Why Do Snakes Get a Bad Rap?
There are some animals that get a bad rap: spiders, rats, bats, vultures, and snakes to name a few? But why? Why do snakes get a bad rap?
In animism, every creature is sacred. Everyone has their part to play to create balance. So there are no “bad” creatures. Perhaps some are misunderstood.
For the People of the Book, snakes are associated with Satan. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve. They lived in peace and plenty in the Garden of Eden. God said they could eat from any tree in the garden except the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. The snake persuaded Eve to disobey and eat some fruit which she then shares with Adam. From that time on, humans knew shame, hunger, evil, and pain. And the snake got the blame.
But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, it wasn’t even this way for non-Christians. Serpents were associated with evil, chaos, and the Otherworld. But they were also associated with transformation, fertility, healing, and rebirth. The Oroborous, or the snake eating its tail, is a symbol of the snake in its wholeness.
Snakes figure prominently in many creation myths. Australian aborigines as well as Native Californians, for example, tell tales of the Rainbow Serpent who is the Mother of either animals or the bodies of water. In Greek mythology, the snake Ophion incubated the egg from which all creatures emerged.
So before you see a person, place, or thing as “bad,” get to know its story. We all have two faces, a light one and a dark one. A masculine one and a feminine one. We’re all as capable of biting as we are healing. Both sides have a positive purpose when used effectively.
If snake is your spirit animal, you have a very powerful and sacred partner. Some qualities that she may bring you are healing, transformation, and spirit communication. If a snake appears in your dreams or you see it around suddenly, it may be a time for shedding your skin and making a comeback in some way. It could be a time of growth or a call to display wisdom. It could be a call to be more grounded, charming, or stealthy. Look to your experience of snakes to know for sure as your own culture, stories, and beliefs inform your symbols.