Transforming the Serpent Ego

by Joshua Tilghman on July 2, 2016

transformed egoIn the last article, part one of this series, we discussed the opening of Genesis chapter 3. We set the stage for how the Bible explains man’s development on the physical plane. We must remember that it is not a literal account, but a spiritual one.

If you remember from the last post, eyes are a symbol for mental perception. When Eve ate the fruit and then gave it to Adam to eat, it is symbolic of the conscious being born and developed fully functioning on the physical plane. Adam and Eve’s eyes being opened mean that mental perception (consciousness) in man came into being. Adam and Eve are not meant to be two separate beings, but one of the mind.

Adam and Eve eating of the fruit further represents the actions and outcomes that are born from the active mind. The ego is now in play. We now have the Biblical version of man’s arrival.

Let’s back up just a bit and discuss the two trees in the midst of the garden. As we have discussed before on this site, the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life are both in the midst of Eden. They are both one and the same tree. This is because they both represent the current of divine life that powers the mind of man. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is symbolic of the trespasses and the vices of experience when spirit incarnates into matter and lives the life of opposites. The Tree of Life is symbolic of the transformation of the mind. Kingsford once stated,

“The Tree of Life signifies also the secret of regeneration, or final transmutation into pure spirit, and the consequent attainment of eternal life, which can come only when all the necessary processes [experiences in matter] have been performed, and the soul—Eve—is once more pure and free, when she becomes Mary.”

Let’s further explain Kingsford’s meaning with another scripture. Adam and Eve are barred forever from the Tree of Life at the end of Genesis chapter 3. The scripture states:

“So he [God] drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life.”

God is the source of our reality and manifestation. No external being barred two physical beings from entering paradise once again. God is the divine current running through both trees in the midst of the garden, and the powerhouse of the human soul. It is primordial consciousness itself. The reason the scriptures states that He placed at the east of the garden the flaming sword is because Adam and Eve, the soul and the mind, cannot become pure until the ego has run the gambit of life and experience and has been transmuted from the lower ego to the higher spiritual ego. Every important Biblical figure must always travel East. East is significant because it is the direction in which the sun rises. The sun is the emblem of the true self, which appears in the soul. Adam and Eve, the mind, must get back into paradise and gain access to the True of Life again by traveling east, which is simply an allegorical interpretation stating that the true self must be born in order to reach paradise. Swords are symbolic of conflict between what is true and false. The sword guarding the way to the Tree of Life is a flaming sword because fire symbolizes divine love on the higher planes of paradise. Adam and Eve [mankind] must develop the spiritual ego to reenter paradise through the process of divine love.

So you see, the entire chapter is giving us the secret to life, the secret to reenter paradise. It is the knowledge of returning to our source. This does not mean that you can attain it overnight, or perhaps not in one or two or three lifetimes. But it is up to us to transform the ego, first through the moral nature and then by the law of love written in our hearts.

Again let’s back up and continue with Genesis chapter 3. After God approaches Adam and Eve about eating the fruit, the scripture states,

“And the Lord God said unto the women, what is this you have done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

Remember in the first part of this series, we spoke of the serpent in the higher and lower aspect. It too is the divine current running through the two trees in the midst of the garden, and in man. God, the serpent, and mankind are forever linked, forever one. Each time the serpent is mentioned in the scripture, he takes on the lower negative aspect only because of man’s fall. But when Moses lifts the serpent up on the pole and man looks to it for healing, it is symbolic of an upward development of this divine current of love towards the spiritual ego.

God curses the serpent which must crawl in the dust. But remember that God also curses man to eat from the dust of the ground. Again, man and the serpent are linked. We’re not talking of a literal snake here. We are talking about the lower ego nature of man. Dust is symbolic of the lower mind which is unstable and blows around like the wind. Adam and Eve’s plight when they are kicked out of the garden is our plight today.

Eve states the serpent beguiled her. Beguiled means to be influenced by slyness. In the first part of this series, we spoke of the serpent as a cognitive intelligence which developed in man. We must be careful of this intelligence. We must not be ruled by our passions and desires to gain access back to the Tree of Life. We must conqueror them. We must conqueror the ego.

It is my belief that we cannot understand with intelligence how God and man are ONE. But we can experience it. God, the very primordial consciousness which birthed the entire universe and our entire experience. God lives as an individual because we are those individuals that also give him life, just as he gives us life. The Bible makes it clear that God works through his people. He does nothing without us. That is because we are ONE. This does mean we are all-powerful and knowing. Of course not. At least not until his son is fully developed in us, and as the New Testament says, we become as He is. But even then it is about love. We do not attain that goal by desiring it. But by laying down the ego for crucifixion, something which I have discovered in life, is a very hard thing to do. My experiences continue to show me that I am not ready to give up the ego. How about you?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

David Gantt July 3, 2016 at 12:20 am

I agree Josh! The ego must be crucified. From my experience, the ego makes a person act like an animal. The negative energy that’s produced cause a person to be poisoned and operate in devil consciousness. I meditate on scriptures like “exercise unto godliness” to exercise Christ like things like love more, go the extra mile, etc. Why??? From the results, peace was shaped in within me and flowed in the atmosphere. God is love and light(energy). As they prepared the way for the LORD, we must prepare to become our higher self from the root to the crown to exercise(renewing mind) unto godliness(wholeness). Peace Love and Light ✌💚☀


Joshua July 4, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Very true, David. Thanks for reading and the comment.


Robert July 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm


It seemed like I was losing the battle of the bulge because I kept indulging in late night TV and munching in order to reduce stress. It is very difficult for me to give up habits that submerge me in a different world far away from cares of this one. But I keep discovering that it takes its toll in the long run on my health and by wasting time and energy from managing things better in this world. But I haven’t given up even though I have given in too much too long. I know what it is like when I am making progress and so I am learning to take time and think about how that feels and how I want to make that a goal. That awareness of wanting to do the right things even though I seem addicted to not doing it, is what keeps me searching for solutions. So I recently discovered that eating a York mint makes me mildly nauseous and ruins my appetite. So I take one when I start to get hungry at night, and it is effective. It is an unusual way of crucifying the ego, but it works. So I think that momentary failure can open the door to new forms of resourcefulness as long as we remain conscious of our status in relation to our goals.


Joshua July 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Robert, I completely agree with you here. Some things in life we can handle this way. Thanks for commenting.


Christine Hoeflich July 3, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Hi Josh, I really like this article. The deeper meanings (God, Eve, the tree of life) really make sense. The only thing is, (and I think this is the one area where we might have a difference of opinion) if we place our attention on crucifying the ego, we get more of the ego being crucified. I actually had more success with putting my attention on strengthening the relationship with my higher self. There are things we can do for that. They’re not always easy (yes, the ego does come in and can get afraid), but as you take baby step by baby step you learn to TRUST in that higher self. And this makes all the difference. You know, I knew I had an ego. But I wanted to strengthen that connection with my higher self–not to focus on crucifying my ego. I actually don’t know what that means. I mean, this whole earth experiment is one of “crucifixion,” and it’s related to the wobble in the earth axis vs. the galactic equator. But it’s for our ultimate good and the good of the Universe.

Anyway, I’ve got a great article on using your inner power (connection with your higher self, the source of your intuition) to help keep one’s children and self safe (seeing that it’s the 4th of July weekend) that I posted this morning on my blog. Please check it out.




anny July 4, 2016 at 1:54 am

Hi Christine,

Do not take the term ‘crucifying your ego’ too literally. Then you make it into some horrific process which it does not necessarily have to be.

In Hebrew the word cross is ‘tselav’, 90-30-2, (Hebrew letters are also numbers). You can read this as ‘tsel-2′, which means shadow of duality or life in this world of duality. However you can also read it as ’90-lev’, which means birth (after a process) of the heart’. This process of living your life in the world of duality leads in the end to the birth of your heart, to the victory of love. So crucifying your ego means living your way in this world in a way that leads to Love becoming your guiding principle instead of the ego.

Strengthening your connection to your higher self is your way of doing that. But not everybody is the same and everyone should use the way (and the term) that suits him or her best. And of course you can also look at it the other way around, what Josh calls crucifying your ego – and I have followed his example – is our way of strengthening our connection to our higher self, his not necessarily being the same as mine.

I read your newest article last night and will come back to it. I liked it.




Joshua July 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Christine, I look forward to reading your article as well. I have found a lot of great insight on your blog. I understand what you are saying by crucifying the ego, but I do not mean that it is something we have to fight. The key lies in letting go.

Thanks again.


Tony July 3, 2016 at 9:03 pm

Hi Josh,
Another great article/perspective. Thank you.

Agree on the experiential of God through christ consciousness which is the experience of unity. The realisation that everything is One. Our separation, through the ego being the illusion.

Your comment, “We must not be ruled by our passions and desires to gain access back to the Tree of Life. We must conqueror them. We must conqueror the ego,” has struck a chord though. My current experiences have lead me to a different opinion.

While I have battled with my ego and gone back to meditation, yoga, nature etc. I now look at the ego in a different light perhaps similar to Christine’s view (previous comment) in that the focus on conquering the ego tends to strengthen it. So practicing taking a step back to look at my current state of consciousness has allowed me to look at my ego as my ally. My sidekick that has been and always will be with me until I no longer have a need for it.

For now though, observing the ego has lead me to look at what life lesson I need to focus on in order to dissolve rather than conquer, the ego. The fact that I have a strong ego response, what Eckart Tolle calls the pain body, in certain circumstances, has allowed me to look at what I need to realise and accept in order to take the next step in my experiencing of unity/love.

Life keeps throwing opportunities for growth and expansion through experience at our feet. Things didn’t go so well earlier? Not quite ready to deal with it then? Here is another opportunity for you. Different time, place and people but the ego has the same response. The ego is giving us a sign, an opportunity to learn and grow to realise the truth of our unity. How could I not view my ego as my ally?

The turmoil our ego creates is one of those signs that our christ consciousness is asleep. So as the ship/boat (body) is tossed and driven by the angry sea (emotion/pain body), it is giving us a sign, an opportunity to look at why we have forgotten our unity. Isn’t this where christ wakes up from his slumber in the boat and calms the waters?

Like yourself I am not ready to give up the ego. I don’t think we have a choice in that. The ego does what the ego does. Being aware of it though I believe helps us dissolve its affect on us as we grow and no longer need that aspect of it. Then maybe we are ready to face another aspect of our ego.

Thank you again.


Joshua Tilghman July 4, 2016 at 12:55 pm


An interesting perspective and I think we both agree. Sometimes the language we use can be confusing. The practice of observation is a wonderful tool that allows us to see the true self which is beyond the ego.

I also like how you state sometimes we are not ready to deal with one aspect of it so life presents another, possibly even from another angle.

Thank you for your comments. And thanks for reading.


Merri Rose Fink October 12, 2016 at 11:03 pm

I feel that Tony is outlining a method that will lead to the holy grail, here. One that i too have naturally evolved into as my primary ego overcoming process as well. I feel that when Christ said “i have overcome the world” he meant he had become stronger than the worlds ability to trigger his ego… Or his worldly ego had been mastered by his true consciousness, which is that eye of perception (Tilghman) or awareness (Tony) mentioned above. When we watch for when we are triggered into feeling anything but peace (that passeth understanding) and triggered into feelings of aversion or attraction, we are being shown the way, or what parts of ourselves are needing that divinely perscribed elixer of love and forgiveness. That is where the work of loving our “painbody” or fearful ego aspects comes in. That is where we know we need to drop in and look our lies in the face. That is where Christ befriends Lucifer within to bring him back to the truth. I believe we will be stuck here until we see through all of the lies our egos are holding us hostage from peace with.
Another idea i would like to propose is that maybe eating the apple was symbolically related to taking on the discriminatory mind (ego?) with its judgements and preferences tainting the perception of unity and thus catapulting one into separation. In this case the return to union would seemingly entail an emptying of the mind of views altogether… Maybe Christ is found in the combo of an empty mind with a flowering heart. Thank you for a great blog!


Joshua Tilghman January 4, 2017 at 11:09 pm

Thank you Meri Rose. Great comments and ideas here!


anny July 4, 2016 at 2:34 am

Hi Josh,

I like your article and will get back to its contents later but for now I want to call your attention to a mistake in language, which is not yours however but in the KJV of the bible itself.

You quote: ““So he [God] drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life.”

It concerns the word ‘Cherubims’, which surprised me very much and I immediately went to check it for myself. It surprised me to see this in the bible but it also explained a curious mistake that I had noticed more than one person had made and continued to make even after I had drawn their attention to it (on another blog).

Cherubim is a plural form in itself, and should never be used for one Cherub, as I saw done repeatedly. But in this text the Hebrew plural form gets an additional English plural form in the form of an s. This of course gave rise to several persons considering Cherubim to be a singular grammatical form. The singular however is Cherub.

So if you (the proverbial one) want to use the Hebrew word as an English one and in plural, you should write Cherubs.

Now I do understand why people who do not know Hebrew used Cherubim as a singular form but for the life of me I do not understand why the translators of the KJV could use a word like Cherubims as they must surely have known Hebrew in order to be able to translate the Hebrew text!



Joshua Tilghman July 4, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Very interesting, Anny. It is so easy to make these mistakes. You might find this interesting. According to Gaskell the Cherubim are symbolic of transcendental keepers of the higher plane: Divine laws applicable to the higher nature by not lower nature. This is why they guard the way to the tree of life.


anny July 5, 2016 at 3:33 am

Hi Josh,

I know how easy it is to make mistakes. I am a master in that subject. However, this is not just a mistake like a typing error that has gone unnoticed in a mail or a comment. This is something basic that would be noticed immediately by experts and with a bible translation that has to last for centuries it must have been checked and rechecked many times and by more person than one before being printed.

What you write about the Cherubim is very interesting. I never really heard any explanation about them yet.


Joseph Lynchard July 4, 2016 at 6:33 am

This kind of says it all! You are right on the money.


Joshua Tilghman July 4, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Thanks for the link, Joseph.


Robert July 5, 2016 at 9:23 am

I think what might be worth considering concerning “crucifying the ego” is this perspective. There is a mixture of scripture advising us in one sense to “carry our cross” and in another sense “to let go of our burdens”. So we should strive for perfection, but also accept our present failings, trusting in the process and promise of divine redemption to reconcile all things. We could not learn to to this without experiencing failures.

Apostle Paul tells us “run the race with endurance” and to “crucify the flesh”. Jesus sweats blood and tears to submit to God’s will and not his own. But he also says “let not your heart be troubled….I have prepared a place for you”. Paul tells us not to “look back” at our past mistakes and misfortunes, but to “press on” to win the prize. There is a combination of struggling against sin but also accepting peace in trusting the divine, becoming strengthened and illumined through that process of acceptance. The prophet Hosea promises “I will give her (Israel) … the valley of Achor (trouble) for a door of hope.

A modern author, John Maxwell, wrote a book about how to be successful. It was entitled “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success”. This is also the spirit of the scriptures, from Adam onward, – “failing forward” .


Joshua Tilghman July 6, 2016 at 9:51 am


Once again, you have brought a good balance into the conversation. Your first paragraph says it all. We have to have the faith that all will work out for the good. And yes, sometimes bearing the cross is sort of work. We have to deny certain aspects of ourselves. Thanks for the comment.


Walker July 5, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Hi Josh,

Thanks very much for this article. About a week ago when I was meditating something really happened, something very powerful which I still don’t understand.

Whiles meditating with my eyes closed, I felt something very strong which suddenly entered into my body and even with my eyes closed, I could see a white powerful light which made me feel like am not going to be able to see again when I open my eyes. I tried to hold onto the meditation but it was so scary so I decided to give it up which I did but was still afraid to open my eyes because that white light was all over my eyes and it was like am never going to see again.

I opened up and was able to see, but the problem is that I cant sleep for 20 minutes without seeing this white light in my dream. It’s happening all the time I fall asleep.

And please is it true that awakening the soul and giving up on the body are the same?

I was so scared of this idea.


anny July 7, 2016 at 12:29 am

Hi Walker,

I do not believe at all that the awakening of the soul means giving up on the body. I never even heard of that idea. What I learned is that our physical body is awakening as well. It is changing from a carbon-based body to a crystal-based one if I remember correctly and instead of having only two active DNA strands there will finally be twelve strands active. That is the awakening of the so-called junk DNA, I guess. So there is no need to be scared on this account.


Alvin Davis July 6, 2016 at 9:18 am

Good read as always!
Jesus helped us understand this story a little better with the prodigal son story in LUKE.
Also I think it’s best to dispel the ego/darkness with Light not fight/crucify it.


Joshua Tilghman July 6, 2016 at 9:52 am


The Prodigal Son is filled with so much meaning and symbolism to teach us this. One of my favorite parables. Thanks for commenting.


Trent July 7, 2016 at 8:36 pm

We are tried by the fire of affliction and pain proceeds spiritual. Christ was the man of sorrows acquainted with grief. He wills us to pick up our cross and follow Him. It hurts during the death of our ego. When I’m hurting there is growth in it.

We are all going to do something… My suggestion is – do what you don’t want to do. That’s probably closer to Gods will.


joselito desquitado January 14, 2017 at 5:58 am

wow , i’m new on this site but after 2 days i learned a lot on your site. so enlightened.


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