snake worship: The snake has been variously adored as a regenerative power, as a god of evil, as a god of good, as Christ (by the Gnostics), as a phallic deity, as a solar deity, and as a god of death. It has also served as the symbol of Satan and many deities, including Apollo and the Egyptian god Ra. Snake worship found expression in both the Toltec and Aztec periods of prehistoric Mexican civilization. In Aztec mythology a half-divine, half-human being descended to earth for a while as the great teacher of mankind; the Aztecs called him the "feathered serpent," the incarnation of the serpent sun. In Egypt, according to one authority, each temple had a reserved area where snakes were kept. In Greek religion the snake was frequently considered divine. Among the Greek Dionysian cults it signified wisdom and was a symbol of fertility. The Greek god most closely associated with snake worship is Apollo; the original name of Apollo's temple at Delphi was Pytho, after the snake Python. In Rome during the period of the empire, a sacred snake was kept within the city and was attended by the vestal virgins; it was believed that if the snake refused to accept food from the hand of one of its attendants, the attendant was no longer a virgin, and she was promptly killed. The ancient Mesopotamians and Semites believed that the snake was immortal because it shed its skin and appeared in a fresh guise. The Indians, Burmese, and Siamese worshiped the snake as a demon who also had good aspects. Primitive Hindu snake cults were incorporated into the worship of Krishna and eventually into the worship of Vishnu. Buddhist legends relate that Buddha was given the true Buddhism by the "king of the serpents" (often seen as the cobra), and Buddhists also revere the regenerative powers the snake exhibits. In China the serpent, in the form of the dragon, figures as a fierce but protective divinity. Snake charming, not to be confused with snake worship, is the art of fascinating, capturing, and controlling serpents.
"snake worship." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/snake-worship
"snake worship." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/snake-worship
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.