Author Topic: The Symbol of the Serpent  (Read 933 times)

pi_ramesses

Re: The Symbol of the Serpent
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2017, 10:55:01 pm »
Since the Serpent is the symbol of our own order, I thought it would be good to begin a discussion of the Serpent as a symbol in various religions and cultures.

To begin with, the most obvious example is, of course, the Genesis Serpent.  After being warned that if they eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they will "surely die," the serpent tells Eve (or Chava, as I prefer the Hebrew names) that she will not die, but rather that they will become like god, and god does not wish that to happen.  Sure enough, once the fruit is eaten, the Angel says "Now he is like us."  In this, arguably the central myth of the Judeo-Christian mythology, the Serpent tells the truth, and God lies.  Genesis makes no attempt to obfuscate it.  This makes it clear to me that the Genesis Serpent is not intended to be a stand-in for evil, but rather is used as the Serpent is often used in mythology and symbolism, to represent knowledge and wisdom and, in the case of the Genesis myth, as the supplier of isolate consciousness and self awareness; to place it into our own terms, the guardian of Xeper, and the custodian of the path to godhood.

There are many other examples of the Serpent as a symbol for wisdom.  The Caduceus and Rod of Asclepius are two more well known examples. 

The Egyptian netjer Wadjet takes the form of a Serpent, and is the protector of Lower Egypt, associated with other netjeru including Bast, Sakhmet, and Mut (the World-Mother).  In this role she takes on a solar aspect, as Bast and Sakhmet are Eyes of Ra, but Wadjet is also associated with the eclipsing binary star Algol (meaning "The Demon," appropriately enough), which represents the eye in the severed head of Medusa in the modern constellation Perseus.  I've been interested in Wadjet as a stellar netjer for a while and may put together an essay on the subject.

What are some other favorite instances of the Serpent in mythology?

Bolded by me. I'm so glad I came across this thread, because this is exactly what I'd hope to learn - why is the Christian view of the serpent in the garden, 'evil?' As a former Christian, I'd say that one of the main tenets of faith, has to do with not being self-important. To be concerned with self, to want to care for ourselves independent of a god, would be considered sinful. The truth though is, self awareness is empowering, and positive. It's not evil. It's not negative. But, the Christian slant is that it negates the need for a god to guide our lives, if we think that we can control our own thoughts and actions.

As a former Christian, I remember thinking that the story was absurd and that anyone who would take it literally, was gullible. But, Christianity also passes the serpent off to be god-like. On the same par with God. Which when we think about it, that makes no sense, really. If I'm self aware, I'm god-like? But, God from the stories I've read in the Bible, is thought to be omniscient and omnipotent. So, how could eating the forbidden fruit turn us into almighty powerful gods?

The story at best, is an allegory for morality, or perhaps, to scare Christians into thinking that if you disobey God, horrible things will happen. Any way we view this story, it sounds ridiculous at the least, and horrifying at its worst. Genesis was where I lost my respect for Christianity, and that's what would be the beginning of the end for me, with religion in general.

The serpent was telling the truth, that is mind blowing for someone like me, who always was taught that the serpent was the liar of the story.  :rolleyes:

@Deidre I agree that all of what you have said in response to this thread is metaphysically correct. It is difficult to come to terms with it especially from a Christian background. This was similar to my situation as I was raised with a Catholic upbringing. I resolved that it was better to investigate than to believe falsely. Whatever choice you take, make certain that it is you that determines it for yourself rather than someone or something else that is not you.
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

Deidre

Re: The Symbol of the Serpent
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2017, 11:34:50 am »
Since the Serpent is the symbol of our own order, I thought it would be good to begin a discussion of the Serpent as a symbol in various religions and cultures.

To begin with, the most obvious example is, of course, the Genesis Serpent.  After being warned that if they eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they will "surely die," the serpent tells Eve (or Chava, as I prefer the Hebrew names) that she will not die, but rather that they will become like god, and god does not wish that to happen.  Sure enough, once the fruit is eaten, the Angel says "Now he is like us."  In this, arguably the central myth of the Judeo-Christian mythology, the Serpent tells the truth, and God lies.  Genesis makes no attempt to obfuscate it.  This makes it clear to me that the Genesis Serpent is not intended to be a stand-in for evil, but rather is used as the Serpent is often used in mythology and symbolism, to represent knowledge and wisdom and, in the case of the Genesis myth, as the supplier of isolate consciousness and self awareness; to place it into our own terms, the guardian of Xeper, and the custodian of the path to godhood.

There are many other examples of the Serpent as a symbol for wisdom.  The Caduceus and Rod of Asclepius are two more well known examples. 

The Egyptian netjer Wadjet takes the form of a Serpent, and is the protector of Lower Egypt, associated with other netjeru including Bast, Sakhmet, and Mut (the World-Mother).  In this role she takes on a solar aspect, as Bast and Sakhmet are Eyes of Ra, but Wadjet is also associated with the eclipsing binary star Algol (meaning "The Demon," appropriately enough), which represents the eye in the severed head of Medusa in the modern constellation Perseus.  I've been interested in Wadjet as a stellar netjer for a while and may put together an essay on the subject.

What are some other favorite instances of the Serpent in mythology?

Bolded by me. I'm so glad I came across this thread, because this is exactly what I'd hope to learn - why is the Christian view of the serpent in the garden, 'evil?' As a former Christian, I'd say that one of the main tenets of faith, has to do with not being self-important. To be concerned with self, to want to care for ourselves independent of a god, would be considered sinful. The truth though is, self awareness is empowering, and positive. It's not evil. It's not negative. But, the Christian slant is that it negates the need for a god to guide our lives, if we think that we can control our own thoughts and actions.

As a former Christian, I remember thinking that the story was absurd and that anyone who would take it literally, was gullible. But, Christianity also passes the serpent off to be god-like. On the same par with God. Which when we think about it, that makes no sense, really. If I'm self aware, I'm god-like? But, God from the stories I've read in the Bible, is thought to be omniscient and omnipotent. So, how could eating the forbidden fruit turn us into almighty powerful gods?

The story at best, is an allegory for morality, or perhaps, to scare Christians into thinking that if you disobey God, horrible things will happen. Any way we view this story, it sounds ridiculous at the least, and horrifying at its worst. Genesis was where I lost my respect for Christianity, and that's what would be the beginning of the end for me, with religion in general.

The serpent was telling the truth, that is mind blowing for someone like me, who always was taught that the serpent was the liar of the story.  :rolleyes:

@Deidre I agree that all of what you have said in response to this thread is metaphysically correct. It is difficult to come to terms with it especially from a Christian background. This was similar to my situation as I was raised with a Catholic upbringing. I resolved that it was better to investigate than to believe falsely. Whatever choice you take, make certain that it is you that determines it for yourself rather than someone or something else that is not you.

I agree! I left Christianity five years ago, so this will be my second time ''leaving,'' and I'm more resolved than even the first time, because I've identified as an atheist, before. I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from, it's hard to explain to people who just blindly believe their faith without exploring it for themselves.
"Don't look for riches, look for rich experiences." - Lucian Black


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