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Snake - Serpent symbol - History and Meaning


Snake - Serpent



The snake-serpent is a very old, cross-cultural symbol. The meanings cover a wide range, from personifying the evil and temptation, to representing the universe, the eternal, fertility, sexuality, wisdom, healing and and rejuvenation.


In ancient Greek mythology, snakes figure in many legends:


According a legend, Ophion, the serpent, ruled the world until Cronus and Rhea overthrew him.


In the Minoan civilization, the Goddess with Snakes, holding a snake in each hand, symbolized the source of wisdom and fertility.


Thyphon, the enemy of the Olympian gods, was represented as a monster with a hundred heads and a hundred snakes emerging from his thighs. His children, the snake-like water beast Lernaea Hydra and Ladon were slain by Hercules.


Python, the earth-dragon, guardian of Delphi and god Apollo's enemy, was represented as a snake. Apollo slew him and made Delphi his own oracle.


Medusa and other Gorgons were female monsters with hair of poisonous snakes and they were guardians of ancient ritual secrets.


Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, after observing snakes, learnt healing secrets from snakes' behaviour and his rod with a snake wrapped around it is the symbol of medicine till now.


Many tales in many cultures and countries, the snake-serpent was and still is a worldwide powerful symbol.




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