Sexual Alchemy: Female Blue Water Snake Year
By Michael Winn
Dear Lovers of Snake Qi, the embodiment of Sexual Alchemy,
This Water Snake Year is going to bring up very deep issues that relate to our core sexual identity and the mythic “fall” of humanity into male and female bodies – the Adam & Eve & the biblical serpent story. Chinese myth has interesting parallels, and holds that the first humans, the brother-sister pair Fuxi and Nuwa, are part serpent. I’ve spent decades researching this topic, and my conclusion is that Humanity’s sexual split is at the root of most suffering on the planet today.
Snake archetypally is very spiritual. It swallows its tail to flow its Qi (Chi) perpetually in a Microcosmic Orbit that integrates male and female energy. It wisely sheds its outer skin to allow inner forces to surface. Snakes both fascinate and terrify us with their sexual potency that, like a sudden erection, comes slithering out of the earth. Their bite can bring pain and poison as well as wisdom and divinatory powers. Snake-charming cults exist worldwide.
Slip into your own snake skin before reading this letter. Consider viewing my wife Jem’s undulating Water Snake dance on Youtube.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPKCSOCPP_s
The video runs for 9 captivating minutes…the flow of a Water Snake cannot be rushed. Get into a quiet space where you can relax. Let go of your busy life. Let the native american flutes, viola, gurgling water and Grand Canyon stillness sink into your soul. Jem undulates like a water snake beside a stream that carved an incredible gorge called Matkatamiba.
Jem’s Water Snake Dance is really a powerful whole-body transmission. We reached this amazing water paradise by rafting down the Colorado river on our honeymoon last summer (photos of the trip are in Tao News archives). I’ve rafted it 41 times and “Matkat” is still my favorite. It’s widely considered the most beautiful side canyon in the entire Grand Canyon.
Living Astrology vs. Symbolic Astrology
Unlike the media crowd, I didn’t post my Year of the Female Water Snake letter during the Lunar Chinese New Year Feb. 10, 2013. I preferred to wait and actually FEEL the energy of this 2013 Snake Year in this cycle of Time. An important part of the inner alchemy training I offer is Living Astrology. We talk to deep earth forces, planets & star beings, to get beyond the mental abstractions that astrologers offer as a kind of private language.
I’m interested in cultivating deep skill in evolving my Self, not merely skimming the surface for culturally interesting myths and symbols. These symbols are fascinating and potent, but unless symbols are digested fully into our body, the information is soon forgotten. Afterwords we’re stuck with our old Self. In ancient times, symbols and myths would penetrate into our right brain. In modern left-brain culture, the information overload has mostly become “garbage in, garbage out.” The symbols are not digested. The bowels of our brain are overloaded with too much merde.
Asians who use pictographic writing are right-brain dominant according to scientific studies. They can still feel the power of Animal cycles and the feng shui lines of Qi in the earth. This gives them a different kind of wisdom than we have in the West. One of my favorite “ancient” Chinese proverbs: Change yourself, before Change kicks you in the ass. This year it’s “inoculate yourself with Snake Qi, before it bites you unexpectedly.”
Taoist internal alchemy is the spiritual science of Change. It decodes Nature’s yin-yang and 5-phase operating system across multiple dimensions. It shows how they function inside our own body. Our body is sexed male or female, which makes sexual polarity the driving force in human alchemy.
Alchemy can give us a license to drive our own destiny instead of having it driven for us. Do you want to stay a teenager all your life, begging your (cosmic) parents for a ride? We have the opportunity to speed up our growth – if we allow this Female Snake to change us, NOW. But how?
The first question to ask yourself: Did you feel the shift into Snake Year Qi? On the solar start date of the New Year, Feb. 4, 2013, I was out beside the ocean doing multiple qigong ceremonies to meet Ms. Water Snake for myself. I invited her to enter my body, to dance inside me, to align our destinies. She won’t do that unless you ASK. If we don’t ask, we risk sudden snake bite later in the Year.
I got a very clear answer: Snake Qi is similar to Dragon Qi, but stepped down inside the body. It’s more focused on the alchemical coupling of sexual polarities, easier to manage and communicate with than the high-flying, myth-making Dragon Qi. Snake Year’s job is to make sure that we personally execute and digest the changes from Dragon Year.
Jem’s response on the first day of the year of the Snake was one of relief. After doing her qigong and ASKing, she confided: “This Snake feels more comfortable for me. More intimate, more internal, more feminine than the dragon. But just as powerful – if not more so.”
Where Does this Female Water Snake Live?
When I ASKed for Ms. Snake to talk to me, it immediately raised the question: where does this Female Water Snake live? Where does she speak from? It’s the same answer for all 12 Chinese Animals. They are totem masks for the 12 Earthly Branches, meaning the Snake is the aspect of the Earth’s deep psyche that is leading the planetary team this year. She lives in Mother Earth’s Energy Body, which has 12 aspects (mirrored by 12 tectonic plates), just as our human body has 12 organ and bowel spirits, each with their own meridian. Consider Snake as one of Mother Earth’s 12 organs.
Western astrology looks at the sky, and the zodiac that changes signs monthly as the sun shifts position. Earth is not included as one of the influential planets – rather strange, since it’s the planet we live on. Chinese astrology is the opposite: earth-centered, and dominated by year long cycles. It assigns different animals to the hour, day, and month, but all Humans will have to live with this watery Snake Lady for an entire year.
The Snake is 6th in the cycle of 12 Animals, suggesting that like Virgo (6th sign in Western astrology), Snake is a gatekeeper for deep earth wisdom. We journey through all 12 signs to evolve our human soul. At the 6th sign the Journey goes underground, and we get initiated into Deep Earth Mysteries in both Chinese and Western astrology.
This 2013 Female Water Snake is the 30th year in the Chinese calendar’s 60 year cycle, its exact midpoint. That suggests a powerful tipping point in the collective consciousness, possibly a larger “astrological mid-life” crisis. In the western view, Water Snake Year might signify a critical final shift from age of Pisces to Aquarius.
Snake Year: Excellent for Sexual – Spiritual Qi Cultivation
The Snake is an underground creature, but considered to be a fire creature. Where does it get its fire? The earth is filled with molten lava. So we have a fiery snake in a watery phase for an entire year, suggesting high volatility. In Taoist inner alchemy, the focus is on the coupling of primal water and primal fire.
This translates into the inner female and inner male halves of our soul. An alchemist will try to capture and stabilize the sexual volatility of this water & fire Snake year, and put it to spiritual work. In 2013, we have an opportunity to tap into this sexual tension to quicken our self-transformation.
A qigong form particularly well suited to cultivating Snake Energy is Swimming Dragon Qigong, originally from Mt. Hua (Flower Mtn.) where Jem and I got married last June on my China Dream Trip. It’s called a dragon, but it’s really a swimming serpent form – great for weight loss as well as circulating sexual Qi in deep channels.
Are You a True Human Yet?
In the Taoist view, most humans never cultivate themselves deeply enough to become a “True Human” (zheng ren). Most humans are soul sparks that never quite ignite to realize their potential. These soul sparks after death are absorbed back into the collective and their content is recycled – but they lose their free will after death. The spiritual payoff of doing this kind of sexual-spiritual energy work while we’re still in a sexed body is huge. Integration of male-female halves of our soul are essential to preserving creative free will.
The Dictionary of Creation Myths says that worldwide, Serpents are almost always linked to the Great Goddess. Paradoxically snakes are a female symbol, yet are also a phallic symbol of earth fertility. The phallus comes from the Snake’s rising fire and sudden strike ability, both rather male traits. Snake bodies could be seen as an umbilical cords linked to the Great Mother, the smooth skin and writhing movement as part of her sensual nature. Only in paternalistic cultures that worship sky gods does the serpent become something dark to be feared and conquered, or demonized as evil.
Snake myths are consistently similar around the globe. In the oldest story ever written, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh loses his power of immortality, stolen by a snake. The serpent was a widespread figure in the mythology of the Ancient Near East. Ouroboros is an ancient Greek symbol of a serpent eating its own tail that represents the perpetual cyclic renewal of life, the eternal return, and the cycle of life, death and rebirth, leading to immortality.
The Sumerian and Ouroboros serpent myths are akin to the Taoist view. Taoist Snake Tribes employ spiraling qigong which are considered amongst the most powerful of martial and spiritual arts. The most famous Taoist meditation – the Microcosmic Orbit – is the practical secret of the Ouroboros, the snake swallowing its tail to achieve immortality. It’s a symbol of the fire and water channels in the body flowing continuously into each other, in a kind of perpetual alchemical process.
The Wudang Orbit that I teach is from a Taoist Snake Tribe. It requires gathering fire (spine) and water (chest) Qi, spiraling them together into a pearl, then alchemically cooking this Elixir until it crystallizes in our body’s neutral core channel. I explain how to invite a dragon in to supply the Qi, and have found that this year’s Water Snake Lady will also do the trick. To learn this practice, see: http://www.healingtaousa.com/ckf2.html
Why Do We FEAR Snakes?
In China, the Snake is traditionally a kind of “baby dragon.” The dragon is mythic, often depicted as the parts of other animals combined. By contrast, the snake is real, it’s physically accessible. There are over 2000 species of snakes on the planet.
Studies suggest that one-third of the global population has a deep fear of these snakes. Ophidiophobia is one of the most common phobias known to man, along with spiders and heights. This is true even in Asia. Modern Hong Kong merchants complain that they cannot easily “cutify” the Snake to sell stuffed animals and other Snake Year paraphernalia. There is too much latent fear of snakes. This 2013 Snake Year is also unpopular because it has no “eyes”, meaning it starts after Feb. 4, 2013 and ends before Feb. 4, 2014. It’s considered a “blind snake” that is not around for the first day of spring. Many are getting married before or after this year.
I believe snake fear is actually a sexual fear of what the Snake embodies: a spiritual awakening in a sexed body. Snakes have a psycho-sexual, undulating kundalini force that can explode at any moment. Humans often repress a similar “rising serpent” force that is internally sexual in nature.
I accidentally triggered a powerful kundalini awakening in 1978. It felt like a whole body orgasm, my testicles pulsating 24 hours a day, with sexual energy undulating up my spine like a snake. While searching global literature for explanations for my (then) bizarre condition, I found only one useful book: The Serpent Power, by Gopi Krishna. He explained this force was coiled like a serpent in the base of the spine. That led me to study Tantra and teach kundalini yoga for some years, until I graduated to Taoist internal alchemy, which offered safer management of my kundalini.
Freud correctly opined (and as a Taoist alchemist I would agree) that sexual repression is the deepest potential force for change in Humanity’s psyche. Sexual repression, alas, locks up the creative power of our psyche. Much of Freud’s work came from investigating female patients with hysteria – the sudden release of sexual repression. Men channel repressed sexuality into war and violence. It’s why gun control is tantamount to penis control in America – and thus unlikely to ever happen.
We fear our own repressed sexual energy as if it were a snake that wants to suddenly bite us. Our sexual energy wants to evolve us spiritually, but it needs a safe path. Taoist alchemy teaches us to manage our sexual energy BEFORE we start messing around with our psychic infrastructure and releasing the kundalini serpent force.
This topic is too deep to cover in this article. Please read my FAQs on Tao & Sexual Practice: http://www.healingtaousa.com/faq_taoist_sexual_practice.html
Michael Winn is the founder of Healing Tao University with 30 Tao summer retreats in Asheville, N.C. and is the past President of the National Qigong Association. Michael has over 30 years experience in Taoist arts and leads an annual China Dream Trip. He has co-authored 7 books with Mantak Chia, and is also the author of 10 Qigong and Inner Alchemy home study courses, as well as a free e-book, Way of the Inner Smile. All are available onwww.HealingTaoUSA.com or call: 888-999-0555.