The Serpentine Fire is a yoga concept, and it gets pretty deep. The song was written by group members Verdine and Maurice White, who are very spiritual and focused on positive lifestyle choices - Maurice once said he was "a universal being trying to accomplish as many things as I can in this cosmic trip."
In simple terms, they describe the Serpentine Fire as your creative energy - the force that guides you and makes you unique (what Steven Tyler called his "Mama Kin"). The deeper explanation comes from Kundalini yoga, where spinal awareness can be achieved by envisioning the body as a serpent. Secretions in the spine can be stimulated to travel from the sex organs to the brain, creating vitality throughout the body - the Serpentine Fire.
Here's how Maurice described it: "The Kundalini principle has to do with the fluid in the spine. After 29 days, if used properly, it can be converted into a higher consciousness of energy, which means you can step up or step down, it's your choice. It's called a serpent, because if you tipped the spine out of the body and looked at it, it would look like a serpent - and the fluid is the fire in the spine." He adds, "Nobody knows what I'm talking about, but a lot of kids go out and look it up and immediately it expands their consciousness."
This was a huge hit on the R&B charts, where it stayed at #1 for seven weeks. Despite Earth, Wind & Fire's crossover success with "Shining Star" and "Sing A Song," "Serpentine Fire" stalled at #13 on the Hot 100 and their following single "Fantasy" made just #32. They quickly regained their pop groove with their cover of "Got To Get You Into My Life," which started a run of five Top 10 pop hits for the band.
Reginald "Sonny" Burke is a credited songwriter on this track along with Maurice and Verdine White. Burke was keyboard player/producer who did some work with the band.