Chapter 15
Big Top


- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Big Top | pg. 2 - Echoes of Camels and Needles | pg. 3 - The Crimson King
pg. 4 - Beelzebub | pg. 5 - Demon est Deus Inversus | pg. 6 - Prophets Chained for Burning Masks
pg. 7 - Kundalini | pg. 8 - The Dweller on the Threshold | pg. 9 - The Alchemical Wedding
pg. 10 - The Woman Clothed with the Sun | pg. 11 - Circe | pg. 12 - Ouroboros
pg. 13 - And there a Swan is Born | pg. 14 - Spiral

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The Fire Witch | Eight | Mudras | The Emerald Tablet

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"In the East, all practices, whether designated as such or not, are designed to awaken the semi-dormant energy resident in all creation, and 'living beings' in particular. This energy is known as "Kundalini", "The Serpent Fire", and the "Dragon" depending on tradition."

- Secret Fire: The Relationship Between Kundalini, Kabbalah, and Alchemy

"The western methods of raising the inner Secret Fire along with visualization and concentration techniques are very similar to the raising of the inner divine psychic and cosmic energies of the Kundalini Serpent. Salamanders, serpents or dragons are very often seen as the vital mercurial energies in Western Alchemy."

- Tantra Yoga as Alchemy

"A symbol for the limbic system and the kundalini energy, the lizard also represents the cyclical movement of energy through the universe and the space/time continuum: birth-death-rebirth ad infinitum."

- Aurum Solis

"Hence the Sages call it the Phoenix and Salamander. Its generation is a resurrection rather than a birth, and for this reason it is immortal or indestructible."

- Sendivogius' Enigma of the Sages

The Lizard is Kundalini Shakti, the life force, Phoenix rising.

On the album cover Prince Rupert is shown interacting with a peacock while a dragon flies overhead, symbolizing Rupert's awakening of the life-force (Kundalini, the dragon) through the guidance of Sufism (the peacock).

In fact, in the serpentine energy and movement of Gini Barris' artwork, the entire album cover expresses Kundalini.

"Halligan (1992), a Jungian psychologist, equated Kundalini arousal with the seven stages of transmutation of metals in the attainment of the coveted Philosopher's Stone, described in ancient alchemical texts. In Jungian circles, this process has long been held to be a Western metaphor for individuation, or the development of the Self over the course of a person's lifespan. Halligan showed how the raising of Kundalini to the crown chakra at the top of the head essentially equates with alchemical "conjunctio", the mystical marriage of opposites in any spiritual journey which makes union with the Divine a subjective reality, where the Self is fully formed. A conjunctio metaphorically creates the Philosopher's Stone, the Self, unity with the Divine. Therefore, for many Jungians the experience of Kundalini awakening is the Eastern version of individuation."

- Serpent Fire:
Kundalini and Spriritual Crisis
by SilverDrake Fey

"The esoteric symbol of the winged and wingless dragon/serpent throughout all cultures, of which Jung took the heroic step of trying to explain, is seen in terms of the conscious/unconscious mind. The dragon is often synonymous with the dual aspect of the serpent, which as the caduceus represents, is both conscious/unconscious."

- The Union and Reunion of Opposites
by Ray Flowers
San Graal School of Sacred Geometry

"There is a familiar symbol of it in Western culture that exemplifies the Kundalini as it snakes through the body. The symbol for medicine and a common logo on ambulances is the caduceus, the rod with two snakes coiled around it in spirals."

- Kundalini Awakens by Ruth Trimble

Conscious and unconscious are the twin serpents of Sensation and Intuition.

"Mythology often appears to be describing body sensations when it speaks of serpents, as well as describing the human spine, which can be symbolized as the tree or twin trees or the serpent or twin serpents. The serpent image connected with the spine has its best-known representation in the Indian Kundalini mythology. Chetwynd (1982) describes body symbolism that is related to the serpent as "connected with the spinal column, which joins the physical nature (the genitals) to the spiritual nature (the head)".

- The Genesis Model
by Gerry Anne Lenhart

"The dragon is the "mercurial serpent" and is also synonymous with the divine water and egg, and it's symbolism goes back as far as Lilith, or Melusina, who lives in the philosophical tree. Later, Christ appears as the archetype of consciousness and Mercurius as the archetype of unconsciousness. Thereby, the dragon is related closely to the creative godhead in symbolism, and also represents the union of opposites. The androgynous uroborous dragon impregnates, bears, devours, and slays itself; then lifts itself on high, paraphrasing the mystery of God's sacrificial death. It is also said of Mercurius that, he will make you a witness of the mysteries of God and secrets of nature, and that he is the messenger of the gods.

(In other words, messages from the unconscious.)

Mercurius, the dragon/serpent, is never himself the light, but a bringer of the light, as seen in the symbolism of Venus (symbolic of both Lucifer - the bringer of light, and Christ - the light). Those who are ignoring of this bringer of light turn the dragon into a diabolical seducer.

Carl Sagan described the three tiers of the human brain as the reptilian (the most ancient and deepest layer), the limbic (the middle tier that directs motor sensory and normal life functions), and the neocortex (the uncharted territory of the upper realms). He also used the symbolic dragon to portray the dormant, sleeping, reptilian part of the brain that is both ancient and undisturbed. When the sleeping dragon rises, his fire (kundalini?) surges throughout the various layers and in alchemical measures awakens and integrates the triune brain."

- The Union and Reunion of Opposites
by Ray Flowers
San Graal School of Sacred Geometry

"I am the poison-dripping dragon, who is everywhere and can be cheaply had. That upon which I rest, and that which rest upon me, will be found within me by those who pursue their investigations in accordance with the rules of the Art. My water and fire destroy and put together; from my body you may extract the green lion and the red. But if you do not have exact knowledge of me, I will destroy your five senses with my fire..."

- Aurelia occulta by Gerhard Dorn
quoted in The Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Nine, Coelum Terrae by Thomas Vaughan (pg 71-72)

" should be noted that in that great illuminated Celtic masterpiece, The Book of Kells, the illumination of St. Matthew's account of the crucifixion of Christ, 'then there were crucified with him two thieves' we find the cosmic self-consuming, self-renewing serpent."

- The Divine Serpent in Myth and Legend
by Robert T. Mason, Ph.D., D.D.

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even as the son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life"

- Jesus, John 3:14-15

The Brazen Serpent by Gustave Dore

As a vehicle for the spiritual journey, the Kundalini Dragon is equivalent to the mystical white horse, Pegasus, and the horse of Prince Rupert.

"Gave me each a horse, sunrise and graveyard."

"Frederick could not mount a horse but some symbolic meaning was forthwith attached thereto : if he rode a white horse he was aping the Savior and was accused of blasphemy ; if a chestnut, he became 'the rider on a red horse' who bringeth strife ; if he chose a dun, he was death : and if he was mounted on a black horse men trembled before the judge with his balance. Frederick probably aggravated things himself by calling his favorite horse "Dragon."

- Frederick the 2nd, 1194-1250
by Ernest Kantorowicz (p. 609)

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Given the phenomenon of an "ego death" in the first album (the death of Thinking as a differentiated ego function) and considering the importance of the goddess Kundalini-Shakti in Lizard , the identity of the "fire witch" becomes apparent.

"The black queen chants
the funeral march,
The cracked brass bells will ring;
To summon back the fire witch
To the court of the crimson king."

The "black queen" is Kali, the destructive aspect of the Goddess (Persephone in the Eleusinian Mysteries). The "court of the crimson king" is consciousness (the head). The "black queen chants the funeral march" (representing the death of the ego). The "cracked brass bells (the divided psyche) will ring" "to summon back the fire witch" (Kundalini-Shakti) from dormancy at the base of the spine to consciousness in the head.

"The words witch and wizard come from the indo-European root meaning 'to see or 'to know' and are found in the French voir or the latin videre meaning to see or the German wissen meaning to know. Anthropologists researching healing practises the world over have applied the term shaman to indigenous tribal healers and medicine people. The meaning is sometimes quoted as 'to heat up, to burn, to work with heat and fire' and sometimes as 'Wise One' or 'One Who Knows', 'one who sees'. This brings us to the most important characteristic of shamans. They are masters of energy and of the fire which moves through the human body, called by such names as kundalini in the east, or mana in Hawaiian. They know that there is an energy, normally invisible, which connects all that exists, and they live with the knowledge of this energy and how to use it. They are masters of altered states of consciousness in which the normal rules of Newtonian three dimensional existence are broken, and in which travel to other worlds, pre-cognition, distant seeing are all possible."

- Contemporary Shamanism
by Leo Rutherford

"The Sufi interprets fire as the symbol of wisdom, and the sun as a celestial light. He not only bows before them but also absorbs their quality."

The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan
Volume IX
The Unity of Religious Ideals

Another implication...

"I chase the wind of a prism ship
To taste the sweet and sour.

The "sweet and sour" the narrator of In the Court of the Crimson King hopes to "taste" are the peaceful and wrathful visions of the Chonyid bardo. The "prism ship" is The Peacock's Tale.
Yet another ego death occurs in the The Devil's Triangle . Considering that the "worm" of Garden of Worm is a snake, the primordial force of Kundalini Shakti is again implicated.

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On the Lizard album cover, Kundalini is depicted as a dragon flying above the head and out of the body of Prince Rupert.

"...there is (in certain traditions, and in the correspondences of Leary & Wilson's Eight-Circuit Brain model) an eighth chakra, located above the head, which is associated with out-of-body experiences."

- Life's Middle Name

"...the energy generated from each chakra rises within the body in a serpentine fashion and in the form of an 8. Once this energy channel is successfully established the Eighth Chakra, or the Kundalini Serpent is created."

- Ming's Correctional Facility

"Through intense sadhana (spiritual practice), the yogi strives to drown his seven centers (chakras) into the sushumna canal, which means to dissolve all bodily attachment, and ascends into the eighth chakra of God-consciousness, above the head."

- The Mahabharata
India's Greatest Epic in the Light of Kriya Yoga

"The 'eighth chakra,' the 'supercrown,' is the divine force, located above the head, from which depends the embodied soul; the Stoics also recognized an eighth, transcendant 'commanding-faculty' (hegemonikon) that united and sustained the other seven parts of the soul."

- The Eightfold Year and the Stages of Life
by John Opsopaus

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"A Mudra is a hand gesture or body position that locks and guides energy flow and reflexes to the brain. It is an energy lock that keeps the energy flowing so that it does not leave your body. These mudras were used by the Yogis of India and generally practiced during deep meditation."

- Kundalini Yoga: Mudras or Gestures


By touching your thumb to the fingers listed, you create a direct access to that particular chakra by choice.

Finger Designation Chakra
Index or first finger Root or first chakra
Second finger Second chakra
Third finger Third chakra -
Solar Plexus
Fourth finger Fourth Chakra - Heart

After you perform the sequence with your thumb and the designated finger, go on to repeat the process in the sequence to connect with your other chakras as follows:

Finger Designation Chakra
Index or first finger Throat or fifth chakra
Second finger Sixth chakra
or Third Eye
Third finger Seventh chakra
or Crown
Fourth finger Eighth chakra - above Crown

"The thumb is the connector for the contact, your left side being the negative polarity, or feminine - Yin in Chinese. The right side being your positive , or masculine, Yang. The thumbs are the conductors of the energy and are neutral."

- The Sacred Energy Mudra

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Considering that Kundalini Shakti (the fire of life) is said to reside sleeping in the first chakra at the base of the spine and that the element of the first chakra is Earth, the meaning of the enigmatic inscription found on the Emerald Tablet becomes clear.

"You shall separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, suavely, and with great ingenuity and skill. Your skillful work ascends from earth to heaven and descends to earth again, and receives the power of the superiors and of the inferiors. So thou hast the glory of the whole world--therefore let all obscurity flee from thee. This is the strong force of all forces, overcoming every subtle and penetrating every solid thing."

- Hermes Trismegistus, The Emerald Tablet

"Hence, Hermes says, What is born of the Crow is the beginning of this Art. Consider that it is by separation of the Black, foul, and stinking fumes of the Blackest Black that our astral, white, and resplendent Stone is formed, which contains in its veins the blood of the Pelican. It is at this First Purification of the Stone, and at this shining whiteness, that the work of the First King is ended."

- The Philosopher's Stone, p. 41, originally The Six Keys of Exodus, from The Hermetical Triumph by A.T. Limojonde St Didier (English translation 1723)

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Splendor Solis painting by Laurie Lipton

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