Explorations Into Liminality
“and there came an arm and a hand above the water and met it and caught it, and so shook it thrice and brandished it, and then vanished away the hand with the sword in the water.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sing a Song of Serpents

Snakes have big mojo. Serpent symbolism can be traced back to ancient cultures with both powerfully positive and negative aspects.

Everyone has heard the tale about the snake that tricked Eve. We all know about dangerous dragons, petrifying basilisks, and vengeful sea serpents.

What about the protector; a snake king shielded Buddha during his meditations. The Gadsden flag of the American Revolution is a rattler warning “Don’t Tread On Me.” The wisdom of Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi. The knowledge of Sophia.

Minoan priestesses clutched snakes, so did Moses. There’s Kundalini and the caduceus. The crown of Egypt. Medusa’s crown of hissing locks. So many world mythologies have serpents coiled about the World Tree, the Tree of Life.

Snakes have venom that can poison, heal, or take you on a magical mystery trip. They tell us about renewal as they shed their skin, about eternity when they eat their tail.

Fire, water, air and earth; rainbows, feathers; Chthonic birth-death-rebirth, earth and the underworld. It’s all there. I told you snakes have big mojo.

Now, for the sparkly snakey shinies. Victorians were so cool in their love for weird and creepy jewelry.

A bangle bracelet circa 1845; hundreds of pave set natural turquoise cabochons, rose cut diamonds and ruby cabochon stones.

Sarah Bernhardt's Cleopatra handflower, made designed by Alphonse Mucha and created by Georges Fouquet in 1899; gold, enamel, opal, diamond.

Mermaiden Creations snake skin pendants; shed skin preserved under glass with spiral accents reinforcing symbolism.


stregata said...

Love these - they are just fantastic!!

Merily said...

I love reading your posts about mythology and things like that! :D

aquariann said...

Another fascinating post! Love me the sparkly snakey shinies. Your pendants are awesome.

Deb said...

I love my snake skin pendant Julie! I am wearing it right now. Great post too. Such a fascinating subject.

x said...

These are really cool, I also like the backstory you provide. I would like to point out that "Nehushtan" carried in the Ark Of The Covenant and raised on a pole by Moses was an idol of the snakes that were plaguing them, and symbol of the sin of the people. So not on the positive serpent side. (FYI)

mermaiden said...

Interesting, x, thanks for commenting. As far as I can research, G told Moses to create Nehushtan, a copper serpent on a pole because the Israelites were being bitten by snakes, and dying. They were told to look at the staff and be healed. That's pretty positive to me ;] Although, I will point out that I was not declaring one side or the other in that paragraph where I mentioned Mr. M.

Athena's Armoury said...

I love all of the mythology you include in your posts!

The other day, I saw something floating in my pool and thought it looked like some kind of plastic wrapper or something (not sure how it would have gotten in there, but that's besides the point). I skimmed it out and it felt slimy and had scales... We have a 4' black snake that lives near us and although the skin looked about the right diameter, it wasn't 4' long. Before we had part of our house rebuilt, we found some baby snakes inside. I must admit that snakes kind of creep me out, but it seems like they've been wanting to make their presence known to me lately.

By the way, Julie, I am starting to feel like a warrior again. And it feels good.