Serpents and Snakes

 

Like the dragon, the snake or serpent is known across the world as a symbolic creature. Able to shed its own skin in a ritual of renewal, the snake is often involved in creation mythologies, emerging from the birth of the world. They are also known for patience, often lying still for hours or days as they digest their meals or warm their blood on a sun-baked rock.

Creation serpents are often cosmic in scale, like the Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent and the North American Horned Serpent. More gods than snakes, these creatures are not only the world’s creators, but its guardians, and will inflict justice upon any of those who seek to harm their creations.

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Responsible for molding mountains and creating the deep, ravenous seas, cosmic serpents are considered immeasurably strong. Many are also tied heavily with water, and sea serpents and river nagas are thought to be watchers over the most precious resource: water.

Venomous serpents bring a new level of fear and respect to the mythology, and ancient medicine grew around the use of small amounts of venom to cure ailments, while large amounts were sure to kill. As such, the snake is often seen as a creature of life and death, with the ability to give it, as well as take it away.

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The snake’s power over lore and mythology is undoubtedly carried in its ability for renewal, to grant ecstatic trances, and to withstand the passage of time, living until the end of all things. An example of this would be the Ouroboros, a vast snake that encircles the world, devouring its own tail in a never-ending cycle of life and death.

Yet there is also a dark side to the snake’s reputation, particularly in Christianity and Judaism, when the snake leads Adam and Eve into temptation, urging them to eat fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge. The serpent recurs throughout the bible, and its final appearance is in the book of revelation, where it is undeniably symbolic of Satan himself.

 

The elongated, rhythmic motion of the snake is hypnotically sensual, and Alchemy Gothic capture the beauty of this creature of temptation, knowledge and wisdom in many of their pieces. The soft, leather quality of their skins, with delicate scale patterns, is mimicked in cool pewter, and the dark whispers of their movements only serve to lead the wearer down the slender path between light and dark, where knowledge truly equals power.

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