It is my first blog post and thought I would introduce myself, even though we have met virtually in class. My name is Brea (said like the cheese, brie), and I am a first year transfer art major. I grew up in Iowa, but have lived in Los Angeles for ten years. I had an early career and spent a lot of time in many different cities in Europe and Asia. I am the year of the snake.
From a western viewpoint I feel like the snake doesn't have the greatest reputation. In the old testament in the Bible, the snake was the catalyst who convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge (Cline). The snake assured them that if they ate the fruit they would see both good and evil, as God does. God “cursed” the snake to the ground for tempting the two and punished the snake to live in the dirt without legs (Pruitt).
The snake is not always a negative entity. Avanyu is a horned serpent, who is the spirit of water in Pueblo culture. I am no expert on the topic, but from what I have read, the snake is regarded as a powerful spirit which controls earthly phenomena (water, lighting, rain, etc.). It is associated with water and rain suggesting it as the sustainer of life and connective entity between earth and the gods (Diaz).
Although the origins of the Covid-19 virus is still unknown, there are various theories on different animals to have been hosts (Jarvis). Snakes were accused of being the intermediate host. (Guo) . The virus is suspected to have originated in wet markets in Wuhan. A variety of animals are sold in wet markets, including snakes which are sold for their meat (Maron).
As you can see the snake has a variety of reputations in culture and society. It is punished in the bible for leading Adam and Eve to knowledge, while it is respected among the Pueblo. In current news it is being positioned as a literal threat to humanity. Looking broadly at the symbol of the snake, it seems like it holds great power. I am hardly scratching the surface on the great number of symbols and mythologies around snakes. I would love to dig deeper and discover more.
*note 5/13/2020 :Although snakes were being considered as a possible host to covid-19, researchers suspect this is not true.
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Godong/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Jar decorated with Avanyu (water serpent), 1919–20 Made by Maria Montoya Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1887–1980 Painted by Julian Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1885–1943, Blackware ceramic
.edu/collections/objects/53887. Accessed 11 May 2020.
Cline, Austin, “Why Punish the Snake for Telling Truth to Adam and Eve?” Learn Religions. www.learnreligions.com, https://www.learnreligions.com/punishing-the-snake-for-telling-the-truth-247982. Accessed 11 May 2020.
Diaz, Rosemary, Avanyu: Spirit of Water in Pueblo Life and Art | Bienvenidos 2014 | Santafenewmexican.Com. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/magazines/bienvenidos_2014/avanyu-spirit-of-water-in-pueblo-life-and-art/article_da0e9cb8-d4b2-11e3-9331-0017a43b2370.html. Accessed 11 May 2020.
Guo, Haitao, "Snakes Could Be the Original Source of the New Coronavirus Outbreak in China". https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/snakes-could-be-the-original-source-of-the-new-coronavirus-outbreak-in-china/. Accessed 11 May 2020.“Inside the Last Great Snake Butcher Shop in Hong Kong.” The Takeout. thetakeout.com, https://thetakeout.com/inside-the-last-great-snake-butcher-shop-in-hong-kong-1798259325. Accessed 11 May 2020.
Jarvis, Claire, Which Species Transmit COVID-19 to Humans? We’re Still Not Sure. | The Scientist Magazine®. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/which-species-transmit-covid-19-to-humans-were-still-not-sure-67272. Accessed 11 May 2020.
Maron, Dina Fine“Wet Markets” Launched the Coronavirus. Here’s What You Need to Know.https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/04/coronavirus-linked-to-chinese-wet-markets/#close. Accessed 11 May 2020.
Pruitt, Sarah. “9 Powerful Snakes from History and Mythology.” HISTORY. www.history.com, https://www.history.com/news/snake-symbol-history-mythology. Accessed 11 May 2020.