A quality that makes up one of the elements of the Caduceus. In essence, this word is code for ‘life’, transformation, creativity, and femininity.
Life, as we know it, manifests from the first Principle–the staff. In life, plasticity, adaptability, and new emergent qualities evolve from the Essence within, the First principle. In a human being the central axis may become a primary, unbending, unyielding, rigid, and fundamental principle (Fundamentalism) but when we bring life towards us, and allow life to flow from us, encapsulating and embodying the feminine principle, her life-enhancing properties alter the core rigidity. The staff at its most esoteric implication implies the Implicate Reality, the Absolute, around which, as an axis, manifests what is created, the Explicate, and this is what evolves. This is symbolic of an emanation model; that infers that life is both ascendent and descendent; dual. In our lives, we can climb and fall. Our inner life can ascend, whilst our outer life fails; conversely, we can collect outer material wealth, fame, and things but our inner life can fail.
This statement above is illustrated by the ascending and ascending vortices or spirals illustrating that life can involute, collapse, and atrophy and also that we climb, ascend, and grow. Bear in mind that the physical (matter) and the electromagnetic realm and light have a geometric series of shapes whereby matter is a constant flux between a sphere and a cube, the electromagnetic field manifests as a spiral and a photon as a torus, (Shapes are shapes regardless of whether they are small or large.)
The snake is used as an archetypal symbol as its nature evokes all sorts of primitive feelings; fear, awe, and caution. It is of course prominent in Judeo-Christian thought as Satan or the Foe, the whisperer, Iblis, in Islamic Theology.
We use the non-reactive word flexibility to carry many other words that would act as a sub-text of meaning. A way of visualizing this word is to conjure up a spiral; both centripetal and centrifugal. The spiral moves and can elevate or descend depending on its spin. It has a central axis around which it moves, and this is central to the symbolic representation of the integral axis (the staff) of the caduceus. This keeps the spiral from spinning off or careering off on its own path. The spiral has both vertical and horizontal dimensions; and so illustrates a dynamic movement that is three-dimensional: flat (horizontal expansion), emergent (horizontal and vertical), or descendent (horizontal and gravity). It can be mathematically seen, for example, as the golden mean 1.618 (phi), and infers a mathematical certainty under which (much of) nature unfolds.
The spiral in nature
Our use of the word flexibility illustrates life and nature (seen as the manifestation of the feminine principle–that which is created), and also the idea of transformation. The snake of lore harbors several deep and significant characteristics, which help us to use this symbol. It is of the earth, reptilian (primitive), living its life either in dormancy or action, and can be dangerous and unpredictable (death), and yet can heal (snake venom as medicine). It is associated with seduction in the Jewish Torah and Christian readings of the Old Testament. Its form is lithesome, rhythmic, undulating, captivating, and alluring. It can seduce, strangle, tie up, lure, poison.
Flexibility has also connotations of adaptability, plasticity, spring, and elongation. Because of its nature being wave-like, we can take the metaphor and think of waveforms, rhythms, particles, and flow. At an analogous level, we can also extend the metaphor and think of neurotransmitters, chemical pathways, hormonal pathways, and receptor sites.
In terms of historical modeling, we see this snake (of the caduceus) encapsulating dragons (as the prehistoric nuance of addiction – dragon rising, to scorch the earth), Lillith (the archetypal dark feminine), the kundalini (rising reversed fluid drive into the ventricles of the brain), the autonomic nervous system and descending cranial cerebral-spinal flow.
The snake can be used as an archetypal form and is often characterized either as a pair of snakes–conjuring up the ebb and flow of the tides, duality, pairs, the binary nature of life: on and off, yin and yang, male and female, right and left brains, heaven and earth. At a spiritual or inner understanding the single snake is a portrayal of a singular inner rhythm (the ‘pulse’ of the union with the central Oneness of All) or when paired, illustrates a binary multidimensional life.
The following articles relate to the journey: