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Edward Bruce Bynum, Ph.D., ABPP

Director of Behavioral Medicine/CCPH

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The dark magic of the human brain is being revealed more and more each year by medicine, neuroscience and the increasingly complex scientific instruments we have devised to explore it. And yet sometimes we forget that long ago our ancestors in the temples and per ankhs or ‘houses of life’ in Kemet and india discovered forces within us that only now have modern science begun to unravel and understand. As the classical scientists knew within each of us sleeps the potential to activate a personal connection not merely to that unconscious level of the mind rediscovered and explored by Freud, Jung and the others of the early 20th century Europe, but to what appears to be the supramental or Superconscious realm of the mind, long the province of mystics, gifted individuals in moments of artistic and scientific inspiration and in personal episodes of profound illumination.

It was called “Ureaus” by the ancient Kemetic Egyptians and “Kundalini” in the Hindu yoga traditions, with other traditions from the world’s diverse cultures having their own name for it. It appears to be an innate bioluminous evolutionary impulse or power for spiritual transcendence, often simply called the ‘serpent power’. Psychological science in our own day is coming to see that is the intelligent, conscious and still unfolding force of evolution in our species. It is called ‘serpentine’ in the traditions because of its clinical motion at times and its shape and association with the shape and contour of the human spine up from the spine into the brainstem and brain core.

The Kemetic Egyptians in the academies and per ankhs or ‘houses of life’ where medicine and psychospiritual experimentation and experience was conducted it was represented it as twin serpents in alternating curves and balance , coiling themselves seven times around the spinal line until meeting in the crown where they spawned wings and took flight, i.e., spiritual flight. It was seen as a sign of awakened consciousness in the double serpents or urai of the pharaoh’s royal crown, a crown that flowed out of the light sensitive pineal gland situated in the mid center of the brain. It was the focus of psychological training and progression in the mystery schools for years, moving from neophyte all the way to the “sons of light”. Much later this would find representation in the image of the staff of Hermes with its serpent coiled again seven times around the column until similarly taking spiritual flight. It is still the predominant medical symbol used today. So when we visit a physician’s office we are implicitly paying homage to this tradition.

The contemplative traditions of the pyramids and deserts as well as the classical meditative disciplines across the earth have studied this phenomenon for millennia. The testimony of practitioners is that when awakened by various disciplines and means this biogenetic force is perceived as unfurling along the spinal column up into the brain, opening and connecting our individual consciousness with the wider consciousness of the universe enfolded within the dark matter and energy of the universe. This has been the observation and testimony of the greatest heroes of our species across the Ages. At the root of creativity and spiritual genius across innumerable cultures and civilizations, this intelligent force appears to create portals that literally enfold time, space and the luminous matrix of reality itself.

Once this biogenetic process is released it begins to unfold a series of experiences or ‘planes’ of awareness only dimly intuited at our normative level of consciousness. It moves up through what the Kemetic Egyptians termed the Amenta or Primeveal Waters of NUN, what we term today as the unconscious mind with its drives, primordial fears and awes and dynamisms from what appears to be midbrain limbic structures developed during the era of our Australopithecine progenitors millions of years ago. It then moves up to and through the most sublime of emotions and conceptions before eventually transcending even ideation itself in a current of bliss and the seamless apprehension of a boundless and radiant intelligence that appears to pervade all of existence.

Drawing from research in quantum and relativistic physics, neuroscience, and biochemistry, as well as the latest findings from the emerging field of neurotheology, along with the ancient traditions from Africa and India, this new research in the dark and paradoxically light infused force and phenomena is called DARK LIGHT CONSCIOUSNESS. It explores the ancient Egyptian science of the Ureaus, revealing in clinical terms and detail how it is intimately connected to the living dark matter of neuromelanin .

Neuromelanin is that light-sensitive, energy conductive biopolymer and neural phenomena found in progressive amounts within the spinal line, brain stem, critical brain core areas and on the brain’s surface and indeed in the nervous system of all the higher life-forms on our planet. Critically it is found in the inner spinal column itself as well as the four cavities of the ventricular system. In the deep cerebral hemispheres of humans are masses of nuclei or centers of this gray matter called basal ganglia(caudate nucleus, putamen, globus pallidus, claustrum, amygdala, subthalamic nucleus, substantia nigra, ect) that contain this neuromelanin. The basal ganglia are the clusters of nerve cells surrounding the thalamus. They are responsible for initiating, detecting and integrating gross and subtle movements. Parkinson’s disease, which leads to tremors, rigidity and a stiff, shuffling gait, is a disease of the nerve cells that lead into the basal ganglia. Research cited in DARK LIGHT CONSCIOUSNESS suggests how these subtle sensors may be partially responsible for detecting more subtle movements within the wider environment, including “forces” and geodynamic phenomena within the earth itself, something alluded to in the ancient Memphite Theology of Kemet.

So all of this is not confuse simple surface skin melanin, which is variable from group to group, even varying greatly from person to person within the same family, with this more neurologically rooted neuromelanin, which is found in all humans regardless of surface differentiation. In fact what is most significant is that the degree and intensity of neuromelanin directly and proportionally increases in amount as we progress up the evolutionary line from simple mammals to more complex ones to the primates, to the great apes and finally reaching its zenith in man . This neuromelanin is the so called ‘gray matter’ of the brain that is light sensitive despite being under the surface of the skull away from the sun. Neuromelanin manifests an increasing capacity to absorb and transduce waves of light itself into more complex forms, e.g., light, heat, vibration etc.. The research demonstrates how this ‘dark light’ of neuromelanin appears to serve as the biochemical infrastructure or morphic template of what the introspective and spiritual traditions refer to as the ‘subtle body’ or ‘light body’. It is crucial to the interface between the dense local body we see and feel and the more subtle energetic body we sense and radiate. It is the backdrop of our existence, felt but unseen, just as ‘cold dark matter ‘, together with gravity, forms the infrastructure of the cosmos holding together the galaxies and constellations. The classical disciplines of psychology and contemplation teach us to safely awaken and stabilize this biogenetic and biospiritual energy of the Ureaus through meditation practices, breathing exercises, as well as other disciplines, in order to prepare the subtle body for more expansive and illuminative experiences. This is the whole tradition of the ‘mystery schools’.

In the last two decades research in the emerging field of neurotheology or what brain research reveals about the spiritual process has shed considerable light on the interrelationship between consciousness, neuroscience, biology, medicine and the biological roots of spiritual experience. In books like Newberg, MD, D’Aquili, MD, and Rause’s Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain and The Biology of Belief and Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D., The Transmitter To God: The limbic System, The Soul and Spirituality as well as innumerable popularized books by the quantum physicists suggesting that consciousness itself in a fundamental way pervades the universe ,e.g., Kafatos and Nadeau’s The Conscious Universe and Amit Goswami’s The Self-Aware Universe, to name only a few, indicates that there is a real and primordial connection between these realms of human exploration. The disciplines of the Ureaus and Kundalini provide the modern science of psychology and psychiatry with explicit maps and empirically based methodologies for the exploration of these experiences. Modern psychology, particularly humanistic and transpersonal psychology, owe a debt to the classical scholars of Kemetic Egypt and India and are finally doing their part in this rediscovery of what our ancient forefathers knew.


Ashby ,M. (2000)The Serpent Power: The Ancient Egyptian Mystical Wisdom of the Inner Life Force. Sema Institute of Yoga, Miami, Fl.

Aurobindo, S. (1960)The Life Divine. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, Pondicherry, India.

Bynum, E. B. (2012) Dark Light Consciousness: Melanin, Serpent Power and the Luminous Matrix of Reality. Inner Traditions & Bear Company, Rochester, VT.

Bynum, E.B. (2012). The African Unconscious : Roots of Ancient Mysticism and Modern Psychology. (Previous pub. TCP Columbia University) Cosimo Books, NYC, NY.

Bynum, E. B., Brown, A.C., King, R.D. and Moore, T.O. (2005) Why Darkness Matters: The Power of Melanin in the Brain. African American Images, Chicago ,Ill.

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Joseph, R. (2001). The Transmitter to God : The Limbic System, the Soul and Spirituality. University of California Press, San Jose, CA.

Kafatos, Menas and Nadeau, R. (1990). The Conscious Universe: Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory. Springer-Verlag, NY.

King, R.D. (2001). African Origin of Biological Psychiatry. Lushena Books,Chicago, Il.

Krishna, G. (1988) Kundalini for the New Age: Selected Writings of Gopi Krishna, edited by Gene Kieffer, Bantam Books, NY.

Moore, T.O. (2004). The Science of Melanin. Zamani Books, Redan, GA.

Newberg, A., D’Aquilli, E., and Rause, V. (2001). Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. Ballantine Books, NY.

*DARK LIGHT CONSCIOUSNESS can be found at Inner Traditions & Bear Company in Rochester, VT at or 802-767-3174, ext 108, or

Edward Bruce Bynum Ph.D., ABPP

© 2000 Obelisk Foundation, Inc.