Sunday, November 7, 2010
The Goddess and the Serpent
The serpent is an ancient symbol of the Goddess, and has been used by many different cultures since the beginning of time. Although in modern times, the snake has been demonized as an evil and deceitful creature. This new view of a once sacred animal was imprinted on us by Christianity in their tale of Adam and Eve. This was not the case for our ancient ancestors. Many cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Hindus and many more, revered the snake as a symbol of rebirth and fertility.
In Minoan Crete, people worshiped a snake Goddess. Scholars associate this Goddess with that of Ariadne, who is Mistress of the Labyrinth and Goddess of the moon, and stars. A famous figurine found, assumed to be a priestess of this snake Goddess, is shown holding a snake in each arm up to the air in ritual fashion. Whatever magical ceremonies took place based on this figurine, is still somewhat unknown. One things for sure, that these people among many others worshiped the snake as a sacred symbol of rebirth.
There are also many Goddesses who are associated with the symbol of the snake, such as Hekate, Wadjet, Angitia and the ancient Celtic Goddess Corchen. Wadjet is the cobra headed Goddess of lower Egypt. In other parts of Egypt, she was worshiped as a vulture Goddess. She was seen as a Goddess of fertility, and protector of the pharaohs. The Celtic Goddess Corchen, is a very old Goddess, and not much is known about her. All that is really known, is that she was a Goddess of rebirth and fertility, and she was depicted nude with two snakes on either side. Angitia was an Oscan Goddess from east of Rome in the Apennine Mountains. She was a Goddess of snakes and magic and was known for her ability to heal those who had been poisoned by snakes.
The Hindu's form of snake worship comes to us as the Kundalini. This is also known as the sacred feminine energy that lies dormant within each of us. It is said the Kundalini, which was a Hindu Goddess, is a sleeping serpent coiled around the base of the spine. According to Hindu belief, when opening up your chakras, the serpent climbs up, chakra by chakra until she reaches the crown. It is said that then, the person will be awakened to the feminine energy within. Essentially, discovering the Goddess.
From what I've seen in my research, every symbol of the snake is associated with the core symbolism, of feminine energy and the Goddess. From shedding its skin to represent rebirth, to the coiled snake representing the spiral of life, to the feminine energy that lives within each of us, the snake is a very important symbolic creature for our Great Mother.
For more info on the symbol of the serpent, check out Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of Pamela Matthews Goddess Tarot Deck
Posted by Tara at 4:59 AM