Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Snake in the Road

Last night night I was reading, When God was a Woman where the author was going into detail about snakes - "Unraveling the Myth of Adam and Eve".

For example:

"On the island of Crete the snake appears in the worship of the female deity more repeatedly than anywhere else in the Mediterranean area. All over the island, artifacts have been unearthed that portray the Goddess or Her priestesses holding snakes in their hands or with them coiled about their bodies, revealing that they were an important part of the religious myths....

Evans, offering supportive evidence, asserted that the Lady of the Serpents on Crete was originally derived from the worship of the Cobra Goddess of the predynastic people of Egypt. He suggested that the worship of the Serpent Lady may have been brought to Crete in about 3000 BC."

It's pretty interesting to think about the Bible in relation to what the religions were at the time. The religions that the patriarchs of the Bible were trying to convince people to abandon - or if not - to be killed.

At any rate - I got up this morning and went on my ritual walk at dawn and here was a snake in the road - right by the mailbox (it seemed like a message). It was dead. It had been crushed. I do see snakes around here from time to time - usually about once or twice a year. I often see worms in the road - after a big rain. This snake was about the size of a worm - about 7-8 inches long. In good shape for the most part. Snakes are quite distinctive from worms - even when they are the same size. The shape of the head, the tapering of the tail into a point, the way their bodies curve. I decided to save it - rather than have it be breakfast for a bird.


I googled "the Little Goddess of the Serpents" looking for an image - and came across this:

"The Serpent Goddess symbolizes the bridge between the worlds, death, and renewal."

From "Awakening", "The old world (still alive in the beliefs of the East) and the new world (characterized by the Christian West) have differing views on the serpent.  What one thinks of the serpent (the primal, regenerating energy of nature) depends upon what one thinks of nature.

Civilization provides an isolating barrier between us and the harsh realities of the world outside.  The old world was far more intimate with nature than we.  To know Nature was survival: they knew it, honored it, and feared it.  Any other philosophy was inconceivable ‑ and suicidal. The primal, regenerating energy of nature was, to them, Divine Power incarnate in the animals, in the plants, in the soil of the earth, in the swirling wind of the sky, in the swirling water of the rivers.  Nature was a sacred, life‑bestowing Goddess; we can’t really imagine the awe early people felt for Her and the cyclical periodicity of Her Will: something begins, endures briefly, and ends...only to begin again in new form....

The dominance of this “Cycles of Nature” religion lasted for thousands of years, until a man from the Mesopotamian city of Ur, Abraham (c. 2000 BC), imagined an alternative view of time, and consequently, of nature and divinity. What if time doesn’t go around and around, with things rising and falling, only to rise and fall again?  What if the apparent cycles are actually contained within a larger linear motion of time?  Time is not a wheel, but a direction the wheel is traveling: this is the "Arrow of Time".
The world‑shaking import of this idea can hardly be overstated, for it is now the philosophy of the entire modern world - the forward-looking, ambition-driven civilization that it was instrumental in creating.

The "arrow of time" is also known as entropy. Our "forward-looking, ambition-driven civilization" - this disconnect from Nature - may take us back to the Cambrian time period 500 million years ago - when jellyfish and a few other things flourished. (Or it could be the Devonian (410 to 360 mya) - characterized by Mass extinction or the Ordovician (500 to 440 mya) - also having mass extinctions - but let's not quibble about that - that is not the point). It's a large cycle to think of in terms of Nature - yet if those are the conditions that people are creating (the earth is the warmest it's been in a million years) - that is where the "arrow of time" could go. To start the cycle over again - a cycle which may include some type of people in the far distant future becoming disconnected from Nature again.

It's all a cycle whether we like it or not.

No comments: