Serpent Day is a day of reflection and coming to grips with our fears. It’s dedicated to pondering our reactions to the prime material behind that expensive high-fashion snake-skin handbag. Its unique, slithering form has long been associated with wisdom and power, used for either good or evil. Either way, it is apparent that the serpent deserves a day dedicated to its position in culture over the last few thousand years. In all honesty, where would Adam and Eve be without the third party?
The History of Serpent Day
Serpents have been both feared and revered, at times simultaneously, in many different periods of human history. Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity, the worship of which was first known documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BCE or first century CE. Veneration of the figure appears spread throughout Mesoamerica between 600–900 AD.
Quetzalcoatl, also called “the Plumed Serpent,” played a dominant role as a god, model, myth, historical figure and symbol in Aztec culture. According to legend, he was incarnated on earth and founded the fabulous capital of the Toltecs, Tollan. Quetzalcoatl represented the universal quest for meaning in life, and was the guardian of water and rain, a precious resource of the Aztecs.
In the Hindu regions of Asia the serpent, or naga, is considered a nature spirit. As in the Aztec belief system, Naga is the protector of springs, wells and rivers, and so serpents bring rain, and fertility. The serpent is also a fascinating biblical symbol. Perhaps the most common is the portrayal of the serpent as an enemy in general, or as Satan in particular.
However, a serpent is later used to foreshadow Jesus’ death on the cross and the salvation it makes possible when a bronze serpent appears on a cross that the severely ill Israelites looked upon to recover, which can be found in John 3:14-15. Anthropologists have argued that the serpent as a symbol of death is built into our unconscious minds because of evolutionary history, as for millions of years, snakes were mainly just predators of primates. Nowadays, a snake wrapped around the Rod of Asclepius is on the Star of Life, the worldwide symbol of medical aid.
How to celebrate Serpent Day
Seeing as serpents have often been associated with wisdom and cunning, should you decide to celebrate Serpent Day, you could spend this time contemplating some of your key life experiences and deciding what lessons they’ve taught you and how you could use this knowledge to improve your life in the future.
After all, isn’t learning from your mistakes one of the most important skills you could learn? Serpents have also been associated with medical care and attention, so maybe take the time to sit down with your family and go over the basics of first aid–what to do in case of being stung by a bee, or what the safe does of certain basic medications are, or how to dress a burn, or how to bandage a cut properly. That kind of knowledge has never hurt anyone, especially not children or teenagers, who are exceptionally accident prone.
Serpents deserve a day dedicated to them; its presence is somehow necessary, what with all of the fables and stories abound with snake-inspired situations and wise or evil serpents, that have filled our culture for as long as any of our ancestors could remember.