The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by CosmicSerpent, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. "The Cosmic Serpent" is a book written by an anthropologist named Jeremy Narby. It's one of my favorite books obviously because it inspired my user name. Whether you believe in science, the supernatural, or a combination of both, this book should be an interesting read.

    Narby is an anthropologist studying the culture of the Asháninka, the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon. The Asháninka are known to have an extensive knowledge of alternative medicine. They can identify and medicinally use thousands of the plant species native to the Amazon. Much of this knowledge has been accepted by modern science and used in Western medicine, but much of it has also remained undiscovered by the outside world.

    Narby focuses mainly on shamanism, one of the oldest religious practices in existence. The shamans function as the doctors as well as religious leaders of these people, and have an extensive knowledge of botanical medicine. So he follows a shaman for a few weeks, constantly trying to learn about his function in society. Narby found that the shamans rely heavily on a psychoactive substance called ayahuasca. They claim to receive all of their medicinal knowledge through spiritual experiences with ayahuasca.

    Narby is very skeptical of this at first. He finds it impossible that this extensive knowledge came from a mild-altering substance and therefore, must have come from other methods. He decides to learn as much as he can about shamanism, ayahuasca, and the spiritual beliefs of these people, and eventually ingests ayahuasca himself. While under the influence of the drug, he has visions of a snake talking to him, as well as several other spiritual experiences. The shaman tells him that everyone who drinks ayahuasca sees this snake, and it is the source of their knowledge.

    During his research, Narby makes a number of startling observations. For one, the composition of ayahuasca itself... The active ingredient in the mixture is DMT, which the Asháninka get from a vine native to the Amazon. However, in order for the DMT to be activated and actually work, the brew must contain an enzyme from a separate plant also found in the Amazon. This enzyme makes it possible for the stomach to digest the DMT and produce psychoactive effects, otherwise the brew is useless. This specific mixture must be crushed and boiled for several days in order for the substance to work right. Narby takes note of this and wonders how the Asháninka were able to invent this exact mixture out of the hundreds of thousands of plants native to the Amazon, and also know to boil it for so long. The likelihood of this exact mixture coming into existence by random selection and experimentation would be almost impossible, just like the rest of the Asháninka's medicinal knowledge.

    Through his research, Narby proposes that the Asháninka shamans were, in fact, receiving information from their spiritual experiences. He decides to investigate the matter of the snake he saw during his ayahuasca experience. He discovers that in nearly all of the world's indigenous cultures, there is the presence of this spiritual snake, or cosmic serpent... even in cultures who have never been exposed to a real snake. He goes on to investigate whether or not these serpents may be representative of DNA itself, the double helix. He also investigates whether DNA is the source of this vast medicinal knowledge attained by the Asháninka. There is some pretty incredible evidence to support this as a real possibility.

    Anyway, read the book for yourself and decide what you think. Has anyone else already read it? Although the book doesn't deal with the afterlife or the soul directly, it does suggest that there is some higher power influencing our universe in very strange ways. It investigates a very valid connection between molecular biology and human spirituality. Here's some additional information that can explain things better than I can:
  2. Too bad it's not science.

  4. I now have no faith in skeptics,I'm really starting to think they are either insane or can't except that there is a cosmic meaning for our existence.I believe ayachusca raises your vibration's to those of the fifth dimensional frequency,and yes there's aliens that lie in that dimension,some call them angels but there freaking aliens.

    I could get into the whole anunaki thing but I'll probally get debunked...oh well...

    Drink the potion people i KNOW i PLAN ON DOING SO......Good vibes~B
  5. It's much easier to validate your own personal convictions if you don't believe in scientific skepticism.

    Although, I wouldn't much call it reality.

    Because they don't agree with you?

    There is meaning behind our existence? If you have proof of this, please share it with the rest of the human race.

    Evidence please!

    String theory is totally unproven, and even lacks a testable hypothesis, by the way.

    I think it's more likely that it invokes a strong psychotropic reaction

    Give me that proof.

    You will, because it's a unproven and unsubstantiated claim based in fallacious logic and bad science.

    I bet you will.
  6. This is why we must start teaching logic starting in elementary school. Ill go ahead and be the asshole who says it... No one cares about your opinion. If you can not justify it then don't say it. Give us something to take you seriously, maybe a premise1, premise2, conclusion type argument. Even try it with some faulty premises, try any attempt at a logical argument even if you are wrong. Believing in something that is unproven doesn't make it real, it makes you delusional.

    Back to the point of the thread... What is the authors basic conclusion? Is it that knowledge of medicinal plants, along with other info, is programmed into our dna and revealed through a snake like deity which is a representative of our dna? That is quite a claim. It is interesting to ponder but I wouldn't invest much belief into it without some strong objective evidence. Sounds like a cool book to read as long as you understand it in the proper framework.
  7. No one said it was... maybe I should have said it would be an interesting read if you were willing to entertain a thought without necessarily accepting it.

    If anything, the book uses philosophy more than science. But I think before anyone jumps to conclusions, they should read it first. Narby isn't trying to prove anything from a scientific standpoint, he's simply exploring a possibility using very basic logic. And science or not, he makes some very convincing arguments.
  8. I don't remember all of the details... but I think Narby explored this very problem in the book. I think they claim to have received the knowledge from other spiritual experiences that weren't drug-induced.

    You'd be surprised how prevalent they really are... again Narby explores this in his book and lists countless examples of the serpent in many different cultures.

    Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the book with me, and it's been a little while since I read it so I'm a little foggy on all the details. There is a legitimate basis for the connection though, and he spends a lot of time on this. I think this is discussed in some of the links I posted originally.

    But anyway, I highly recommend reading the book. I could go on and on explaining the details, but I don't have the time and they're better expressed in the book anyway.
  9. Cool recommend, I will read that later, it sounds interesting

    I also find interesting the discounting of any level of information that science has not produced a gauge to measure. All science is created from inspiration, not the other way around, a hypothesis can be wrong, but until it is explored, who would know? Anthropology has a human element that always throws curveballs at the normal labrotory approach.

    Lack of a measurement device is not proof of the absence of a phenomena, except to a closed minded skeptic. Metaphysics confounds the scientific point of view, because it is only really understood by experiencing first hand. I have had some pretty informative peyote experiences, but I can't prove it to a scientist, because by the time an investigation begins, it's over.

    Sometimes you have to use your imagination as well as your databank.
  10. Sounds like a snoozer.

    It's like reading on string theory; interesting, but pointless.

    Thanks for the suggestion though.
  11. Wow way to be real scientific about your rebutal.We all know of the string theory is real and not psedosicnce,so why even try to pass me off as some nut.

    Second why would'nt there be other entities living beside us I mean were living alongside microrganism,what you feel too small now knowing your just a speck in the cosmic pool of life.

    Assholes make you do research,I'll be back don't think I won't....
  12. When you can prove that drugs bring you into a fifth dimension in which you meet aliens then feel free to enlighten me and the entire scientific and logical community.
  13. You're right, but you're using it as pseudoscience, as Shasta pointed out.

    But you must also realize that string-theory is far from a recognized and confirmed hypothesis.

    It's not even a testable hypothesis right now.
  14. ok....
    I found that pretty funny, i don't know about the rest of you :p

    one thought, science has proven the existence of things we hadn't observed before. The hypothesized location of Neptune was calculated using standard physics models before it was found. The math pointed to the necessity of a physical body and there it was when we looked. That means that science is a viable avenue of exploring fringe issues. It works, given enough time. so if there are things that should be as observable if they are held to be true, the methods of science will find the phenomenon. Don't bash the scientific method just because you don't understand it or are willing to wait for an answer, it has produced everything else you enjoy today. Its not because skeptics are afraid of realizing something profound and a divine plan, aliens, whatever. our feelings don't really come into play, our allegiance is to the thought process, not the results it produces. Instead of jumping to a conclusion, we'd rather test it making sure its true before we put stock into it.

    i agree wholeheartedly, shasta, that we need classical logic training in elementary schools. There are so many people who call themselves open minded not because they are willing to challenge all ideas but because they drift towards those held to be true by counter-authority. Now i agree that there is a lot of esoteric true knowledge that just isn't being spread due to mainstream interests taking all the bandwidth so to say, but a lot of these can also debunked fully or cast a healthy amount of doubt onto it using the tools of logic and debate that has been known to mankind for thousands of years. its something that while not ubiquitous with human civilization, has been almost lost completely since the 20th sensationalist and subjective nature of fact delivery. Using logic correctly would save us so much time because we'd be able to cast out intellectual ghosts instead of them lingering around.

    dunno, i'll read it if i remember it. you see i love the mystical because i find life so boring, so predictable. I'm always in some alternate reality, but I don't let my wishes distract me from recognizing what can be held as empirical truth.
    hmmm.... my scientific american is late :(
  15. What PE said...

    But also:
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=6 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=alt2 style="BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset">MELT I would question the existence of a serpent in all cultures. If I was to search I could find references to them in a good many cultures, but not necessarily as central characters in a spiritual context. I can think of a good many where there's a tale or two about snakes and serpents, but only a handful where it's a deep spiritual symbol. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>QUOTE : You'd be surprised how prevalent they really are... again Narby explores this in his book and lists countless examples of the serpent in many different cultures.>>>

    I've studied ancient belief systems and cultures for 40 years. I would humbly suggest that Narby's links are tenuous at best. They are far, far from prevalent. I can think of at least 20 important, long-lived cultures who didn't mention snakes or serpents at all. To link any of it to DNA is sensationalism, intended to sell books.

  16. You think so?... At the last company I worked for the guy started the company after a vision he had from smoking reefer. This vision opened up his mind, and then shortly there after he invented a completely revolutionary device, that is still in use 10 year later, by NASA and medical scientists.

    But back to the Cosmic Serpent, I was reading earlier that the original symbol for Christianity was a snake around a T like cross.

    If you have ever heard of gematria, it is a system that is used to try and decipher codes in the bible. In numbers 21, Moses lifts up a serpent on a brass pole, so that all that look upon the serpent (NChSh) would live.

    gematria, is a system where you take the hebrew spelling of the word, and you convert it to it's numerical equivilent, so that NChSh becomes 358. If you then use the same system to convert the term Massiah, you also get 358.

    Obviously at first you could say that this is a coincidence, however Jesus himself makes reference to this relationship in John 3:14-15

    "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

    As you can see here, the bronze cross relates to the balanancing of your mind; once you have balanced your mind then the spirit is born into you.

    I have personally experienced this, and for me I saw a eye looking at me (which is related to the penal gland apparently). However, once this has happened you become a new person, because christ, or the serpent, or your spirit is born inside of you; and almost instantly everything becomes clear to you, like a fountain of knowledge just opens up and you no longer need to question things anymore, you just know. Actually the first month that this happenend I could hear peoples thoughts; it happened a few times when somebody thought something, and I didn't realize that they didn't say it out loud and I just answered them as if it was out loud... It freaked them out.

  17. Good thread, nice not to be talking about religion for a change. I really am not pointing the following at you, you can only go by the information you find. The above comes from one main source -, and it's not accurate at all. I began going through it and found it so full of wrong information that my response would have been pages long. What you've posted is essentially Gnosticism, (actually, really one writer's interpretation of it), which misrepresents every culture it talks about in an attempt to find some continuity, which isn't there.

    "...Grasping the branch of a Tree (the Tree of Life within, the Being) she gave birth to the Buddha Shakyamuni (the “Golden Child”) through the grace of the Holy Spirit...."

    Shakyamuni doesn't mean 'the golden child' (Shakyamuni means 'sage of the Sakya tribe') and he was never called that in his lifetime, it's a modern term, taken from the movie of the same name and adopted by western writers as meaning a Buddha. Also, We don't believe in the Holy spirit, and in the real story of Buddha's birth it makes no mention of a tree in the context as above: Buddha's mother, Maya Devi, felt labour pains whilst under the tree and grasped a branch to steady herself. There's no mention of the tree being the Tree of Life or the Being at all. And I have to say that a lot of the information above is equally distorted.

    As for the seven steps that Buddha took on birth:

    The seven steps reflect the triumphant creation of the seven serpents (i.e. the seven days of creation in Genesis) and subsequent mastery over nature, the second birth, the standing man. Shakyamuni incarnated his Being (Chesed) and thus transcended the Wheel of Samsara and the Law of Return. Within this symbol is the key to understanding the septenary nature of the real man revealed by Samael Aun Weor upon quoting the Buddha: “Listen to me properly, for in each human Buddha there are seven Buddhas!”

    The above has no bearing whatsoever on Buddhism. Nowhere in our texts will you find the idea that the steps Buddha took reflect creation, serpents, the second birth, etc. The Weor quote is not from Buddha at all. Weor is a gnostic writer, attempting to fuse christianity with budddhism and the kabbalah with his own theories. He's in fact not even representative of Gnosticism because of this. The text you quote is from one of his own writings, not Buddhism. Throughout the whole 50 pages of this text he talks about 'Christic visions', wrong rituals, and many, many other things that are not a part of Buddhism at all.

    We have seven Nagas (serpents) in some legends, but the term can equally mean elephants, the Naga tribe, the entities sacrificed to the Garuda, etc. Nowhere in Buddhism are they regarded as cosmic serpents by any stretch of the imagination. In Hinduism they bring rain, floods and drought, they're not regarded as deities, or representative of anything like the above.

    As for the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was a weather god, sometimes referenced to Venus. Some scholars think that he was their major deity, others see it as a part of the pantheon. This is the ONLY culture that gives the snake the context mentioned above. The author is attempting a weight of evidence argument, that the snake as a cosmic diety is prevalent in many religions and cultures, when that isn't true at all. You've got just two examples above, I can think of about another 3 if I ignore the fact that the snake wasn't a cosmic deity within them. But suppose we have say 10 (which there aren't), for every one of that ten I can list 100 cultures and religions where the snake is not regarded as anything at all. In fact, to be honest I can think of hundreds. So the idea that it's a prevalent symbol isn't true either.

    As for Ayahuasca commonly giving users a vision of a talking snake: this is part of an Incan legend. If you check through all of the reported experiences with Ayahuasca (there are many online) you're going to be very hard pushed to find anyone even talking about snakes, so it isn't a common theme of the drug.

    I could go on and on, but I'm sure it would be a tedious read. The above has put me off even reading the book mentioned now if this is the kind of tenuous links it needs. As I said, not your fault, but theosophy and modern gnosticism isn't the place to find accurate information on world cultures - or cosmic serpents.:)

  18. I find that the people who are the most lost, are the ones that 'know' the most. MeLT likely knows more about Buddhism than anybody else on this forum, but for all his knowledge he isn't able to see the similarities between his faith, and other faiths.

    It reminds me of the story when Jesus said to the disciples that they would have to be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven; stop holding on so tightly to your dogma and maybe you'll start to see things with new eyes.

    I could have easily ensured that everything I posted above lined up with the accepted views, however when I read it, it struck a cord, and I knew that it would point people down the right path.
  19. it may not be science, or scientific research by a scientist, but it is extremely interesting and i now plan to read it. thankyou for informing us all about such a cool sounding book.
  20. :) Buddhism isn't a faith or religion, but a way of living. Loosely speaking, it's a philosophy. It has no dogma, and in fact teaches not to believe anything said about it - particularly by its teachers and Buddha himself - but to find out for yourself. If there was any kind of dogma in it I wouldn't be a Buddhist.

    That I disagree wtih the comments on the above about Buddhism has nothing to do with not being open-minded, but making certain that the facts (not opinions or theories) about Buddhism aren't misrepresented. You aren't pointing anyone down the right path if most of the facts you relate are wrong - and it's disingenuous to say that you are. Right path means truth, this isn't.

    If you can find that Buddha did make the above quote and in this context, or that the Buddha's mother/Buddhists did think of the tree she supported herself on as being the Tree of Life, then you have an argument. The facts are wrong regarding Buddhism and in lots of other details, showing that the whole piece is nothing more than a set of ideas someone is trying to turn into a saleable theory.

    If you are as open-minded as you hope others to be, then when someone points out these many discrepancies you should welcome them with open arms. If you don't, your own dogma lies within accepting the above and thinking those who don't buy into it are closed minded.

    If this theory is to be believed then it has to begin with at least a modicum of truth. It doesn't.


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