Updated: Jan 5
As she glides easily along the earth, her senses are alert for prey. Her tongue flickers constantly, fangs poison-ready. After eating, she will seek out a warm place in the sun to rest. She can feel her skin readying to moult, so she can shed the old and begin anew.
As a sacred animal, the snake is associated with the earth, with water and the Sun, and with wisdom. Snakes are agile, fierce and poisonous, and so represent power over death. Snakes are called on for protection and healing. The ability to repeatedly shed their skin demonstrates the power of self-renewal, and so snakes are thought to govern creation, as well as reincarnation.
In ancient Egyptian artwork, the goddess Wadjet is depicted as a snake. She is the protector of the territory of Lower Egypt, and nurse and protector of the sky god Horus (son of the goddess Isis). In mythology, Wadjet confers power and protection to the pharaoh, and is called upon to protect women in childbirth.
Wadjet’s power is symbolised by the uraeus, an upright cobra with a Sun disk, only worn on the crown of the pharaoh.
The Hindu goddess of snakes, Manasa Devi, is worshipped during the monsoon season when snakes become most active. She is depicted as a woman sitting on a lotus, surrounded by cobras, sometimes with a child in her lap.
Manasa was a primordial fertility goddess, who was later integrated into the cult of Shiva. In one myth, she is described as having killed the son of a Brahmin who refused to worship her. The Brahmin’s daughter-in-law had to overcome a series of obstacles to compel Manasa to give back her husband’s life.
Manasa Devi is honoured for curing snakebites and infectious diseases, and assisting with fertility and prosperity.
In Ancient Greek mythology, Python is a monstrous snake created by the goddess Gaia to protect the oracle at her temple at Delphi. The oracle at Delphi was known as the Pythia, and was selected from the temple priestesses. She was a highly influential woman, consulted for her prophecies.
In the myth, Apollo slays the Python in revenge for its relentless pursuit of his mother, Leto, while she was pregnant with him. After slaying the Python, Apollo takes possession of the temple.
In Australia, there are many different dreaming stories from our First Nations People about the power of snakes. They are associated with creation of animals and people, with the origin of landmarks such as rivers and rocks, and often with water sources.
Some dreaming stories given to Europeans describe the Rainbow Serpent, which is said to live in waterholes, and migrate between them when a rainbow appears. Other dreaming stories describe a specific ancestor being whose actions impacted on the people and land.
In a time of crisis, call on the Snake or a snake goddess for help. Ask the sacred serpent to protect you and guide you as you transition to a new stage, by sloughing off the old habits and relationships that are no longer serving you. Call on the Snake to assist with inner healing, and aid your pregnancy and childbirth.
You could wear a snake pendant, or place a picture of a sacred snake on your altar, to invoke its power. Give thanks to the sacred creature when you receive its assistance.
Let us know how you go!