The symbolism of snakes in past history and present is mixed with uncertainties. Many associate the snake as a messenger for the bringer of death and there are countless cultures that believe the serpent is a symbol of fertility, honor, knowledge, and truth.
Book of Genesis
Snakes made their first appearance in the first Book of Genesis 3:1 where a serpent, being a messenger for the devil, tempts Adam and Eve with the forbidden fruit. The snake returns in Exodus when Moses, as a sign of God's power, turning his staff into a snake. When Moses made the Nehushtan, a bronze snake on a pole, it was said that when one peered into the eyes of the staff, it would cure snake bites that plagued them in the desert.
Snakes in Egyptian history
The symbol of the snake in Egyptian history represented the Nile cobra adorning the crown of the pharaoh in ancient times. Snakes were worshiped as gods and were used for ominous purposes: “murder of an adversary and ritual suicide”.
Snakes in Greek Mythology
In Greek mythology snakes are often linked to death and are considered to be symbols of the earth. In ancient Greece, snakes were honored as spiritual healers. In fact, Asclepius carried two snakes knotted together that today represents a symbol displayed on emergency vehicles.
“The Titans are also depicted in art with snakes instead of legs and feet for the same reason—they are children of Gaia and Ouranos(Uranus), so they are bound to the earth.”
India: Land of Snakes
India is often called the” land of snakes”. Snakes are worshiped as gods and the represent fertility, knowledge, and honor. Every year, the Hindu festival called Nag Panchami displays the snakes to be venerated and prayed to.
The Ouroboros is a symbol that is associated with many different religions and customs, and is also claimed to be related to Alchemy. The Ouroboros is a snake eating its own tail in the shape of a circle, demonstrating one's own life and resurrection, leading to immortality.