Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Star Snake

Snakes have always been a source of fear and fascination for us.  Their form and movement is so alien, yet mesmerizingly beautiful. Their venom can be deadly, but can also be used to heal.  This paradoxical nature has captivated the human imagination, making snakes and serpents symbolic figures in nearly every culture and religion throughout time.

Early people who observed the careful, cautious and deliberate way snakes stalked and hunted their prey came to see them as shrewd creatures.  They are focused, patient and thoughtful – valuable attributes of wisdom. The ancient Celts, Egyptians, Greeks (and many more) linked them to wisdom, divine and secret knowledge, oracles and revelatory experiences. The serpent is often seen as a guide through the spirit realm in shamanic cultures.
In the Bible, the snake tempts Eve with a taste of knowledge and self-awareness, at the cost of innocence and blissful ignorance.

Snakes are also associated with healing and medicine, as evidenced by the snake-wrapped staff, which represents the medical profession to this day.  They have also been used in Chinese medicine for millennia.

Their fierce threat displays have also made them popular Guardian figures, protecting mystical portals, temples and treasures from those who are unworthy.

As snakes grow, they shed their skins periodically. This sloughing off of the old to make way for the new connects them to the ideas of rebirth, renewal and transformation.

They are also associated with fertility, both male (with the obvious phallic imagery) and female (in its sinuous, curving movements).  In Hindu traditions, the feminine creative (kundalini) energy is imagined as a snake coiled around the base of the spine, which rises during arousal like a conduit through the chakras to join with the divine above.  The Native American Snake Dance celebrates the union of Snake Boy (a Sky spirit) and Snake Girl (an Earth spirit), bringing life-giving rain to the land.

Snakes and serpents are often depicted as part of Cosmic mythology.  The Greek ourobouros symbol of a snake eating its own tale represents eternity and the cyclic nature of the Universe. Norse mythology has a similar figure, the Midgard Serpent, which surrounds the Earth. The Australian Aboriginal people consider the great Rainbow Serpent to have created the Earth’s landscape from the void of the Dreamtime.  In Central America, Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, was seen in the glowing path of the Milky Way.

The depiction of two snakes together holds its own symbolism of entwining, of balance, integration of opposites and the joining of primal forces.

These are only some of the many symbolic meanings that this amazing animal has inspired.

My "Star Snake" design celebrates the snake as a potent symbol that has fired humankind’s imagination since the dawn of our species. 

 This cuff bracelet can be purchased from my Etsy Shop:

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