Sunday, March 4, 2012

Snake Tattoo Symbolism

Snake Symbolism

Meanings: Renewal, Protection, Transition, Mystery, Defense, Magic, Infinity, Sexuality, Hidden, Grounded, Transformation, Fertility, Hidden, Secret, Birth

Snakes in many cultures (African, Chinese, Native American Hopi to name a few) are associated with water, and this emphasizes their connection to healing. Water is symbolic of healing, cleansing and purifying.

In Greek myth, snakes are symbolic of health and healing as we see them associated with Asclepius who was a renowned deity of medicine, healing and said to grant regenerative powers. That sense of renewal comes from the snake who sheds off the old (skin) and emerges shiny, bright and new after each shedding.
Asclepius' snake is singular, but myth also shows many deities with double-snakes, and these will have powerful meanings of balance, duality, and joining opposing elements for the purpose of unification and even enlightenment.

Ancient alchemy uses the double-snake illustration as a sign-post to denote the conjugation of opposites with a goal for higher illumined, balanced, advanced result.

Snakes are also protective symbols. They are considered protectors of the underworld in Greco-Roman ideology, and are often seen in funerary art to convey guardianship over burial sites. Countless ancient cultures recognize snakes as protectors of abstruse mysteries, and that is why we see snakes commonly adorn magical personalities through history. Whether a priestess like Pythia or a sage like Hermes, when we see a snake associated with powerful archetypes of deep (esoteric/occult) wisdom, it is a symbol of protecting sacred knowledge.

Mexican mythology indicates the snake is a symbol of veneration, worship and honor.  Often a symbol of great power, resurrection and rebirth, the snake continues to be a powerful emblem of renewal and transition. 
Further, the snake is recognized as a symbol of humanity as a whole.  The Mexican perspective provides hope for mankind to aspire to great heights as it correlates the shedding of the serpent’s skin to man’s ability to change his own circumstances and overcome adversity.
To summarize the symbolic meaning of the snake and skull in the Mexican mythological realms indicate:
  • Duality between mans identification with conflict between life and death
  • The impermanence (illusion) associated with this conflict
  • Man’s ability to recognize this message of impermanence
  • Man’s ability to utilize the power available to him to over come this conflict
  • Ultimate ascension & surpassing of conflict & illusion altogether.

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