Le symbole du Serpent (leçon 55)
en cours de traduction
Men have tried to fathom the underlying mystery of the antagonism between man and the creeping things of life, the little worm, the harmless and often helpful diminutive snake, that has unwittingly crept upon the naked flesh. Other creatures may cause fear in man ; lie may shrink back terror-stricken from a bear or tiger ; he may dislike, distrust or be perfectly indifferent to many other animals, and if by any chance they should touch his flesh lie is conscious of no such intense repugnance as lie feels from physical contact with any creeping thing. There is a deep, far-reaching reason for this feeling, as deep and wide as the two extremities of his being, life and death ; and the beginning of this antipathy dates back to the beginning of his life as a conscious human being. When Jehovah said there should be enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, a great truth was uttered, and war was then again declared between White and Black Magic, for one Manvantara.
In one sense, all creeping things are included in the one word, serpent." From an esoteric aspect, the Serpent symbolizes the highest point of the development of a human being. From the exoteric aspect it symbolizes the lowest point in the same development.
Here, as in all other divisions of the Cosmos, appears the action of the two poles of manifestation. The farther man advances, the greater will grow his antipathy to creeping, slimy, secretive, hiding things, because the gulf between his higher and lower nature is continually widening, and up to the point when lie parts forever with that lower self by gaining all power over it, the fascination, the temptation of the lower self continually increases and the battle grows stronger.
When "the heel of the woman shall crush the serpent's head", i. e., when the negative aspect of the eternally feminine, the Soul, shall come into contact with the positive, the Head – lower mind – the masculine aspect of matter, one of the twain must disappear, and it is the latter that must disappear, because when such an event occurs the end of a Manvantara will have come, and Soul and Mind become one.
The creeping of a worm or snake over human flesh does not occasion any particular fear in the human mind ; as said before, it is a far different feeling, a quick, convulsive shudder, due to the action of the force of repulsion which manifests immediately and results in the creature's being thrown violently from its resting place. This action of the force of repulsion is but a slight exhibition of the same force that is generated in, and expelled from "the heel of the woman" as a result of the interaction of the forces of attraction and cohesion. The action of the vital ether operative in the nerves of the skin is instantly increased by contact with such a creature, and upon communicating a desire to the brain to be rid of the obnoxious thing, the brain commands the muscles of hand and arm to remove the interloper, and is obeyed.
There is an occasional "exception to prove the rule" in the cases of men and women who seem abnormally fond of snakes. These persons fondle and caress such creatures and exhibit their power of control, to the great wonder of beholders ; but when this feeling of attraction is genuine, it is due to one of two causes ; either custom has so familiarized the person by constant contact with snakes that natural antagonism has been overcome, and the force symbolized by the woman's heel has been developed in the performer's body far in excess of the force symbolized by the "head of the serpent", even to such a degree that the vital ether no longer responds to excitation by touch ; or the person bas come directly under the control of some black magician, thereby changing his whole nature and making him amenable to the control of those who govern the division of life to which the creeping things belong, corresponding in planes to the lower astral. The Serpent (personified evil, according to the orthodox concept, the Tempter) has been greatly misunderstood. It is a most perfect symbol of the two extremes of life. In the highest sense it represents the Guardian of the Threshold, and the appellation "Serpents" has been applied to Initiates of high degree for many ages, whose office it is to test in all ways the applicant for admission to any degree of the Lodge. If said applicant fail in passing the test, the power responsible for the trial in which he has failed will naturally seem to be evil. Especially is this true if the disciple has not reached a stage of development that will permit of his seeing the justice and mercy back of the trial. The powers of silence, wisdom, retirement, casting of skin, power of assuming different forms, are some of the powers that the serpent holds in common with the Initiate, and indicate why it symbolizes the highest pole of being. Its confinement to the lower levels of life, slyness, concealed poison, treachery, etc., symbolize the habits and characteristics of a like nature associated with the Black Magician. Therefore, "the serpent" is a fitting symbol for both extremes of life.(source : Les Enseignements du Temple de Maître Hilarion)