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 Il Serpente

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MessaggioOggetto: Il Serpente   Ven 5 Feb 2010 - 12:36




FONTE: http://www.esoterya.com/totem-serpente/1972/


Oggi parleremo di tradizione indiana, che dice che ogni uomo è legato a nove animali, dai quali egli ottiene le proprie capacità naturali e talento. Gli animali sono nove, portano alla saggezza di una delle sette direzioni:Est, Ovest, Nord, Sud, l’Alto, il Bass o, e l’Interno al quale si aggiungono due compagni per la Destra e la Sinistra che ci visitano durante i sogni.

Vi piacerebbe scoprire quali sono i vostri animali-totem? Un modo c’è, tramite una semplice tecnica oracolare. Scrivete i nomi di tutti gli animali-totem su dei fogli di carta, piegateli, mescolateli, estraetene dal mucchio nove con la mano sinistra. Se vi sentiste legati ad altri animali, potete aggiungere tranquillamente i loro nomi al mucchio.

Tutti gli esseri viventi sono legati tramite la forza creatrice ed è anche possibile evocare direttamente gli animali prescelti e la loro forza. Attraverso la concentrazione fissata su un determinato animale e il desiderio di metterci in contatto con la sua forza, si crea il rapporto diretto che ci lega ad esso.

Oggi parleremo del serpente, animale che simbolizza, per gli indiani d’America il ciclo della nascita, la vita, la morte e la rinascita, poiché muta la pelle.

Gli uomini con tale energia sono rari, anche perché tra le varie esperienze che devono fare c’è quella che li vede avere un contatto coi veleni, ma senza riportarne danni, cercando di trasformare il veleno penetrato nel corpo in una sostanza innocua.

Molte sono le forze che le vengono attribuite, tra cui quella della creazione, della sessualità, del mutamento, dell’anima e anche dell’immortalità.

Il serpente è un’animale collegato all’elemento fuoco, fisicamente tutto questo genera passione e desiderio, mentre a livello spirituale porta ad esaltare ed arrivare al Grande Spirito portando la saggezza ai massimi livelli.

Se la creatura comparirà nei vostri sogni, vuol dire che è tempo di iniziare un mutamento, in modo da poter progredire ed avvicinarsi alla propria relizzazione.





FONTE: http://blog.libero.it/Archetipi/6376161.html


Da sempre, l'uomo si è sentito circondato da elementi sovrasensibili dai quali ha spesso percepito sprigionarsi delle forze incontrollabili; tutto l'universo è un simbolo, un segno di cose invisibili.

La vita odierna ha perso ogni scintilla di ritualità, però i simboli, gli archetipi, sono silenti dentro di noi….e qualcosa emerge quando, senza sapere perché, siamo attratti da un oggetto e per quanto non abbia alcun valore diviene per noi preziosissimo.

Quante donne indossano anelli o altri ornamenti a forma di serpente? È la loro natura più profonda ed ancestrale ad esserne attratta, anche se spesso non ne sono consapevoli…ma nulla è casuale, e se una donna indossa un anello a forma di serpente o lo sogna è perché la sua pulsione trasformativa preme in lei.

I simboli sono chiavi di accesso.

La forza metamorfica degli archetipi ricompongono in noi una cornice più grande dove inserire il quadro della nostra vita, della nostra storia, in armonia con le altre storie con cui veniamo a contatto.

Il serpente con movenze sinuose emerge dalle profondità terrestri, sorgendo dagli oscuri anfratti nascosti e protetti.

Animale ctonico e misterioso, depositario di un immenso potere primordiale, custode di energia pulsante, evoca la spirale, la linea e il cerchio e per questo rappresenta il ciclo di vita-morte-rinascita, il perpetuo ritorno, la rigenerazione.

E’ simbolo del visibile (quando striscia) e dell’invisibile (quando si mimetizza in mezzo alla natura)… il Serpente ama celarsi nel tepore del profondo ventre della Grande Madre, luogo primigenio in cui tutti i segreti sono conservati con cura, e le antiche energie terrestri scorrono e si concentrano.
Di queste energie il Serpente è figlio e simbolo antichissimo, legato ai movimenti del sottosuolo, ai moti nascosti che danno origine al Mutamento interno, al potere della trasformazione lenta o repentina; profonda e cullante come lo scorrere di un fiume o tremenda e irrompente come un terremoto.

Il suo letargo stagionale e, soprattutto, la sua muta, rappresentano il perenne Ciclo della Grande Madre, che mostra a coloro che la vogliono ascoltare come la Vita si trasformi lentamente in Morte, e la Morte in nuova Vita; ma il Serpente simbolizza particolarmente il passaggio che unisce la Morte alla Rigenerazione, il sonno al risveglio, ovvero il cambio di pelle.

Per questo nel Serpente vi è il potere della Guarigione profonda, intesa sia come annullamento e liberazione da ogni stato oscuro e da ogni malattia spirituale, sia, su un piano più prettamente materiale, come eliminazione dei mali fisici. Il suo veleno, infatti, anticamente era unito a particolari erbe medicinali e usato, in piccolissime dosi sapientemente preparate, per curare.

La Luna, Signora dei cicli, dei ritmi, delle maree e dell’utero femminile, così misteriosamente sensibile alla sua musica di silenzi e armonie, è anche Signora dell’eterno susseguirsi di Nascita e Morte, e come il Serpente cambia il suo aspetto, la sua “pelle”, seguendo l’eternità del Tempo, che nel suo essere immutabile cambia continuamente e dà luce al divenire.

Il Serpente, nascosto nell’oscurità, rappresenta particolarmente l’aspetto della Luna nera e il suo potere di trasformazione, il mutamento che avviene nel passaggio dalla fine di un ciclo all’inizio di quello successivo, illuminato da una nuova luce.

Se lo si guarda mentre si morde la coda, come nell’immagine dell’ Ouroboros mitologico, si scorgerà proprio il simbolo dell’eterno ciclo senza inizio né fine.

Il serpente che si morde la coda è la dialettica materiale della vita e della morte, la morte che esce dalla vita e la vita che esce dalla morte, non come i contrari della logica platonica, ma come una inversione senza fine della materia di morte o della materia di vita.

Come custode del potere terrestre, il Serpente percepisce ogni movimento del suolo e del sottosuolo, prima ancora che i suoi effetti si verifichino e si mostrino sulla superficie della Terra e agli occhi degli uomini.

È quindi considerato l’animale della Profezia ed era proprio la Profezia ciò di cui si occupavano le antiche Sacerdotesse che venivano chiamate Pythie (serpi), o drakaine, e che erano particolarmente affini all’aspetto della primitiva Dea Serpente, raffigurata nei reperti archeologici con testa di serpente, arti serpentini o simboli di spire (emanatici di forza rigenerativa), spirali e linee ondulate, a imitare il movimento del rettile e i segni che questo lascia sulla sabbia al suo passaggio.

L’ultima immagine che ci appare del Serpente è quella della Tentazione.
Lo vediamo mentre tenta la “prima” donna Eva, con una succosa e rossissima mela, anch’essa simbolo della Grande Madre archetipica e della sua immensa fecondità.
La tentazione del Serpente alla Donna è la volontà di lei di riafferrare la Conoscenza che da sempre le era stata accessibile.

La mano di Eva, che tocca la mela rossa e, con un breve e netto gesto, la stacca dall’Albero della Conoscenza, è l'atto della volontà della Donna di mordere la Saggezza e di nutrirsi nuovamente di essa, di riunirsi ai flussi della Natura e alla sua arcaica Consapevolezza.
E non appena il Serpente viene da lei ascoltato ecco che dal grembo femminile riprendono a sgorgare i flussi del sangue sacro, che le era stato tolto. Il sangue sacro che è il Mistero della Donna, il suo potere, il suo sapere, la sua eredità lasciatale dalle sue lontane Antenate, e prima ancora di esse dalla Madre primigenia.

Perché proprio l’elemento femminile sceglie di conoscere trasgredendo? Perchè è proprio la donna a misurarsi con il serpente? Perchè in Eva (in aramaico = serpente) il serpente trova risonanza ed eco, in quanto essa è l’unico interlocutore in grado di cogliere la provocazione, la donna ha in sé il bagaglio di conoscenza occultata di cui il serpente è portatore e simbolo, Eva – la madre di tutti i viventi- voleva essere e non solo vivere.

La Dea della Trasformazione - La Dea dei Serpenti


La Dea come Trasformazione, potere di Morte e Rinascita, di Rigenerazione e Rinnovamento, uno dei più antichi volti della Grande Dea paleolitica, che nel Neolitico assume un'iconografia propria associata con il simbolo del serpente.

La principale funzione della Dea nel suo nuovo aspetto di Serpente era quella di garantire la continuità dell'energia vitale e offrire rigenerazione ad ogni esistenza esaurita.
La Dea Serpente fu la prima divinità, a presentarsi incoronata, così, dal VII millennio a.C., le sue
immagini apparvero frequentemente con una corona, simbolo di potere e saggezza, o con una pettinatura molto sofisticata, caratterizzata da ricci serpentiformi. Il rapporto fra il serpente e il potere generatore della Dea continua nel tempo, si manifesta al suo apice nella cultura cretese, ed è ancora evidente in Atena, Hera e Hathor.

L'Archetipo del serpente

Il serpente è un simbolo polivalente, universalmente presente in tutte le culture.
Egli è l'antenato mitico, il vivificatore, simbolo stesso della guarigione e della cura, è l'animale
originario alle sorgenti della vita e della libido.

E' la forza vitale, simbolo seminale, epitome del culto della vita su questa terra. Non
il corpo del serpente era sacro, ma l'energia emanata da questo animale che
striscia o si raggomitola, energia che trascende i suoi limiti e influenza il mondo
circostante. Questa stessa energia si trova nelle spirali, nelle viti, negli
alberi in crescita, nei falli e nelle stalagmiti, ma si concentra in modo
particolare nel serpente, in cui è, quindi, più potente. Il serpente era qualcosa
di primordiale e misterioso, emerso dagli abissi delle acque dove la vita comincia. Il suo rinnovarsi stagionalmente, col mutare pelle e cadere in letargo, ne ha fatto il
simbolo della continuità della vita.

Il serpente è un animale totemico, indica sempre la possibilità di trasformazione, ma indica anche una trasformazione che deve passare attraverso una sorta di “trasgressione”, in molti miti il serpente viene visto come un tentatore, che, a livello psicologico rappresenta bene le forze propulsive della psiche che tentano quelle regressive spingendole a “trasgredire” il limite per avventurarsi oltre quello che c’è in quel momento.

È «l'animale-metamorfosi» per eccellenza, per la sua facoltà di rigenerazione; è il doppione animale della luna, perché scompare e riappare con lo stesso ritmo dell'astro e conterebbe tante spire quanti giorni conta la lunazione.

Questo animale, anticamente, essendo accostato alla simbologia delle acque, aveva una valenza simbolica lunare; il serpente era attributo delle dee antiche dei pantheon, quali Ecate, Ishtar e Artemide, rappresentato come immagine stessa del ciclo lunare che si annoda e si scioglie senza fine, così come è proprio fare del serpente.

Legato, in età classica, al culto di Esculapio, dio della medicina, ancora oggi esistono in Occidente tracce che conducono il serpente a questo culto...lo ritroviamo infatti nel “bastone di Esculapio” simbolo dei medici e nel “caduceo”, simbolo delle scienze farmaceutiche .

Sognare un serpente arrotolato su se stessi simboleggia il circolo della vita o il ciclo vitale. Sognare un serpente che si sveglia rappresenta un desiderio represso troppo a lungo e che ora torna in superficie.

Il messaggio del serpente è un messaggio di rinascita, di cambiamento, di trasformazione, segnala che qualcosa preme, non può più aspettare… quando gli archetipi che si presentano prepotentemente e più volte, vengono ignorati, le tensioni interne aumenteranno sempre di più fino a raggiungere varie forme di disturbi psicosomatici.

Al di là delle lingue, delle etnie, delle culture, il linguaggio dei simboli è un linguaggio trasversale le cui tracce si ritrovano da un luogo all’altro, da un periodo storico all’altro. Il simbolo per definizione è ciò che unisce...sicché quello dello studio dei simboli è un viaggio attraverso i secoli e i continenti ma, soprattutto, quello dentro di sé.

“Il Simbolo è esso stesso una ierofania, perché rivela una realtà sacra o cosmologica che nessun’altra manifestazione è capace di rivelare.” Mircea Eliade


Ultima modifica di Admin il Mer 24 Mar 2010 - 7:56, modificato 1 volta
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MessaggioOggetto: Creatures in the Mist: The Serpent   Ven 5 Feb 2010 - 12:57

FONTE: http://www.authorsden.com/categories/article_top.asp?catid=28&id=20746


Creatures in the Mist: The Serpent
By Gary R Varner


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A chapter from a book in progress, Creatures in the Mist: Little People, Wild Men and Spirit Beings Around the World by Gary R. Varner.


“The snake is a main image of the vitality and continuity of life,” wrote anthropologist Marija Gimbutas, “the guarantor of life energy in the home, and the symbol of family and animal life.” (1)

The snake means something different and yet the same in many cultures and locations. The serpent is a feared goddess of the river, a messenger and spirit being of Native America, a water spirit and god of Africa. These are similar characteristics for a universally important symbol. There is an opposite view, however. The snake is also portrayed as Satan himself in Biblical lore. As historian Jean Markale wrote, “Western religious thought has been almost unanimous in making the serpent of Genesis into a concrete representation of the tempter, that is to say, of Satan himself, relying for support upon the Apocalypse where this ‘great serpent’…is the image of absolute evil.” (2) The serpent had been respected as a symbol of wisdom and life renewed for thousands of years—until the Hebrews and then the Christians waged successful campaigns to destroy it. “When the Hebrews introduced a male god into Canaan,” says Mark O’Connell and Raje Airey, “the female deity and the snake were relegated and associated with evil.” (3) Later, the Christian campaign was able to, as Page Bryant wrote, “distort a positive and ancient pagan symbol to suit the purposes of Christianity.” (4)

On the base of one of the ancient menhirs in Carnac an image of five snakes standing on their tails was carved. “When the site was excavated,” writes archaeologist Johannes Maringer, “in 1922, five axes were found under the engravings. The blades faced upward; obviously the axes had been deliberately placed in that position. It is most likely that even in Neolithic times the serpent was a symbol of life.” (5) Maringer believes that the serpent was closely associated with deceased ancestors and the five serpents engraved on the menhir probably indicated that five people were buried there along with the axes.

The duality of meanings most likely originated in the contrasting views of the serpent in Old European and Indo-European mythology. In Old European lore (prior to 4500 BCE) the serpent was benevolent, a symbol of life and fertility in both plants and animals (including humans), protective of the family and of domestic livestock. “Snakes are guardians of the springs of life and immortality,” wrote Spanish scholar J.E. Cirlot, “and also of those superior riches of the spirit that are symbolized by hidden treasure.” (6) The poisonous snake in Old European lore was, according to Gimbutas, “an epiphany of the Goddess of Death”. (7) Indo-European mythology (evolving between 4000 and 2500 BCE) contrasted this view, regarding the snake as a symbol of evil, an epiphany of the God of Death, and an adversary of the Thunder God. This was the point in time that the Goddess religion began to give way to that of the male dominated religion of the Sky God.

Gimbutas goes on to say, “it is not the body of the snake that was sacred, but the energy exuded by this spiraling or coiling creature which transcends its boundaries and influences the surrounding world.” (Cool
In the Classic world the serpent was the creator of the universe, it laid the Cosmic Egg and split it asunder to form the heavens and the earth. As Hans Leisgang wrote, “This serpent, which coiled round the heavens, biting its tail, was the cause of solar and lunar eclipses. In the Hellenistic cosmology, this serpent is assigned to the ninth, starless spheres of the planets and the zodiac. This sphere goes round the heavens and the earth and also under the earth, and governs the winds.” (9) “In Christian theology,” Leisegang continues, “this serpent became the prince of the world, the adversary of the transcendental God, the dragon of the outer darkness, who has barred off this world from above, so that it can be redeemed only by being annihilated.” (10)

This creator-serpent, the Great Serpent, was symbolic of the sun, not evil but “the good spirit of light” as Leisegang so aptly describes it. It is this Great Serpent that is cause and ruler of the four seasons, the four winds and the four quarters of the cosmos.

A white snake, like the salmon, was a source for wisdom and magical power and was associated with the goddess/Saint Brigit, also known in England and Scotland as Bride. On February 1st, Bride’s Day the serpent woke for its winter hibernation to bring in the change in seasons from winter to spring. Mackinzie relates an old Gaelic charm:

“To-day is the day of Bride,
The serpent shall come from his hole;
I will not molest the serpent
And the serpent will not molest me.” (11)

The many serpent-like symbols found in ancient rock art the world over testify to the importance of this animal in the human mind. The zigzag and meandering lines symbolic of water, the mysterious spirals found the world over which mimic the coiled serpent all speak of the underlying mystery that humans have felt towards the snake and the snakes place in the mythos of the Otherworld and death. However, not only death, for many the snake represented life and the renewal of life. The snake was the feared guardian of life and the forces of life as well as the messenger to and from the world of the dead. Snakes were believed to be symbolic of the departed soul to the ancient Greeks. It was also valued as a guardian of temples, treasuries and oracles, its eyesight believed to be especially keen to allow it to effectively guard against intrusion. Joseph Campbell noted that “in India…the ‘serpent kings’ guard both the waters of immortality and the treasures of the earth.” (12)

While many male anthropologist and archaeologist argue that the serpent is symbolic of fertility (as a phallic symbol), art historian Merlin Stone offers another view:

“[The serpent] appears to have been primarily revered as a female in the Near and Middle East and generally linked to wisdom and prophetic counsel rather than fertility and growth as is so often suggested.” (13)

This statement is not entirely true. The god Ningišzida (“Lord of the Good Tree”) was an important male deity in Mesopotamia. As an underworld god, he was guardian over demons and at least one Sumerian ruler regarded Ningišzida as his personal protector. While primarily a god of the underworld there is one myth (“Adapa at the gate of heaven”) that has Ningišzida as one of the guardians at the gates of heaven. (14) “The symbol and beast of Ningišzida,” according to Black and Green, “was the horned snake…” (15)
The snake and the serpent have been depicted as goddesses and gods, as holy beings to be worshipped, as dragons, as devils and as symbols of lust, greed and sin—and of death. In mythic lore, Zeus appears in snake form to mate with Persephone who thereafter gives birth to Dionysos, “the god who in Crete, it so happens, was synonymous with Zeus.” (16) The serpent is “the emblem of all self-creative divinities and represents the generative power of the earth. It is solar, chthonic, sexual, funerary and the manifestation of force at any level, a source of all potentialities both material and spiritual,” writes J.C. Cooper, “and closely associated with the concepts of both life and death.” (17)

The Giants of classic Greek and Roman mythology reportedly had snake-like legs as did the founder of Athens, Cecrops. Cecrops, a semi-serpent, was considered an innovator of his day, abolishing blood sacrifice, introducing basic laws of marriage, politics and property and encouraging the worship of Zeus and Athena. (18) Again, a duality exists between these two creatures with snake-like characteristics. The Giants were enemies of Zeus and were defeated by Hercules on behalf of the gods of Olympus and Cecrops was a champion for the causes of Zeus.

An interesting image similar to the serpent-legged Titans is that carved upon the strange “Abrasax gems”, magical amulets introduced in the second century that mingled early Christian and Pagan themes. Originating in Alexandria, the images most certainly were inspired by the mystic powers of the man-serpent as represented by the Titans.

It is interesting to note that Athens has even more connections to serpent-men in the form of Erichthonius—the first king of Athens. According to legend, this serpent being was created from the semen of the smith-god Hephaistos. Hephaistos had attempted to rape Athena but she miraculously disappeared just in time. His semen, as it fell to the earth, grew into the serpent Erichthonius. Ely offers an alternative view: “In the days of Pausanias, Hephaistos and Gaia were said to be the parents of Erichthonius.” (19) This version evidently arose from the more conservative elements of Greek society that could not abide with the original creation of the serpent-being from an act of rape.

In Mesoamerican traditions, the Plumed Serpent, Quetzalcoatl, called “the wise instructor,” brings culture and knowledge to the people and “takes charge or interferes in creative activities” of the world. (20) It is Quetzalcoatl who discovers corn and provides it for humankind’s nourishment. While historical lore indicates that Quetzalcoatl was a man (in fact, a tall, white man with a beard), he is symbolically represented as a serpent on many temple complexes, the most notable being at Chichen-Itza in Yucatan. During certain times of the year the steps the lead up the pyramid temple cast an undulating shadow that connects with the carved stone serpent heads—bringing to life the Plumed Serpent.

The serpent also represents chaos, corruption and darkness along with knowledge and spirit. It is this knowledge that the Bible uses to evict Adam and Eve from paradise and what brings the snake so much hatred. It is the symbolism of the snake, that is so closely associated with the Earth and the Earth’s creative powers that the followers of the Sky God wished to destroy. According to Andrews, the snake “threatened the world order established by the sky gods and continually tried to return the world to its original state of chaos.” (21)

The serpent, in fact, threatened the order and control of the Judeo-Christian religion. As Markale suggests, Eve disobeyed the patriarchal priests and listens to the serpent, the serpent being representative of the Mother Goddess. “This is a case, pure and simple, of a return to the mother-goddess cult, a true ‘apostasy’ as it were, and thus a very grave sin against the patriarchal type of religion that Yahweh represents.” (22) Markale and others, most notably the French Catholic priest André de Smet, believe that the original sin was the first battle in the long struggle between the patriarchal religion of Yahew and the matriarchal religion of the Mother Goddess. The “curse against the serpent,” Markale writes, “…is against the mother goddess herself.” (23)

The Gnostic writers viewed the serpent in a different manner. The Kabbalist Joseph Gikatila wrote in his book Mystery of the Serpent:
“Know and believe that the Serpent, at the beginning of creation, was indispensable to the order of the world, so long as he kept his place; and he was a great servent…and he was needed for the ordering of all the chariots, each in its place…It is he who moves the spheres and turns them from East to the West and from North to the South. Without him there would have been neither seed nor germination, nor will to produce any created thing.” (24)

The Ophites, a successor group of the original Gnostics, venerated the snake. To the Ophites the serpent was made by God to be “the cause of Gnosis for mankind…It was the serpent…who taught man and woman the complete knowledge of the mysteries on high” which resulted in the serpent being “cast down from the heavens.” (25) To this group the snake was the “living symbol of the celestial image that they worshipped.” (26) According to Doresse, the Ophites kept and fed serpents in special baskets and met near the serpent’s burrows. They would arrange loaves of bread on a table and then lure the snakes to the “offering”. The Ophite followers would not partake of the bread however until “each on kissing the muzzle of the reptile they had charmed. This, they claimed, was the perfect sacrifice, the true Eucharist.” (27)
To the Gnostic Christians, serpent worship was associated with the “restoration of Paradise, and release thereby from the bondages of time.” (28)

A similar ritual has taken place each August 15th on the Greek island of Kefalonia. On this day, also known as the feast of the Falling Asleep of the Virgin, in the small village of Markopoulo, small snakes with a small cross-like mark on their heads slither through a churchyard, emerging near the bell tower and make their way toward the church. According to witnesses, the snakes enter the church building through bell rope holes in the wall; crawl over the furniture and even over the worshippers as they sit in the pews. The snakes continue onward to the bishop’s throne and, as a group, to the icon of the Virgin.

After the service, the serpents disappear and not seen again until the same evening a year later. The people of Markopoulo look forward to the appearance of these creatures as a sign of good luck and bountiful harvests. Only two years in recent memory did not see the return of the snakes. One was in 1940. The next year Greece was invaded by the Axis Forces. The year following their non-appearance in 1953 saw the area devastated by a catastrophic earthquake.

Normally avoiding human contact during their visits to the church the snakes appear quite tame and allow the residents to handle them at will. According to local lore, the annual serpent appearance dates to 1705 when Barbarossa pirates attacked the village. The nuns who resided in the village convent prayed to the Virgin to transform them into snakes to avoid being captured by the pirates, or worse. When the pirates finally gained access to the convent, they were shocked to see the floors, walls and icons writhing with snakes. The snakes have returned each year except for the two previously mentioned.

The serpent, as a representative of the mother goddess, is known from the serpent priestesses of Crete and various other mother goddess locations from the Neolithic. The shrine at Gournia, Crete yielded three figures of the mother goddess. One that shows the mother goddess with a serpent curled around her waist and over one shoulder. (29) The Greek mother goddess Ge or Gaia is often associated with the “earth snake.”

Twenty-one figurines of serpent goddesses have been found at Poduri, Romania dating to 4800-4600 BCE indicating that this goddess was not only an ancient one but commonly worshiped throughout Europe and the Middle East. Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas wrote “Their lack of arms, their snake-shaped heads, and the snakes coiling over their abdomens suggest that they represent the Snake Goddess and her attendants, only one of them has an arm raised to her face, a gesture of power.” (30)

“Undulating serpents or dragons signify cosmic rhythm, or the power of the waters.” (31) The serpent has been associated with water since time began. They appear in Native American rock art throughout the continent symbolic of messengers of the otherworld that traverse through streams, rivers and time through the cracks in stone. It is by no accident that the Plumed Serpent of Mesoamerica is closely associated with the Cosmic Waters or that the Serpent Mound in the Ohio Valley is located near a flowing river. It is also not an accident that accounts of sea serpents are rampant in the world’s maritime lore. In the Southwest, snakes were pecked or painted onto rock surfaces designating good or bad water sources. The snake was believed by Native Americans, as well as to the people of Old Europe and the ancient Near East, to bring rain when it is needed. Both the Hopi and Shasta Indians carried live snakes in their mouths for ritual dances used in rainmaking ceremonies (32) and the Cheyenne also danced with poisonous snakes in their “crazy dances”. “Crazy dances” were performed to aid in the cure of a sick child, to ensure victory in war or to obtain other blessings for the tribe. (33)

Snakes have also contributed to weather folklore around the world associated with rain. Nineteenth century folklorist Richard Inwards noted, “the chief characteristic of the serpents throughout the East in all ages seems to have been their power over the wind and rain, which they gave or withheld, according to their good or ill will towards man.” (34) It was also possible to induce rain, according to Inwards, by hanging a dead snake on a tree. (35)

Mesoamerican traditions “have been recorded,” writes anthropologist Robert Rands, “which directly connect the serpent with surface water, rain, and lightning. …a few stray facts regarding the relationship of snakes to the anthropomorphic rain deities of the Maya and Mexicans may be noted. In the Maya codices, the serpent…and water are frequently shown together…As giant celestial snakes or as partly anthropomorphized serpents, the Chicchans are rain and thunder deities of the present-day Chorti. …In modern Zoque belief, snakes serve as the whips of the thunderbolts.” (36)

The snake with its fluid motions is a natural symbol of flowing water. Native Americans and others saw this symbolism in the meandering streams and rivers that flow through their lands. They also saw the annual shedding of its skin as a renewal of life and of fertility, a renewal of the fertility that water also provides.

“The serpent is the foundation of the universe,” writes Indian artist Jyoti Sahi. “Coiled around the naval of the cosmos, it appears to be the dynamic centre of time and space. The serpent seems always to be moving and yet always still, like the oceans whose waves seem in perpetual turmoil and unrest, but whose boundaries remain fixed, and whose depths are eternal.” (37)

In ancient Indian mythology, the serpent becomes the victim of mankind. “…in order to overcome the wilderness…and make it orderly and cultivated…[man] had to injure the serpent…” (38) Sahi says that this injury to the serpent is a “sin” and that the story really “represents the overthrowing of pre-Aryan serpent worship.” (39)

In the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur, the snake god Irhan was worshipped. To these people Irhan was representative of the Euphrates River. The mildly poisonous horned vipers of the Middle East gradually assumed the dragon form that we still recognize today.

A snake-dragon called mušhuššu, or “furious snake” was worshipped in Babylon at least during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BCE). This creature with the body and neck of a serpent, lion’s forelegs and a bird’s hindlegs, was originally an attendant of the city god Ninazu of Ešnunna. The snake-dragon was transferred as an attendant of Ninazu to several other national gods through the years, surviving as a protective pendant through the Hellenistic Period. (40)

The serpent was present in the liturgy and symbolism of the Mithraic religion as well. Mithraism almost dominated Christianity during the 2nd and 3rd centuries and many Christian symbols are derived from this ancient religion. The snake appears often in paintings and carvings of Mithras hunting, the serpent is present as a companion to the god. Some depict the serpent seeking the flowing sacrificial blood of the bull that was slain in Mithraic baptisms. This, according to writer D. Jason Cooper, “seems to indicate the snake is seeking salvation.” (41)

Snakes are also associated with healing. The caduceus, the staff with two intertwined serpents, is found not only in the healing temples of Greece, but also in Native American, Mesoamerican and Hindu symbolism. The snake with its annual shedding of its skin was a logical symbol for life, renewal and protection. In Celtic lands as well the snake was, like the sacred well, associated with healing. To the Sumerians the caduceus was the symbol of life. It was also an important symbol to some Gnostic Christians who, according to Barbara Walker, “worshipped the serpent hung on a cross…or Tree of Life, calling it Christ the Savior, also a title of Hermes the Wise Serpent represented by his own holy caduceus…” (42) According to Wallis Budge, “the symbol of [the Bablyonian god of healing, Ningishzida] was a staff round which a double-sexed, two-headed serpent called Sachan was coiled, and a form of this is the recognized mark of the craft of the physician at the present day.” (43) The Greek god of healing, Aesculapius was also depicted in a statue at Epidaurus “holding a staff in one hand, while his other hand rested on the head of a snake…” (44)

In Africa the spirits of the waters are, simply said, snakes. As they are symbolic of healing, they are also believed to “call” to healers to whom they give wisdom and knowledge. (45) According to anthropologist Penny Bernard, “the water spirits have been attributed a pivotal role in the calling, initiation and final induction of certain diviners in the Eastern Cape. Hence the implication that they are the key to certain forms of ‘sacred’ knowledge.” (46)

Tornadoes and waterspouts were believed to be the physical appearance of the African serpent god Inkanyamba. Inkanyamba was believed to be an enormous serpent that twisted and writhed to and fro as it reached from the earth to the sky. Tamra Andrews noted that the Zulu “believed that he grew larger and larger as he rose out of his pool and then grew smaller and smaller when he retreated back into it.” (47)

In other African cultures, the snake is considered the spirit of a departed human. Referred to as the ‘living-dead’ the snake is prohibited from being killed, as it is representative of the soul of a relative or friend that is visiting the land of the living. (48)

According to Sumatran and Norse mythology, the vast Cosmic Snake that encircles the world in the cosmic river will eventually destroy it. However from the destruction comes a new world, a renewal of life. The old gods die with the Cosmic Serpent but “Earth will rise again from the waves, fertile, green, and fair as never before, cleansed of all its sufferings and evil.” (49)

Perhaps in no other culture than Egypt was the serpent-god so prevalent. The serpent represented both male and female deities, both benign and malevolent. The snake-god Apophis was believed to have existed before time in the primeval chaos of pre-creation. Apophis was the enemy of the sun god and attacked the heavenly ship of Ra as it sojourned across the heavens. The daily battle involved other gods, including Seth the enemy of Osiris, in a back and forth struggle of power between light and dark and balance and chaos. Each day Apophis was defeated, cut into pieces that would revive and rejoin the struggle the next day. In his own way Apophis was a symbol of renewal—renewal brought about by the eternal conflict of the powers of the universe. Apophis was associated with natural disaster, storms, earthquakes and unnatural darkness that foretold the return of chaos. As archaeologist Richard Wilkinson wrote, “Although the god was neither worshipped in a formal cult nor incorporated into popular veneration, Apophis entered both spheres of religion as a god or demon to be protected against.” (50)

The Egyptians worshiped ten other snake gods. These include Mehen who helped protect Ra from the daily attacks of Apophis, Denwen who was very much like a dragon and had the ability to cause a fiery conflagration, Kebehwet who was a “celestial serpent,” Meretseger called the “goddess of the pyramidal peak” and who presided over the necropolis at Thebes. Meretseger became an important deity of the workmen who constructed the burial temples and chambers and many representations of this serpent goddess have been found in workmen’s homes and shops in the area.

Other serpent gods of the Egyptians include Nehebu-Kau, “he who harnesses the spirits.” (51) Nehebu-Kau was regarded as a helpful deity and was the son of the scorpion goddess Serket. He was referred to in hieroglyph as the “great serpent, multitudinous of coils” and was sometimes depicted as a man with a serpents head. Other beneficent serpent gods include Renenutet, a guardian of the king and goddess of the harvest and fertility. She was also known as a divine nurse. The cobra goddess Wadjet (“the green one”) was a goddess of the Nile Delta and was associated with the world of the living rather than the world of the dead. Wadjet was another protector of the king and had the ability to spit flames as a defensive measure. The serpent on the pharaoh’s crown was that of Wadjet. Like Renenutet, Wadjet was also a nurse to the god Hathor while he was yet a divine infant. Another fiery serpent is Wepset. Wepset, meaning “she who burns,” guarded the king, other gods and the Eye of Ra. It was written in ancient texts that the Egyptian island of Biga was her cult center.

The last two Egyptian serpent deities are Weret-Hekau and Yam. “Great of magic” was the name for Weret-Hekau and she may be a composite of other serpent goddesses in that she was also a nursing serpent of the kings and her symbol is associated with the other uraeus goddesses. Yam was actually a Semitic god, a “tyrannical, monstrous deity of the sea”, according to Wilkinson. (52) Sometimes depicted as a seven-headed sea monster, Yam was a minor Egyptian god that may have been feared mostly by sailors and fishermen than by regular people of the cities. Yam was defeated in various myths by the goddess Astarte, and the Canaanite god Baal and the Egyptian god Seth.

Serapis, a deity of both the Greeks and Egyptians, associated with Osiris, Hermes, and Hades, was introduced in the 3rd century BCE as a state god for both Greeks and Egyptians. Believed by the Egyptians to be a human manifestation of Apis, a sacred bull that symbolized Osiris, he was represented as a god of fertility and medicine and the ruler of the dead to the Greeks. Serapis was also depicted as a Sun god and occasionally with a serpent wrapped around his body—most likely in connection with fertility.

That serpents were, and still are an extremely important aspect of religious traditions around the world cannot be doubted when even Ireland, a land totally devoid of snakes, is so obsessed with the image of the serpent. “Is it not a singular circumstance,” said 19th century scholar Marcus Keane, “that in Ireland where no living serpent exists, such numerous legends of serpents should abound, and that figures of serpents should be so profusely used to ornament Irish sculptures?” (53) Celtic scholar James Bonwick himself noted when he visited Cashel, Ireland in the 1880’s that he saw “a remarkable stone, bearing a nearly defaced sculpture of a female—head and bust—but whose legs were snakes.” (54) It was Bonwick’s belief that this ancient stone carving depicted an “object of former worship.” The “popularity” of the serpent image in Ireland caused Bonwick to write, “That one of the ancient military symbols of Ireland should be a serpent, need not occasion surprise in us. The Druidical serpent or Ireland is perceived in the Tara brooch, popularize to the present day. Irish crosses, so to speak, were alive with serpents.” (55)

Serpents were valued in Slavic countries up through the 19th century as good-luck symbols. Snakes were also valued as protective charms in Sweden where they were buried under the foundations of houses and other structures. Russian peasants kept them as pets and, as in Poland, snakes were given food and drink in exchange for their protective charms.

Snakes were associated with an ancient god of thunder in Slavic countries. The thunder god was “responsible for creating mountains and for hurling down bolts of lightning also launched storms of life-giving rain into the earth beneath him.” (56) Kerrigan writes “Awesome as his strength was, pagan belief did not characterize it as being wielded destructively: only with the coming of Christianity did his powers become identified with those of evil.” (57)

In some Native American lore, the snake was usually considered an animal to be avoided—one of the “bad animals” that was prohibited from journeying to the spirit world after death. (58) To the Lakota the spirit of the snake “presided over the ability to do things slyly, to go about unknown and unseen, and of lying.” (59)

Cherokee shamans prohibited the killing of snakes and the Apache forbid the killing of any snake by their own people but would not hesitate to ask strangers to kill them. (60) The Cherokee generic name for the snake is inădû’ and they are believed to be supernatural, having close associations with rain and the thunder gods, as well as having a certain influence over other plants and animals. “The feeling toward snakes,” wrote James Mooney, “is one of mingled fear and reverence, and every precaution is taken to avoid killing or offending one…” (61) Certain shamans were able to kill rattlesnakes for use in rituals or for medicinal uses. The head was always cut off and buried an arms length deep in the earth. If this was not done, the snake would cause the rain to fall until the streams and rivers overflowed their banks. (62)

Specific snake lore of the Cherokee indicates that some serpents were not only associated with rain, thunder and the supernatural but also were very unlucky. Mooney reported that a large serpent was once said to reside on the north bank of the Little Tennessee and the main Tennessee rivers in Loudon county, Tennessee and it was considered an evil omen simply to see it. “On one occasion,” he wrote, “a man crossing the river…saw the snake in the water and soon afterward lost one of his children.” (63)

Illnesses were often thought to be caused by snakes, and even the act of accidentally touching the discarded skin of a snake was believed to cause sickness, especially skin ailments and perhaps even death. (64)

The Apache avoided even mentioning the snake but would sometimes use it as an invective. However, by doing even this one courted disaster. According to Opler, “If a man says in anger, ‘I hope a snake bites you,’ he will get sick from snakes. ..Before this the snakes have not bothered him, but…it’s bound to make him sick.” (65)

When a snake is accidentally encountered on a trail, it is, according to Opler, “accorded the greatest respect and is referred to by a relationship term: …”My mother’s father, don’t bother me! I’m a poor man. Go where I can’t see you. Keep out of my path.” (66)

Cherokee lore tells of strange snake-like creatures that were obviously more than myth as no tale of heroes or supernatural interventions are part of the tales. They are simply told as observations and accounts of frightful encounters between men and monster. One such beast is called the Ustû’tlĭ, or “foot snake” which lived on the Cohutta Mountain. Ethnologist James Mooney recorded stories at the beginning of the 20th century about this monster and gives us the following description:

“…it did not glide like other snakes, but had feet at each end of its body, and moved by strides or jerks, like a great measuring worm. These feet were three-cornered and flat and could hold on to the ground like suckers. It had no legs, but would raise itself up on its hind feet, with its snaky head waving high in the air until it found a good place to take a fresh hold…It could cross rivers and deep ravines by throwing its head across and getting a grip with its front feet and then swinging it body over.”(67)
A similar creature called the “bouncer” (Uw’tsûñ’ta) lived on the Nantahala River in North Carolina. It too moved by “jerks like a measuring worm.” According to lore this snake like animal was so immense that it would darken the valleys between rifts as it moved across them. According to Mooney the Indians that lived in this area, fearing the snake eventually deserted the land, “even while still Indian country.” (68)

Another monstrous snake, called the Uktena, was said to be as large as a tree trunk with horns on its head. To be able to kill the Uktena enabled the Uktena slayer to obtain a transparent scale from the snake, said to be similar to a crystal that was located on its forehead. To have one was to be blessed with excellent hunting, success in love, rainmaking and life prophecy.

Some Native American people viewed the snake in another way entirely. It was symbolic of the war-god who also had powers over crops and vegetation. “As the emblem of the fertilizing summer showers the lightning serpent was the god of fruitfulness,” wrote Lewis Spence, “but as the forerunner of floods and disastrous rains it was feared and dreaded.” (69)

That pre-historic Indians believed that the serpent form contained supernatural powers can be surmised by the various serpent mounds constructed in the American heartland. Three such mounds are those found in Adams County, Ohio, St. Peter’s River, Iowa and another serpentine mound which extends in sections over two miles in length, also in Iowa. The Great Serpent Mound located in Adams County, Ohio is believed to be the largest serpent effigy in the world at over one-quarter of a mile in length and depicts a serpent in the act of uncoiling. (70) This unusual earthwork shows the serpent with an egg, perhaps the Cosmic Egg, in its mouth. The culture that created the Great Serpent Mound is unknown since no manmade artifact has been found in connection with the site, although Adena artifacts consisting of copper breastplates, stone points and axes, and grooved sandstone have been found within 400 feet of the mound.

American folklore has a number of superstitions surrounding the snake. Among these is the notion that a snake cannot cross a horsehair rope but that horsehair placed in a bucket of water will turn into a snake. “A spotted serpent called the milk snake,” reports folklorist Vance Randolph, “is said to live by milking cows in the pasture. I know several persons who swear they have seen these snakes sucking milk cows, and they say that a cow which has been milked by a snake is always reluctant to allow a human being to touch her thereafter.” (71)

While the snake was often feared, American “hill folk” also respected it. According to Randolph, rather than say the word “snake,” like the Apache, “they say ‘look out for our friends down that way,’ or ‘there’s a lot of them old things between here and the river.’” (72)

British folklore says, “if you wear a snake skin round your head, you will never have a headache” and “snakes never die until the sun goes down, however much they may be cut in pieces.” (73) However, “if you kill one its mate will come looking for you.” (74) Another advises that to stay young—eat snake!

In 19th century Gaelic folklore the serpent is more evil than good. Campbell wrote, “A serpent, whenever encountered, ought to be killed. Otherwise, the encounter will prove an evil omen.

“The head should be completely smashed…and removed to a distance from the rest of the body. Unless this is done the serpent will again come alive. The tail, unless deprived of animation, will join the body, and the head becomes a beithir, the largest and most deadly kind of serpent.” (75)

In other cultures, like many Native American ones, there is a prohibition against killing snakes. Frazer wrote “In Madras it is considered a great sin to kill a cobra. When this has happened, the people generally burn the body of the serpent, just as they burn the bodies of human beings. The murderer deems himself polluted for three days.” (76) In other areas of the world, snakes were annually sacrificed in large numbers by burning. This occurred at Luchon in the Pyrenees on Midsummer Eve at least into the early 20th century. Considered a Pagan survival, the ritual was led by the local clergy. Frazer describes the event:

“At an appointed hour—about 8 PM—a grand procession, composed of the clergy, followed by young men and maidens in holiday attire, pour forth from the town chanting hymns, and take up their position [around a wicker-work column raised 60 feet in height]. …bonfires are lit, with beautiful effect, in the surrounding hills. As many living serpents as could be collected are now thrown into the column, which is set on fire at the base by means of torches, armed with which about fifty boys and men dance around with frantic gestures. The serpents…wriggle their way to the top…until finally obliged to drop, their struggles for life giving rise to enthusiastic delight among the surrounding spectators.” (77)

Serpents have been mercilessly hunted and killed by many cultures the world over but it is possible, according to Jyoti Sahi, that “all religions which have evolved the concept of a really personal god…have emerged out of a tradition in which serpents have been extremely important symbols of the supernatural.” (78)

The Horned Snake

Snakes with horns? They are common in Celtic artistic mythology and represent protection against all forms of catastrophe—sickness, war and all of the horrors of death. According to Miranda Green, approximately fifteen examples of horned serpents can be found in Gaul while only a handful more are seen throughout the British Isles. (79)

The ram horned serpent almost always appears as a companion to Celtic deities such as Cernunnos, who himself is stag-horned. This monstrous snake appears on the Gundestrup Cauldron on one panel with Cernunnos and on another at the head of a military march. Miranda Green noted that the ram horned snake appears on a carving at Haute Marne accompanying a goddess who feeds the snake from a basket on her knee and at Loire on a wooden sculpture with a possible Cernunnos figure. The serpent slides down the god’s arm with its head in a basket. “The repeated prosperity-symbolism,” Green writes “shown in reliefs is significant: a bronze from…Seine et Loire combines several Celtic images in curious intensity; a three-headed god sits cross-legged…[with] a ram-horned snake entwined round his body.” (80)

The horned snake was also an important religious image in other areas of the world. As noted previously, the Mesopotamian god Ningišzida was depicted as a horned snake, appearing on such items as ritual cups and city seals. Images of horned snakes were commonly used in the Mesopotamian world as magically protective charms.

NOTES

1. Gimbutas, Marija. The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco 1991, 236.
2. Markale, Jean. The Great Goddess: Reverence of the Devine Feminine From the Paleolithic to the Present. Rochester: Inner Traditions 1999, 6.
3. O’Connell, Mark and Raje Airey. The Complete Encyclopedia of Signs & Symbols. London: Hermes House 2005, 186.
4. Bryant, Page. Awakening Arthur! London: The Aquarian Press 1991, 64
5. Maringer, Johannes. The Gods of Prehistoric Man: History of Religion. London: Phoenix Press 2002, 170-171.
6. Cirlot. J. E. A Dictionary of Symbols, 2nd Edition. New York: Barnes & Noble Books 1995, 286.
7. Gimbutas, op cit, 400.
8. Gimbutas, Marija. The Language of the Goddess. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco 1991, 121.
9. Leisegang, Hans. “The Mystery of the Serpent” in Pagan and Christian Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbook, edited by Joseph Campbell. New York: The Bollingen Foundation/Harper & Row Publishers 1955, 26-27.
10. Ibid, 27.
11. Mackenzie, Donald A. Ancient Man in Britain. London: Senate 1996, 188-189. A reprint of the 1922 edition published by Blackie & Son Limited, London.
12. Campbell, Joseph. Creative Mythology: The Masks of God Volume IV. London: Secker & Warburg 1968, 120.
13. Stone, Merlin. When God Was A Woman. New York: Barnes & Noble Books 1993, 199.
14. Black, Jeremy and Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. Austin: University of Texas Press 2000, 139.
15. Ibid 140.
16. Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford. The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. London: Arkana/Penguin Books 1991, 317.
17. Cooper, J.C. An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. London : Thames and Hudson 1978, 147.
18. Cotterell, Arthur. The Encyclopedia of Mythology: Classical, Celtic, Greek. London: Hermes House 2005, 84.
19. Ely, Talfourd. The Gods of Greece and Rome. Mineola: Dover Publications Inc. 2003, 161. A reprint of the 1891 edition published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.
20. Bierhorst, John. The Mythology of Mexico and Central America. New York: William Morrow and Company 1990, 145.
21. Andrews, Tamra. A Dictionary of Nature Myths. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998, 176.
22. Markale, op cit, 6.
23. Ibid, 7.
24. As quoted by Jean Doresse, The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics. New York: MJF Books 1986, 292-293.
25. Ibid, 44.
26. Ibid, 45.
27. Ibid, 44.
28. Campbell, op cit. 151.
29. Mackenzie, Donald A. Myths and Legends Crete & Pre-Hellenic. London: Senate 1995, 261. A reprint of the 1917 edition published as Crete & Pre-Hellenic Europe by The Gresham Publishing Company, London.
30. Gimbutas, op cit, 343.
31. Cooper, op cit, 148.
32. Kasner, Leone Letson. Spirit Symbols in Native American Art. Philomath: Ayers Mountain Press 1992, 113.
33. Mooney, James. The Ghost-Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1965, 273.
34. Inwards, Richard. Weather Lore. London: Senate 1994, 144. A reprint of the 1893 edition published by Elliot Stock, London.
35. Ibid.
36. Rands, Robert L. “Some Manifestations of Water in Mesoamerican Art,” Anthropological Papers, No. 48, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 157. Washington: Smithsonian Institution 1955, 361, pgs 265-393.
37. Sahi, Jyoti. The Child and the Serpent: Reflections on Popular Indian Symbols. London: Arkana/Penguin Books 1980, 161.
38. Ibid, 165.
39. Ibid, 166.
40. Jeremy and Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. Austin: University of Texas Press 2000, 166.
41. Cooper, D. Jason. Mithras: Mysteries and Initiation Rediscovered. York Beach: Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1996, 74.
42. Walker, Barbara G. The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Edison: Castle Books 1996, 131.
43. Budge, E.A. Wallis. Babylonian Life and History. New York: Barnes & Noble Books 2005, 167.
44. Ibid.
45. Bernard, Penny. “Mermaids, Snakes and the Spirits of the Water in Southern Africa: Implications for River Health”, op cit., 3.
46. Ibid., 4.
47. Andrews, op cit, 96.
48. Mbiti, John S. African Religions and Philosophy. Garden City: Anchor Books 1970, 216.
49. Davidson, H. R. Ellis. Gods and Myths of the Viking Age. New York: Bell Publishing Company 1981, 38.
50. Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. New York: Thames & Hudson 2003, 223.
51. Ibid, 224.
52. Ibid, 228.
53. As quoted by James Bonwick in Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions. New York: Barnes & Noble Books 1986, 173. A reprint of the 1894 edition.
54. Ibid 174.
55. Ibid 168.
56. Kerrigan, Michael. “A Fierce Menagerie” in Forests of the Vampire: Slavic Myth. New York: Barnes & Noble 2003, 124.
57. Ibid.
58. Walker, James R. Lakota Belief and Ritual. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1991, 71.
59. Ibid, 122.
60. Bourke, John G. Apache Medicine-Men. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1993, 20. A reprint of the1892 edition of The Medicine-Men of the Apache published in the Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1887-88, Washington, pgs 443-603.
61. Mooney, James. Myths of the Cherokee. New York: Dover Publications 1995, 294.
62. Ibid, 296.
63. Mooney, op cit 414.
64. Opler, Morris Edward. An Apache Life-Way: The Economic, Social, and Religious Institutions of the Chiricahua Indians. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1941, 228.
65. Ibid.
66. Ibid, 227.
67. Mooney, op cit 1995, 302.
68. Ibid, 304.
69. Spence, Lewis. North American Indians Myths & Legends. London: Senate 1994, 112. A reprint of North American Indians published 1914 by George G. Harrap & Company Ltd.
70. Silverberg, Robert. Mound Builders of Ancient America: The Archaeology of a Myth. Greenwich: New York Graphic Society Ltd. 1968, 249.
71. Randolph, Vance. Ozark Magic and Folklore. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1964, 257. A reprint of the 1947 edition of Ozark Superstitions published by Columbia University Press.
72. Ibid, 258.
73. Radford, Edwin and Mona A. Encyclopaedia of Superstitions. New York: Philosophical Library 1949, 221.
74. Simpson, Jacqueline and Steve Roud. Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000, 2.
75. Campbell, John Gregorson. The Gaelic Otherworld, edited by Ronald Black. Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited 2005, 121.
76. Frazer, Sir James. The Golden Bough: A study in magic and religion. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions 1993, 222.
77. Ibid 655-656.
78. Sahi, op cit 166.
79. Green, Miranda. The Gods of the Celts. Gloucester: Alan Sutton 1986, 192.


80. Ibid.


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MessaggioOggetto: The Virgin's Serpents, Kefalonia   Ven 12 Feb 2010 - 9:50

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The Virgin's Serpents, Kefalonia

Markopoulo is a small hamlet on the road between the two main villages of the island of Kefalonia, on the side of a mountain, enjoying a superb view of the sea. Each year, on the feast of the Falling Asleep of the Virgin (August 15th) a strange phenomenon occurs. During the religious services, small snakes, marked on their heads with a black mark like the sign of the cross, emerge near the bell tower, and make their way towards the church itself.

These serpents enter the church through holes created for the bell ropes. They crawl over the furniture and over the people gathered there. They seem to make for the bishop’s throne, and the icon of the Virgin in particular. These snakes, called “Our Lady’s snakes” are harmless, and are welcomed by the people, most of whom will have come precisely to witness this event. They disappear after the celebrations as mysteriously as they arrived.



Except at this time of the year, the snakes are quite invisible. Local people go out in the evening to seek for them on the evening of the 14th, and tell the others when they have seen them, because it is believed that their appearance is a good omen, and forecasts a bountiful year to follow.

For example, older inhabitants say that in 1940 the snakes did not appear. During the following year, Greece was invaded by the Axis Forces; and the serpents failed several times to appear during the course of the Occupation.

They also did not put in an appearance in 1953, the year when the island was struck by a catastrophic earthquake.

Many visitors have remarked upon the surprising behaviour of the snakes inside the building. Usually they avoid human beings, but at this time they seem uncharacteristically tame, and quite unperturbed at being handled.



When the village was attacked by the pirates of Barbarossa in 1705, the nuns in a convent there prayed to the Virgin to be transformed into snakes in order to avoid being captured. It is said that their prayers were answered, and a miracle took place. The pirates were appalled, when they entered the precincts of the monastery, to see the floor, walls and icons covered with snakes. Since then, the snakes have returned to the village at this time of the year.

Read more about the Virgin's Serpents and other folk traditions in Festive Greece: A Calendar of Tradition

Watch videoclips of the Virgin's Serpents on Youtube:

The holy serpents, Kefalonia

The holy serpents, Kefalonia
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Mer 14 Apr 2010 - 11:33




Oltre una tonnellata di peso distribuita su 13 metri di lunghezza. Misure decisamente oversize, paragonabili ad un Tyrannosaurus Rex, quelle del serpente più lungo del mondo, che, secondo un’équipe internazionale di scienziati, viveva 60 milioni di anni fa in Sud America.

La stazza del biscione giurassico è stata dedotta sulla base di ossa fossili ritrovate dai ricercatori dello Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute a Panama e del Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università della Florida nel Cerrejon, nella Colombia del Nord.

Battezzato dai suoi scopritori Titanoboa Cerrejonensis, questo rettile gigante misurava 13 metri, pesava 1.140 chili e il suo corpo era largo almeno un metro, scrivono su Nature gli scienziati guidati dal paleontologo Jason Head dell’Università di Toronto-Mississauga. Messa a confronto con quella di una normale anaconda, la sua vertebra risulta enorme.





Il Titanoboa viveva fra 58 e 60 milioni di anni fa, quando il mondo animale si stava ancora riprendendo dall’estinzione di massa che fece scomparire i dinosauri e molte altre specie 65 milioni di anni fa, e potrebbe essere stato il più grande vertebrato non marino sulla Terra.

Le sue impressionanti dimensioni danno anche indicazioni precise sulle temperature dell’ambiente in cui viveva. “Ci sono molti modi in cui l’anatomia di una specie è correlata con l’ambiente su larga scala”, ha spiegato David Polly, geologo dell’Università dell’Indiana, che ha identificato la posizione delle vertebre fossili ritrovate nella miniera di carbone a cielo aperto del Cerrejon ed ha reso possibile ricostruire le misure del rettile. Per sopravvivere, stimano i ricercatori, il mega serpente aveva bisogno di una temperatura media di almeno 30-34 gradi, superiore a quella odierna in quella regione.



Il Titanoboa abitava in una foresta pluviale tropicale e cacciava coccodrilli, tartarughe e pesci. Non era velenoso ed aveva uno stile di vita molto simile a quello delle anaconde dei sistemi fluviali. L’ecosistema in cui viveva era simile a quello dell’Amazzonia di oggi, ma più caldo. “Gli ecosistemi tropicali del Sud America erano sorprendentemente diversi 60 milioni di anni fa”, dice il paleontologo Jonathan Bloch, del Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università della Florida. “Era una foresta pluviale ma decisamente più calda rispetto a oggi ed i rettili a sangue freddo erano molto molto più grossi rispetto quelli odierni”.

Nella spedizione al Cerrejon, gli scienziati hanno recuperato fossili di vertebre e costole provenienti da 28 esemplari diversi. Prima della scoperta del Titanoboa, il serpente più grosso noto alla scienza era Gigantophis, che viveva 39 milioni di anni fa in Egitto ed era lungo 10 metri.

http://universum-ita.blogspot.com/2009/05/scoperto-il-fossile-di-un-serpente.html


Ultima modifica di Admin il Mer 4 Ago 2010 - 13:49, modificato 1 volta
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MessaggioOggetto: Tra la Genesi Biblica, Milton e Darwin le radici evoluzionistiche del linguaggio   Gio 3 Giu 2010 - 18:21

Lessi questo articolo sulla Stampa mesi fa.

Rimasi colpito da questa ipotesi che gli antropologi elaborarono per spiegare alcune delle caratteristiche specifiche dell'essere umano in relazione ai serpenti.

Come spesso accade, lìantropologia a volte tende ad accorpare discipline di ogni genere per cercare in modo sintetico di dare risposte dinamiche a situazioni che nella nostra percezione vengono visti come dati di fatto.

A volte capita che gli antropologi se ne escano anche con ipotesi assai divertenti, senza nulla togliere alla loro validità o meno.

L'articolo in formato originale lo potete trovare sul seguente link

http://www.lastampa.it/redazione/cmsSezioni/cultura/200910articoli/48806girata.asp

Tra la Genesi Biblica, Milton e Darwin le radici evoluzionistiche del linguaggio


RICHARD NEWBURY


Nel momento in cui celebriamo i 200 anni della nascita di Charles Darwin e i 150 della prima pubblicazione dell’Origine delle specie, è bello vedere uscire dalla Harvard University Press una rigorosa ricerca che, intrecciando antropologia, neuroscienze, paleontologia e psicologia, mostra quanto siano stati saggi - per istinto o ispirazione - i creatori dei miti della Creazione che leggiamo nella Bibbia, nella Torah e nel Corano.

Quest’anno segna anche il quarto centenario della nascita di John Milton, il cui monumentale Paradiso perduto tratta della «prima disobbedienza dell’uomo» e cerca di «giustificare le vie di Dio all’uomo», oltre a piangere il Perduto Eden della Repubblica di Cromwell.

Lynne A. Isabell, nel suo The Fruit, The Tree and The Serpent. Why we see so well (Il frutto, l’albero e il serpente. Perché vediamo così bene) trova anche oggi echi umani nella Genesi: «Il serpente era il più astuto di tutti gli animali dei campi che l’Eterno Iddio aveva fatti; ed esso disse alla donna: Come! Iddio v’ha detto: Non mangiate del frutto di tutti gli alberi del giardino? E la donna rispose: Del frutto degli alberi del giardino ne possiamo mangiare; ma del frutto dell’albero ch’è in mezzo al giardino Iddio ha detto: Non ne mangiate e non ne toccate, che non abbiate a morire. E il serpente disse alla donna: No, non morrete affatto; ma Iddio sa che nel giorno che ne mangerete gli occhi vostri s’apriranno e sarete come Dio, avendo la conoscenza del bene e del male. E la donna vide che il frutto dell’albero era buono a mangiarsi, ch’era bello a vedere, e che l’albero era desiderabile per diventare intelligente; prese del frutto, ne mangiò e ne dette anche al suo marito ch’era con lei ed egli ne mangiò. Allora si apersero gli occhi ad ambedue e s’accorsero ch’erano ignudi».

Darwin vedeva la creazione dell’uomo come creazione del linguaggio, un salto inspiegabile dagli «animali privi di favella», primati compresi, all’Homo sapiens capace di parlare. Il naturalista studiava nei suoi figli gli stadi di acquisizione del linguaggio e riteneva, sbagliando, che i nativi della Tierra del Fuego si limitassero a grugnire solo perché non capiva la loro fonetica. L’altro scopritore ufficiale della «Teoria dell’Evoluzione di Darwin-Wallace», Alfred Russel Wallace, era un etnografo rivoluzionario. Capì che gli utensili primitivi degli abitanti di Papua, in mezzo ai quali era vissuto, non implicavano linguaggi altrettanto primitivi. In effetti gli attuali sei milioni di papuasi parlano 841 lingue suddivise in 60 gruppi linguistici, il che ha indotto l’Onu alla controversa proposta di fare di Papua Nuova Guinea un’area di conservazione umana.

Ma allora come siamo passati dai suoni della scimmia a Shakespeare? Purtroppo le origini del linguaggio si sono rivelate più difficili da rintracciare rispetto a quelle del cranio, degli utensili e dell’arte, dato che non lascia resti fisici. Almeno finora, e fino alla «Teoria della localizzazione del serpente» di Isabell, che si concentra sulla visione e dice semplicemente così: i sistemi visivi sono più sviluppati in quei primati che più a lungo si sono evoluti in parallelo con i serpenti velenosi. I primati, in particolare le scimmie e gli uomini, vedono meglio della maggior parte dei mammiferi. Abbiamo la profondità visiva, possiamo rilevare i colori e individuiamo istintivamente la posizione degli oggetti. In altre parole, prima rabbrividiamo poi scorgiamo il serpente nell’erba.

I serpenti hanno condiviso con noi l’evoluzione e l’ambiente - non solo il Giardino dell’Eden - e possono soffocarci, mangiarci e avvelenarci. Se si mostra a una scimmia il video di altre scimmie spaventate da serpenti, si spaventano anche loro. Cronologicamente i serpenti si sono evoluti con i primati e il cambiamento nella visione è stato maggiore nell’Eurasia, dove c’erano più serpenti che in America.

Altre specie, che per cercare il cibo si affidavano all’olfatto, non hanno sviluppato una vista acuta. «Chi si nutriva di piante o insetti non poteva permettersi sistemi olfattivi deboli, anche se avesse potuto beneficiare di un ampliamento della vista». I primati invece sono essenzialmente fruttivori e i frutti hanno un odore forte, per cui una capacità olfattiva ridotta non era pericolosa. I serpenti perciò sono la pressione-chiave della selezione naturale e «mangiare il frutto dell’albero della conoscenza» mette il cervello dei primati in condizione di rispondere alla minaccia biforcuta.

Abbiamo dunque l’albero del frutto e il serpente, ma il linguaggio e l’autoconsapevolezza? Bene: gli esseri umani, sostiene Isabell, sono l’unica specie che indica apertamente con il dito. Siamo però più capaci di seguire un movimento nel nostro campo visivo laterale che in quello frontale. Vediamo anche meglio verso il basso che verso l’alto. Isabell si chiede: «Che cosa c’era da vedere di così importante di lato e in basso da indurre cambiamenti neurologici che ci hanno resi capaci di voltarci automaticamente nella direzione di uno sguardo o di un dito puntato?». È grazie ai serpenti che è emerso il dito puntato e questo ha portato, sostiene Isabell, al fatto che solo l’Homo sapiens ha sviluppato sofisticate abilità linguistiche. Non è stata la razionalità, ma l’istinto che ha dato all’uomo le abilità linguistiche e la saggezza poetica per tramandare la storia della Creazione nella Genesi o quella degli aborigeni australiani del serpente arcobaleno che crea il mondo. È il numinoso e l’irrazionale, non la razionalità lineare, che assicura la sopravvivenza del più adatto.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 4 Giu 2010 - 7:14

Admin ha scritto:
Lessi questo articolo sulla Stampa mesi fa.

Rimasi colpito da questa ipotesi che gli antropologi elaborarono per spiegare alcune delle caratteristiche specifiche dell'essere umano in relazione ai serpenti.

Come spesso accade, lìantropologia a volte tende ad accorpare discipline di ogni genere per cercare in modo sintetico di dare risposte dinamiche a situazioni che nella nostra percezione vengono visti come dati di fatto.

A volte capita che gli antropologi se ne escano anche con ipotesi assai divertenti, senza nulla togliere alla loro validità o meno.

L'articolo in formato originale lo potete trovare sul seguente link

http://www.lastampa.it/redazione/cmsSezioni/cultura/200910articoli/48806girata.asp

Ho trovato davvero interessante questo articolo grazie Admin.

Confesso che alla fine mi ha fatto sorridere un po'...soprattutto questo punto:

Admin ha scritto:
Isabell si chiede: «Che cosa c’era da vedere di così importante di lato e in basso da indurre cambiamenti neurologici che ci hanno resi capaci di voltarci automaticamente nella direzione di uno sguardo o di un dito puntato?». È grazie ai serpenti che è emerso il dito puntato

Sembra un po' l'uovo di Colombo non credi?
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 4 Giu 2010 - 7:22

Tila ha scritto:
Admin ha scritto:
Lessi questo articolo sulla Stampa mesi fa.

Rimasi colpito da questa ipotesi che gli antropologi elaborarono per spiegare alcune delle caratteristiche specifiche dell'essere umano in relazione ai serpenti.

Come spesso accade, l'antropologia a volte tende ad accorpare discipline di ogni genere per cercare in modo sintetico di dare risposte dinamiche a situazioni che nella nostra percezione vengono visti come dati di fatto.

A volte capita che gli antropologi se ne escano anche con ipotesi assai divertenti, senza nulla togliere alla loro validità o meno.

L'articolo in formato originale lo potete trovare sul seguente link

http://www.lastampa.it/redazione/cmsSezioni/cultura/200910articoli/48806girata.asp

Ho trovato davvero interessante questo articolo grazie Admin.

Confesso che alla fine mi ha fatto sorridere un po'...soprattutto questo punto:

Admin ha scritto:
Isabell si chiede: «Che cosa c’era da vedere di così importante di lato e in basso da indurre cambiamenti neurologici che ci hanno resi capaci di voltarci automaticamente nella direzione di uno sguardo o di un dito puntato?». È grazie ai serpenti che è emerso il dito puntato

Sembra un po' l'uovo di Colombo non credi?

Grazie Tila!

Il fatto è che anche queste notizie secondo me fanno parte dell'inventario di chi fa certi percorsi di ricerca e conoscenza.

Giusto per citare qualcuno...oggi come oggi, un vero stregone deve essere in grado di comprendere il funzionamento del suo inventario, alla perfezione. espanderlo significa darsi più possibilità percettive.

L'ignoranza è sempre letale, per se stessi e per gli altri, mentre la cultura permette il fiorire delle possibilità umane, da quelle percettive alle libertà civili di cui tanto una democrazia va fiera.

Buona mattinata!!!!

P.S. cosa c'è da vedere di cosi importante di lato e in basso.... se devo dirtela tutta, un mio amico aveva letto l'articolo delle stampe mesi fa...lui la riposta la diede, ma diciamo che fu....un pò diversa... collegò l'evoluzione umana allo scappare delle donne dagli eccessi maschili... che testa di ....... beh però un antropologo potrebbe derivarne anche una ricerca con tutti i crismi no? afro
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 4 Giu 2010 - 7:34

Admin ha scritto:

Grazie Tila!
Il fatto è che anche queste notizie secondo me fanno parte dell'inventario di chi fa certi percorsi di ricerca e conoscenza.
Giusto per citare qualcuno...oggi come oggi, un vero stregone deve essere in grado di comprendere il funzionamento del suo inventario, alla perfezione. espanderlo significa darsi più possibilità percettive.
L'ignoranza è sempre letale, per se stessi e per gli altri, mentre la cultura permette il fiorire delle possibilità umane, da quelle percettive alle libertà civili di cui tanto una democrazia va fiera.
Buona mattinata!!!!
P.S. cosa c'è da vedere di cosi importante di lato e in basso.... se devo dirtela tutta, un mio amico aveva letto l'articolo delle stampe mesi fa...lui la riposta la diede, ma diciamo che fu....un pò diversa... collegò l'evoluzione umana allo scappare delle donne dagli eccessi maschili... che testa di ....... beh però un antropologo potrebbe derivarne anche una ricerca con tutti i crismi no? afro

Buondì Admin,
io sono dell'idea che non si può mai smettere di osservare...l'inventario di chi cerca la conoscenza è come una scatola che ha dimensioni che mutano ogni secondo di più...
Ero tentata anch'io di dirti cosa vedo al limite del campo visivo laterale....ma quando lo racconto la gente scappa affraid
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Mer 4 Ago 2010 - 13:49

FONTE: http://www.cryptozoology.com/cryptids/anaconda.php

Webster's Dictionary states that an anaconda is a tropical snake that reaches about 30 feet in length and crushes it's victims. This is the accepted scientist view, except for the crushing part; anacondas suffocate their prey. However, natives tell tales of a creature called the Sucuriju, a giant monster resembling a snake but much larger. These are the tales that form the enigma of Sucuriju Gigante, the giant anaconda of South America.

When the Pope gave part of South America to Spain and the other to Portugal in the Treaty of Tordesilla, the Spaniards explored this great continent of tropical forests. They came back with stories of enormous snakes which they called matora, or "bull eater". Some reports detailed them reaching over 80 feet in length. Colonel Percy Fawcett, who was sent to map out parts of the Amazon, claimed to have bagged a 62 foot long anaconda. As an officer of the Royal Engineers he was to write down his information meticulously. As he stated in his diary:
"I sprang for my rifle as the creature began to make it's way up the bank and smashed a .44 bullet into its spine. At once there was a flurry of foam and several heavy thumps against the boats keel, shaking us as though we had run on a snag. We stepped ashore and approached the creature with caution. As far as it was possible to measure, a length of 45 feet lay out of the water and 17 feet lay in the water, making it a total length of 62 feet. It's body was not thick, not more than 12 inches in diameter, but it had probably been long without food."
In 1925, Father Victor Heinz saw one of these snakes, most likely the anaconda, while on the Rio Negro of the Amazon River. He said that the visible portion was at least 80 feet long and the body was as thick as an oil drum. It was throwing up a wake as large as a river.

Bernard Huevelmans, the father of Cryptozoology, records an encounter of an anaconda with a group of Frenchmen and Brazilians.
"We saw the snake asleep in a large patch of grass. We immediately opened fire upon it. It tried to make off all in convulsions but we caught up with it and finished it off. Only then did we realize how enormous it was, when we walked around the whole length of its body it seemed like it would never end. What struck me was its enormous head, a triangle about 24 inches by 20. We had no instruments to measure the beast, but we took an arms length of string and measured it about one meter by placing it on a man's shoulder and extending it to his fingertips. We measured the snake several times and each time we got a length of 25 strings. The creature was well over 23 meters (75 feet) long."
Scientists never regard eyewitness accounts as evidence, it would take a good documentary or a body to investigate, but a body may be impossible to get out of the jungle. First it is hard to travel through the Amazon rain forest, not to mention with an 80 foot long, several ton body. Photographic evidence may be the only one possible. Up until the late 40's there was no photographic evidence for the Sucuriju, but that came to a halt in 1948.

The Diario, the newspaper of Pernambuco in Brazil, of January 24, 1948 published a picture with a headline 'Anaconda Weighing 5 Tons.' The picture shows a part of a giant anaconda that was caught by band of Indian half breeds. It was engaged in a siesta near a river with a bull half swallowed. The Indians tied a rope to its neck and tied the other end to a tree. The anaconda measured 131 feet long. Four months later the newspaper of Rio called A Noite Illustrada held a photograph of an anaconda slaughtered by Militia. It's length totaled 115 feet. Herpetologists accept neither photographs as good evidence for the larger than normal anaconda, which they accept a length of 35 feet. Unfortunately the first photograph offers almost nothing for scale except a hut in the background so it is easily dismissed as 'a normal sized anaconda ingesting nothing more than a capybara which is native to the area'. Then much more limpid evidence was produced in 1959.

Colonel Rene van Lierde was piloting his helicopter over the Katanga province of the Belgian Congo. Suddenly a gigantic snake reared up as if to attack his helicopter. He lifted up and took several photos of the snake and continued his journey. His estimate of the size of the snake was about 40-50 feet, and that is the same estimation made by zoologists who later examined the photo. Even still, the largest scientifically measured snake was a 32 foot long reticulated python killed in Indonesia as the world's longest snake. Until one of these magnificent creatures is brought in, dead or alive, the Sucuriju will always be known as a cryptid.

Selected Sources:
Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, Simon Welfare & John Fairley
Claws, Jaws, and Dinosaurs, William J. Gibbons and Dr. Kent Hovind





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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Mer 4 Ago 2010 - 14:05

http://cryptozoo-oscity.blogspot.com/2010/02/tales-of-sucuriju-gigante-giant.html


Tales of Sucuriju Gigante , the giant anaconda

Sucuriju Gigante (means giant Anaconda), is said to be giant snake, that controls the rivers it lives in. There are ancient tales that say it made the Amazon River. Since the discovery of the fossils of Gigantophis garstini, a large snake from the Priabonian age of the Eocene ( about 30 million years ago)that could reach 33 feet (11 metres) in length, and the more recently discovered fossils of Titanoboa cerrejonensis( from about 50-60million years ago) that reached 43 feet (14 metres) , there has been some speculation it could actually exist and be an ancestor of the prehistoric creature. There have been supposed sightings of giant snakes in South America for many years .
In1846, George Gardner wrote about his travels in Brazil .He said he saw a dead giant snake on the lands of a Senhor Lagoeira which was thirty-three feet long.

In 1907, Major Percy Fawcett, explorer , whilst in the Amazon, told of two encounters with the Sucuriju gigante. The first mention was when the manager at Yorongas told Fawcett he had killed an anaconda fifty-eight feet long in the Lower Amazon. Then although initially doubtful he has his own encounter:

We were drifting along in the sluggish current not far below the confluence of the Rio Negro when ... there appeared a triangular head and several feet of undulating body. It was a giant anaconda. I sprang for my rifle ... and hardly waiting to aim smashed a .44 soft-nosed bullet into its spine ... As far as it was possible to measure, a length of forty-five feet lay out of the water, and seventeen feet in it, making a total length of sixty-two feet ... A penetrating foetid odour emanated from the snake, probably its breath, which is believed to have a stupefying effect ... The Brazilian Boundary Commission told me of one killed in the Rio Paraguay exceeding eighty feet in length!

In May 1922 Father Victor Heinz saw a monster snake near the town of Obidos, on the shores of the Amazon. He claimed it was nearly eighty feet in length.

In 1923, F.W. Up de Graff reported that an anaconda he had seen lying in the water beneath his canoe measured fifty feet in length.

Father Heinz then had a second encounter in 1929. This however was not quite as dramatic. He was at the mouth of the Rio Piaba, near Alemquer, when he saw two large lights appear near the surface of the water. He was told the giant anaconda lived in the area and presumed it was it’s eyes in the water.

Father Heinz than started collecting stories about the giant snakes. These included the accounts of trader Reymondo Zima who said that in July 1930 he had come across a serpent with glowing eyes in the Rio Jamunda, opposite the town of Faro. In September 1930 Joao Penha claimed to have seen one in the Rio Iguarape. This snake pushed a wall of submerged debris nine hundred feet( 300metres) and also had glowing eyes. More recently was the account of Paul Tarvalho, from 1948,again near Faro. He said saw a snake emerge from the water that was about 150 feet ( 50 metres) long..

Bernard Heuvelmans, wrote the about Sucuriju Gigante, and said a skin kept at the Butantan Institute in Brazil was about thirty feet in length. The painter Serge Bonacase told Heuvelmans of an encounter with a Sucuriju that he had in 1947. Bonacase's sighting took place in the swampy area between the Rio Manso and the Rio Cristalino and twenty other men where with him at the time. Bonacase estimated the snake's length at about seventy feet.

The Diario, the newspaper of Pernambuco in Brazil, of January 24, 1948 published a picture with a headline 'Anaconda Weighing 5 Tons.' The picture showed a part of a giant anaconda that was caught by the river. It was said to measure 131 feet ( 43 meters) long. Four months later another e newspaper A Noite Illustrada printed a photograph of a dead anaconda said to be 115 feet( 38 metres) long . From the photographs though it was difficult to estimate if that was the actual size.

In 1995 botanist Grace Rebelo dos Santos saw two bluish lights nearly a foot apart, when a net became caught on something large and heavy.. She cautiously suggested that this might be a giant anaconda. Later the same year she saw a "waterspout" about ten inches tall, and a long, dark shape could be seen underneath it, perhaps another sighting.

So could a snake really be that big? It is possible as snakes have been found 23 feet ( about 7.6 metres) long and who is to say that there are not large versions out there. I would love to see one, but not up close! Snakes are fascinating creatures.


For interest some more about Percy Fawcett:http://www.phfawcettsweb.org/anaconda.htm

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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 1 Ott 2010 - 18:24

Buona sera Admin,

visto che in uno dei tuoi post precedenti se ne era parlato...ecco qui il Serpente Arcobaleno


FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Serpent

Rainbow Serpent
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about an Australian Aboriginal mythological figure. For the aquatic snake found in the southeastern United States, see Farancia erytrogramma. For the Australian music festival, see Rainbow Serpent Festival.

The Rainbow Serpent is a common motif in the art & mythology of Aboriginal Australia. It is named for the snake-like meandering of water across a landscape, and the color spectrum caused when sunlight strikes water at an appropriate angle relative to the observer. (this makes the water a rainbow)

The Rainbow Serpent is seen as the inhabitant of permanent waterholes and is in control of life's most precious resource, water. He is the underlying Aboriginal mythology for the famous Outback "bunyip". He is the sometimes unpredictable Rainbow Serpent, who vies with the ever-reliable Sun, that replenishes the stores of water, forming gullies and deep channels as he slithered across the landscape, allowing for the collection and distribution of water.

Dreamtime stories tell of the great Spirits during creation, in animal and human form they molded the barren and featureless earth. The Rainbow Serpent came from beneath the ground and created huge ridges, mountains and gorges as it pushed upward. The Rainbow Serpent is known as Ngalyod by the Gunwinggu and Borlung by the Miali. He is a serpent of immense proportions which inhabits deep permanent waterholes.[1]

Serpent stories vary according to environmental differences. Tribes of the monsoonal areas depict an epic interaction of the Sun, Serpent and wind in their Dreamtime stories, whereas tribes of the central desert experience less drastic seasonal shifts and their stories reflect this.

It is known both as a benevolent protector of its people (the groups from the country around) and as a malevolent punisher of law breakers. The rainbow serpent's mythology is closely linked to land, water, life, social relationships and fertility.

There are innumerable names and stories associated with the serpent, all of which communicate the significance and power of this being within Aboriginal traditions.

The myth of the Rainbow serpent is sometimes associated with Wonambi naracoortensis, a large snake of the now extinct megafauna of Australia.[citation needed]


Australian Aboriginal rock painting of the "Rainbow Serpent".


FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_mythology#Rainbow_Serpent

Aboriginal Mythology: Pan-Australian Myths

Rainbow Serpent

In 1926 a British anthropologist specialising in Australian Aboriginal ethnology and ethnography, Professor Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, noted many Aboriginal groups widely distributed across the Australian continent all appeared to share variations of a single (common) myth telling of an unusually powerful, often creative, often dangerous snake or serpent of sometimes enormous size closely associated with the rainbows, rain, rivers, and deep waterholes.[20]

Radcliffe-Brown coined the term 'Rainbow Serpent' to describe what he identified to be a common, re-occurring myth. Working in the field in various places on the Australian continent, he noted the key character of this myth (the 'Rainbow Serpent') is variously named:[20]

Kanmare (Boulia, Queensland); Tulloun: (Mount Isa, Queensland); Andrenjinyi (Pennefather River, Queensland), Takkan (Maryborough, Queensland); Targan (Brisbane, Queensland); Kurreah (Broken Hill, New South Wales);Wawi (Riverina, New South Wales), Neitee & Yeutta (Wilcannia, New South Wales), Myndie (Melbourne, Victoria); Bunyip (Western Victoria); Wogal (Perth, Western Australia); Wanamangura (Laverton, Western Australia); Kajura (Carnarvon, Western Australia); Numereji (Kakadu, Northern Territory).

This 'Rainbow Serpent' is generally and variously identified by those who tell 'Rainbow Serpent' myths, as a snake of some enormous size often living within the deepest waterholes of many of Australia's waterways; descended from that larger being visible as a dark streak in the Milky Way, it reveals itself to people in this world as a rainbow as it moves through water and rain, shaping landscapes, naming and singing of places, swallowing and sometimes drowning people; strengthening the knowledgeable with rainmaking and healing powers; blighting others with sores, weakness, illness, and death.[20]

Even Australia's 'Bunyip' was identified as a 'Rainbow Serpent' myth of the above kind.[21] The term coined by Radcliffe-Brown is now commonly used and familiar to broader Australian and international audiences, as it is increasingly used by government agencies, museums, art galleries, Aboriginal organisations and the media to refer to the pan-Australian Aboriginal myth specifically, and as a short-hand allusion to Australian Aboriginal mythology generally.[22]



FONTE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpente_Arcobaleno

Serpente Arcobaleno

Il Serpente arcobaleno è una creatura leggendaria di grande importanza per gli Aborigeni australiani, probabilmente di origine nord-australiana.

È un abitante delle pozze d'acqua del deserto australiano, fonti permanenti d'acqua importanti per il sostentamento degli aborigeni. È il Serpente, a volte imprevedibile, che nasce assieme al sole riempiendo i depositi e dando vita ai profondi burroni che attraversano il deserto, distribuendo così l'acqua.

Le storie del Dreamtime ("Tempo dei sogni") narrano di grandi Spiriti che, assumendo forme animali e umane, modellarono la terra allora sterile. Il Serpente Arcobaleno venne dal sottosuolo e creò rilievi montuosi e canyon profondi mentre risaliva in superficie. È conosciuto anche con il nome di Ngalyod dai Gunwinggu e Borlung dai Miali.

I racconti variano di zona in zona: le tribù dell'area monsonica raccontano delle interazioni epiche, a volte violente, tra il Sole, il Serpente e il vento nel loro Dreamtime, mentre le storie delle tribù del deserto centrale, che subiscono minori sbalzi climatici, riflettono una maggiore tranquillità.

È conosciuto come un protettore benevolo delle proprie genti e come un feroce giudice di chi vìola le leggi. Il Serpente è strettamente legato alla Terra, all'Acqua, alla Vita, alle relazioni sociali e alla fertilità.
Bibliografia [modifica]

* (EN) Robert Lawlor, Voices Of The First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal dreamtime, Rochester, Vermont, Inner Traditions International, Ltd, 1991. ISBN 0892813555
* (EN) Jennifer Isaacs, Australian Dreaming: 40,000 Years of Aboriginal History, Lansdowne Press, 1995. ISBN 070181330X
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Femminile Serpente
Numero di messaggi : 1826
Data d'iscrizione : 22.03.10
Età : 39
Località : Prov. CN

MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 12 Nov 2010 - 22:11

FONTE: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/snake-symbolic-meaning.html

Snake symbolic meaning, overwhelmingly and in various cultures, deals with primordial life force and usually turns our attention to gender supremacy (both male and female).

Consequently, snakes span the symbolic bridge between lunar and solar associations as well as aspects between water and fire.

Coiled within this polarity, we clearly see symbolism of duality and the search for balance. Other snake symbolic meaning includes:

* Cycles
* Rebirth
* Patience
* Fertility
* Eternity
* Balance
* Cunning
* Intuition
* Awareness
* Healing
* Intellect
* Protection
* Solemnity
* Rejuvenation
* Transformation
* Occult (hidden) Knowledge
* Male/Female, Yin-Yang, Duality


As a Native American Indian symbol (depending on the nation/tribe) the snake can be a masculine symbol, associated with the phallus of lightning which is considered a medicine staff of tremendous assertive power. Other tribes lean in the direction of feminine attribution for the snake and pair it with mothering (creation), and lunar (moon) symbolism.

Whether raising itself in masculine authority, or encircling the Earth in a motherly fashion – the snake symbol of the Native American’s was highly regarded; utilized in ritual to invoke an element of pointed focus and weighty influence.

The ancient Celts were extremely nature-wise too, and approached snake symbolism from the behavior and life cycle of this magnificent creature. From the Celtic perspective, the snake was a symbol of secret knowledge, cunning and transformation.

Further, the snake Celtic symbol comes from observations of the European viper (also known as the adder) which is the only (along with the common grass snake) species able to tolerate the colder climate of the ancient Celts.

In the keen Celtic mind, snake symbolic meaning of transformation came from the shedding of its skin. Physical evidence of leaving its form behind (casting off the old self), and emerging a sleeker, newer version made the snake a powerful symbol of rebirth and renewal.

As far as the occult (hidden) symbolic meaning in Celtic and other cultures, this can be connected to the sleuth-like ways of the snake.

Disappearing in colder months and summoned by the sun marks the snake’s connection to the shadow worlds with its successful ability to live within the dark realms for extended periods of time. Alternatively, the snake softly moves into the embrace of the sun, and so it encapsulates the ancient magician's creed of moving in perfect rhythm of natural forces.

In Eastern Indian myth the Sanskrit word for snake is naga and these are associated with the element of water. Picking up water’s symbolism of emotion, love and motion, nagas in this light are considered a feminine aspect and embody nurturing, benevolent, wise qualities.

To wit, the practice of nagayuna in Eastern Indian alchemy seeks to achieve loving harmony between the physical and ethereal. Simply put, all of us striving to better ourselves by calmly easing into places of personal balance within the cosmic balance of the whole are practicing this ancient technique.

Snake tattoo symbolism varies according to the bearer of the mark. For example, I have a back piece depicting two serpents (nagas) wrapped around the seven prime chakras down the length of my spine. This (to me) incorporates the kundalini power available to all humans.

Additionally, this entwined snake imagery hearkens to the caduceus, in which the staves of Asclepius are made of two polar (and copulating) serpents which symbolizes balance, equanimity, union and regeneration.

Double snakes are common in almost all cultural symbolic languages. Ultimately the double snake is an icon representing:

* Connection between primal forces
* Integration of opposites
* Advanced communication
* Joining together on a divine level
* Making whole what was once fragmented and doing so in a magical, organic way.

Carrying this dual snake imagery a step further, we could look to the language of science. Observe the formation of DNA and how it forms a perfect, serpentine double helix (shown left). This prompts us to consider how the energetic mind is connected to the grander whole, and how it so effortlessly makes graceful connections between the basic building blocks of data with the manifestations of the natural world.

There is no doubt, the snake is a unifying force embodying infinite messages to those who are energetically available to perceive them. Alchemists understood this, and thus incorporated the philosophy of snakes in their grimoires, practices, and even their daily life.

Indeed, alchemy literature is rife with the image of the uroboros which is symbolic of conceptualizing totality – embracing the whole of consciousness and devouring it with unquenchable passion.

As an animal totem, the snake surfaces into our awareness with all the power of the symbolic attributes listed on this page (and more). Those who are drawn to the snake (and vice versa) are gifted at perceiving life through an uncommon lens. Other characteristics of those who are connected to snake energy include:

* A natural ability to balance energies (you’re likely a gifted healer)
* Diplomatic and eloquent in areas of speech and writing
* Dynamically intuitive (often knowing other’s thoughts and emotional states without trying)
* Impulsive, but not without careful consideration – this may sound paradoxical, but those with the snake totem know what I mean here.

I invite you to step into the calming energy of the snake, and see what this noble creature offers you in the form of messages, growth, and enlightenment.

Further, it should be understood this page is but a miniscule sampling of the diverse snake symbolic meaning s available to us. Therefore, I encourage you to slither into your own personal ruminations, research and meditation of the snake.
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Femminile Serpente
Numero di messaggi : 1826
Data d'iscrizione : 22.03.10
Età : 39
Località : Prov. CN

MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 19 Nov 2010 - 21:51

FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_worship

Snake worship
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The worship of serpent deities is present in several old cultures, particularly in religion and mythology, where snakes were seen as entities of strength and renewal.

Contents
[hide]

* 1 Hindu mythology
* 2 Cambodian mythology
* 3 Ancient Near East
* 4 Greek mythology
* 5 Ancient Europe
* 6 Nordic mythology
* 7 African mythology
* 8 Australian Aborigine mythology
* 9 Native American mythology
* 10 Snake handling in Christianity
* 11 Images related to snake worship
* 12 Other snake gods
* 13 See also
* 14 References
* 15 Sources
* 16 External links

[edit] Hindu mythology

Snake worship refers to the high status of snakes or (nagas) in Hindu mythology. Nāga (Sanskrit:नाग) is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very large snake, found in Hinduism and Buddhism. The use of the term nāga is often ambiguous, as the word may also refer, in similar contexts, to one of several human tribes known as or nicknamed "Nāgas"; to elephants; and to ordinary snakes, particularly the King Cobra and the Indian Cobra, the latter of which is still called nāg in Hindi and other languages of India. A female nāga is a nāgī. The Snake primarily represents rebirth, death and mortality, due to its casting of its skin and being symbolically "reborn". Over a large part of India there are carved representations of cobras or nagas or stones as substitutes. To these human food and flowers are offered and lights are burned before the shrines. Among some South Indian, a cobra which is accidentally killed is burned like a human being; no one would kill one intentionally. The serpent-god's image is carried in an annual procession by a celibate priestess.

At one time there were many prevalent different renditions of the serpent cult located in India. In Northern India, a masculine version of the serpent named Nagaraja and known as the “king of the serpents” was worshipped. Instead of the “king of the serpents,” actual live snakes were worshipped in South India (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 1). The Manasa-cult in Bengal, India, however, was dedicated to the anthropomorphic serpent goddess, Manasa (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 1).

Nāgas form an important part of Hindu mythology. They play prominent roles in various legends:

1. Shesha (Adisesha, Sheshnaga, or the 1,000 headed snake) upholds the world on his many heads and is said to be used by Lord Vishnu to rest. Shesha also sheltered Lord Krishna from a thunderstorm during his birth.
2. Vasuki allowed himself to be coiled around Mount Mandara by the Devas and Asuras to churn the milky ocean creating the ambrosia of immortality.
3. Kaliya poisoned the Yamuna / Jamuna river where he lived. Krishna (Balakrishna / infant Krishna) subdued Kaliya by dancing on him and compelled him to leave the river.
4. Manasa is the queen of the snakes. She is also referred to as Manasha or "Ma Manasha". "Ma" being the universal mother.
5. Ananta is the endless snake who circles the world.
6. Padmanabha (or Padmaka) is the guardian snake of the south.
7. Astika is half Brahmin and half naga.
8. Kulika

Lord Shiva also wears a snake around his neck

Nag panchami is an important Hindu festival associated with snake worship which takes place of the fifth day of Shravana. Snake idols are offered gifts of milk and incense to help the worshipper to gain knowledge, wealth, and fame.

Different districts of Bengal celebrated the serpent in various ways. In the Bengal districts of East Mymensing, West Syhlet, and North Tippera, serpent-worship rituals were very similar, however (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 5). On the very last day of the Bengali month Sravana (July–August), all of these districts celebrated serpent-worship each year (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 5). Regardless of their class and station, every family during this time created a clay model of the serpent-deity – usually the serpent-goddess with two snakes spreading their hoods on her shoulders. The people worshipped this model at their homes and sacrificed a goat or a pigeon for the deity’s honor (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 5). Before the clay goddess was submerged in water at the end of the festival, the clay snakes were taken from her shoulders. The people believed that the earth these snakes were made from cured illnesses, especially children’s diseases (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 6).

These districts also worshipped an object know as a Karandi (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 6).Resembling a small house made of cork, the Karandi is decorated with images of snakes, the snake goddess, and snake legends on its walls and roof (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 6). The blood of the sacrificed animals was sprinkled on the Karandi and it also was submerged in the river at the end of the festival (Bhattacharyya 1965, p. 6).There are several more interesting examples of serpent-worship in India, see "The Serpent as the Folk-Deity in Bengal" for more information.

[edit] Cambodian mythology

Serpents, or nāgas, play a particularly important role in Cambodian mythology. A well-known story explains the emergence of the Khmer people from the union of Indian and indigenous elements, the latter being represented as nāgas. According to the story, an Indian brahmana named Kaundinya came to Cambodia, which at the time was under the dominion of the naga king. The naga princess Soma sallied forth to fight against the invader but was defeated. Presented with the option of marrying the victorious Kaundinya, Soma readily agreed to do so, and together they ruled the land. The Khmer people are their descendants.[1]

[edit] Ancient Near East

Ancient Mesopotamians and Semites believed that snakes were immortal because they could infinitely shed their skin and appear forever youthful, appearing in a fresh guise every time. [1] Before the arrival of the Israelites, snake cults were well established in Canaan in the Bronze Age, for archaeologists have uncovered serpent cult objects in Bronze Age strata at several pre-Israelite cities in Canaan: two at Megiddo,[2] one at Gezer,[3] one in the sanctum sanctorum of the Area H temple at Hazor,[4] and two at Shechem.[5]

in the surrounding region, serpent cult objects figured in other cultures. A late Bronze Age Hittite shrine in northern Syria contained a bronze statue of a god holding a serpent in one hand and a staff in the other.[6] In sixth-century Babylon a pair of bronzer serpents flanked each of the four doorways of the temple of Esagila.[7] At the Babylonian New Year's festival, the priest was to commission from a woodworker, a metalworker and a goldsmith two images one of which "shall hold in its left hand a snake of cedar, raising its right [hand] to the god Nabu".[8] At the tell of Tepe Gawra, at least seventeen Early Bronze Age Assyrian bronze serpents were recovered.[9]

[edit] Greek mythology

Serpents figured prominently in archaic Greek myths. According to some sources, Ophion ("serpent", a.k.a. Ophioneus), ruled the world with Eurynome before the two of them were cast down by Cronus and Rhea. The oracles of the Ancient Greeks were said to have been the continuation of the tradition begun with the worship of the Egyptian cobra goddess, Wadjet.

The Minoan Snake Goddess brandished a serpent in either hand, perhaps evoking her role as source of wisdom, rather than her role as Mistress of the Animals (Potnia theron), with a leopard under each arm. She is a Minoan version of the Canaanite fertility goddess Asherah[citation needed]. It is not by accident that later the infant Heracles, a liminal hero on the threshold between the old ways and the new Olympian world, also brandished the two serpents that "threatened" him in his cradle. Classical Greeks did not perceive that the threat was merely the threat of wisdom. But the gesture is the same as that of the Cretan goddess.

Typhon the enemy of the Olympian gods is described as a vast grisly monster with a hundred heads and a hundred serpents issuing from his thighs, who was conquered and cast into Tartarus by Zeus, or confined beneath volcanic regions, where he is the cause of eruptions. Typhon is thus the chthonic figuration of volcanic forces. Amongst his children by Echidna are Cerberus (a monstrous three-headed dog with a snake for a tail and a serpentine mane), the serpent tailed Chimaera, the serpent-like chthonic water beast Lernaean Hydra and the hundred-headed serpentine dragon Ladon. Both the Lernaean Hydra and Ladon were slain by Heracles.

Python was the earth-dragon of Delphi, she always was represented in the vase-paintings and by sculptors as a serpent. Pytho was the chthonic enemy of Apollo, who slew her and remade her former home his own oracle, the most famous in Classical Greece.


Statue of Asclepius in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2005-12-28_Berlin_Pergamon_museum_Statue_of_Asklepios.jpg

Amphisbaena a Greek word, from amphis, meaning "both ways", and bainein, meaning "to go", also called the "Mother of Ants", is a mythological, ant-eating serpent with a head at each end. According to Greek mythology, the mythological amphisbaena was spawned from the blood that dripped from Medusa the Gorgon's head as Perseus flew over the Libyan Desert with her head in his hand.

Medusa and the other Gorgons were vicious female monsters with sharp fangs and hair of living, venomous snakes whose origins predate the written myths of Greece and who were the protectors of the most ancient ritual secrets. The Gorgons wore a belt of two intertwined serpents in the same configuration of the caduceus. The Gorgon was placed at the highest point and central of the relief on the Parthenon.

Asclepius, the son of Apollo and Koronis, learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another (which Asclepius himself had fatally wounded) healing herbs. To prevent the entire human race from becoming immortal under Asclepius's care, Zeus killed him with a bolt of lightning. Asclepius' death at the hands of Zeus illustrates man's inability to challenge the natural order that separates mortal men from the gods. In honor of Asclepius, snakes were often used in healing rituals. Non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor in dormitories where the sick and injured slept. In The Library, Apollodorus claimed that Athena gave Asclepius a vial of blood from the Gorgons. Gorgon blood had magical properties: if taken from the left side of the Gorgon, it was a fatal poison; from the right side, the blood was capable of bringing the dead back to life. However Euripides wrote in his tragedy Ion that the Athenian queen Creusa had inherited this vial from her ancestor Erichthonios, who was a snake himself and receiving the vial from Athena. In this version the blood of Medusa had the healing power while the lethal poison originated from Medusa's serpents.

Laocoön was allegedly a priest of Poseidon (or of Apollo, by some accounts) at Troy; he was famous for warning the Trojans in vain against accepting the Trojan Horse from the Greeks, and for his subsequent divine execution. Poseidon (some say Athena), who was supporting the Greeks, subsequently sent sea-serpents to strangle Laocoön and his two sons, Antiphantes and Thymbraeus. Another tradition states that Apollo sent the serpents for an unrelated offense, and only unlucky timing caused the Trojans to misinterpret them as punishment for striking the Horse.

Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great and a princess of the primitive land of Epirus, had the reputation of a snake-handler, and it was in serpent form that Zeus was said to have fathered Alexander upon her; tame snakes were still to be found at Macedonian Pella in the 2nd century AD (Lucian, Alexander the false prophet) and at Ostia a bas-relief shows paired coiled serpents flanking a dressed altar, symbols or embodiments of the Lares of the household, worthy of veneration (Veyne 1987 illus p 211).

Aeetes, the king of Colchis and father of the sorceress Medea, possessed the Golden Fleece. He guarded it with a massive serpent that never slept. Medea, who had fallen in love with Jason of the Argonauts, enchanted it to sleep so Jason could seize the Fleece.


[edit] Ancient Europe

Serpent worship was well known in ancient Europe. There does not appear to be much ground for supposing that the roman god Aesculapius was a serpent-god in spite of his connection with serpents. On the other hand, we learn from Herodotus of the great serpent which defended the citadel of Athens. The Roman genius loci took the form of a serpent where a snake was kept and fed with milk in the temple of Potrimpos, an old Slavonic god. On the Iberian Peninsula there is evidence that before the introduction of Christianity, and perhaps more strongly before invasions of the Romans, Serpent-worship was part of local religion. To this day there are numerous traces in popular belief, especially in Germany, of respect for the snake, which seems to be a survival of ancestor worship, such as still exists among the Zulus and other tribes; the "house-snake," as it is called, cares for the cows and the children, and its appearance is an omen of death, and the life of a pair of house-snakes is often held to be bound up with that of the master and mistress themselves. Tradition says that one of the Gnostic sects known as the Ophites caused a tame serpent to coil round the sacramental bread and worshipped it as the representative of the Saviour.

[edit] Nordic mythology


Jörmungandr, alternately referred to as the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent, is a sea serpent of the Norse mythology, the middle child of Loki and the giantess Angrboða. However, there is nothing to indicate that the Norsemen ever worshipped this or other snake-like beings such as Fafnir.

According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki's three children, Fenrisúlfr, Hel and Jörmungandr. He tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so big that he was able to surround the Earth and grasp his own tail, and as a result he earned the alternate name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. Jörmungandr's arch enemy is the god Thor.

[edit] African mythology


Mami Wata, who plays a major role in various African and African-American religions[10][11]
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mami_Wata_poster.png

In Africa the chief centre of serpent worship was Dahomey. but the cult of the python seems to have been of exotic origin, dating back to the first quarter of the 17th century. By the conquest of Whydah the Dahomeyans were brought in contact with a people of serpent worshippers, and ended by adopting from them the beliefs which they at first despised. At Whydah, the chief centre, there is a serpent temple, tenanted by some fifty snakes. Every python of the danh-gbi kind must be treated with respect, and death is the penalty for killing one, even by accident. Danh-gbi has numerous wives, who until 1857 took part in a public procession from which the profane crowd was excluded; a python was carried round the town in a hammock, perhaps as a ceremony for the expulsion of evils. The rainbow-god of the Ashanti was also conceived to have the form of a snake. His messenger was said to be a small variety of boa. but only certain individuals, not the whole species, were sacred. In many parts of Africa the serpent is looked upon as the incarnation of deceased relatives. Among the Amazulu, as among the Betsileo of Madagascar, certain species are assigned as the abode of certain classes. The Maasai, on the other hand, regard each species as the habitat of a particular family of the tribe.

Eva Meyerowitz wrote of an earthenware pot that was stored at the Museum of Achimota College in Gold Coast. The base of the neck of this pot is surrounded by the rainbow snake (Meyerowitz 1940, p. 48). The legend of this creature explains that the rainbow snake only emerged from its home when it was thirsty. Keeping its tail on the ground the snake would raise its head to the sky looking for the rain god. As it drank great quantities of water, the snake would spill some which would fall to the earth as rain (Meyerowitz 1940, p. 48).

There are four other snakes on the sides of this pot: Danh – gbi, the life giving snake, Li, for protection, Liwui, which was associated with Wu, god of the sea, and Fa, the messenger of the gods (Meyerowitz 1940, p. 48). The first three snakes Danh – gbi, Li, Liwui were all worshipped at Whydah, Dahomey where the serpent cult originated (Meyerowitz 1940, p. 48). For the Dahomeans, the spirit of the serpent was one to be feared as he was unforgiving (Nida & Smalley 1959, p. 17). They believed that the serpent spirit could manifest itself in any long, winding objects such as plant roots and animal nerves. They also believed it could manifest itself as the umbilical cord, making it a symbol of fertility and life (Nida & Smalley 1959, p. 17).

The Ancient Egyptians worshiped a number of snake gods, including Apophis and Set, and the Sumerians before them had a serpent god Ningizzida.

[edit] Australian Aborigine mythology

In Australia, the Aboriginal people worship a huge python, known by a variety of names but universally referred to as the Rainbow Serpent, that was said to have created the landscape, embodied the spirit of fresh water and punished lawbreakers. The Aborigines in southwest Australia called the serpent the Waugyl, while the Warramunga of the east coast worshipped the mythical Wollunqua.

[edit] Native American mythology


Quetzalcoatl depicted as a snake devouring a man, from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Quetzalcoatl_telleriano.jpg

In America some of the Native American tribes give reverence to the rattlesnake as grandfather and king of snakes who is able to give fair winds or cause tempest. Among the Hopi of Arizona the serpent figures largely in one of the dances. The rattlesnake was worshipped in the Natchez temple of the sun and the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl was a feathered serpent-god. In many MesoAmerican cultures, the serpent was regarded as a portal between two worlds. The tribes of Peru are said to have adored great snakes in the pre-Inca days and in Chile the Mapuche made a serpent figure in their deluge beliefs. The Mound Builders associated great mystical value to the serpent, as the Serpent Mound demonstrates, though we are unable to unravel the particular associations.

[edit] Snake handling in Christianity

Contemporary Christian culture identifies the snake as a symbol of evil, tempting Adam and Eve into the fall of man. Snake handling is a religious ritual in a small number of Christian churches in the U.S., usually characterized as rural and Pentecostal, particularly the Church of God with Signs Following. Practitioners believe it dates to antiquity and quote the Bible to support the practice, especially:

"They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:18)

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10:19)

References

1. ^ Chandler, A History of Cambodia, p.13.
2. ^ Gordon Loud, Megiddo II: Plates plate 240: 1, 4, from Stratum X (dated by Loud 1650-1550 BC) and Statum VIIB (dated 1250-1150 BC), noted by Karen Randolph Joines, "The Bronze Serpent in the Israelite Cult" Journal of Biblical Literature 87.3 (September 1968:245-256) p. 245 note 2.
3. ^ R.A.S. Macalister, Gezer II, p. 399, fig. 488, noted by Joiner 1968:245 note 3, from the high place area, dated Late Bronze Age.
4. ^ Yigael Yadin et al. Hazor III-IV: Plates, pl. 339, 5, 6, dated Late Bronze Age II (Yadiin to Joiner, in Joiner 1968:245 note 4).
5. ^ Callaway and Toombs to Joiner (Joiner 1968:246 note 5).
6. ^ Maurice Viera, Hittite Art (London, 1955) fig. 114.
7. ^ Leonard W. King, A History of Babylon, p. 72.
8. ^ Pritchard ANET, 331, noted in Joines 1968:246 and note 8.
9. ^ E.A. Speiser, Excavations at Tepe Gawra: I. Levels I-VIII, p. 114ff., noted in Joines 1968:246 and note 9.
10. ^ Jell-Bahlsen 1997, p. 105
11. ^ Chesi 1997, p. 255)

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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 26 Nov 2010 - 11:59

FONTE: Apep

In Egyptian mythology, Apep (also spelled Apepi, and Aapep, or Apophis in Greek) was an evil god, the deification of darkness and chaos (isfet in Egyptian), and thus opponent of light and Ma'at (order/truth), whose existence was believed from the Middle Kingdom onwards. His name is reconstructed by Egyptologists as *ʻAʼpāpī, as it was written ꜥꜣpp(y) and survived in later Coptic as Aphōph.

Apep formed part of the more complex cosmic system resulting from the identification of Ra as Atum, i.e. the creation of Atum-Ra, and the subsequent merging of the Ogdoad and Ennead systems. Consequently, since Atum-Ra, who was later referred to simply as Ra, was the solar deity, bringer of light, and thus the upholder of Ma'at, Apep was viewed as the greatest enemy of Ra, and thus was given the title Enemy of Ra.As the personification of all that was evil, Apep was seen as a giant snake/serpent, crocodile, or occasionally as a dragon in later years, leading to such titles as Serpent from the Nile and Evil Lizard. Some elaborations even said that he stretched 16 yards in length and had a head made of flint. It is to be noted that already on a Naqada I (ca. 4000 BCE) C-ware bowl (now in Cairo) a snake was painted on the inside rim combined with other desert and aquatic animals as a possible enemy of a (solar?) deity who is invisibly hunting in a big rowing vessel.[2] Also, comparable hostile snakes as enemies of the sun god existed under other names (in the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts) already before the name Apep occurred. The etymology of his name ('3pp) is perhaps to be sought in some west-semitic language where a word root 'pp meaning 'to slither' existed. A verb root '3pp does at any rate not exist elsewhere in Ancient Egyptian. (It is not to be confused with the verb 'pi/'pp: 'to fly across the sky, to travel') Apep's name much later came to be falsely connected etymologically in Egyptian with a different root meaning (he who was) spat out; the Romans referred to Apep by this translation of his name.After the end of the Middle Kingdom, the foreign Hyksos, now rulers over Egypt, chose Set as their favorite deity, since he had been protector of Ra, and was associated with Lower Egypt, where their power base was. Consequently, because the foreign overlords were hated by nationalistic groups, Set became gradually demonised, and started being thought of as an evil god. Indeed, because of the extreme level of nationalism and xenophobia, Set eventually became thought of as the god of evil, and gradually took on all the characteristics of Apep. Consequently, Apep's identity was eventually entirely subsumed by that of Set.[3]



Battles with Ra




Tales of Apep's battles against Ra were elaborated during the New Kingdom.[4] Since nearly everyone can see that the sun is not attacked by a giant snake during the day, every day, storytellers said that Apep must lie just below the horizon. This appropriately made him a part of the underworld. In some stories Apep waited for Ra in a western mountain called Bakhu, where the sun set, and in others Apep lurked just before dawn, in the Tenth region of the Night. The wide range of Apep's possible location gained him the title World Encircler. It was thought that his terrifying roar would cause the underworld to rumble. Myths sometimes say that Apep was trapped there, because he had been the previous chief god and suffered a coup d'etat by Ra, or because he was evil and had been imprisoned.In his battles, Apep was thought to use a magical gaze to hypnotize Ra and his entourage, attempting to devour them whilst choking the river on which they travelled through the underworld with his coils. Sometimes Apep had assistance from other demons, named Sek and Mot. Ra was assisted by a number of defenders who travelled with him, the most powerful being Set, who sat at the helm.In a bid to explain certain natural phenomena it was said that occasionally Apep got the upper hand. The damage to order caused thunderstorms and earthquakes. Indeed: it was even thought that sometimes Apep actually managed to swallow Ra during the day, causing a solar eclipse, but since Ra's defenders quickly cut him free of Apep, the eclipse always ended within a few minutes. On the occasions when Apep was said to have been killed, he was able to return each night (since he lived in the world of the dead already). In Atenism it is Aten who kills the monster since Aten is the only god in the belief system.But in other myths, it was the cat goddess Bast, daughter of Ra, who slayed Apep in her cat form one night, hunting him down with her all seeing eye.
Worship

Apep was not so much worshipped, as worshipped against. His defeat each night, in favour of Ra, was thought to be ensured by the prayers of the Egyptian priests and worshipers at temples. The Egyptians practiced a number of rituals and superstitions that were thought to ward off Apep, and aid Ra to continue his journey across the sky.In an annual rite, called the Banishing of Apep, priests would build an effigy of Apep that was thought to contain all of the evil and darkness in Egypt, and burn it to protect everyone from Apep's influence for another year, in a similar manner to modern rituals such as Zozobra.The Egyptian priests even had a detailed guide to fighting Apep, referred to as The Books of Overthrowing Apep (or the Book of Apophis, in Greek).[5] The chapters described a gradual process of dismemberment and disposal, and include:

  • Spitting Upon Apep
  • Defiling Apep with the Left Foot
  • Taking a Lance to Smite Apep
  • Fettering Apep
  • Taking a Knife to Smite Apep
  • Laying Fire Upon Apep
In addition to stories about Apep's defeats, this guide had instructions for making wax models, or small drawings, of the serpent, which would be spat on, mutilated and burnt, whilst reciting spells that would aid Ra. Fearing that even the image of Apep could give power to the demon, any rendering would always include another deity to subdue the monster, and/or knives already stabbed into him.As Apep was thought to live in the underworld, he was sometimes thought of as an Eater-up of Souls. Thus the dead also needed protection, so they were sometimes buried with spells that could destroy Apep. The Book of the Dead does not frequently describe occasions when Ra defeated the chaos snake explicitly called Apep. Only BD Spells 7 and 39 can be explained as such.[6]
See also


  • Egyptian mythology in popular culture
Notes


  1. ^ Hieroglyph as per Budge Gods of the Ancient Egyptians (1969), Vol. I, 180.
  2. ^ C.Wolterman, in Jaarbericht van Ex Oriente Lux, Leiden Nr.37 (2002).
  3. ^ H. Te Velde, Seth, God of Confusion (Leiden, 1977), 105-7.
  4. ^ J. Assmann, Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom, transl. by A. Alcock (London, 1995), 49-57.
  5. ^ P.Kousoulis, Magic and Religion as Performative Theological Unity: the Apotropaic Ritual of Overthrowing Apophis, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Liverpool (Liverpool, 1999), chapters 3-5.
  6. ^ J.F.Borghouts, Book of the Dead [39]: From Shouting to Structure (Studien zum Altaegyptischen Totenbuch 10, Wiesbaden, 2007).

External links


  • Apep, Water Snake-Demon of Chaos, Enemy of Ra...
  • ancient Egypt: The Mythology - Apep




FONTE: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Apep_2.jpg
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Gio 3 Mar 2011 - 14:28

Il piu piccolo serpente esistente si chiama Leptotyphlops carlae, si trova sulle isole barbados. Ecco una sua foto con relativa comparazioend i dimensioni con una moneta.



FONTE: http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim//2009/05/23/MicrosnakeHedgeshirez_540x476.jpg


E qui di seguito le ultime ricerche in ambito paleontologico, sulla origineed evoluzione dei serpenti.


http://oggiscienza.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/eupodophis_descouensi.jpg?w=259&h=126


FONTE: http://oggiscienza.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/papa-gambacorta/#more-15067

l sincrotrone di Grenoble rivela i dettagli di Eupodophis descouensi uno dei pochissimi fossili
di serpenti dotati di zampe posteriori.
Un nuovo tassello per comprendere come e dove i serpenti hanno perso i loro arti




CRONACA – I serpenti sono in assoluto il gruppo di origine più recente tra i rettili, ma le loro radici
evolutive sono ancora oggetto di acceso dibattito.

A partite da un punto fondamentale: i loro antenati erano acquatici o terrestri?
Nel primo caso, si sarebbero evoluti direttamente da creature come il Mosasaurus, nel secondo da lucertole terrestri simili ai varani, a loro volta derivati dal gruppo a cui appartenevano i mosasauri.
La nuova ricerca, pubblicata sul Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology fa propendere decisamente per la seconda ipotesi. Grazie all’aiuto dei fisici dell’ ESFR (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) e del KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) un team di paleontologi del Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle di Parigi ha analizzato un fossile di 95 milioni di anni (periodo Cretaceo) del “serpente” Eupodophis descouensi, in cui è ben evidente una piccola zampa (2 centimetri, su un animale che in ne misura 50) che spunta nella parte posteriore del corpo.
Con i raggi X del sincrotrone e la post elaborazione al KIT è spuntata l’altra zampa ed è stato possibile farne un dettagliato modello tridimensionale, dando addirittura una sbirciata all’interno dell’osso stesso. Per i ricercatori la somiglianza anatomica e microanatomica con le attuali lucertole è evidente e
supporta quindi l’ipotesi dell’origine terrestre.
Se questo è vero, allora presumibilmente gli antenati erano lucertole con abitudini sotterranee che gradualmente si sono perfettamente adattate a vivere dentro stretti cunicoli,
arrivando perfino a perdere le zampe. Ma come è successo? Gli autori, sempre osservando i dettagli delle zampe (prive di piede e dita) dell’Eupodophis, suggeriscono che la regressione sia avvenuta perché delle mutazioni (presumibilmente nei geni Hox) hanno sfasato il ritmo di crescita degli arti rispetto a quello del corpo, cioè o le zampe crescevano più lentamente o crescevano per meno tempo. L’importanza di questa ricerca sta anche nella metodologia usata, che non ha ovviamente danneggiato il fossile, finora unico nel suo genere e quindi insostituibile.

Commenta Paul Tafforeau dell’ESRF, coautore dello studio:

I sincrotroni, queste enormi macchine, ci permettono di vedere dettagli microscopici dei fossili invisibili a qualsiasi altra tecnologia, senza danneggiare questi inestimabili reperti.

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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Gio 17 Mar 2011 - 18:21

Oggi vedremo quelle divinità, esseri o entità che prendono forma di serpente secondo la cultura Buddista e oltre al link interno del forum che parla del Buddismo vi invito in particolar modo di visionare la storia di Mucalinda il potente re dei serpenti che ha protetto il Buddha dalle intemperie.

Riporto della scheda di wikipedia solo qualche stralcio perciò se ne consiglia la visione anche alla fonte originale.

Buona lettura!

FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_%28mythology%29

Nāga
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nāga (Sanskrit: नाग, IAST: nāgá, Burmese: နဂါး, IPA: [nəɡá]; Javanese: någå, Khmer: នាគ neak, Thai: นาค nak, Chinese: 那伽) is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very great snake—specifically the King Cobra, found in Hinduism and Buddhism. The use of the term nāga is often ambiguous, as the word may also refer, in similar contexts, to one of several human tribes known as or nicknamed "Nāgas"; to elephants; and to ordinary snakes, particularly the King Cobra and the Indian Cobra, the latter of which is still called nāg in Hindi and other languages of India. A female nāga is a nāgī or nāginī.

Etymology

In Sanskrit, a nāgá (नाग) is a cobra, a specific type of snake (hooded snake). A synonym for nāgá is phaṇin (फणिन्). There are several words for "snake" in general, and one of the very commonly used ones is sarpá (सर्प). Sometimes the word nāgá is also used generically to mean "snake".[1][2] The word is cognate with English 'snake', Germanic: *snēk-a-, Proto-IE: *(s)nēg-o-.[3]

In Hinduism

Stories involving the nāgas are still very much a part of contemporary cultural traditions in predominantly Hindu regions of Asia (India, Nepal, and the island of Bali). In India, nāgas are considered nature spirits and the protectors of springs, wells and rivers. They bring rain, and thus fertility, but are also thought to bring disasters such as floods and drought. According to traditions nāgas are only malevolent to humans when they have been mistreated. They are susceptible to mankind's disrespectful actions in relation to the environment. They are also associated with waters—rivers, lakes, seas, and wells—and are generally regarded as guardians of treasure. According to Beer (1999),[page needed] Naga and cintamani are often depicted together and associated directly in the literature.

They are objects of great reverence in some parts of southern India where it is believed that they bring fertility and prosperity to their venerators. Expensive and grand rituals like Nagamandala[4] are conducted in their honor (see Nagaradhane). In India, certain communities called Nagavanshi consider themselves descendants of Nagas.

Varuna, the Vedic god of storms, is viewed as the King of the nāgas. Nāgas live in Pātāla, the seventh of the "nether" dimensions or realms.[5] They are children of Kashyapa and Kadru. Among the prominent nāgas of Hinduism are Manasa, Shesha or Sesa, and Vasuki.

The nāgas also carry the elixir of life and immortality. Garuda once brought it to them and put a cup with elixir on the ground but it was taken away by Indra. However, few drops remained on the grass. The nāgas licked up the drops, but in doing so, cut their tongues on the grass, and since then their tongues have been forked.[6]

Vishnu is originally portrayed in the form sheltered by a Shesha naga or reclining on Shesha, but the iconography has been extended to other deities as well. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms: around the neck,[7] use as a sacred thread (Sanskrit: yajñyopavīta)[8] wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne.[9] Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.[10]

Nagas are also snakes that may take human form. They tend to be very curious.

Maehle (2007: p.?) affirms that according to tradition, Patañjali is held to be an incarnation of Ādi S'esha.


In Buddhism

Traditions about nāgas are also very common in all the Buddhist countries of Asia. In many countries, the nāga concept has been merged with local traditions of great and wise serpents or dragons. In Tibet, the nāga was equated with the klu, wits that dwell in lakes or underground streams and guard treasure. In China, the nāga was equated with the lóng or Chinese dragon.

The Buddhist nāga generally has the form of a great cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the nāgas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance. In Buddhist painting, the nāga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head. One nāga, in human form, attempted to become a monk; when telling it that such ordination was impossible, the Buddha told it how to ensure that it would be reborn a man, able to become a monk.

Nāgas are believed to both live on Mount Sumeru, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are water-dwellers, living in streams or the mer; others are earth-dwellers, living in underground caverns.

The nāgas are the servants of Virūpākṣa (Pāli: Virūpakkha), one of the Four Heavenly Kings who guards the western direction. They act as a guard upon Mount Sumeru, protecting the devas of Trāyastriṃśa from attack by the Asuras.

Among the notable nāgas of Buddhist tradition is Mucalinda, protector of the Buddha. In the Vajrayana and Mahasiddha traditions according to Beer (1999),[page needed] many notable fully enlightened nagas also transmitted and/or transported terma into and out of the human realm that had been elementally encoded by adepts.

Norbu (1999: p.?) states that according to tradition the Prajnaparamita terma teachings are held to have been conferred upon Nagarjuna by Nagaraja, the King of the nagas, who had been guarding them at the bottom of a lake. Refer Lotus Sutra.



Mucalinda sheltering Gautama Buddha at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2006_0922_wat_phrathat_doi_suthep_buddha_mucalinda.JPG


Krishna dancing on the serpent Kaliya; while the serpent's wives pray to Krishna
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Indischer_Maler_um_1640_001.jpg
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Sab 16 Apr 2011 - 17:34

FONTE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpente_piumato

Serpente piumato
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.

Il serpente piumato era un'importante divinità o essere soprannaturale in molte religioni mesoamericane, particolarmente ben conosciuto tra gli aztechi col nome di Quetzalcoatl.

[modifica] Descrizione

Le prime rappresentazioni di serpenti piumati appaiono nella cultura olmeca (circa 1400-400 a.C.).[1] Si crede che gli esseri soprannaturali Olmechi, quali il serpente piumato, fossero i precursori di molte divinità mesoamericane,[2] nonostante alcuni esperti non concordino sull'importanza che il serpente piumato avrebbe ricoperto tra gli Olmechi.[3] Il serpente piumato degli Olmechi viene solitamente raffigurato come un serpente a sonagli dotato di cresta, a volte con piume che ne coprono il corpo, e spesso nell'immediata vicinanza degli uomini.[4] Molte rappresentazioni olmeche sono sopravvissute, tra cui la Stele 19 proveniente dal sito archeologico di La Venta ed un dipinto situato nella grotta di Juxtlahuaca.

Anche il pantheon del popolo di Teotihuacan (200 a.C. - 700 d.C.) contiene un serpente piumato, raffigurato soprattutto sul Tempio del serpente piumato (datato 150-200 d.C.[5]). Sull'edificio appaiono molti ritratti del serpente, tra cui un profilo di tutto il suo corpo e numerose teste.

Anche alcuni edifici di Tula, capitale degli ultimi Toltechi (950-1150 d.C.), mostra immagini di serpenti piumati.[6]

Quetzalcoatl è l'incarnazione azteca del serpente piumato, citato in molti codici aztechi quali il codice fiorentino, ed in molti resoconti dei conquistadores spagnoli. Quetzalcoatl era colui che portava la conoscenza, l'inventore dei libri, e veniva associato al pianeta Venere.

Il serpente piumato era raro nella civiltà Maya dell'era classica.[7]

Oltre al serpente piumato, nei pantheon mesoamericani si trovano molte divinità con caratteristiche simili.
[modifica] Divinità serpenti mesoamericane

Mitologia azteca:

* Quetzalcoatl

Mitologia maya:

* Gukumatz (K'iche'-Maya), Kukulkan (Yucatec-Maya)
* Tepeu

[modifica] Note

1. ^ Pool, p. 1. Altri autori forniscono date leggermente differenti
2. ^ Covarrubias, p. 62. Joralemon, p. 58
3. ^ Diehl, p. 104 dice che "la sua rarità suggerisce che si trattasse di un dio minore del pantheon olmeco". Joralemon (1996) dice che °il serpente piumato è una divinità di importanza considerevole nella cultura olmeca", p. 58
4. ^ Joralemon, p. 58
5. ^ Castro
6. ^ Coe, p. 133
7. ^ Miller & Taube, p. 150

[modifica] Bibliografia

* Ruben Cabrera Castro, "Human Sacrifice at the Temple of the Feathered Serpent: Recent Discoveries at Teotihuacan", 1993, Kathleen Berrin, Esther Pasztory, Teotihuacan, Art from the City of the Gods, Thames and Hudson, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, ISBN 0-500-27767-2
* Michael D. Coe; con Rex Koontz, Mexico: from the Olmecs to the Aztecs, 5 edizione, rivista ed ampliata, Londra e New York, Thames & Hudson, 2002. ISBN 0-500-28346-X , OCLC 50131575
* Miguel Covarrubias, Indian Art of Mexico and Central America, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1957. OCLC 171974
* Richard Diehl, The Olmecs: America's First Civilization, Londra, Thames & Hudson, 2004. ISBN 0-500-02119-8 , OCLC 56746987
* Peter David Joralemon, "In Search of the Olmec Cosmos: Reconstructing the World View of Mexico's First Civilization", in Olmec Art of Ancient Mexico, 1996, E. P. Benson e B. de la Fuente, National Gallery of Art, Washington, ISBN 0-89468-250-4, pp. 51-60
* Mary Miller; e Karl Taube, The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion, Londra, Thames & Hudson, 1993. ISBN 0-500-05068-6 , OCLC 27667317
* Christopher A. Pool, Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica, Cambridge e New York, Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-521-78882-3 , OCLC 68965709


FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Featheredserpentmuseoantropologia.JPG

FONTE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl

Quetzalcoatl
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.


FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Quetzalcoatl_1.jpg

Quetzalcoatl, ovvero Serpente piumato o "Gemello prezioso" in lingua nahuatl, è il nome azteco del dio serpente piumato dell'antica Mesoamerica, una delle divinità più importanti per molte civilizzazioni messicane e centro americane.

[modifica] Storia

Il nome "Quetzalcoatl", nella lingua nahuatl, significa letteralmente serpente con piume di Quetzal (il che rimanda a qualcosa di divino o prezioso). I vari significati riferiti al suo nome nelle altre lingue mesoamericane sono abbastanza similari. I Maya lo chiamavano Kukulkán, i Quiché, Gukumatz.

La divinità del serpente piumato ha rivestito una certa importanza, sia nell'arte che nella religione, in gran parte del territorio mesoamericano, per quasi 2.000 anni, dall'età pre-classica fino alla conquista spagnola. Tra le civilizzazioni che praticavano il culto del serpente piumato ricordiamo gli olmechi, i mixtechi, i toltechi, gli aztechi ed i maya.

Il culto di Quetzalcoatl talvolta prevedeva sacrifici umani; secondo altre tradizioni, invece, Quetzalcoatl veniva considerato contrario ai sacrifici.

I sacerdoti ed i re mesoamericani a volte prendevano il nome delle divinità che veneravano, perciò, Quetzalcoatl e Kukulcan sono anche nomi di personaggi storici.

Un famoso sovrano tolteco post-classico si chiamava Quetzalcoatl; lui e il Kukulcan che invase lo Yucatan all'incirca nello stesso periodo potrebbero essere la stessa persona. Secondo alcune testimonianze anche i miztechi avrebbero avuto un sovrano chiamato con il nome del Serpente piumato. Nel X secolo un re associato al culto di Quetzalcoatl regnò sopra i toltechi: il suo nome era Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl. Si disse di questo re che fosse il figlio del grande guerriero chichimeca Mixcoatl e della donna colhuacana di nome Chimalman, oppure un loro discendente.

I toltechi avevano un sistema dualistico di culto. L'opposto di Quetzalcoatl era Tezcatlipoca, che si presume lo avesse costretto all'esilio. Quetzalcoatl accettò e partì su una imbarcazione fatta di serpenti, promettendo di ritornare.

Quando gli aztechi adottarono la cultura dei toltechi fecero di Tezcatlipoca e Quetzalcoatl due divinità gemelle, opposte ed uguali. Quetzalcoatl veniva anche chiamato il bianco per distinguerlo ed opporlo al nero Tezcatlipoca. Insieme, hanno creato il mondo e, durante la creazione, Tezcatlipoca perse un piede.

L'imperatore azteco Montezuma II credette all'inizio che lo sbarco di Hernán Cortés nel 1519 fosse il ritorno di Quetzalcoatl. Cortés giocò molto su questa convinzione, che gli rese più facile la conquista del Messico.[1]

Il significato esatto delle caratteristiche di Quetzalcoatl varia a seconda delle civilizzazioni e del periodo storico. Quetzalcoatl è stato spesso considerato il dio della stella del mattino ed il suo fratello gemello Xolotl era la stella della sera (Venere). Come stella del mattino era conosciuto con il titolo di Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, che significa letteralmente "il signore della stella e dell'alba". Fu conosciuto come inventore dei libri e del calendario, colui che donò il mais al genere umano e, a volte, è stato anche considerato il simbolo della morte e della resurrezione. Quetzalcoatl era anche il protettore dei sacerdoti e rivestiva il ruolo di sommo sacerdote azteco.

Nella maggior parte dei culti mesoamericani era contemplato il ciclo dei mondi. Di solito, la nostra epoca attuale veniva considerata il quinto mondo, mentre i quattro precedenti erano stati distrutti dal diluvio, dal fuoco e via dicendo. Si racconta poi che Quetzalcoatl fosse andato a Mictlan, il mondo sotterraneo, ed avesse creato il quinto mondo-genere umano dalle ossa delle razze che lo avevano preceduto (con l'aiuto di Cihuacoatl), usando il suo stesso sangue per infondere alle ossa nuova vita.

La sua nascita, e quella del gemello Xolotl, fu insolita. Furono partoriti da una vergine, la dea Coatlicue. Per altri, era il figlio di Xochiquetzal e Mixcoatl.

Secondo un racconto azteco Quetzalcoatl[2] fu sedotto dalla sorella gemella Tezcatlipoca mentre era ubriaco, ma poi si uccise dandosi fuoco per il rimorso. Il suo cuore divenne la stella del mattino (vedi Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli).


FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_serpent_deity

Feathered Serpent (deity)

The Feathered Serpent was a prominent supernatural entity or deity, found in many Mesoamerican religions. It was called Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs, Kukulkan among the Yucatec Maya, and Q'uq'umatz and Tohil among the K'iche' Maya. The double symbolism used in its name is considered allegoric to the dual nature of the deity, where being feathered represents its divine nature or ability to fly to reach the skies and being a serpent represents its human nature or ability to creep on the ground among other animals of the Earth, a dualism very common in Mesoamerican deities. [1]

The earliest representations of feathered serpents appear in the Olmec culture (circa 1400-400 BCE).[2] Most surviving representations in Olmec art, such as Monument 19 at La Venta and a painting in the Juxtlahuaca cave (see below), show it as a crested rattlesnake, sometimes with feathers covering the body, and often in close proximity to humans.[3] It is believed that Olmec supernatural entities such as the feathered serpent were the forerunners of many later Mesoamerican deities,[4] although experts disagree on the feathered serpent's importance to the Olmec.[5]

The pantheon of the people of Teotihuacan (200 BCE - 700 CE) also featured a feathered serpent, shown most prominently on the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (dated 150-200 CE).[6] Several feathered serpent representations appear on the building, including full-body profiles and feathered serpent heads.

Buildings in Tula, the capital of the later Toltecs (950-1150 CE), also featured profiles of feathered serpents.[7]

The Aztec feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl is known from several Aztec codices such as the Florentine codex, as well as from the records of the Spanish conquistadors. Quetzalcoatl was a bringer of knowledge, the inventor of books, and associated with the planet Venus.

The corresponding Mayan god Kukulkan was rare in the Classic era Maya civilization.[8] However, in the Popol Vuh, the K'iche' feathered serpent god Tepeu Q'uq'umatz is the creator of the cosmos.[9]

Along with the feathered serpent deity, several other serpent gods existed in the pantheon of Mesoamerican gods with similar traits.


Feathered Serpent heads cover the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Teotihuacan_Feathered_Serpent_%28Jami_Dwyer%29.jpg


Notes

1. ^ The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Culture
2. ^ Pool, p. 1. Other authors give a slightly different dates.
3. ^ Joralemon, p. 58.
4. ^ Covarrubias, p. 62. Joralemon, p. 58.
5. ^ Diehl, p. 104 says that "its rarity suggests that it was a minor member of the Olmec pantheon". Joralemon (1996) however, states that "the feathered serpent is a divinity of considerable importance in Olmec civilization", p. 58.
6. ^ Castro.
7. ^ Coe, p. 133.
8. ^ Miller & Taube, p. 150.
9. ^ Christenson (2007)

[edit] References

Castro, Ruben Cabrera (1993) "Human Sacrifice at the Temple of the Feathered Serpent: Recent Discoveries at Teotihuacan" Kathleen Berrin, Esther Pasztory, eds., Teotihuacan, Art from the City of the Gods, Thames and Hudson, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, ISBN 0-500-27767-2.
Coe, Michael D.; with Rex Koontz (2002). Mexico: from the Olmecs to the Aztecs (5th edition, revised and enlarged ed.). London and New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28346-X. OCLC 50131575.
Covarrubias, Miguel (1957). Indian Art of Mexico and Central America (Color plates and line drawings by the author ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. OCLC 171974.
Christenson, Allen (2007). Popol Vuh: the Sacred Book of the Maya. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0806138394, 9780806138398.
Diehl, Richard (2004). The Olmecs: America's First Civilization. Ancient peoples and places series. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-02119-8. OCLC 56746987.
Joralemon, Peter David (1996) "In Search of the Olmec Cosmos: Reconstructing the World View of Mexico's First Civilization", in Olmec Art of Ancient Mexico, eds. E. P. Benson and B. de la Fuente, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., ISBN 0-89468-250-4, pp. 51-60.
Miller, Mary; and Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05068-6. OCLC 27667317. 7
Pool, Christopher A. (2007). Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica. Cambridge World Archaeology. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-78882-3. OCLC 68965709.


FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl


Quetzalcoatl
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quetzalcoatl (Classical Nahuatl: Quetzalcohuāt [ketsaɬˈko.aːt]) is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered-serpent".[1]

The worship of a feathered serpent deity is first documented in Teotihuacan in the Late Preclassic through the Early Classic period (400 BCE–600CE) of Mesoamerican chronology—"Teotihuacan arose as a new religious center in the Mexican Highland, around the time of Christ..."[2]—whereafter it appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic (600–900 CE).[3] In the Postclassic period (900 – 1519 CE) the worship of the feathered serpent deity was based in the primary Mexican religious center of Cholula. It is in this period that the deity is known to have been named "Quetzalcoatl" by his Nahua followers. In the Maya area he was approximately equivalent to Kukulcan and Gukumatz, names that also roughly translate as "feathered serpent" in different Mayan languages. In the era following the 16th-century Spanish Conquest a number of sources were written that describe the god "Quetzalcoatl" and relates him to a ruler of the mythico-historic city of Tollan called by the names "Ce Acatl", "Topiltzin", "Nacxitl" or "Quetzalcoatl". It is a matter of much debate among historians to which degree, or whether at all, these narratives about this legendary Toltec ruler Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl describe actual historical events.[4] Furthermore early Spanish sources written by clerics tend to identify the god-ruler "Quetzalcoatl" of these narratives with either Hernán Cortés or St. Thomas—an identification which is also a source of diversity of opinions about the nature of "Quetzalcoatl".[5]

Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge.[6] Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon along with the gods Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli.

Feathered Serpent deity in Mesoamerica
Main article: Feathered Serpent (deity)

A feathered serpent deity has been worshipped by many different ethno-political groups in Mesoamerican history. The existence of such worship can be seen through studies of iconography of different mesoamerican cultures, in which serpent motifs are frequent. On the basis of the different symbolic systems used in portrayals of the feathered serpent deity in different cultures and periods scholars have interpreted the religious and symbolic meaning of the feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerican cultures

History of iconographic depictions

The earliest iconographic depiction of the deity is believed to be found on Stela 19 at the Olmec site of La Venta, depicting a serpent rising up behind a person probably engaged in a shamanic ritual. This depiction is believed to have been made around 900 BC, although probably not exactly a depiction of the same feathered serpent deity worshipped in classic and post-classic periods it shows the continuity of symbolism of feathered snakes in Mesoamerica from the formative period and on, for example in comparison to the Mayan Vision Serpent shown below.

The first culture to use the symbol of a feathered serpent as an important religious and political symbol was Teotihuacan. At temples such as the aptly named "Quetzalcoatl temple" in the Ciudadela complex, feathered serpents figure prominently and alternate with a different kind of serpent head. The earliest depictions of the feathered serpent deity were fully zoomorphic, depicting the serpent as an actual snake, but already among the Classic Maya the deity began acquiring human features.

In the iconography of the classic period Maya serpent imagery is also prevalent: a snake is often seen as the embodiment of the sky itself, and a vision serpent is a shamanic helper presenting Maya kings with visions of the underworld.

The archaeological record shows that after the fall of Teotihuacan that marked the beginning of the epi-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology around 600 AD, the cult of the feathered serpent spread to the new religious and political centers in central Mexico, centers such as Xochicalco, Cacaxtla and Cholula.[3] Feathered serpent iconography is prominent at all of these sites. Cholula is known to have remained the most important center of worship to Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec/Nahua version of the feathered serpent deity, in the postclassic period.

During the epi-classic period a dramatic spread of feathered serpent iconography is evidence throughout Mesoamerica, and during this period begins to figure prominently at cites such as Chichén Itzá, El Tajín, and throughout the Maya area. Colonial documentary sources from the Maya area frequently speak of the arrival of foreigners from the central Mexican plateau often led by a man whose name translates as "Feathered Serpent", it has been suggested that these stories recall the spread of the feathered serpent cult in the epiclassic and early postclassic periods.[3]

In the postclassic Nahua civilization of central Mexico (Aztec) the worship of Quetzalcoatl was ubiquitous. The most important center was Cholula where the world's largest pyramid was dedicated to his worship. In Aztec culture depictions of Quetzalcoatl were fully anthropomorphic. Quetzalcoatl was associated with the windgod Ehecatl and is often depicted with his insignia: a beak like mask.
[edit] Interpretations

On the basis of the Teotihuacan iconographical depictions of the feathered serpent, archaeologist Karl Taube has argued that the feathered serpent was a symbol of fertility and internal political structures contrasting with the War Serpent symbolizing the outwards military expansion of the Teotihuacan empire.[7] Historian Enrique Florescano also analysing Teotihuacan iconography shows that the Feathered Serpent was part of a triad of agricultural deities: the Goddess of the Cave symbolizing motherhood, reproduction and life, Tlaloc, god of rain, lightning and thunder and the feathered serpent, god of vegetational renewal. The feathered serpent was furthermore connected to the planet Venus because of this planet's importance as a sign of the beginning of the rainy season. To both Teotihuacan and Mayan cultures Venus was in turn also symbolically connected with warfare.[8]

While not usually feathered, classic Maya serpent iconography seems related to the belief in a sky, venus, creator, war and fertility related serpent deity. In the example from Yaxchilan the Vision Serpent has the human face of the young maize god, further suggesting a connection to fertility and vegetational renewal, the Mayan Young Maize god was also connected to Venus.

In Xochicalco depictions of the feathered serpent is accompanied by the image of a seated, armed ruler and the hieroglyph for the day sign 9 Wind. The date 9 wind is known to be associated with fertility, venus and war among the Maya and frequently occurs in relation to Quetzalcoatl in other Mesoamerican cultures.

On the basis of the iconography of the feathered serpent deity at sites such as Teotihuacan, Xochicalco, Chichén Itzá, Tula and Tenochtitlan combined with certain ethnohistorical sources, historian David Carrasco [9] has argued that the preeminent function of the feathered serpent deity throughout Mesoamerican history was as the patron deity of the Urban center, a god of culture and civilization.

In Aztec culture

To the Aztecs Quetzalcoatl was, as his name indicates, a feathered serpent, a flying reptile (much like a dragon), who was a boundary maker (and transgressor) between earth and sky. He was also a creator deity having contributed essentially to the creation of Mankind. He also had anthropomorphic forms, for example in his aspects as Ehecatl the wind god. Among the Aztecs the name Quetzalcoatl was also a priestly title, as the most two important priests of the Aztec Templo Mayor were called "Quetzalcoatl Tlamacazqui". In the Aztec ritual calendar, different deities were associated with the cycle of year names: Quetzalcoatl was tied to the year Ce Acatl (One Reed), which correlates to the year 1519.[10]

Myths
[edit] Attributes

The exact significance and attributes of Quetzalcoatl varied somewhat between civilizations and through history. Quetzalcoatl is one of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, he was often considered the god of the morning star, and his twin brother Xolotl was the evening star (Venus). As the morning star he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, meaning "lord of the star of the dawn." He was known as the inventor of books and the calendar, the giver of maize (corn) to mankind, and sometimes as a symbol of death and resurrection. Quetzalcoatl was also the patron of the priests and the title of the twin Aztec high priests.

Most Mesoamerican beliefs included cycles of suns. Usually, our current time was considered the fifth sun, the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. Quetzalcoatl allegedly went to Mictlan, the underworld, and created fifth-world mankind from the bones of the previous races (with the help of Chihuacoatl), using his own blood, from a wound in his penis, to imbue the bones with new life.

His birth, along with his twin Xolotl, was unusual; it was a virgin birth, to the goddess Coatlicue.[citation needed] Alternatively, he was a son of Xochiquetzal and Mixcoatl.

One Aztec story claims that Quetzalcoatl was seduced by Tezcatlipoca into becoming drunk and sleeping with a celibate priestess (in some accounts, his sister Quetzalpetlatl) and then burned himself to death out of remorse. His heart became the morning star (see Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli).

Belief in Cortés as Quetzalcoatl and the fall of Tenochtitlan

Since the sixteenth century it has been widely held that the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II initially believed the landing of Hernán Cortés in 1519 to be Quetzalcoatl's return. This has been questioned by ethno-historian Matthew Restall (and a great majority of others) who argues that the Quetzalcoatl-Cortés connection is not found in any document that was created independently of post-Conquest Spanish influence, and that there is little proof of a pre-Hispanic belief in Quetzalcoatl's return. Most documents expounding this theory are of entirely Spanish origin, such as Cortés's letters to Charles V of Spain, in which Cortés goes to great pains to present the naïve gullibility of the Aztecs in general as a great aid in his conquest of Mexico.

Much of the idea of Cortés being seen as a deity can be traced back to the Florentine Codex written down some 50 years after the conquest. In the codex's description of the first meeting between Moctezuma and Cortés, the Aztec ruler is described as giving a prepared speech in classical oratorial Nahuatl, a speech which, as described in the codex written by the Franciscan Bernardino de Sahagún and his Tlatelolcan informants, included such prostrate declarations of divine or near-divine admiration as,

"You have graciously come on earth, you have graciously approached your water, your high place of Mexico, you have come down to your mat, your throne, which I have briefly kept for you, I who used to keep it for you,"

and,

"You have graciously arrived, you have known pain, you have known weariness, now come on earth, take your rest, enter into your palace, rest your limbs; may our lords come on earth."

Subtleties in, and an imperfect scholarly understanding of, high Nahuatl rhetorical style make the exact intent of these comments tricky to ascertain, but Restall argues that Moctezuma politely offering his throne to Cortés (if indeed he did ever give the speech as reported) may well have been meant as the exact opposite of what it was taken to mean: politeness in Aztec culture was a way to assert dominance and show superiority. This speech, which has been widely referred to, has been a factor in the widespread belief that Moctezuma was addressing Cortés as the returning god Quetzalcoatl.

Other parties have also propagated the idea that the Mesoamericans believed the conquistadors, and in particular Cortés, to be awaited gods: Most notably the historians of the Franciscan order such as Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta.[11] Some Franciscans at this time held millennarian beliefs [12] and some of them believed that Cortés' coming to the New World ushered in the final era of evangelization before the coming of the millennium. Franciscans such as Toribio de Benavente "Motolinia" saw elements of Christianity in the precolumbian religions and therefore believed that Mesoamerica had been evangelized before, possibly by St. Thomas whom legend had it had "gone to preach beyond the Ganges". Franciscans then equated the original Quetzalcoatl with St. Thomas and imagined that the Indians had long awaited his return to take part once again in Gods kingdom. Historian Matthew Restall concludes that:

"The legend of the returning lords, originated during the Spanish-Mexica war in Cortés' reworking of Moctezuma's welcome speech, had by the 1550's merged with the Cortés-as-Quetzalcoatl legend that the Franciscans had started spreading in the 1530's." (Restall 2001:114 )

Some scholarship still maintains the view that the Aztec Empire's fall may be attributed in part to the belief in Cortés as the returning Quetzalcoatl, notably in works by David Carrasco (1982) and H. B. Nicholson (2001 (1957)). However, a majority of modern Mesoamericanist scholars such as Matthew Restall (2003), James Lockhart (1994), Susan D. Gillespie (1989), Camilla Townsend (2003a, 2003b), Louise Burkhart, Michel Graulich and Michael E. Smith (2001) among others, consider the "Quetzalcoatl/Cortés myth" as one of many myths about the Spanish conquest which have risen in the early post-conquest period.
[edit] Alternative Interpretations
[edit] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Some Mormon scholars believe that Quetzalcoatl, as a white, bearded god who came from the sky and promised to return, was actually Jesus Christ. According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus visited the American natives after his resurrection.[13] Latter-day Saint President John Taylor wrote:

"The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source. "[14]

This idea was adapted by science fiction author and Mormon Orson Scott Card in his story America.
[edit] Roman Catholic

In the 2004 book The Bearded White God of Ancient America: The Legend of Quetzalcoatl, authors Donald and W. David Hemingway examine a theory among Conquistador-era analysts that Quetzalcoatl may have been a New Testament-era Apostle of Jesus Christ, such as Saint Thomas. Donald Hemingway has previously taught religious studies classes at Brigham Young University [1]. The aforementioned theory expressed by John Taylor in the Latter-Day Saint Movement is also discussed within his book in an appendix.
[edit] New Age

Various theories about Quetzalcoatl are popular in the New Age movement, especially since the publication of Tony Shearer's 1971 book "Lord of the dawn: Quetzalcoatl and the Tree of Life" republished also under the title "Lord of the dawn: Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent of Mexico."

Notes

1. ^ The Nahuatl nouns compounded into the proper name "Quetzalcoatl" are: quetzalli, signifying principally "plumage", but also used to refer to the bird—Resplendent Quetzal—renowned for its colourful feathers, and cohuātl "snake". Some scholars have interpreted the name as having also a metaphorical meaning of "precious twin" since the word for plumage was also used metaphorically about precious things and cohuātl has an additional meaning of "twin"
2. ^ "Teotihuacan: Introduction". Project Temple of Quetzalcoatl, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico/ ASU. 2001-08-20. http://archaeology.asu.edu/teo/intro/intrteo.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
3. ^ a b c Ringle et al. 1998
4. ^ Nicholson 2001, Carrasco 1992, Gillespie 1989, Florescano 2002
5. ^ Lafaye 1987, Townsend 2003, Martínez 1980, Phelan 1970
6. ^ Smith 2001:213
7. ^ Florescano 2002:8
8. ^ Florescano 2002:8-21
9. ^ Carrasco 1982
10. ^ Townsend 2003:668
11. ^ Martinez 1980
12. ^ Phelan 1956
13. ^ Wirth 2002
14. ^ Taylor 1892:201, see original source

[edit] References

Boone, Elizabeth Hill (1989). Incarnations of the Aztec Supernatural: The Image of Huitzilopochtli in Mexico and Europe. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 79 part 2. Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society. ISBN 0-87169-792-0. OCLC 20141678.
Burkhart, Louise M. (1996). Holy Wednesday: A Nahua Drama from Early Colonial Mexico. New cultural studies series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1576-1. OCLC 33983234.
Carrasco, David (1982). Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire: Myths and Prophecies in the Aztec Tradition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-09487-1. OCLC 0226094871.
Florescano, Enrique (1999). The Myth of Quetzalcoatl. Lysa Hochroth (trans.), Raúl Velázquez (illus.) (translation of El mito de Quetzalcóatl original Spanish-language ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-7101-8. OCLC 39313429.
Gillespie, Susan D. (1989). The Aztec Kings: The Construction of Rulership in Mexica History. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0-8165-1095-4. OCLC 60131674.
James, Susan E. (Winter 2000). "Some Aspects of the Aztec Religion in the Hopi Kachina Cult". Journal of the Southwest (Tucson: University of Arizona Press) 42 (4): pp.897–926. ISSN 0894-8410. OCLC 15876763.
Knight, Alan (2002). Mexico: From the Beginning to the Spanish Conquest. Mexico, vol. 1 of 3-volume series (pbk ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-89195-7. OCLC 48249030.
Lafaye, Jacques (1987). Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness, 1531-1813. Benjamin Keen (trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-46788-0.
Lawrence, D.H. (1925). The Plumed Serpent.
Locke,Raymond Friday (2001). The Book of the Navajo. Hollaway House.
Lockhart, James, ed (1993). We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico. Repertorium Columbianum, vol. 1. James Lockhart (trans. and notes). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07875-6. OCLC 24703159. (English) (Spanish) (Nahuatl)
Martínez, Jose Luis (1980). "Gerónimo de Mendieta (1980)". Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl 14.
Nicholson, H.B. (2001). Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl: the once and future lord of the Toltecs. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0870815474.
Nicholson, H.B. (2001.). The "Return of Quetzalcoatl" : did it play a role in the conquest of Mexico?. Lancaster, CA: Labyrinthos.
Phelan, John Leddy (1970) [1956]. The Millennial Kingdom of the Franciscans in the New World. University of California Press.
Restall, Matthew (2003). Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516077-0. OCLC 51022823.
Restall, Matthew (2003). "Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl: The Once and Future Lord of the Toltecs (review)". Hispanic American Historical Review 83 (4).
Ringle, William M.; Tomás Gallareta Negrón and George J. Bey (1998). "The Return of Quetzalcoatl". Ancient Mesoamerica (Cambridge University Press) 9 (2): 183–232. doi:10.1017/S0956536100001954.
Smith, Michael E. (2003). The Aztecs (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23015-7. OCLC 48579073.
Taylor, John (1992 (1882)). Mediation and Atonement. Grandin Book co..
Townsend, Camilla (2003). "No one said it was Quetzalcoatl:Listening to the Indians in the conquest of Mexico". History Compass 1 (1).
Townsend, Camilla (2003). "Burying the White Gods:New perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico". The American Historical Review 108 (3).
Waters, Frank (1972). The Book of the Hope. New York: Viking Press. pp. 252. ISBN 0670003654.
Wirth, Diane E, (2002). "Quetzalcoatl, the Maya maize god and Jesus Christ". Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute) 11 (1): 4–15.
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Femminile Serpente
Numero di messaggi : 1826
Data d'iscrizione : 22.03.10
Età : 39
Località : Prov. CN

MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Lun 25 Apr 2011 - 7:15

Buondì a tutti,

ancora qualche documento di wikipedia sul serpente e il suo simbolismo.


FONTE:
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpente_%28immaginario%29

Serpente (immaginario)
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.

Il serpente è un animale che, per le sue caratteristiche, ha colpito e stimolato l'immaginario umano, entrando (spesso come una creatura leggendaria) nel folklore e nella mitologia di vari popoli. Tra le numerose attestazioni, spicca in particolare il racconto biblico di Adamo ed Eva dove il serpente è la rappresentazione del demonio tentatore.


Il serpente come simbolo


Il serpente è uno dei più vecchi e più diffusi simboli mitologici, essendo presente nella maggior parte delle culture con significati simili. Le caratteristiche del serpente che hanno stimolato nell'uomo la sua associazione a temi sovrannaturali sono numerose. Ad esempio il suo veleno è associato, come le piante e i funghi, al potere di guarire, avvelenare, o donare una coscienza espansa (addirittura l'elisir di lunga vita o di immortalità)[1][2] [3]. Il suo cambiare pelle lo rende inoltre un simbolo di rinnovamento e rinascita che può portare all'immortalità.

Talvolta il serpente e il drago hanno simile funzione simbolica, poiché il veleno del serpente ha caratteristiche simili a quelle del fuoco lanciato da un drago. Ad esempio Ladon dell'antica Grecia e Níðhöggr Normanni sono a volte descritti come serpenti e a volte come dragoni. In Cina, il serpente Indiano nāga è spesso confuso con il dragone cinese. Il dio serpente Quetzalcoatl degli Aztechi e Toltechi ha anche ali da dragone, come il suo equivalente nella mitologia Maya ("serpente piumato"). Figure serpentiformi sono presenti anche sulle antiche incisioni rupestri della Valcamonica.



Il dio serpente Maya, Yaxchilan.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:YaxchilanDivineSerpent.jpg

Esegesi ebraica

La Genesi narra che il serpente, fra tutti gli animali creati da Dio, era il più astuto, secondo l'esegesi ebraica in realtà il più malvagio. Quando Dio mise le creature nel Giardino dell'Eden, proibendo di mangiare il frutto della conoscenza del bene e del male, il serpente disse ad Eva di mangiarlo cosicché quest'ultima poi portò al peccato originale anche Adamo. Per questo, e per aver commesso maldicenza contro Dio, Egli maledisse il serpente e condannò lui e la sua discendenza a strisciare sul proprio ventre e mangiare polvere per tutta la vita: il Midrash Bereshit Rabbà spiega infatti che originariamente il serpente possedeva gambe e braccia sino a quando Dio lo punì privandolo di esse. Inoltre il serpente sarebbe stato da allora nemico degli uomini.

Il serpente in araldica

In araldica il "biscione" è stato il simbolo del Ducato di Milano, sia sotto gli Sforza, sia con i Visconti ed oggi è ancora riscontrabile in stemmi di alcuni comuni lombardi e non, legati storicamente alla signoria ambrosiana, come ad esempio Bellinzona, la capitale del Canton Ticino (Svizzera); in epoca contemporanea il "biscione" é divenuto anche il simbolo di alcune società milanesi (Inter, Alfa Romeo, Mediaset/Fininvest, ecc.).

Il serpente nelle credenze popolari

In alcune zone della Sicilia è diffusa la leggenda della Biddrina, un gigantesco serpente che vive nascosto presso le fonti e le paludi e riesce ad attirare i malcapitati che passino da quei luoghi incantandoli con lo sguardo. L'invenzione di questa creatura rispondeva probabilmente all'esigenza di evitare che i bambini andassero a fare il bagno in questi laghetti paludosi col pericolo di annegarvi. La sua evocazione, infatti, è sempre stata lo spauracchio dei bimbi.

Curiosità

* Diffusissima in tutte le aree agricole e montane di Italia centro-settentrionale, Svizzera e Francia è la leggenda metropolitana del lancio di vipere da elicotteri da parte di vari soggetti quali forestale, Verdi o addirittura case farmaceutiche. Il fenomeno è stato giudicato [4] connesso al forte potere simbolico del serpente, visto nell'ambiente quasi completamente antropizzato, uno degli ultimi elementi di natura selvaggia, contrapposta alla cultura dell'habitat umano.


Note

1. ^ Virgilio Eneide 2.471.
2. ^ Nicandro Alexipharmaca 521.
3. ^ Plinio, Storia naturale 9.5.
4. ^ P. Toselli, La famosa invasione delle vipere volanti, Sonzogno, Milano 1994.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 13 Mag 2011 - 11:16

FONTE: http://www.ha-nachash.info/2010/09/sanskrit-naga-nagas-and-hebrew-nachash.html


Sanskrit Naga, Nagas and the Hebrew Nachash.
The word Naga comes from the Sanskrit, and nag is still the word for snake, especially the cobra, in most of the languages of India. When we come upon the word in Buddhist writings, it is not always clear whether the term refers to a cobra, an elephant (perhaps this usage relates to its snake-like trunk, or the pachyderm's association with forest-dwelling peoples of north-eastern India called Nagas,) or even a mysterious person of nobility. It is a term used for unseen beings associated with water and fluid energy, and also with persons having powerful animal-like qualities or conversely, an impressive animal with human qualities.


FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nehushtan

Nehushtan

The Nehushtan (or Nehustan, Hebrew: נחושתן or נחש הנחושת), in the Hebrew Bible, was a sacred object in the form of a snake of brass upon a pole. King Hezekiah (reigned 715/6 – 687) instituted a religious iconoclastic reform and destroyed "the brazen serpent that Moses had made; for unto those days the children of Israel did offer to it; and it was called Nehushtan." (2 Kings 18:4); the Masoretic text does not in fact say so, but rather "he [Hezekiah] called it Nehushtan".[1] The Priestly source of the Torah says that Moses used a 'fiery serpent' to cure the Israelites from snakebites (Book of Numbers, chapter 21:4-9), though the tradition of naming it Nehushtan is no older than the time of Hezekiah.[2]

Snake cults had been well established in Canaan in the Bronze Age: archaeologists have uncovered serpent cult objects in Bronze Age strata at several pre-Israelite cities in Canaan: two at Megiddo,[3] one at Gezer,[4] one in the sanctum sanctorum of the Area H temple at Hazor,[5] and two at Shechem.[6]

The Nehushtan was originally the symbol of a minor god of snakebite within the Temple, which the biblical tradition ascribes to Moses.[7] His name is unknown, as the bible instead makes a subtle play on words based on the material of which the snake is made: נחש (nachash) means "serpent", while נחשת (nachoshet) means "brass" or "bronze".

2 Kings says that King Hezekiah destroyed the Nehustan in the late 8th century BC:

"He removed the high places], and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan." 2 Kings 18:4

It has also been suggested that Hezekiah's destruction of the Nehushtan was a result of the balance of power moving towards Assyria, which permitted him to remain on the throne of Judah as a puppet ruler. Hezekiah demonstrated his loyalty to the new regime by the destruction of an important symbol with Egyptian associations. [8]

n the Gospel of John, Jesus made direct comparison between the raising up of the Son of Man and the act of Moses in raising up a brass serpent:

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life".[9



FONTE immagine: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/02/MosesandSnake.JPG/560px-MosesandSnake.JPG
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Ven 13 Mag 2011 - 11:20

FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophites

The Ophites (also called Ophians or Serpentinians) (from Greek ὄφιανοι > ὄφις = snake) were members of numerous Gnostic sects in Syria and Egypt about 100 AD. The Ophite sects revered the serpent of Genesis as a symbol of gnosis, which the tyrant Yaldabaoth tried to hide from Adam and Eve. As John 3:14 tells that "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up," the Ophites felt perfectly justified in their position, and Christian heresiologists took particular offense at turning their view of the serpent on its head.

Irenaeus wrote a history of heresy toward the end of the 2nd century from which our principal mythos is derived; Clement of Alexandria[1] mentions beside the "Cainists" the "Ophians" (Οφιανοί), saying that their name is derived from the object of their worship. Philaster, an author of the 4th century, places the Ophites, the Cainites, and the Sethians at the head of all heresies (ch. 1-3), because he holds that they owed their origin to the serpent (the Devil).

Irenaeus having given[2] in what seems intended for chronological order, a list of heresies, beginning with Simon Magus and ending with Tatian, adds in a kind of appendix a description of a variety of Gnostic sects deriving their origin, as he maintains, from the heresy of Simon. Irenaeus does not use the name "Ophite," but Theodoret, who copies his description, gives that title to them, and he has been followed by later writers.

Here the origin of the mixed world is most completely represented. Creation began as a series of emanations:
[edit] The True and Holy Church

* Bythos (Depth):
o Father of All (the First Man):
+ Ennoia, the Son of Man (the Second Man):
# The Holy Spirit, the First Woman:
* Water
* Darkness
* The Abyss
* Chaos

Of the beauty of the Holy Spirit, both First and Second Man became enamoured, and they generated from her a third male, an Incorruptible Light, called Christ. But the excess of light with which she had been impregnated was more than she could contain, and while Christ her right-hand birth was borne upward with his mother, forming with the First and Second Man the True and Holy Church, a drop of light fell on the left hand downwards into the world of matter, and was called Sophia (Wisdom) or Prunikos, an androgynous being.

By this arrival the still waters were set in motion, all things rushing to embrace the Light, and Prunikos wantonly playing with the waters, assumed to herself a body, without the protection of which the light was in danger of being completely absorbed by matter. Yet when oppressed by the grossness of her surroundings, she strove to escape the waters and ascend to her mother, the body weighed her down, and she could do no more than arch herself above the waters, constituting thus the visible heaven. In process of time, however, by intensity of desire she was able to free herself from the encumbrance of the body, and leaving it behind to ascend to the region immediately above, called in the language of another sect the middle region.

Meanwhile a son, Yaldabaoth, born to her from her contact with the waters, having in him a certain breath of the incorruptible light left him from his mother, by means of which he works, generates from the waters a son without any mother. And this son in like manner another, until there were seven Archons in all, ruling the seven heavens; a Hebdomad which their mother completes into an Ogdoad.

* Yaldabaoth ("yalda bahut" = "son of chaos"), the Demiurge
* Iao
* Sabaoth
* Adonaios
* Elaios
* Astaphanos
* Horaios ("or" = "light")

But it came to pass that these sons strove for mastery with their father Yaldabaoth, whereat he suffered great affliction, and casting his despairing gaze on the dregs of matter below, he, through them, consolidated his longing and obtained a son Ophiomorphus, the serpent-formed Nous, whence come the spirit and soul, and all things of this lower world; but whence came also oblivion, wickedness, jealousy, envy, and death. Yaldabaoth, stretching himself over his upper heaven, had shut out from all below the knowledge that there was anything higher than himself, and having puffed up with pride at the sons whom he had begotten without help from his mother, he cried,
“ I am Father and God, and above me there is none other. ”

On this his mother, hearing him, cried out,[3]
“ Do not lie, Yaldabaoth, for above thee is the Father of All, the First Man, and the Son of Man. ”

When the heavenly powers marvelled at this voice, Yaldabaoth, to call off their attention, exclaimed," Let us make man after our image." Then the six powers formed a gigantic man, the mother Sophia having given assistance to the design, in order that by this means she might recover the Light-fluid from Yaldabaoth. For the man whom the six powers had formed, lay unable to raise itself, writhing like a worm until they brought it to their father, who breathed into it the breath of life, and so emptied himself of his power. But the man having now Thought and Conception (Nous and Enthymesis), forthwith gave thanks to the First Man, disregarding those who had made him.

At this Yaldabaoth, being jealous, planned to despoil the man by means of a woman, and formed Eve, of whose beauty the six powers being enamoured generated sons from her, namely, the angels. Then Sophia devised by means of the serpent to seduce Eve and Adam to transgress the precept of Yaldabaoth; and Eve, accepting the advice of one who seemed a Son of God, persuaded Adam also to eat of the forbidden tree. And when they ate they gained knowledge of the power which is over all, and revoked from those who had made them. Thereupon Yaldabaoth cast Adam and Eve out of Paradise; but the mother had secretly emptied them of the Light-fluid in order that it might not share the curse or reproach. So they were cast down into this world, as was also the serpent who had been detected in working against his father. He brought the angels here under his power, and himself generated six sons, a counterpart of the Hebdomad of which his father was a member. These seven demons always oppose and thwart the human race on whose account their father was cast down.

Adam and Eve at first had light and clear and, as it were, spiritual bodies, which on their fall became dull and gross; and their spirits were also languid because they had lost all but the breath of this lower world which their maker had breathed into them; until Prunikos taking pity on them gave them back the sweet odour of the Light-fluid through which they woke to a knowledge of themselves and knew that they were naked. The story proceeds to give a version of Old Testament history, in which Yaldabaoth is represented as making a series of efforts to obtain exclusive adoration for himself, and to avenge himself on those who refused to pay it, while he is counteracted by Prunikos, who strives to enlighten mankind as to the existence of higher powers more deserving of adoration. In particular the prophets who were each the organ of one of the Hebdomad, the glorification of whom was their main theme, were nevertheless inspired by Sophia to make fragmentary revelations about the First Man and about Christ above, whose descent also she caused to be predicted.
[edit] Redemption

And here we come to the version given of New Testament history in this system. Sophia, having no rest either in heaven or on earth, implored the assistance of her mother, the First Woman. She, moved with pity at her daughter's repentance, begged of the First Man that Christ should be sent down to her assistance. Sophia, apprized of the coming help, announced his advent by John, prepared the baptism of repentance, and by means of her son, Yaldabaoth, got ready a woman to receive the annunciation from Christ, in order that when he came there might be a pure and clean vessel to receive him, namely Jesus, who, being born of a virgin by divine power, was wiser, purer, and more righteous than any other man. Christ then descended through the seven heavens, taking the form of the sons of each as he came down, and depriving each of their rulers of his power. For wheresoever Christ came the Light-fluid rushed to him, and when he came into this world he first united himself with his sister Sophia, and they refreshed one another as bridegroom and bride, and the two united descended into Jesus, who thus became Jesus Christ. Then he began to work miracles, and to announce the unknown Father, and to declare himself manifestly the son of the First Man. Then Yaldabaoth and the other princes of the Hebdomad, being angry, sought to have Jesus crucified, but Christ and Sophia did not share his passion, having withdrawn themselves into the incorruptible Aeon. But Christ did not forget Jesus, but sent a power which raised his body up, not indeed his choical body, for "flesh and blood cannot lay hold of the kingdom of God," but his animal and spiritual body. So it was that Jesus did no miracles, either before his baptism, when he was first united to Christ, or after his resurrection, when Christ had withdrawn himself from him. Jesus then remained on earth after his resurrection eighteen months, at first himself not understanding the whole truth, but enlightened by a revelation subsequently made him, which he taught to a chosen few of his disciples, and then was taken up to heaven.

The story proceeds to tell that Christ, sitting on the right hand of the father Yaldabaoth, without his knowledge enriches himself with the souls of those who had known him, inflicting a corresponding loss on Yaldabaoth. For as righteous souls instead of returning to him are united to Christ, Yaldabaoth is less and less able to bestow any of the Light-fluid on souls afterwards entering this world, and can only breathe into them his own animal breath. The consummation of all things will take place when, by successive anion of righteous souls with Christ, the last drop of the Light-fluid shall be recovered from this lower world.
[edit] Significance

The system here expounded evidently implies a considerable knowledge of the Old Testament on the part either of its inventor or expounder. It begins with "the spirit of God moving on the face of the waters," and it summarises the subsequent history, even mentioning the sacred writers by name. Yet that it is not the work of amicable to Judaism is evident from the hostility shown to the God of the Jews, who is represented as a mixture of arrogance and ignorance, waging war against idolatry from mere love of self-exaltation, yet constantly thwarted and overcome by the skill of superior knowledge. The feminine attributes ascribed to the Holy Spirit indicate that Greek was not the native language of the framer of this system, and this conclusion is confirmed by the absence of elements derived from Greek philosophic systems. If, for instance, we compare this system with that of Valentinus, we discover at once so much agreement in essential features as to assure us of the substantial identity of the foundation of the two systems; but the Valentinian system contains several things derived from Greek philosophy, whereas that which we have described can be explained from purely Oriental sources. We are entitled therefore to regard the latter as representing the more original form. The reporter of this system is clearly acquainted with the New Testament, since he adopts a phrase from the Epistle to the Corinthians; he knows that Jesus habitually spoke of himself as Son of Man; and in denying that Jesus performed miracles before his baptism, he adopts the history as told in the Gospels in opposition to that told in apocryphal Gospels of the Infancy. The place which the doctrine of a Trinity holds in this system indicates that it proceeds from one who had received Christian instruction.

Although, following Theodoret, we have given the name Ophite to the system described by Irenaeus, it will have been seen that not only does the doctrine concerning the serpent form a very subordinate part of the system, but also that the place it assigns the serpent is very different from that given it by those whom we count as properly to be called Ophites. For this name properly belongs to those who give the serpent the place of honour in their system, but the present system agrees with Christian doctrine in making the serpent and his attendant demons the enemy and persecutor of the human race. In the passage immediately following the chapter we have analysed, Irenaeus shows acquaintance with a section of the school who may be called Ophite in the proper sense of the word, some teaching that Sophia herself was the serpent, some glorifying Cain and other enemies of the God of the Old Testament.

If we were to single out what we regard as the most characteristic feature of the scheme, it is the prominence given to the attribute of light as the property of the good Principle. This feature is still more striking in the derived system of Pistis Sophia, where the mention of light is of perpetual occurrence, and the dignity of every being is measured by the brilliancy of its light. It is natural to imagine a connexion with the system of Zoroaster, in which the history of the world is made to be a struggle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. This suspicion is continued when we refer to what Plutarch tells of the system of Zoroaster,[4] for we there find other coincidences with our system, which can scarcely be accidental. In the Persian system, the opposing powers, Ormuzd and Ahriman, each generate six derived beings to aid in the contest, precisely in the same way that Yaldabaoth and Ophiomorphus have each the co-operation of six subordinate and derived beings. The story of Sophia stretching out her body so as to form the visible heavens has a parallel in a similar myth told about Ormuzd enlarging his bulk, and there is a likeness to Ophite doctrine in the account which Zoroaster gives of resurrection bodies, which are to be so clear and subtle as to cast no shadow. (See also the Persian representations of seven heavens and an eighth region above them.)[5]

In the section of Irenaeus immediately preceding that of which we have just given an account, there is a summary of a system which has been called Barbeliot, from its use of the name Barbelo to denote the supreme female principle. It contains some of the essential features of the scheme just described, of which it seems to have been a development, principally characterized by a great wealth of nomenclature, and, with the exception of the name which has given a title to the system, all derived from the Greek language.



FONTE: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Ophitediagram-matter.png

Reconstruction of Ophite Diagram from Histoire critique du Gnosticisme; Jacques Matter, 1826, Vol. III, Plate I, D.

Origen also gives a description of an Ophite diagram, which Celsus likewise had met with, consisting of an outer circle, named Leviathan, denoting the soul of all things, with ten internal circles, variously coloured, the diagram containing also the figures and names of the seven demons. Many have attempted to reproduce the figure from Origen's description, but in truth Origen has not given us particulars enough to enable us to make a restoration with confidence, or even to enable us to understand what was intended to be represented. Origen names Euphrates as the introducer of the doctrine of the sect which he describes, and the sect may have been that branch of the Ophites who are called Peratae.
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Femminile Serpente
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Sab 8 Ott 2011 - 15:59

Come vedremo l'anfesibena è un serpente mitologico dotato di due teste, una per ogni estremità.

FONTE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anfesibena

Anfesibena
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.


Anfesibena o Anfisbena è un mitico serpente dotato di due teste, una ad ogni estremità del corpo, e di occhi che brillano come lampade. Secondo il mito greco, Anfisbena fu generata dal sangue gocciolato dalla testa della gorgone Medusa quando Perseo volò, stringendola in pugno, sopra il deserto libico.

L'anfesibena come creatura mitologica e leggendaria è stata citata da Marco Anneo Lucano e Plinio il Vecchio. Viene citata, inoltre, da Dante nel canto 24 dell'Inferno e da Borges nel suo Manuale di zoologia fantastica.

Il nome è composto dalle due parole greche amfis, e bainein che significa "che va in due direzioni".


FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amphisbaena.png


Araldica

La rappresentazione araldica ordinaria dell'anfesibena, detta più correntemente anfisbena, è quella di un serpente disposto a forma di 5 o di S, inanellato e con una seconda testa al termine della coda. Le due teste gli permettono di procedere sia in avanti che all'indietro senza differenza. Quando una testa dorme, l'altra resta sveglia in guardia.

Le due teste sono abitualmente di smalto oro o argento, quella superiore, e nero, quella inferiore. Questa rappresentazione simboleggia la vittoria del Bene sul Male. Nella sua forma più completa l'anfisbena mostra la parte luminosa alata e quella oscura membrata, cioè con un paio di zampe scagliose. Quando è rappresentata con le due teste unite, queste non sono differenziate e, dunque, lo smalto non ha rilevanza.

L'anfisbena può essere blasonata sia con gli attributi dei carnivori sia con quelli degli uccelli.


FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amphisb%C3%A8ne.png

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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Mer 19 Ott 2011 - 10:18

Admin oggi riporto un articolo di wikipedia che narra la leggenda cinese del serpente bianco...buona lettura!


FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame_White_Snake

Legend of the White Snake
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Legend of the White Snake is a Chinese legend, which existed as oral traditions before any written compilation. It has since become a major subject of several Chinese opera, films and television series.

The earliest attempt to fictionalize the story appears to be The White Maiden Locked for Eternity in the Leifeng Pagoda (白娘子永鎮雷峰塔) in Feng Menglong's Jingshi Tongyan (警世通言), which was written during the Ming Dynasty.


FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Long_Gallery-Legend_white_snake.JPG


Legend

Basic story

At its most basic, the story tells of a young scholar who falls in love with a beautiful woman, unaware that she is a thousand year old white snake that has taken on human form. A monk intervenes in order to maintain nature's law and casts the white snake into a deep well at Leifeng Pagoda.

Over the centuries the story has evolved from horror story to romance with the scholar and the white snake-woman genuinely in love with one another, but such a relationship is forbidden by nature's law. There have also been variations on the telling of the story : like the thousand year old white snake have met the boy before and the story continues as reincarnation; or the white snake's offspring being a reincarnation of Wenchang Wang.

An additional character is a hundred year old green snake (or in some cases a carp) that has also transformed into a woman, and serves as the white snake-woman's soul sister and confidante.


Full story

The story is set in the Southern Song Dynasty.

Bai Suzhen (白素貞), a female white snake, dreams of becoming a goddess by doing good deeds. She transforms herself into a woman and travels to the human realm. There, she meets a green snake, Qing (青), who causes disaster in the area she lives. Bai holds Qing captive at the bottom of a lake but promises her that she will return 300 years later to free her. Bai keeps her word and develops a sisterly bond with Qing. They encounter Fahai, a sorcerer who believes that every demon is inherently evil and must be destroyed. However, Bai is too powerful and Fahai is unable to eliminate her immediately, so he vows to destroy them if he sees them again.

Fearing that they will meet more human sorcerers, Bai and Qing retreat to the Banbuduo, a realm that exists between the human and demon worlds. They try to perform good deeds by bringing rain to places experiencing drought. However, Qing was careless and almost flooded the whole town once. Due to this mistake, Bai loses her chance to become an immortal. However, Guan Yin informs her that she may have yet another opportunity.

In the meantime, Bai and Qing accidentally bring a scholar named Xu Xian, and his friend, into the demon world. Bai protects them from the other demons and falls in love with Xu in the process. After the battle with the lord of the Underworld, Xu confesses his feelings for Bai, claiming that it was love at first sight. However, for a human to return to his world, he must first become unconscious and have any memory about his experience in the demon realm erased, but Xu knows and avoids being knocked out. However, Fahai finds a way into the demon world and he tricks Xu into being knocked out.

When Xu Xian returns to the human realm he forgets everything. Since he and his friend entered the portal separately, they end up in different locations. Xu meets many new people there. Not long later, Bai takes a final step to becoming a goddess, which is to collect human tears. Bai sees Xu with another woman and assumes that they are a couple. Qing realizes that when Xu and Bai meet, Xu will fall in love with Bai again, so she helps to arrange a meeting for them. Xu and Bai are married, open a medicine shop and live happily together.

However, as humans and demons are forbidden to bond, the town is struck by a plague and ends up on the verge of total destruction. Bai, Qing and Fahai finally agree to a truce and obtain a magical herb needed to help the population. Bai becomes pregnant later with Xu's child, but Fahai continues to attempt to eliminate her and Qing.

On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, when the Duanwu Festival is held, demons in human form will revert to their original shape. Bai thus decides to take Qing and Xu Xian back to Banbuduo, but Xu falls for Fahai's trick again. Bai's true form is revealed and Xu is literally scared to death. Bai retrieves a drug that restores Xu to life. After giving birth to Xu's son, Bai is unable to control herself anymore and is forced to tell her husband the truth about her origin. Xu kindly accepts her, but Fahai attacks the weakened Bai and imprisons her for eternity in Leifeng Pagoda.

Madame White Snake.


Reference and parallel to Wu Zetian

A quote from the adaptation Madam White Kept Forever under Thunder Peak Tower (Stories to Caution the World) states: "Judging from the case of Empress Wu, how we know that this white snake is not a beautiful woman? Who is to say that a white snake can’t change into a beautiful woman?" [i] Another quote in Lady White Snake: A Tale From Chinese Opera, retold by Aaron Shepard, states that an "animal may become a human. A human may become a god. Just so, a snake may become a woman."

Chinese folklore and Zodiac traditions both acknowledge snakes as the seducers and charmers throughout history of which there is equal fear and admiration for. There is a common and likely male dominated perception that Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty thrust herself into power by having these intrinsic serpent qualities. Therefore the parallels between the story of Madam White and Wu Zetian are easy to draw.

Adaptations

Operas and stage plays

The story has been performed numerous times in Peking opera, Cantonese opera and other Chinese operas.

Stage musical adaptations in Hong Kong include:

Pai Niang Niang, created by Joseph Koo and Wong Jim. Premiering in 1972, it marked the start of the musical theatre industry in Hong Kong.
White Snake, Green Snake (2005), created by Christopher Wong
The Legend of the White Snake, created by Leon Ko and Chris Shum

Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theater performed a modern dance interpretation of Madam White Snake in the 1970s.

In 2010, an opera based on the legend, Madame White Snake, with music by Zhou Long and a libretto by Cerise Lim Jacobs, premiered in a production by Opera Boston.[1]


Films

The Legend of the White Serpent (白夫人の妖恋), a 1956 Japanese film made by Toho in collaboration with Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers Studio. It was noted for being the first Toho film to be in color.

The Tale of the White Serpent (白蛇傳), the first coloured anime feature film released in Japan in 1958. The U.S. release title was Panda and the Magic Serpent. It was also one of the rare instances where Qing is represented as a fish demon and not a snake demon. It was also the only known film based on the legend to be dubbed in German (German release title: Erzählung einer weißen Schlange).

Madam White Snake, a 1962 film produced by Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers Studio. This version is a Huangmei opera directed by Feng Yueh, with music by Wang Fu-ling on a libretto by Li Chun-ching.

Snake Woman's Marriage (白蛇大鬧天宮), a 1975 Taiwanese film directed by Sun Yang

Green Snake (青蛇), a 1993 Hong Kong film directed by Tsui Hark, starring Maggie Cheung, Joey Wong, Vincent Zhao and Wu Hsing-kuo.

The Sorcerer and the White Snake (白蛇傳說), an upcoming 3D film starring Jet Li, Huang Shengyi, Raymond Lam and Charlene Choi.

The Legend of Lady White Snake: A Tribute to the Spirit of Alexander McQueen, an upcoming short film starring Daphne Guinness, directed by Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, with creative direction/styling by GK Reid, and produced by Markus Klinko & Indrani, Daphne Guinness and GK Reid. Inspired by the ancient Chinese legend, the film is set in contemporary New York. Previews of the film are featured in the Daphne Guinness Exhibition at the Museum of the Fashion Institute from September 16, 2011 through January 6, 2012.[2]


Television

The Serpentine Romance (奇幻人間世), a 1990 television series produced by Hong Kong's TVB, starring Maggie Chan, Maggie Siu and Hugo Ng.

New Legend of Madame White Snake / The Legend of White Snake (新白娘子傳奇), a 1992 Taiwanese television series starring Angie Chiu, Cecilia Yip and Maggie Chen. It was aired in the Philippines under the title Lady White Snake in 1997.

The Legendary White Snake (白蛇後傳之人間有愛), a 1995 Singaporean television series starring Geoffrey Tso, Lin Yisheng, Terence Cao, Lina Ng, Ding Lan, Liu Qiulian and Wang Changli.

My Date with a Vampire (我和殭屍有個約會), a Hong Kong television series produced by ATV. The series made extensive use of the story, reusing it in the first season (1998) and a modified version in the second season (1999).

Madam White Snake / Legend of the Snake Spirits (白蛇新傳), a 2001 Taiwanese and Singapore co-produced television series starring Fann Wong, Christopher Lee, Zhang Yuyan and Vincent Jiao.

Madame White Snake (白蛇傳), a 2005 Chinese television series starring Liu Tao, Pan Yueming, Chen Zihan and Liu Xiaofeng.

The Legend of White Snake Sequel / Tale of the Oriental Serpent (白蛇後傳), a 2009 sequel to Madame White Snake (2005), starring Fu Miao, Qiu Xinzhi, Shi Zhaoqi, Chi Shuai and Cecilia Liu.

Love of the Millennium (又見白娘子), an upcoming Chinese television series as a sequel to New Legend of Madame White Snake (1992), starring Zuo Xiaoqing, Queenie Tai, Ren Quan and Shen Xiaohai.


Others

In the West there have been children's picture book adaptations of the legend, written by Western authors and illustrated by Chinese artists, including:

Legend of the White Serpent by A. Fullarton Prior, illustrated by Kwan Sang-Mei[3]
and Lady White Snake: A Tale From Chinese Opera, by Aaron Shepard, illustrated by Song Nang Zhang[4]

The novella The Devil Wives of Li Fong by E. Hoffmann Price is based on the story.

In 2009, Dantes Dailiang made use of the Chinese lyrics of the Legend of White Snake for his song La muse aux lèvres rouges (红唇之缪斯女神) recorded in his LP Dailiang.


Notes

^ Boston Globe: "Curtain rises on ancient Chinese myth," March 1, 2010, accessed March 2, 2010
^ Eolin, Sara. "Daphne Guinness Exhibit at FIT" September 13, 2011 in Aero Film Blog. http://aerofilm.blogspot.com/2011/09/fashion-week-has-settled-upon-new-york.html
^ Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1960
^ Union City, CA: Pan Asian Publications, 2001


FONTE IMMAGINE: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Legend_of_the_White_Snake_in_Beijing_Opera.JPG
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Dom 30 Ott 2011 - 15:24

Altra leggenda legata a questo animale totem...buona lettura!

FONTE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badalischio

Badalischio
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.

Il badalischio è una tipica leggenda della valle del Casentino (Toscana, Provincia di Arezzo).

La leggenda

Si racconta che questo mostro (simile al basilisco, altra creatura mitologica) sia nato nella Gorga Nera, un piccolo laghetto in prossimità della Fonte del Borbotto (Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi). Uno dei nascondigli del badalischio era il bosco prossimo alla Fornace di Marena, nella località chiamata "Fosso del Diavolo". Più o meno il suo aspetto doveva essere il seguente: uno strano serpente, grande come un uomo, con occhi rossi in grado di paralizzare la malcapitata preda. Alcune leggende affermano che l'alito del badalischio sia estremamente velenoso, addirittura mortale. Il badalischio viene spesso raffigurato con una corona od un diadema, che a volte gli copre gli occhi. In altri casi viene descritto con ali cartilaginose e testa di uccello.

Curiosità

Il giornale "Casentino 2000" ha creato un premio satirico da offrire a certe persone in particolare (un premio simile al Tapiro d'Oro di Striscia la Notizia), chiamato "Il Badalischio d'Argento".
La biscia rappresentata sullo stemma dei Visconti di Milano presenta molte somiglianze con il Badalischio, come, ad esempio, il diadema sul capo ed il lungo corpo serpentino.




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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Gio 3 Nov 2011 - 15:19

Admin ho trovato questo interessante articolo di wikipedia inglese che tratta il simbolismo del serpente.

Riporto solo qualche stralcio, anche perchè alcuni brani sono già stati trattati in dettaglio nei precedenti post, quindi ne consiglio la visione anche alla fonte originale.

Buona lettura!

FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpent_%28symbolism%29

Serpent (symbolism)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Serpent is a word of Latin origin (from serpens, serpentis "something that creeps, snake")[1] that is commonly used in a specifically mythic or religious context, signifying a snake that is to be regarded not as a mundane natural phenomenon nor as an object of scientific zoology, but as the bearer of some potent symbolic value. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind.[2]

Cross-cultural symbolic values

The serpent is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. Considerable overlap exists in the symbolic values that serpents represent in various cultures. Some such overlap is due to the common historical ancestry of contemporary symbols. Much of the overlap, however, is traceable to the common biological characteristics of snakes.

In some instances, serpents serve as positive symbols with whom it is possible to identify or to sympathize; in other instances, serpents serve as negative symbols, representing opponents or antagonists of figures or principles with which it is possible to identify. Serpents also appear as ambivalent figures, neither wholly positive nor wholly negative in valence. An example of a serpent used as a positive symbol is Mucalinda, the king of snakes who shielded the Buddha from the elements as the Buddha sat in meditation. An example of a serpent used as a negative symbol is the snake who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, as described in the Book of Genesis.

The following are some of the particular symbolic values frequently assigned to serpents in myth, legend, and literature:

Deceit

In the Abrahamic religions, serpents are connected with deceit, and are used to symbolize deceitfulness. An example is the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who tricks Adam and Eve into partaking of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The symbolic connection between serpents and deceit may depend in part on the observation that snakes have forked tongues, which have two ends that point in different directions. In humans, the tongue is an essential tool in speech, and the presence of only one tip signifies the unity of truthful speech and corresponds to the unity of the truth itself. There is only one truth, but there are many lies. The forked tongue represents the disunity of deceitful speech.[citation needed]

Guardianship

Serpents are represented as potent guardians of temples and other sacred spaces. This connection may be grounded in the observation that when threatened, some snakes (such as rattlesnakes or cobras) frequently hold and defend their ground, first resorting to threatening display and then fighting, rather than retreat. Thus, they are natural guardians of treasures or sacred sites which cannot easily be moved out of harm's way.

At Angkor in Cambodia, numerous stone sculptures present hooded multi-headed nāgas as guardians of temples or other premises. A favorite motif of Angkorean sculptors from approximately the 12th century A.D. onward was that of the Buddha, sitting in the position of meditation, his weight supported by the coils of a multi-headed naga that also uses its flared hood to shield him from above. This motif recalls the story of the Buddha and the serpent king Mucalinda: as the Buddha sat beneath a tree engrossed in meditation, Mucalinda came up from the roots of the tree to shield the Buddha from a tempest that was just beginning to arise.

The Gadsden flag of the American Revolution depicts a rattlesnake coiled up and poised to strike. Below the image of the snake is the legend, "Don't tread on me." The snake symbolized the dangerousness of colonists willing to fight for their rights and homeland. The motif is repeated in the First Navy Jack of the US Navy.

Poison and medicine

Serpents are connected with poison and medicine. The snake's venom is associated with the chemicals of plants and fungi[3][4][5] that have the power to either heal, poison or provide expanded consciousness (and even the elixir of life and immortality) through divine intoxication. Because of its herbal knowledge and entheogenic association the snake was often considered one of the wisest animals, being (close to the) divine. Its divine aspect combined with its habitat in the earth between the roots of plants made it an animal with chthonic properties connected to the afterlife and immortality.

Vengefulness and vindictiveness

Serpents are connected with vengefulness and vindictiveness. This connection depends in part on the experience that venomous snakes often deliver deadly defensive bites without giving prior notice or warning to their unwitting victims. Although a snake is defending itself from the encroachment of its victim into the snake's immediate vicinity, the unannounced and deadly strike may seem unduly vengeful when measured against the unwitting victim's perceived lack of blameworthiness.

Edgar Allan Poe's famous short story "The Cask of Amontillado" invokes the image of the serpent as a symbol for petty vengefulness. The story is told from the point of view of the vindictive Montresor, who hatches a secret plot to murder his rival Fortunato in order to avenge real or imagined insults. Before carrying out his scheme, Montresor reveals his family's coat-of-arms to the intended victim: "A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel." Fortunato, not suspecting that he has offended Montresor, fails to understand the symbolic import of the coat-of-arms, and blunders onward into Montresor's trap.


Cosmic serpents

The serpent, when forming a ring with its tail in its mouth, is a clear and widespread symbol of the "All-in-All", the totality of existence, infinity and the cyclic nature of the cosmos. The most well known version of this is the Aegypto-Greek Ourobouros. It is believed to have been inspired by the Milky Way as some ancient texts refer to a serpent of light residing in the heavens. The Ancient Egyptians associated it with Wadjet, one of their oldest deities as well as another aspect, Hathor.

In Norse mythology the World Serpent (or Midgard serpent) known as Jörmungandr encircled the world in the ocean's abyss biting its own tail.

In Hindu mythology Lord Vishnu is said to sleep while floating on the cosmic waters on the serpent Shesha. In the Puranas Shesha holds all the planets of the universe on his hoods and constantly sings the glories of Vishnu from all his mouths. He is sometimes referred to as "Ananta-Shesha," which means "Endless Shesha". In the Samudra manthan chapter of the Puranas, Shesha loosens Mount Mandara for it to be used as a churning rod by the Asuras and Devas to churn the ocean of milk in the heavens in order to make Soma (or Amrita), the divine elixir of immortality. As a churning rope another giant serpent called Vasuki is used.

In pre-Columbian Central America Quetzalcoatl was sometimes depicted as biting its own tail. The mother of Quetzalcoatl was the Aztec goddess Coatlicue ("the one with the skirt of serpents"), also known as Cihuacoatl ("The Lady of the serpent"). Quetzalcoatl's father was Mixcoatl ("Cloud Serpent"). He was identified with the Milky Way, the stars and the heavens in several Mesoamerican cultures.

The demi-god Aidophedo of the West African Ashanti is also a serpent biting its own tail. In Dahomey mythology of Benin in West Africa, the serpent that supports everything on its many coils was named Dan. In the Vodou of Benin and Haiti Ayida-Weddo (a.k.a. Aida-Wedo, Aido Quedo, "Rainbow-Serpent") is a spirit of fertility, rainbows and snakes, and a companion or wife to Dan, the father of all spirits. As Vodou was exported to Haiti through the slave trade Dan became Danballah, Damballah or Damballah-Wedo. Because of his association with snakes, he is sometimes disguised as Moses, who carried a snake on his staff. He is also thought by many to be the same entity of Saint Patrick, known as a snake banisher.

The serpent Hydra is a star constellation representing either the serpent thrown angrily into the sky by Apollo or the Lernaean Hydra as defeated by Heracles for one of his Twelve Labours. The constellation Serpens represents a snake being tamed by Ophiuchus the snake-handler, another constellation. The most probable interpretation is that Ophiuchus represents the healer Asclepius.

Chthonic serpents and sacred trees

In many myths the chthonic serpent (sometimes a pair) lives in or is coiled around a Tree of Life situated in a divine garden. In the Genesis story of the Torah and Biblical Old Testament, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is situated in the Garden of Eden together with the tree of life and the Serpent. In Greek mythology Ladon coiled around the tree in the garden of the Hesperides protecting the entheogenic golden apples.

Similarly Níðhöggr (Nidhogg Nagar) the dragon of Norse mythology eats from the roots of the Yggdrasil, the World Tree.

Under yet another Tree (the Bodhi tree of Enlightenment), the Buddha sat in ecstatic meditation. When a storm arose, the mighty serpent king Mucalinda rose up from his place beneath the earth and enveloped the Buddha in seven coils for seven days, not to break his ecstatic state.

The Vision Serpent was also a symbol of rebirth in Mayan mythology, fuelling some cross-Atlantic cultural contexts favored in pseudoarchaeology. The Vision Serpent goes back to earlier Maya conceptions, and lies at the center of the world as the Mayans conceived it. "It is in the center axis atop the World Tree. Essentially the World Tree and the Vision Serpent, representing the king, created the center axis which communicates between the spiritual and the earthly worlds or planes. It is through ritual that the king could bring the center axis into existence in the temples and create a doorway to the spiritual world, and with it power". (Schele and Friedel, 1990: 68)

Sometimes the Tree of Life is represented (in a combination with similar concepts such as the World Tree and Axis mundi or "World Axis") by a staff such as those used by shamans. Examples of such staffs featuring coiled snakes in mythology are the caduceus of Hermes, the Rod of Asclepius, the staff of Moses, and the papyrus reeds and deity poles entwined by a single serpent Wadjet, dating to earlier than 3000 BCE. The oldest known representation of two snakes entwined around a rod is that of the Sumerian fertility god Ningizzida. Ningizzida was sometimes depicted as a serpent with a human head, eventually becoming a god of healing and magic. It is the companion of Dumuzi (Tammuz) with whom it stood at the gate of heaven. In the Louvre, there is a famous green steatite vase carved for king Gudea of Lagash (dated variously 2200–2025 BCE) with an inscription dedicated to Ningizzida. Ningizzida was the ancestor of Gilgamesh, who according to the epic dived to the bottom of the waters to retrieve the plant of life. But while he rested from his labor, a serpent came and ate the plant. The snake became immortal, and Gilgamesh was destined to die.

Ningizzida has been popularised in the 20th C. by Raku Kei Reiki (a.k.a. "The Way of the Fire Dragon") where "Nin Giz Zida" is believed to be a fire serpent of Tibetan rather than Sumerian origin. Nin Giz Zida is another name for the ancient Hindu concept of Kundalini, a Sanskrit word meaning either "coiled up" or "coiling like a snake". Kundalini refers to the mothering intelligence behind yogic awakening and spiritual maturation leading to altered states of consciousness. There are a number of other translations of the term usually emphasizing a more serpentine nature to the word—e.g. 'serpent power'. It has been suggested by Joseph Campbell that the symbol of snakes coiled around a staff is an ancient representation of Kundalini physiology. The staff represents the spinal column with the snake(s) being energy channels. In the case of two coiled snakes they usually cross each other seven times, a possible reference to the seven energy centers called chakras.

In Ancient Egypt, where the earliest written cultural records exist, the serpent appears from the beginning to the end of their mythology. Ra and Atum ("he who completes or perfects") became the same god, Atum, the "counter-Ra," was associated with earth animals, including the serpent: Nehebkau ("he who harnesses the souls") was the two headed serpent deity who guarded the entrance to the underworld. He is often seen as the son of the snake goddess Renenutet. She often was confused with (and later was absorbed by) their primal snake goddess Wadjet, the Egyptian cobra, who from the earliest of records was the patron and protector of the country, all other deities, and the pharaohs. Hers is the first known oracle. She was depicted as the crown of Egypt, entwined around the staff of papyrus and the pole that indicated the status of all other deities, as well as having the all-seeing eye of wisdom and vengeance. She never lost her position in the Egyptian pantheon.

The image of the serpent as the embodiment of the wisdom transmitted by Sophia was an emblem used by gnosticism, especially those sects that the more orthodox characterized as "Ophites" ("Serpent People"). The chthonic serpent was one of the earth-animals associated with the cult of Mithras. The Basilisk, the venomous "king of serpents" with the glance that kills, was hatched by a serpent, Pliny the Elder and others thought, from the egg of a cock.

Outside Eurasia, in Yoruba mythology, Oshunmare was another mythic regenerating serpent.

The Rainbow Serpent (also known as the Rainbow Snake) is a major mythological being for Aboriginal people across Australia, although the creation myth associated with it are best known from northern Australia. In Fiji Ratumaibulu was a serpent god who ruled the underworld and made fruit trees bloom.


Ancient North American serpent imagery often featured rattlesnakes.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Featheredserpentnotchedplatevol2mississip86.png

Snake worship in the Ancient Near East

Snake cults were well established in Canaanite religion in the Bronze Age, for archaeologists have uncovered serpent cult objects in Bronze Age strata at several pre-Israelite cities in Canaan: two at Megiddo,[13] one at Gezer,[14] one in the sanctum sanctorum of the Area H temple at Hazor,[15] and two at Shechem.[16]

In the surrounding region, serpent cult objects figured in other cultures. A late Bronze Age Hittite shrine in northern Syria contained a bronze statue of a god holding a serpent in one hand and a staff in the other.[17] In sixth-century Babylon, a pair of bronzer serpents flanked each of the four doorways of the temple of Esagila.[18] At the Babylonian New Year's festival, the priest was to commission from a woodworker, a metalworker and a goldsmith two images one of which "shall hold in its left hand a snake of cedar, raising its right [hand] to the god Nabu".[19] At the tell of Tepe Gawra, at least seventeen Early Bronze Age Assyrian bronze serpents were recovered.[20]

Serpents in Judeo-Christian tradition

In the Hebrew Bible of Judaism, the serpent in the Garden of Eden lured Eve with the promise of forbidden knowledge, convincing her that despite God's warning, death would not be the result. The serpent is identified with wisdom: "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made" (Genesis 3:1). There is no indication in Genesis that the Serpent was a deity in its own right, although it is one of only two cases of animals that talk in the Pentateuch, Balaam's ass being the other. Although the identity of the Serpent as Satan is implied in the Christian Book of Revelation,[21] in Genesis the Serpent is merely portrayed as a deceptive creature or trickster, promoting as good what God had directly forbidden, and particularly cunning in its deception. (Gen. 3:4–5 and 3:22)

The staff of Moses transformed into a snake and then back into a staff (Exodus 4:2–4). The Book of Numbers 21:6–9 provides an origin for an archaic copper serpent, Nehushtan by associating it with Moses. This copper snake according to the Biblical text is wrapped around a pole and used for healing. Book of Numbers 21:9 "And Moses made a snake of copper, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a snake had bitten any man, when he beheld the snake of brass, he lived."

When the reformer King Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah in the late 8th century BCE, "He removed the high places, broke the sacred pillars, smashed the idols, and broke into pieces the copper snake that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan." 2 Kings 18:4.

In the Gospel of John 3:14–15, Jesus makes direct comparison between the raising up of the Son of Man and the act of Moses in raising up a brass serpent as a sign, using it as a symbol associated with salvation: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life".

Serpents in modern symbolism

Modern medicine

Snakes entwined the staffs both of Hermes (the caduceus) and of Asclepius, where a single snake entwined the rough staff. On Hermes' caduceus, the snakes were not merely duplicated for symmetry, they were paired opposites. (This motif is congruent with the phurba.) The wings at the head of the staff identified it as belonging to the winged messenger, Hermes, the Roman Mercury, who was the god of magic, diplomacy and rhetoric, of inventions and discoveries, the protector both of merchants and that allied occupation, to the mythographers' view, of thieves. It is however Hermes' role as psychopomp, the escort of newly-deceased souls to the afterlife, that explains the origin of the snakes in the caduceus since this was also the role of the Sumerian entwined serpent god Ningizzida, with whom Hermes has sometimes been equated.

In Late Antiquity, as the arcane study of alchemy developed, Mercury was understood to be the protector of those arts too and of arcane or occult "Hermetic' information in general. Chemistry and medicines linked the rod of Hermes with the staff of the healer Asclepius, which was wound with a serpent; it was conflated with Mercury's rod, and the modern medical symbol— which should simply be the rod of Asclepius— often became Mercury's wand of commerce. Another version is used in alchemy whereas the snake is crucified, known as Nicolas Flamel's caduceus. Art historian Walter J. Friedlander, in The Golden Wand of Medicine: A History of the Caduceus Symbol in Medicine (1992) collected hundreds of examples of the caduceus and the rod of Asclepius and found that professional associations were just somewhat more likely to use the staff of Asclepius, while commercial organizations in the medical field were more likely to use the caduceus.

Modern political propaganda

Following the Christian context as a symbol for evil, serpents are sometimes featured in political propaganda. They were used to represent Jews in antisemitic propaganda. Snakes were also used to represent the evil side of drugs in such films as Narcotic and Narcotics: Pit of Despair.

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MessaggioOggetto: Re: Il Serpente   Mer 9 Nov 2011 - 11:23

Admin, in un tuo precedente post hai fatto riferimento al serpente cornuto, ho trovato la scheda di wikipedia che tratta in dettaglio l'argomento.

Buona lettura.

FONTE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_Serpent

Horned Serpent
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Horned Serpent appears in the mythologies of many Native Americans.[1] Details vary among tribes, with many of the stories associating the mystical figure with water, rain, lightning and/or thunder. Horned Serpents were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of North American prehistory.[2][3]

Horned serpents also appear in European and Near Eastern mythology.


A Horned Serpent in a Barrier Canyon Style pictograph, Western San Rafael Swell region of Utah.
Attribution: I, Markarian421
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Horned-Serpent-SanRafaelSwell-Utah-100_1933.jpg


In Native American culture

Horned serpents appear in the oral history of numerous Native American cultures, especially in the Southeastern Woodlands and Great Lakes.

Muscogee Creek traditions include a Horned Serpent and a Tie-Snake, estakwvnayv in the Muscogee Creek language. These are sometimes interpreted as being the same creature and sometimes different — similar, but the Horned Serpent is larger than the Tie-Snake. To the Muscogee people, the Horned Serpent is a type of underwater serpent covered with iridescent, crystalline scales and a single, large crystal in its forehead. Both the scales and crystals are prized for their powers of divination.[4] The horns, called chitto gab-by, were used in medicine.[5] Jackson Lewis, a Muscogee Creek informant to John R. Swanton, said, "This snake lives in the water has has horns like the stag. It is not a bad snake. ... It does not harm human beings but seems to have a magnetic power over game."[6] In stories, the Horned Serpent enjoyed eating sumac, Rhus glabra.[7]

Alabama people call the Horned Serpent, tcinto såktco or "crawfish snake," which they divide into four classifications based on its horns' colors, which can be blue, red, white, or yellow.[6]

Yuchi people made effigies of the Horned Serpent as recently as 1905. An effigy was fashioned from stuffed deerhide, painted blue, with the antlers painted yellow. The Yuchi Big Turtle Dance honors the Horned Serpent's spirit, which was related to storms, thunder, lighting, disease, and rainbows.[5]

Among Cherokee people, a Horned Serpent is called an uktena. Anthropologist James Mooney, describes the creature:

Those who know say the Uktena is a great snake, as large around as a tree trunk, with horns on its head, and a bright blazing crest like a diamond on its forehead, and scales glowing like sparks of fire. It has rings or spots of color along its whole length, and can not be wounded except by shooting in the seventh spot from the head, because under this spot are its heart and its life. The blazing diamond is called Ulun'suti—"Transparent"—and he who can win it may become the greatest wonder worker of the tribe. But it is worth a man's life to attempt it, for whoever is seen by the Uktena is so dazed by the bright light that he runs toward the snake instead of trying to escape. As if this were not enough, the breath of the Uktena is so pestilential, that no living creature can survive should they inhale the tiniest bit of the foul air expelled by the Uktena. Even to see the Uktena asleep is death, not to the hunter himself, but to his family.


Rock art depicting a Horned Serpent (Pony Hills and Cook's Peak, Texas)
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Snakerock.jpg

According to Sioux belief, the Unktehila (Ųȟcéǧila) are dangerous reptilian water monsters that lived in anicent times. They were of various shapes. In the end the Thunderbirds destroyed them, except for small species like snakes and lizards. This belief may have been inspired by finds of dinosaur fossils in Sioux tribal territory. The Thunderbird may have been inspired partly by finds of pterosaur skeletons.[8]
[edit] Other known names

Misi-kinepikw ("great snake")—Cree
Msi-kinepikwa ("great snake")—Shawnee
Misi-ginebig ("great snake")—Oji-Cree
Mishi-ginebig ("great snake")—Ojibwe
Pita-skog ("great snake")—Abenaki
Sinti lapitta—Choctaw
Unktehi or Unktehila—Dakota


Tie-snakes on a Mississippian sandstone plate from the Moundville Archaeological Site
Attribution: Heironymous Rowe at en.wikipedia
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chromesun_moundville_stone_palette01.jpg


In European iconography

The ram-horned serpent is a well-attested cult image of north-west Europe before and during the Roman period. It appears three times on the Gundestrup cauldron, and in Romano-Celtic Gaul was closely associated with the horned or antlered god Cernunnos, in whose company it is regularly depicted. This pairing is found as early as the fourth century BC in Northern Italy, where a huge antlered figure with torcs and a serpent was carved on the rocks in Val Camonica.[9]

A bronze image at Étang-sur-Arroux and a stone sculpture at Sommerécourt depict Cernunnos' body encircled by two horned snakes that feed from bowls of fruit and corn-mash in the god's lap. Also at Sommerécourt is a sculpture of a goddess holding a cornucopia and a pomegranate, with a horned serpent eating from a bowl of food. At Yzeures-sur-Creuse a carved youth has a ram-horned snake twined around his legs, with its head at his stomach. At Cirencester, Gloucestershire, Cernunnos' legs are two snakes which rear up on each side of his head and are eating fruit or corn. According to Miranda Green, the snakes reflect the peaceful nature of the god, associated with nature and fruitfulness, and perhaps accentuate his association with regeneration.[9]

Other deities occasionally accompanied by ram-horned serpents include "Celtic Mars", "Celtic Mercury", and the horned snake, and also conventional snakes, appears together with the solar wheel, apparently as attributes of the sun or sky god.[9]

The description of Unktehi or Unktena is, however, more similar to that of a Lindorm in Northern Europe,[citation needed] especially in Southern Scandinavia, and most of all as described in folklore in Eastern Denmark (including the provinces lost to Sweden in 1658). There, too, it is a water creature of huge dimensions, while in Southern Sweden it is a huge snake, the sight of which was deadly.[citation needed] This latter characteristic is reminiscent of the basilisk.

In Mesopotamian iconography

In Mesopotamian mythology Ningishzida, a prototype of the Biblical serpent in the Garden of Eden, is sometimes depicted as a serpent with horns. In other depictions he is shown as human, but is accompanied by bashmu, horned serpents. Ningishzida shares the epithet Ushumgal, "great serpent", with several other Mesopotamian gods.[citation needed]

Notes

^ Horned serpent, feathered serpent
^ Townsend, Richard F. (2004). Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10601-7.
^ F. Kent Reilly and James Garber, ed (2004). Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms. University of Texas Press. pp. 29–34. ISBN 978-0-292-71347-5.
^ Grantham 24-5
^ a b Grantham 52
^ a b Grantham 25
^ Grantham 26
^ Morell, Virginia (December 2005). "Sea Monsters". National Geographic, pages 74–75.
^ a b c Green, Miranda. Animals in Celtic Life and Myth. pp. 227–8. Celtic Mars: carving at the curative sanctuary at Mavilly (Cote d'Ôr). Celtic Mercury: carving at Beauvais (Oise) and Néris-les-Bains (Allier). Association with the solar wheel: Gundestrup cauldron, altar at Lypiatt (Gloucestershire).



References

Grantham, Bill. Creation Myths and Legends of the Creek Indians. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-8130-2451-6 .
Willoughby, Charles C. (1936). "The Cincinnati Tablet: An Interpretation". The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly Vol. 45:257–264.
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