Chapter Fifteen – The Anaconda and the Cobra

Over time it felt like the spirits were constantly working on me. Many times I would see them sitting in ceremonies in front of me. They would reach into my third eye or put or throw things into me. There was quite a stressful time when my mother-in-law was dying. She faded gradually over about a year. I had many dreams about her and felt strongly that I was to assist in her passing in some way. In the days before her passing the spirits began to show me a new place, impossible to describe, not focused like the tunnel, more of a vast shimmering that would open wide to reveal another dimension. The first time I experienced this I saw the shimmering and a thick spiral appeared within it. Out of the spiral came an anaconda followed by an angel. The angel opened a portal and I could see another world, the angel beckoned me but I was too tired to follow. On the day she died I was in another country. I knew her time was coming and I lay on the bed and prayed for her. Again the shimmering space opened up and a spirit reached out and pulled me in. Here I could see my mother in law in the bed of her hospital. She got out of bed and sat in a chair. Two spirits were with her. They performed some actions then threw her spirit out of her body. She flew upwards and was gone.

Following this I returned to Ireland for her funeral. One night while staying in the house, sleeping in that same room where Spirit had first entered into me I had another extraordinary experience. It began as a dream. In the dream I was in a house and I ‘knew’ a giant anaconda was outside. I was scared and as usual worried about my cats, so I made sure all the doors and windows were locked. Once I was sure everyone was safe I decided to peak out the door to see the anaconda. I opened the door a crack and could see a yard. On the far side was a huge barn. By the barn reared up to the same height as the barn roof was a snake, not an anaconda but the kundalini cobra. This was such a shock that I came to full consciousness. At this point a spiral appeared in front of me and from it emerged the anaconda. The anaconda then ‘swam’ into my forehead through my brain and out of my crown chakra. This was an incredible sensation and for a long time after I felt like there was a tunnel about the thickness of a mans arm, running through my head.

There are in fact parallels to this experience in both yoga and shamanism. In kundalini yoga there is a meditation called Kirtan Kriya. Part of this involves envisioning the syllables of the mantra, SA TA NA MA, entering via the crown chakra, passing through the brain and exiting at the third eye. This is said to stimulate what they call the ‘golden cord’, which is the connection between the pineal and pituitary glands. This golden cord is certainly the pathway taken by my anaconda. The shamans of the Desana, in the Amazon say, that dividing the two hemispheres of the brain is a fissure and in this fissure swims an anaconda. Sometimes it is said that two snakes, an anaconda and a rainbow boa are entwined in this fissure.

A year or so after this experience, Michèle was painting the picture that would become the cover of this book. It shows the very powerful image of a stunningly patterned constrictor moving over a shamanic drum. The act of painting induced for her, a visionary dream that closely mirrored my experience. In the dream she was walking on a path through the jungle, on one side were trees and on the other a lake of clear water. She became aware that in the trees a vast constrictor with beautiful markings was watching her. Then out of the water emerged a giant coral snake, which reared up and began to bite her. The coral snake is highly venomous and I discovered it is from the family elapidae, the same as the cobra! I was amazed at the corroboration of the imagery in our two experiences and how it works on multiple levels. In one sense these two serpents are certainly DNA. The path Michèle was on can also be seen as the sushumna and the serpents either side, as ida and pingala nadis. The polarities of lunar and solar, here become, constriction and venom. The two snakes can also be seen as the different aspects of Shakti. The constrictor being the aspect that binds us with its coils in the illusion, the coral snake emerging from the waters of pure consciousness, the aspect that reveals the illusion, through the transformative ‘death’ induced by its venom. Two serpents, that actually are one.

In a vision I saw Michèle, standing alone in a forest. In her hands she was holding up the huge skull of an anaconda. It was gleaming white in the darkness with very impressive teeth. She said, the anaconda must be fed at every full moon, meaning to me, that at those times I must honour my shamanic spirits. Personally, I see the anaconda and the cobra as the two strands of awakening, twin serpents of shamanism and yoga, entwined within me.

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