Power Animal Meditation: Cobra
Snakes hold a special status in religion and spirituality the world over. One of the most (in)famous ones of those is the Cobra, of which there are several types. I have already written on two Egyptian Cobra Goddesses, Meretseger and Wadjet, and one Hindu one, Manasa. Cobra is one of my Power Animals that I am strongly connected to. She joined me in my early twenties after I already had Jaguar as my companion since childhood.
In my youth, I went through a phase of suppressing my psychic abilities in order to “fit in” with a very secular family and societal environment who were quick to ridicule and demean anything of a spiritual nature and experience. This ranged from a condescending, “You have a very vivid imagination,” to a hateful, “I feel like I have to protect your children from you because you tell them about BS that doesn’t exist, all your stupid angel and astrology stuff!”
Luckily, I left Germany after graduating from school at nineteen and moved to London where I lived close to a decade and was free from this emotional and mental violence against my spiritual curiosity and urge to exploring other religions, spirituality and psychic arts further until I re-discovered my own talents that had so long laid dormant for lack of belief in my own powers.
Still, there were signs, like flipping through TV channels and landing on a documentary about snakes and Cobras in particular, coming across them in newspapers, books, dreams and in conversations (that was before the advent of the internet). So even though I could not properly put a meaning to it, neither could I deny that Cobra was uncommonly frequently turning up in my life experience. She came and went over the years, just like Jaguar and later Wolf who joined the team in 2012.
My closer acquaintance with Cobra medicine and Goddesses commenced around the turn of the year 2018/2019 and was intense, to put it mildly. I incurred a psychological burnout at the same time and this mental “weakness” or better, a breaking open, allowed old structures to be dissolved and new ones more aligned with my personal development to have room were ushered in. It was a slow and painful process but a necessary one and I am deeply grateful for every step of that journey as it has afforded me so much wisdom and new insights and knowledge I was not privy to beforehand. As every spiritual development, it is a process that is never completely concluded. We are all a work in progress and themes and lessons return on another level and in a different context at irregular intervals.
The nature of the snake (and let’s leave the monotheist religious “evil” tag out of it) is that of time and timelessness. It is the dual nature of divine eternity and material life and death. It is transformation and consistency. But as each type of snake has biological traits and characteristics, so each one also holds special meanings in a spiritual sense that are unique to that particular type as well. As aforementioned, I have already written on Python and now we are looking more closely at the powerful energies and medicine of Cobras.
Cobras belong to the genus Naja, the category in which all true cobras fall. Depending on species, their lengths vary from six to ten feet. Common characteristics are their fangs and venom glands, their ability to deliver a fatal bite to humans through their highly poisonous neurotoxic venom. The usual way of releasing the venom through the tips of the fangs is different in the species of what are called “spitting cobras” where the venom is hurled forwards through openings in the front of the fangs which looks like spitting but is actually more squirting.
All cobras are able to raise the front quarter of their bodies and flatten their necks to make it wider in order to appear bigger to enemies. Mythology tells us that a cobra afforded the meditating Buddha some shade through raising its head and fanning out its neck. The most venomous of all cobras is the Caspian Cobra that lives in Central Asia. According to Wikipedia, there are 36 species and subspecies of Naja, which I won’t go into greater detail here but feel free to read up further on the ones you are most interested in.
To name the most outstanding ones, there are King Cobra (a very bad and wildly superstitious horror movie of the same name has been made some decades ago) which actually belongs to a different genus, Ophiophagus, Egyptian Cobra, Snouted Cobra, Forest Cobra and Indian Cobra. Depending on size, the cobras feed on small rodents and slightly larger animals.
They can also vary greatly in colour, the Indian cobra alone varies considerably in that throughout the Indian subcontinent. To describe all the variants even superficially would go beyond this article considerably. Let it suffice to say that all colours seem to appear from the black Egyptian cobra to the much lighter other types that can go all the way up to a light beige, almost white on the underbelly.
Cobras lay eggs in warm, protected areas. When the young hatch, they are already independent from birth and their venom glands function fully. So even a small cobra can cause considerable damage with a bite. In India, young cobras are abused for their venom and snake charmers were paid for bites that can cause loss of consciousness, euphoria, and sedation. Thus, cobra venom is used as a naturally occurring drug.
When we look at how a cobra or other spirit or power animals in the spiritual realm impart their powers on a person, the most intense way of transference is a bite or swipe with a claw, i.e., through an injury that entails some part of the animal entering the human body in a vision or dream. Personally, in the case of Cobra, I have repeatedly had both dreams and visions of this beautiful and powerful animal burying its fangs in my eyelids.
In these visions, the fangs were much longer and slimmer than those of a real-life cobra and the head of the animal was big enough to have the two fangs in perfect distance to land, one each, in the middle of my closed eyes, piercing them. Neither in my visions nor my dreams was I afraid in any way or experienced pain. It didn’t feel like an act of aggression in the emotional sense to me, neither from the Cobra nor from me receiving it. Rather, I would bring up my hands to stroke over the back of its hood and down its back where I could reach as it was raised in front of me, literally on eye level. It always felt like a gift.
As I am always quick to point out, spiritual experiences are highly individualised and your subconscious will provide you with experiences in a manner deemed best to understand and most helpful in your spiritual development in a manner you can best relate to, so experiences may and will vary not only from person to person but also from one event to the next. Please bear that in mind at all times and never devalue your own experience because it does not coincide with what you have heard or read about.
The one thing that is common in Cobra work, however, is the intensity of its energies. Cobra medicine is a powerful energetic force and to deal with it is not easy. This is definitely not a walk in the park. No molly-coddling. Cobra energy is intense, will often take you in and out of other dimensions and manifest as a major drama in your personal life or as a collective chain of events in your community, region, country or even on a global scale.
At the time of writing this, we are slowly coming out of the Covid pandemic and people are taking to the streets globally, but especially in the USA because of the incident of the brutal cop killing the unarmed African-American George Floyd, a racially motivated crime, as is so often the case in the USA. It is interesting to know that cobra venom paralyses the body which also leads to the lungs and heart stopping to work and George Floyd was literally choked to death. His last words, “I can’t breathe!” being repeated as a chant and in written form by protesters all around the world.
Cobra energy highlights that which strangles and suffocates you and hinders you from embracing your power and living fully aligned with the highest energies and your soul purpose. There is no hiding, there are no half-truths and foul compromises. Cobra will break everything open, make it visible, hurl it into your face in a way that can no longer be ignored in favour of keeping the status quo. It calls to you to acknowledge and embrace your high magic, your strength and your power and live in truth.
Cobra is a symbol of wisdom, transformation, sexual energy, passion, danger and even death. It can also stand for speed, courage and determination. She is also seen as a protector, for example, held great power and was considered to be the guardian of pharaoh and the country (see Goddess Wadjet) and in the form of Goddess Meretseger which I have drawn in my paid course Goddess Circle as the Goddess of the Month of June. She is the Guardian, Defender and Protector of the Valley of the Kings, the ancient cemetery of the Egyptian pharaohs and high dignitaries.
Thus Cobra is useful for your own protection and defence. She will teach you ways on how to take better care of yourself and your loved ones and defend and protect yourself and those you love from harm. With this, you are given the courage to face your challenges, often by forcing you into it. However, that is not a bad thing in the long run, as it will teach you to stand up to malevolent forces and energies and get to know your own strength and powers. She teaches you confidence, courage, honesty and determination.
On a higher spiritual level, Cobra initiates you into the mysteries of higher magic and manifestation. She moves between dimensions and not only grants you access to other realms but also enables you to bring those energies and this wisdom into manifest form in physical reality. Cobra teaches you to bring your inner wisdom and intuition into your life experiences and use them for practical purposes.
With Cobra, we shed our skin, our restrictive straight jacket of illusions and limiting beliefs that result in blocking us from living our lives to our fullest potential. When looking at the attitude people have towards snakes, it is apparent that nowhere the differences between cultures and religions are more emphasized than in these which are also linked to their view and teachings on life itself, sexuality and the forces of creation.
In Hinduism, people hold the belief that the God of Destruction and Regeneration, or Lord Shiva, is seen in a cobra. In some instance, cobra snakes are believed to be reincarnations of reputable people like Nagas, a popular warrior. (The Sanskrit word naga meaning cobra.) Unlike most other snakes, Cobra protects its eggs and young and is therefore revered as a mother as well as a fertility deity. If the energies of Cobra are handled well, it can bring powerful change and great benefits but also the opposite is true. Cobra rules over life, carrying this vital life force within.
However, it also meats out death and destruction which is apparent in the high toxicity of its venom. As always, energies are neutral, they don’t possess good or evil qualities in themselves. The question is always how these energies are handled and directed and to which purpose. When you delve into the deep mysteries of the Underworld of your own psyche, Cobra is a powerful guide, companion and protector but her path is not an easy one. Be prepared to be challenged. And then some. Things will occur you have not even dreamed about. Keep an open mind and a determined heart. Trust in the wisdom and guidance of your own inner guidance, wisdom and intuition.
Cobra typically appears as a spirit guide with its powerful energies when upheavals requiring strong wisdom take place in the inner as well as the outer world, regardless whether this is on a microcosmic or macrocosmic level and a quick and determined response is required. She will come to you on journeys to the Underworld, your own personal and/or collective subconscious and when moving through different realms and dimensions in shamanic practice, either purposely conducted or subconsciously led. She is also a powerful guide to ally yourself with when working on attaining greater self-esteem and confidence.
She is also a great friend when you struggle with the fear and pain of the loss of something or someone important to you in your life. Cobra helps you to initiate, sustain and accept change in order to move into ever greater alignment with your life purpose and become more versed at using your own innate divine magic (imagination, intent and focus).
Cobra is your staunch supporter in times when life seems without deeper meaning, stagnant and hopeless and you have moved to a point in your life where gaining a better understanding of yourself is crucial. Cobra energies unveil your innate abilities that have thus far lain dormant and not been yet discovered. She also helps you seek and find the truth of a matter.