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Detail of Stela 1, Fragment 1, front. La Corona, Guatemala.

Maya Snake King Dynasty Used Local Gods to Gain Authority in Rural Guatemala

Taking political control is often a violent affair, but tactics, knowledge of local customs and beliefs, and trickery can also be used to get an ambitious leader’s foot in the door. New research on...
Left:  Hopi snake dancer ( adobegallery) Right: A Hopi male during the annual snake dance and ritual prayers for rain, 1946 (public domain)

Dances with Snakes: The Real Reason for the Hopi Snake Dance – Part II

The day prior to the final Snake Dance performance in the plaza, before sunrise with Orion and Sirius rising, two warriors of the Snake society make several circuits around the Snake and Antelope...
Detail of ‘Hopi Snake Dance’ by Cornelia Cassady-Davis.

Dances with Snakes: The Real Reason for the Hopi Snake Dance

For thousands of years the Hopi tribe of northern Arizona has performed a secretive, sacred ceremony that embodies the manifold and richly evocative archetypal nature of the serpent. In modern times...
Rice goddesses are found across cultures

Rice Goddesses - Earth Mothers who Influenced Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld

For centuries, rice has been a staple diet and plays an important role in Asian culture. Although rice farmers have found their lives becoming more difficult due to climate change, Bloomberg states...
Healing Temple of Aesculapius (Asklepios) by Robert Thom

A Dream Cure? The Effective Healing Power of Dream Incubation in Ancient Greece

In the ancient world, many cultures built elaborate temple complexes dedicated to their healer gods - Imhotep in Egypt and Asklepios in Greece for example. These gods were recognized as having the...
A modern depiction of the hellhound Cerberus.

Gate to Hell Guardians Were Used to Ward People Off Deadly Cave

The Gate to Hell, also known as Pluto’s Gate, was the Greco-Roman entrance to the Underworld. When archaeologists found an example of this sacred site in Turkey they also discovered two guardians who...
Quetzalcoatl – Public Domain, and El Castillo at Chichén Itzá – CC BY-SA 4.0

The ‘Myth’ of the Plumed Serpent: Revealing the Real Message Behind the Feathered Snake

The Plumed (or Feathered) Serpent is a Mesoamerican myth that has fascinated modern people for quite some time. Among the Aztecs and Toltecs this divinity went by the name of Quetzalcoatl and to the...

A Hopi Hero’s Journey: How the Snake Clan Came to Arizona

Joseph Campbell, in his classic book The Hero With A Thousand Faces explores in depth the universal mythic narrative of the culture-hero (traditionally male) who goes forth not to conquer but...
Statue of an Iroquois man, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Theresa O’Connor/CC BY-SA 2.0) and background, Hiawatha by Thomas Eakins, 1874. (Public Domain);Deriv.

Thunder god and Skywoman – Myth and History of the Iroquois: Exploring a First Nations Tradition

Every year, western scholars look with wonder to the ancient mythologies, ruins, and histories of such places as Egypt, Greece, and the Near East. Due to the considerable efforts of professional and...
eft: Old Moon Goddess Destructive, Chak Chel. Dresden Codex, Forstemann version, with permission of FAMSI. Right: Old Moon Goddess, Beneficent Chak Chel. Dresden Codex, Forstemann version, with permission of FAMSI

Mayan Women and the Coiled Snake Headdress

The coiled snake headdress is a significant artifact connected with Mayan women, both ancient and modern. Images of ancient Mayan women wearing this distinctive headdress have been found carved on...
Borgund Stave Church (Eduardo/CC BY-SA 2.0), pentagram, Vitruvian man, and serpent

The Viking Serpent: Serpent Worship, Sacred Geometry, and Secrets of the Celtic Church in Norway

Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code, inspired by Henry Lincoln and his two co-authors’ The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail . The Norwegian researcher Harald Boehlke was inspired by the same book. Lincoln...
Ganesha

Understanding Ganesha: Legendary Wise Hindu God who Removes Obstacles, Ensures Success

Ganesha is one of the most distinctive Hindu deities. His role is to remove obstacles and ensure success as well as creating obstructions for those whose ambition has become destructive. He is also...
Exhibit featuring Mongolian arrows, and Mongolian soldier model

How Did They Do It? Masters of the Steppe: Armed to the Teeth with Weapons and Poison—Part II

Much is known about the ancient Mongol military and their incredible victories on the battlefield, but little is ever discussed about their arms, armor, horses, and logistics. What gear did they use...
A Match Made in Greek Legend: What Happened When Heracles Met the Snake Woman?

A Match Made in Greek Legend: What Happened When Heracles Met the Snake Woman?

While completing his Twelve Labors, the Greek hero Heracles (a.k.a. Hercules) got up to tons of mischief—and that included bedding a lot of women. In the process, he fathered a whole host of...
Featured in Dozens of Operas, Films, TV Series and Books, What Makes the Legend of the White Snake so Compelling?

Featured in Dozens of Operas, Films, TV Series and Books, What Makes the Legend of the White Snake so Compelling?

The Legend of the White Snake (known also as ’Madame White Snake’) is a well-known legend from China. This fascinating tale is said to have been originally transmitted orally before being transformed...
An image showing the story of St. Guinefort.

Have You Ever Heard of An Animal Being Made a Saint? It Really Happened!

Saint Guinefort is perhaps one of the most unusual saints in Christianity. This unique 13th century saint was not even a human being, but a greyhound. Following his brave protection of a baby, which...

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