Ancient Traditions from all over the world hint at this mysterious life force that flows through the being in certain states of consciousness. The Christian Fathers of the Desert shook with ecstasy during prayer. Egyptian Hieroglyphs show laying of hands causing energy to run along the spine and the Egyptian god of the afterlife Osiris ascended to heaven up the ladder of his mother's spine. The symbol of the caduceus is of a staff entwined by two serpents moving upwards, meeting at 5 or 7 points. This symbol that is now used for medicine was found in ancient Sumeria, Greek Mythology and is very similar to the concept of Kundalini energy.
Kashmir Shivaism in the 4th Century encoded many texts with dialogues between Gods and Goddesses explaining Tantric Practices to awaken Kundalini Energy. Other traditions spoke of different entities and cosmologies but the descriptions of the path of the awakened energy and the outcome of these practices is very similar and would be recognised by practitioners, such as those from Daoist Alchemy and Tibetan Buddhism.
My understanding of Kundalini Energy comes from direct transmission and thousands of hours of practice and training under various teachers. Some held traditional lineages of Tantric Kundalini Masters, others had strong individual awakenings through more modern Tantric practices and shared the teachings devoid of any spiritual jargon.
My first experience of Kundalini Awakening that I am aware of was when I was 16yrs old and living with my parents in Melbourne. I was really into the underground warehouse party scene and dancing in a trance to psychedelic music was my favorite thing in the world. I went out one weekend and someone I trusted gave me rohypnol (a date rape drug). I only remember glimpses of that night, but I do remember waking up in an empty house in a suburb far from where I lived with blood on my face and taking all day to make my way home through hitching to the train and then I kept falling asleep on the train as it went from end of the line to end of the line. At the time I wasn't too upset about the experience, but I had been going to a meditation group near where I lived and they had a Reiki sharing evening later that week. The woman who owned the shop worked with me, simply laying her hands on my body. After a short while every single cell in my body started vibrating as if I had had WAY too much coffee. This vibrating continued to ripple up and through my body. It moved towards my spine and upwards and tears started flowing, I understood at the time that the energy had healed me of the experience of sexual assault.
I have experienced numerous other experiences of Kundalini Awakening since then. During lovemaking rituals at the Tantra school I studied with for many years, while meditating, listening to sacred musicians play and on the dance floor in the bush when psychedelic trance is playing (still my favourite thing).
I would describe Kundalini as the Primal Life Force Energy within every living thing. When this energy is gone, so is life. I call the energy of Kundalini 'She' not 'It', as she is alive and sentient. She is the manifestation at an individual level of the 'I Am', Source Energy within me. She is the source of the Prana (energy) in my being, like the electricity that powers the laptop I'm writing on has a massive power plant at it's source that my house is plugged into.
Experiences of Kundalini Awakening occur at times when my heart and consciousness are in a certain state that allows or causes this energy to surge through my being. It could be said that (true) enlightened Masters from every tradition have a fully awakened Kundalini, this energy is surging constantly through them, aligning them with the Source of all that is. (Which I call 'He'- the Void, The 'full emptiness', the 'I Am'.)
The Tantric tradition has beautiful imagery of 'her', the Kundalini moving from the base of the spine and spiralling upwards like a serpent, through different states of consciousness (the chakras) and meeting her lover 'Shiva' at the crown above the head.
When I experience Kundalini Arousal, it ripples through my body in such a way that I tremor, shiver, cry, laugh and vibrate, I feel in myself how the snake metaphor arose. For a master who is fully integrated in their spiritual awakening, we would not necessarily see any outward manifestations of their awakened Kundalini. They are connected both to their embodied human energy, and to their deep sense of connection with All that Is. While this state of being can bring much spiritual wisdom, love and compassion, it does not make them super human and therefore beyond the foibles of a human mind. Masters like this from all traditions can be amazing to be around. When I have sat with different spiritual masters, I felt a certain transmission; such as my heart opening and an ability to move really easily into a meditative state of consciousness. Yet I have witnessed firsthand the disappointments and betrayals from students who gave their lives to Spiritual Masters who then took advantage of them in various ways. Sadly sometimes the students reject the entire spiritual practice after this, instead of realising that having a human body and the power that comes with an Awakened Kundalini does not mean the person is compelled to only act in full integrity at all times. (Of course some Masters lead fully with their heart and certainly would never disappoint their students in ways described here).
Perhaps because of that experience when I was 16yrs old, I learnt how to speak my 'No' clearly and was never interested in engaging sexually with the spiritual teachers I practiced and learnt from, even if this was offered as a short cut to Kundalini Awakening. I would encourage others to take the slow road, and if using lovemaking as a path to Kundalini- why not practice with someone you have a friendship and trust with?
In the last few years I have taken what I have learnt from many different teachers and practices in evoking Kundalini and created a fusion practice called KIETY (Kundalini Integrative Emotional Tantric Yoga) that also embeds some modern therapeutic exercises from my work as a Psychotherapist. If you live in or ever visit Cairns in Far North Queensland, I would love to share this with you and perhaps you can experience this energy for yourself, as it is far more delicious to experience than read about. I will try to leave you with a sense of what Kundalini is through a more poetic explanation;
'She' is the mother of us all, she loves us and her awakened energy is an upwards dance of love towards unity with her beloved, whom is the father of us all. He is beyond energy (all energy is Her) and beyond anything that can be directly experienced through human perception. Like the eye can never directly see itself because it looks out of itself; we can never directly see our true nature. Yet through the Mother's love, we can awaken our Kundalini Energy & somehow know Him directly as our most true nature, of who we really are- which is nothing less than All That Is.