Serpent


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Thus, they are natural guardians of treasures or sacred sites which cannot easily be moved out of harm's way. This motif recalls the story of the Buddha and the serpent king Mucalinda : as the Buddha sat beneath a tree engrossed in meditation, Mucalinda came up from the roots of the tree to shield the Buddha from a tempest that was just beginning to arise.

The Gadsden flag of the American Revolution depicts a rattlesnake coiled up and poised to strike. Below the image of the snake is the legend, "Don't tread on me. Serpents are connected with poison and medicine. The snake's venom is associated with the chemicals of plants and fungi [11] [12] [13] that have the power to either heal, poison or provide expanded consciousness and even the elixir of life and immortality through divine intoxication.

Because of its herbal knowledge and entheogenic association the snake was often considered one of the wisest animals, being close to the divine. Its divine aspect combined with its habitat in the earth between the roots of plants made it an animal with chthonic properties connected to the afterlife and immortality. The deified Greek physician Asclepius , as god of medicine and healing, carried a staff with one serpent wrapped around it, which has become the symbol of modern medicine.

Moses also had a replica of a serpent on a pole, the Nehushtan , mentioned in Numbers Following Christian tradition, serpents are connected with lies, vengefulness and vindictiveness:. This connection also depends in part on the experience that venomous snakes often deliver deadly defensive bites without giving prior notice or warning to their unwitting victims. Although a snake is defending itself from the encroachment of its victim into the snake's immediate vicinity, the unannounced and deadly strike may seem unduly vengeful when measured against the unwitting victim's perceived lack of blameworthiness.

Edgar Allan Poe 's famous short story " The Cask of Amontillado " invokes the image of the serpent as a symbol for petty vengefulness. The story is told from the point of view of the vindictive Montresor, who hatches a secret plot to murder his rival Fortunato in order to avenge real or imagined insults. Before carrying out his scheme, Montresor reveals his family's coat-of-arms to the intended victim: "A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.

In Africa the chief centre of serpent worship was Dahomey , but the cult of the python seems to have been of exotic origin, dating back to the first quarter of the 17th century. By the conquest of Whydah the Dahomeyans were brought in contact with a people of serpent worshipers, and ended by adopting from them the beliefs which they at first despised. At Whydah, the chief centre, there is a serpent temple, tenanted by some fifty snakes.

Every python of the danh-gbi kind must be treated with respect, and death is the penalty for killing one, even by accident. Danh-gbi has numerous wives, who until took part in a public procession from which the profane crowd was excluded; a python was carried round the town in a hammock, perhaps as a ceremony for the expulsion of evils. The rainbow-god of the Ashanti was also conceived to have the form of a snake. His messenger was said to be a small variety of boa, but only certain individuals, not the whole species, were sacred.

In many parts of Africa the serpent is looked upon as the incarnation of deceased relatives. Among the Amazulu, as among the Betsileo of Madagascar, certain species are assigned as the abode of certain classes. The Maasai , on the other hand, regard each species as the habitat of a particular family of the tribe. Snake cults were well established in Canaanite religion in the Bronze Age , for archaeologists have uncovered serpent cult objects in Bronze Age strata at several pre-Israelite cities in Canaan: two at Megiddo , [17] one at Gezer , [18] one in the sanctum sanctorum of the Area H temple at Hazor , [19] and two at Shechem.

In the surrounding region, serpent cult objects figured in other cultures. A late Bronze Age Hittite shrine in northern Syria contained a bronze statue of a god holding a serpent in one hand and a staff in the other. Snakes are sacred and powerful in the thoughts of prehistoric cultures of Iran. It seems that they have worshiped along with the fertility goddesses , from fourth to first millennium BC.

Serpents have pictured as patrons of fertility, water and wealth in the ancient objects of Iran. However, it seems that symbolic concept of serpent has reversed in the cultures of Iranian plateau over time. In Abrahamic traditions , the serpent represents sexual desire, as he lured Eve with the promise of forbidden knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Aryan religions call the serpents diabolic too; Azhi Dahake in Avesta is a scary serpent and Zahhak in the Shahnameh is an infernal creature with two snakes on his shoulders.

This replacement might be due to communicating between the inhabitants of Iran and believers in Abrahamic religions and beyond that the conversion of matriarchy into patriarchy, in the social structure of Iranian plateau cultures. Significant finds of pottery, bronze-ware and even gold depictions of snakes have been made throughout the United Arab Emirates UAE. The Bronze Age and Iron Age metallurgical centre of Saruq Al Hadid has yielded probably the richest trove of such objects, although finds have been made bearing snake symbols in bronze age sites at Rumailah , Bithnah and Masafi.

Most of the depictions of snakes are similar, with a consistent dotted decoration applied to them.

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Although the widespread depiction of snakes in sites across the UAE is thought by archaeologists to have a religious purpose, this remains conjecture. In the Gospel of John —15, Jesus makes direct comparison between the raising up of the Son of Man and the act of Moses in raising up the serpent as a sign, using it as a symbol associated with salvation : "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life ". In many myths, the chthonic serpent sometimes a pair lives in or is coiled around a Tree of Life situated in a divine garden.

In the Genesis story of the Torah and Biblical Old Testament , the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is situated in the Garden of Eden together with the tree of life and the Serpent. In Greek mythology, Ladon coiled around the tree in the garden of the Hesperides protecting the entheogenic golden apples. Under yet another Tree the Bodhi tree of Enlightenment , the Buddha sat in ecstatic meditation. When a storm arose, the mighty serpent king Mucalinda rose up from his place beneath the earth and enveloped the Buddha in seven coils for seven days, so as not to break his ecstatic state.

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The Vision Serpent was also a symbol of rebirth in Mayan mythology , with origins going back to earlier Maya conceptions, lying at the center of the world as the Mayans conceived it. Essentially the World Tree and the Vision Serpent, representing the king, created the center axis which communicates between the spiritual and the earthly worlds or planes.

It is through ritual that the king could bring the center axis into existence in the temples and create a doorway to the spiritual world, and with it power". Schele and Friedel, Sometimes the Tree of Life is represented in a combination with similar concepts such as the World Tree and Axis mundi or "World Axis" by a staff such as those used by shamans. The oldest known representation of two snakes entwined around a rod is that of the Sumerian fertility god Ningizzida. Ningizzida was sometimes depicted as a serpent with a human head, eventually becoming a god of healing and magic.

It is the companion of Dumuzi Tammuz , with whom it stood at the gate of heaven. Ningizzida was the ancestor of Gilgamesh , who, according to the epic , dived to the bottom of the waters to retrieve the plant of life. But while he rested from his labor, a serpent came and ate the plant. The snake became immortal, and Gilgamesh was destined to die.

Ningizzida has been popularized in the 20th century by Raku Kei Reiki a. There are a number of other translations of the term, usually emphasizing a more serpentine nature to the word—e. It has been suggested by Joseph Campbell that the symbol of snakes coiled around a staff is an ancient representation of Kundalini physiology. The staff represents the spinal column with the snake s being energy channels. In the case of two coiled snakes, they usually cross each other seven times, a possible reference to the seven energy centers called chakras. In Ancient Egypt , where the earliest written cultural records exist, the serpent appears from the beginning to the end of their mythology.

Ra and Atum "he who completes or perfects" became the same god, Atum , the "counter-Ra," was associated with earth animals, including the serpent: Nehebkau "he who harnesses the souls" was the two headed serpent deity who guarded the entrance to the underworld.


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He is often seen as the son of the snake goddess Renenutet. She often was confused with and later was absorbed by their primal snake goddess Wadjet , the Egyptian cobra , who from the earliest of records was the patron and protector of the country, all other deities, and the pharaohs. Hers is the first known oracle. She was depicted as the crown of Egypt, entwined around the staff of papyrus and the pole that indicated the status of all other deities, as well as having the all-seeing eye of wisdom and vengeance.

She never lost her position in the Egyptian pantheon. The image of the serpent as the embodiment of the wisdom transmitted by Sophia was an emblem used by gnosticism , especially those sects that the more orthodox characterized as " Ophites " "Serpent People". The chthonic serpent was one of the earth-animals associated with the cult of Mithras. The Basilisk , the venomous "king of serpents" with the glance that kills, was hatched by a serpent, Pliny the Elder and others thought, from the egg of a cock.

Outside Eurasia, in Yoruba mythology , Oshunmare was another mythic regenerating serpent. The Rainbow Serpent also known as the Rainbow Snake is a major mythological being for Aboriginal people across Australia , although the creation myth associated with it are best known from northern Australia. In Fiji Ratumaibulu was a serpent god who ruled the underworld and made fruit trees bloom.

In the Northern Flinders Ranges reigns The Arkaroo , serpent who drank Lake Frome empty, refuges into the mountains, carving valleys and waterholes, earthquakes through snoring. The serpent, when forming a ring with its tail in its mouth, is a clear and widespread symbol of the "All-in-All", the totality of existence, infinity and the cyclic nature of the cosmos. The most well known version of this is the Aegypto-Greek Ourobouros. It is believed to have been inspired by the Milky Way , as some ancient texts refer to a serpent of light residing in the heavens.

The Ancient Egyptians associated it with Wadjet , one of their oldest deities as well as another aspect, Hathor. In Hindu mythology Lord Vishnu is said to sleep while floating on the cosmic waters on the serpent Shesha. In the Puranas Shesha holds all the planets of the universe on his hoods and constantly sings the glories of Vishnu from all his mouths.

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On this week's episode, we're talking about space operas Thanks as always to our brilliant scribal team! On this episode, we're doing a deep-dive on a single tentpole, and we are extremely back on our bullshit. It's time to talk about astolat's Witcher fanfic, "Misethere"! The transcript for this episode can be found here. As always, thank you to our brilliant scribal team!

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