Have you ever wondered why snakes are used as symbols of healing? For instance, in 2005, the American Medical Association adopted the single-serpent Staff of Aesculapius as its official symbol. The reason, according to the AMA, is that, "(while) the twin-serpent Caduceus is more aesthetically appealing, purists fervently profess and staunchly defend the Staff of Aesculapius, emphasizing that from its inception it has represented the ideals of medicine." Sadly, this is an unfortunate misunderstanding on their part, and here are the reasons why:
The twin-serpent Staff of Hermes, also known as the Caduceus, is a more accurate symbol of healing than the Staff of Aesculapius. The two serpents of the Caduceus represent the two internal winding pathways (ida & pingala) of subtle energy as it moves through the body, with the intersections of those pathways creating spinning vortices of energy known as the chakras. The center staff represents the central energy pathway that runs along the spine, and is known as the sushumna.
One way that Lifeforce Energy enters and leaves the body is through the fontanelles - or "fountains" - located at the top of the skull. It comes in through the anterior (front) fontanelle and descends to the area of the perineum, winding its way down around the spine like a snake. Then, it winds its way back up the spine like a snake, and exits through the posterior (back) fontanelle. At those places along the spine where the downward and upward energies meet, there are rotating vortices of energy called 'chakras' that distribute the subtle energy to the body. Each chakra overlays an endocrine gland and regulates the energy it sends to that gland and its related organs and systems.
The seven primary chakras, located along the spine, overlay the endocrine glands and regulate the energy moving in and out of those glands. These seven chakra-regulated glands are: the pineal, pituitary, thyroid, heart, adrenals, pancreas and gonads. The heart functions as an endocrine gland because it secretes hormones known as atrial natriuretic peptides. The Heart Chakra regulates the flow of Lifeforce Energy to the heart, thymus, lungs, liver, and circulating blood. It expands and contracts according to our positive and negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. When we "open our heart", we are actually opening our Heart Chakra, and expanding our biofield.
Energy entering and leaving the body has both a downward/upward flow, and a back-to-front flow. In the back-to-front flow, energy comes into each chakra from the backside of the body, and flows out into the world through the front of the body. The combination of vertical and horizontal flows of energy is what causes the chakras to spin. Healthy people have chakras that spin clockwise. Chakras that spin counter-clockwise are an indication of an energy blockage, which means there is a physical ailment in the area of the reverse spinning chakra.
When the Lifeforce Energy enters the Crown Chakra, it pours down in a cascade of sparkly, quantum particles of Light. These Light particles are photon-filled cosmic rays that have their origin in the sun and stars. The sparkling column of Light can be seen the same way the aura can be seen by trained eyes. This animated video provides accurate visual imagery of what the column of Light actually looks like as it cascades downward into the Crown. While you watch the video, you can use it as a guided meditation and imagine the Light pouring into your head.
This amazing short animated clip is from a video called "The Illuminated Chakras", by Dr. Anodea Judith, PhD. It explains the energy of the chakras from both a macrocosmic and microcosmic perspective. Dr. Judith is a therapist and public speaker on the chakra system, and is the author of Wheels of Life: A User's Guide to the Chakra System.
Deepak Chopra, MD, is a board certified endocrinologist, who has taught medicine at Tufts University, Boston University and Harvard. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Dr. Chopra is a best-selling author of more than 85 books, and a co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.