I am going to take my time to respond to Gary’s recent comment comment that the serpent in the Garden of Eden is depicted with wings in some cases.
Although I have never seen images like this (to my knowledge) of a serpent with wings in the Garden of Eden, it does not suprise me to see one now. We have often had little tussles Gary over the way I see themes at the core of Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate, and the way you see them. I have referred sometimes to werewolves and warg.
The reason I can do this (and still think myself sane) is because, for me the modern concept of werewolves and vampires etc, is probably a romanticised and glamorized version of what was once, by some, seen as more real than mere myth. I see the roots of these myths and legends being far more interesting, buried as they are deep within esoteric knowledge that is hidden from most of the world. That is why the wolves in my book are not just wolves but communicate on some level with people. The main character in the book is a wolf-being in a human body (ie with the Earthly clothes of a human).
Similarly the Serpent was once a human.
I must also make it clear I see the esoteric world, or the world we perceive with esoteric knowledge or ‘awareness’ as being different to the normal physical world. This is a common idea.
Have you read The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth?
He takes the approach of a journalist trying to strip away the mystery and mystique of secret cults and organisations like the Freemasons to reveal what he has learned of their secret knowledge. He explored very extensively this idea that there is a separate history of the world, one which you cannot see in the physical world but one that existed and still exists inside us – a knowledge of the world as experienced by people. So he is saying that there is another type of consciousness.
Of course if you simply want to explore modern scientific ideas of consciousness you could try Susan Blackmore’s Conversations on Consciousness. The trouble is that science will always remain on the side of objectivity and so will never really cross that line to understand properly consciousness. Not that I am saying any of us ever will, but our own minds affect how we feel about things and to simply try to observe ones consciousness without accepting that by observing it you are affecting it, is to inevitably fall short of a proper understanding. Some areas of science are beginning to accept this now.
Returning to The Secret History of the World, I found that many of the ideas in there about man’s early perception of himself and our deep-seated feeling that there was a Garden of Eden and that the species-memory even stretches back much further than that, really resonated.
So what I am saying is that the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, and the Garden itself, really existed but perhaps not in the physical world as one place, but as a state of consciousness that humans passed through on their way to where we are now.
Thus, it could well be that the idea of a Winged Serpent has some meaning for us, well beyond simply the image of a snake with wings.
On the subject of how we see the world and what that means, it is my hypothesis that our visual blindspot is actually connected in some way with our own moral or ethical blindspot, which (another hypothesis) could be thought of as evil. If you look for your blindspot (a small black spot while you are looking at things – helps to do this in a white room or looking at a white wall) – mine normally seems to be off to the right somewhere, then the feeling that one has inside or one’s mood is similar to what one feels when one is in a black mood or during the ‘darker’ episodes of one’s moods. ie the Yang side of things. At least this is the way it is for me. But then I am particularly sensitive to colour. How do others feel about this?
I must point out at this point that I was brought up as a Buddhist, my father being a practicing Buddhist and since I was not convinced by answers to questions in Sunday School , I naturally gravitated towards Buddhism. This incorporates many esoteric ideas and has probably given me a wider perspective on religion and beliefs.
I am also a big fan of Gurdjieff and esoteric thinkers of his time although I am not a big fan of Aleister Crowley. Paul Brunton was a very interesting writer at the time too. Son of an English lord, he travelled extensively in Asia in the 20s and thirties writing about culture, and particular religion. He wrote a lot about saddhus and mystics and spent a whole year living and training with a snake-charmer. In the winter he would retire to a hut on top of a foothill of the Himalayas to write up his findings. Anything by him is worth reading but you may have to scour the second-hand bookshops as much of his stuff is out of print. His best and deepest work in my opinion is ‘The Wisdom of the Overself‘. I haven’t read the collections of his work published since his death by his son.