Current snake culture is comprised of irony. For millennia, snakes were worshipped, venerated. They were even hoisted as banners of certain deities, in Africa and Asia especially. Now, the once esteemed serpents are reviled and feared; most humans would rather not be in the vicinity of the most docile and harmless snake.
Famous Snake Deities
In Africa: One of the famous minor deities in Africa was Ewe, the rainbow god. The god is in the form of a snake and it has a messenger that’s a boa. The Egyptian Pharaohs decorated their heads with a golden serpent that spit fire.
In the Americas: The Natchez Indians worshipped a serpent in their temple.
The Mayan snake Votan was said to bestow knowledge to its followers. Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec serpent deity, was also said to bestow knowledge and strip disease from its followers. The Native American tribe of Hopi (which was in Arizona) believed that upon their deaths, they would be reincarnated as rattlesnakes.
In Eurasia: Cadmus, who, after battling a serpent, became a snake. The serpent Ea of Babylon brought in agriculture. Cecrops, the Grecian half-serpent, was revered. The cult of Naga in India plays heavily on Hinduism. Gaga, a cult that is also predicated on a snake, is prominent, too.
Loci, a Roman genius (a divine soul) assumed the form of a snake, was a protective spirit. The Greek Poseidon presided over the sea. Hercules consummated with Echidna, a serpent.
Even today, the mythology of a serpent can be found. In Greece, the god Asklepios cured malaises. When the god was worshipped at a temple, his followers prayed that he would dispatch snakes, which were his servants. The snakes, as the legend goes, were able to heal someone with a single touch of its tongue. Today, the serpent is labeled as the Aesculpian snake, and it’s the insignia for physicians and veterinarians.
Is it not amazing that creatures that were once so revered and respected are found odious today? This needn’t be the case. Serpents, the basis for a myriad of myths and legends, can still be venerated. You might be surprised of the frequency snakes appeared in myths and religions. Just take the time, do the research, and you will be amazed how snakes slithered into so many of history’s corners.