung, the unconscious cannot be completely assimilated because it’s infinite in its manifestation. (‘Ouroboros archetype’)
PATH OF THE INDIVIDUATION
(“From Deadly poison to the Elixir of Life” )
By Jung, there are three main steps of the Individuation process which represent stages of personal development.
Step One: Meeting the Shadow Self (“Night sea journey”)
“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole.” (C.G.Jung)
‘Dark side’ or What to heal?
The first part in that universal process of reaching the wholeness is meeting with our ”poison” or the dark side within. Initially, that could lead person into depressed, melancholic or deeply restless state, as many negative emotions and thoughts come to the surface.
Jung called this part of the individuation – the Shadow (“the thing a person has no wish to be”) or the Night Sea journey. In Jung’s psychology, the Shadow represents the negative (dark) side of the ego.
Alchemists named this stage – nigredo (blackness) and in the story of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk it is the Halahal poison (Black mass).
As legend says, Shiva drank the poison to save the World. Goddess Parvati caught hold of Shiva’s neck to avoid the poison from entering his body and so it remained in his throat making it blue coloured.
Neither swallowed nor spit out, the poison remained stuck forever in his throat, neither going up into his mind nor going down into his stomach. But Shiva managed to purify the poison and liberated the world from a deadly danger.
(Therefore, Shiva is often depicted with a blue throat and called ‘Nilakanta’).
Naja’s venom mainly contains a powerful post synaptic neurotoxin and cardiotoxin which acts on the synaptic gaps of the nerves, paralyzing muscles, and in severe bites leading to respiratory failure or cardiac arrest. One of the main symptoms of Naja is sensation of swelling or choking in the throat, difficulty in swallowing and breathing.
Similar to its source, homeopathic remedy Naja has many symptoms which symbolically resemble to the “poison” (dark side) which is blocked inside the throat. For example:
- Grasping at throat, with sense of choking and lividity of face” (livid – dark blue).
- Aggravation at night; patient awakens grasping; surface blue
Blue color is also connected with the Throat Chakra (hind.)
Step Two: Anima/Animus (“Purification of poison”)
In Hindu tradition, The Vishuddhi Chakra (Visha = impurity, poison Shuddhi = purification) is located in the vicinity of the larynx and therefore is also known as the Throat Chakra.
If throat chakra is blocked, negative thoughts and emotions (“poison“) are block inside. Person is very shy and frustrated, there is a strong feeling of grief and guilt with great fear of speaking out.
Shyness, secretiveness, anxious feeling are very strong characteristics of Naja’s personality:
“Slow loquacity, can speak in low voice – you’re forced to pay full attention to understand them Inability to speak, with choking, nervous, chronic palpitation.“ (Dr Henry Clarke)
In alchemy, after nigredo (blackness) stage, the next is a purification in albedo (whiteness) – the washing away of impurities. In this process, the subject is divided into two opposing principles to be later coagulated to form a unity of opposites.
Jung equated the albedo with unconscious contrasexual soul images: the anima in men and animus in women. According to Jung’s philosophy, anima is the feminine principle in the unconscious part of the personality of the man, and animus is the masculine principle in the unconscious part of the personality of the woman. This is the stage where is realized insight into the projections of the Shadow (communication between the waking consciousness and the collective unconscious).
The goddess Parvati, (one of the many forms of Shakti), is enlivening feminine force in Hindu mythology, the feminine energy of the Universe. Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva so Shakti may symbolizes spiritual equivalent of the Jungian anima.
When the feminine energy is suppressed, the same symptoms as in blockage of the fifth chakra occur: extreme coldness, grief, depression, low mental energy. Emotions are blocked or express itself explosively in an outburst of rage or tears. There are mood swings.
Naja is very susceptible to cold and important part of the Naja’s personality is gentleness and mildness (DD Pulsatilla) with very marked mood swings. Translated into rubrics:
- Mind, Mood, alternating
- Mind, Mirth, hilarity, liveliness
- Mind, Weeping, emotion, after slight
Also, one of the main causation in this remedy is grief:
- Mind, Sadness, mental depression
- Mind, Ailments from grief
- Mind, Brooding, suicidal disposition with (1/1)
Left side – Divine Mother
Naja remedy has aggravation on the left side. Left side is also symbol for feminine energy. The feminine channel (known as Ida Nadi) governs the left side of the body, which in turn activates the right (visual, intuitive and creative) side of the brain.
The masculine channel (known as Pingala Nadi) governs the right side of the body and activates the left (logical) side of the brain.
“Severe pains in left temple, cardiac and ovarian regions. Pains about heart extending to nape of neck, left shoulder and arm, with anxiety and fear of death. Symptoms < at night; on walking; by lying on left side… throbbing in left orbital region; crampy pains in left ovary. The left side is predominantly affected. Aggravation lying on side, on left side. Great amelioration of pain and breathing by lying on right side.“ (Dr Henry Clarke)
Symbolically, the left side is the Divine Mother, goddess Parvati or the “feminine” energy, and the right side represents Shiva, the “masculine” consciousness.
As said before, Jung used the term anima to describe the inner feminine side of men and animus to describe the masculine side of women. In order to reach the state of an internal wholeness, one must incorporate an opposing archetype (internal Anima or Animus). In Alchemy, this step is termed as rubedo.
Step Three: The Self (‘Unity of Opposites’)
“The alchemical operation consisted essentially in separating the prima materia, the so-called chaos, into the active principle, the soul, and the passive principle, the body, which were then reunited in personified form in the coniunctio or ‘chymical marriage’… the ritual cohabitation of Sol and Luna”.
(’Mysterium Coniunctionis’ by Carl Gustav Jung)
Rubedo is manifesting by the “marriage of the Red man and the White woman“, Sol and Luna. Sol is one of the symbol for Shiva, Luna for Shakti. When this Shiva/Shakti energy is united, this integrated energy then can reside in the heart chakra. It is the unity of opposites that results in individual wholeness.
(Image: Vishnu presiding at the wedding of Shiva and
Parvati, author: Richard Mortel)
- “As if heart was screwed together as though a hot iron had been run into it.“ (Dr C. Herring)
There is prone to cardiac conditions such as serious heart diseases and there is great affinity for the heart valve.
- Chest, Heart; complaints of the, valves, children; in (1/1)
Again, like on mental level, symptoms are moving from exciting feeling (palpitations, high arterial pressure and tachycardia) to weakness, bradycardia, law arterial pressure and paralysis. There are palpitations from the least exertion, with inability to speak.
- Chest, Heart, palpitation
- Chest, Weakness, heart; about the heart; sensation of weakness
- Chest, Heart, paralysis
“Dragging and anxiety at precordia, occurring in great grief; also smarting pains in back from same cause. Congestive headache dependent upon organic disease of heart. Waking with dull pain in head, attended by fluttering of heart.” (Dr C. Herring)
The pulse is irregular in force and rhythm (from rapid to hardly percetible). Patient is so weak that he can not speak a single word, with cold extremities.
“Audible beating of heart. Pulse rapid, and full, 120, some beats tolerably full and strong, afterwards 32, irregular in rhythm and force, some of the beats full and bounding. Pulse slow and irregular in rhythm and force, weak and thready, scarcely perceptible. Action only recognized by pushing hand up behind sternum, then felt only a faint thrill resembling the cardiac thrill felt in the same way on a newborn infant.”
(‘A dictionary of practical Materia Medica’ by Dr John Henry Clarke)
‘Unity in the Heart’
In Hinduism, the hexagram symbol is known as Shatkon (Shat = six, Kona = corner/angle). It represents the unity of Shiva (Male) and Shakti (Female). Shiva is marked by symbol “ᐱ”, (symbolic representation of male organ) and Shakti is marked by symbol “ᐯ”, (the female womb symbol). Also, the Shatkona is the combination of the element of fire (Shiva), and the element of water (Shakti).
Together, they represent the unity of male and female in one being. This is also the symbol of the Sixth chakra (Heart chakra). Crucial part of the healing process in Naja is the integration of energy into the heart chakra.
“The Self manifests itself in “wholeness,” a point in which a person discovers their true nature. Another interpretation phrased it as “reunification” which entail the reunion of body, soul, and spirit, leading to a diminished inner conflict.“
(Williams, Ruth; C. G. Jung: The Basics)
It is the final stage, but infinite in its manifestation, as the Ouroboros.
Churning The Ocean Of Milk/“Cosmic Ocean“
Back to the Beginning: OUROBOROS
The Ouroboros symbol represents a snake or a dragon, eating its own tail or two dragons or serpents biting the other’s tails. (Greek: oura – tail; boros – eat, be devoured).
The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning (an eternal process). It is the symbol of the circular nature in the Magnum Opus (how is broken down, purified and revived). As written before, deep process of the self-realization as well as the holistic healing have similar stages.
The aim is universal: ‘Know thyself (and thou shalt know all the mysteries of the gods and the Universe)’.
Ocean of Milk – Milky Way (“Cosmic Ocean”)
“I saw that everything, all paths I had been following, all steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point – namely, to the mid-point…” (C. G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections)
In mythology, the Ouroboros is also a symbol for the Milky Way (circular galaxy). Myth refers to a ‘Serpent of Light’ (Milky Way) which when viewed at the galactic central point (near Sagittarius), ‘eats its own tale’.
(Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Scientific evidence shows that in the galactic center of the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole.
As said at the beginning, the Ocean of Milk from the Hindu legend is also, a symbol of the Milky Way as well as the Mind (human consciousness.)
The galactic center is the rotational center of the Milky Way and similar, Mt. Meru from the hindu legend is also considered to be the center of all the physical and metaphysical and spiritual universes (an axis mundi).
Further, galactic center or Mt Meru is also analog to the Self archetype as the final stage in the individuation process or ‘a point in which a person discovers their true nature’ (‘know thyself’).
Another interpretation of the Churning of the ocean of Milk denotes that not only Shiva drunk poison (Sanskrit: ‘Black mass, Time puzzle’) to save the World, but also the Vasuki cobra. Shiva was impressed by this and hence accepted Vasuki around his neck. Shiva wearing the deadly snake like an ornament signifies that he is independent of time and death, i.e. controlling the time.
In the center of a black hole is a gravitational singularity, a one-dimensional point which contains a huge mass in an infinitely small space, where density and gravity become infinite and space-time curves infinitely, and where the laws of physics as we know them cease to operate.
Surviving the singularity leads to ‘INFINITE futures’, infinite manifestation (Symbolically: Ouroborus or Self).
Interestingly, in 2010, it was announced that two large elliptical lobe structures of energetic plasma, termed bubbles (which emit gamma and X-rays), extend about 25 thousand light years distant above and below the galactic center.
Milky Way’s galactic center Ouroboros
(Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
Galactic center and center of the Psyche
It is analog to the Self (center of the psyche).
“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.” (Eckhart Tolle)
(Image: The black hole named Cygnus X-1; Credits: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)
Angkor Wat – “Milky Way” temple on Earth
Famous sacred temple in Cambodia, Angkor Wat, is marked by five stone towers which are intended to mimic the five mountain ranges of Mt. Meru (Shiva has five heads). Milky Way is four-armed galaxy with its rotational center (black hole) and Mount Meru is the sacred five peaked mountain. Angkor Wat was built as a mandala for the whole Hindu civilization.
(Image: The southern section of the east gallery of Angkor Wat adorns the ‘Churning of the Ocean of Milk.’
This carving depicts demons and gods, churning up the sea to extract from it the elixir of immortality.)
Among the many astronomical alignments at Angkor Wat there’s an alignment to the spring equinox, at which time the Sun rises over the sacred central tower. (Towers are shaped like pine cones, symbolizing enlightenment and pineal gland)
This is a balancing time in the year, when light and dark are equal. This is also reflected in the Churning of the Ocean of Milk legend and unity between the forces of light and darkness.
“Darkness and Light are both of one nature, different only in seeming, for each arose from the source of all.
Darkness is disorder, Light is order;
Darkness transmuted is Light of Light…“
Buddha and naga (naja) Mucalinda story
Also, in Angkor Wat, there are numerous stone sculptures present hooded multi-headed cobras as guardians of temples. Naga or cobra Buddha statues are taken are very important religious and spiritual object for many followers of Buddhism as it depicts the Buddha being protected by the cobra, representing the faithful protection of the awakened one.
Cobra which is seen sheltering the Buddha while meditating is known as Mucalinda. Mucalinda uses its flared hood to shield and protect the Buddha from the elements like rain and storm after he attained enlightenment.
It is said that the four weeks after the Buddha began meditating under the Bodhi tree, the heavens darkened for seven days, a heavy rainfall started. The mighty king of the serpents, Mucalinda, emerged from beneath the earth and protected the Buddha with his hood.
Interestingly, one of the main fears in Naja homeopathic remedy is fear from rain:
“…Imagines she is in a terrible rainstorm, complains of being so cold, and that the carriage has turned over and hurt her head…“
(Dr Constantine Hering; The Guiding Symptoms of our Materia Medica)
CHAPTER III ‘Light Side Of Naja’
There is a deep symbolic meaning of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk through the Naja as homeopathic remedy. Among other insights, it gentle helps person to deeply understand, accept and heal themselves from negative and self-destructive tendencies.
As a homeopathic remedy, Naja takes person through the path of ‘destroying ego’ in order to get to the center of the Psyche (Self) or to reach the ‘higher purpose’ of being.
Shiva’s role is to destroy the Universe in order to re-create it. As mentioned before, Shiva is often depicted with a cobra called Vasuki, coiled around his neck, symbolizing his mastery over “maya” or the world-illusion.
Naja species is also known as the ’spectacled cobra’, due to its special markings.
These marks are formed by two circular ocelli connected to acurved line, resembling spectacles.
But there is another “eye“ of the naja, in its hood. It is symbolically Naja’s “Philosopher’s stone“.
(’Pearls from the cobra’s hood are perfectly round, like fish pearls, and they radiate a natural effulgence. By repeated washing, a snake pearl becomes as lustrous as a polished sword blade.’)
Overcoming Maya – Unity in the Heart
”And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the Heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince)
Through the spirit of Naja as a homeopathic remedy, we learn not to let our fears and doubts (opstacles) get in the way of our path, but to raise everything from within to the Light of the consciousness, both nectar and poison.
Indian cobra, as the most spiritual snake, has inner Light which help us ’to See’.
Through the deep power of the homeopathic healing process, Naja teaches us how to remove our ’spectacles’ in order to see through the Heart.