Nature Can Overcome Nature

Titus Burckhardt

The use of a serpent or dragon as the image of a cosmic power is to be found in all parts of the world. It is especially characteristic of those traditional arts, such as alchemy, which are concerned with the subtle world. A reptile moves without legs and by means of an uninterrupted rhythm of its body, so that it is the incorporation, so to say, of a subtle oscillation. Furthermore, its essence is both fiery and cold, conscious and elemental. The resemblance in question is so real that most, if not all, traditional cultures have regarded serpents as the occasional carriers of subtle or psychic powers.

Click here to view the PDF.

From the book Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul, republished in 2003 as a chapter of The Essential Titus Burckhardt: Reflections on Sacred Art, Faiths, and Civilizations, edited by William Stoddart. Republished here with thanks.