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Brotherhood of the Snake

The Serpent Scion: Mythic Traditions and the Brotherhood of the Snake - Part 1


That fabled moment when Eve, the first mythic wife of man and mother of all living, accepted fruit from the serpent will remain in infamy as the first great deceit of man by the snake. Of course, despite a rich history of symbolism attained by the lowly belly-crawler amidst its ancestry on Earth that predated his encounter with Adam’s wife, this incident, according to the Western mind, became the very summation of the snake’s establishment as a wary foe to mankind. And yet, even beyond the realm of myth, there are many who hold fast to the notion that a strange interconnection may somehow exist between man and reptile; one which could yield more, perhaps, than a mere myth-association.

In terms of that prevalence of the serpent-human hybridization myth and the bloodline of the Serpent in human history, we can indeed depart from this primarily Christian mythos altogether, looking abroad at a variety of traditions around the world in which the lowly serpent rises and, rather curiously, appears in therianthropic, half-human form that is suggestive of this intermingling between the species. To examine only a few examples of such serpentine representations found in world traditions, we find the sibling folk heroes of ancient China, Fu Xi and Nuwa, each of whom bore snake’s tails below the waist. Fu Xi is often accredited with the passing of fundamental knowledge and skills such as handwriting and food gathering, while his sister, Nuwa, is credited with the literal creation of mankind. 1, 2 In other words, these half-snake deities of Chinese folklore are both responsible for the creation and education of mankind. Thus, humanity is created, and knowledge gained, from those bearing close associations with the serpent. Similar traditions arise from study of ancient Greek mythology, where Cecrops, mythical first king and founder of Athens, similarly bestowed knowledge of writing and reading unto mankind. 3 Greek mythology also featured Echidna, mother of all monsters and human-snake hybrid, appearing virtually identical to the aforementioned serpent deities. And again in Lamia, the Libyan queen and child-eater, this preponderance of Greek snake-people is again made evident. 4

Moving across the great waters, Aztec mythology features a similar hybrid representation of the snake-woman among its gods with the appearance of Cihuacoatl, a goddess of motherhood and fertility whose work alongside Quetzalcoatl (who was himself often serpentine in appearance) resulted again in the creation of mankind. 5 Both the passage of technical knowledge, as well as mankind’s creation, remain fixtures amidst the mythos surrounding snake people in early mythologies from all over the world.

Then heading northwest, the Pomo people indigenous to California have a curious legend that not only involves the consistent historic relations between human and snake, but also specific references to interbreeding between them. The story goes that a young Pomo woman was working near her family home, when a rattlesnake began to observe her, watching her every move as she stopped to gather fresh clover from a field. The rattlesnake followed the girl home, and as often performed by the animal gods of Native American tradition, he transformed himself into human form, and climbing onto the roof of the girl’s family home, slid down a pole located at the top of the building and entered the place. There, he began conversing with the family, announcing his intention to marry the girl he had watched earlier that day. This discourse would continue for several more nights, with the rattlesnake returning each evening in human form, where he would continue his courting of the young Pomo girl. On the fourth night, however, the snake chose to maintain his true form, entering the house and frightening the girl’s mother badly as she came upon his swaying snake’s head in the darkened room. The rattlesnake soon took the girl back to his home, and with time they conceived four boys together.

These children, rather than being true human-serpent hybrids, seemed to more closely resemble their serpentine father, as the legend details. They eventually began to ask their mother why she looked and acted so differently from them, but upon allowing them to examine her, she tells them something rather curious: “It is impossible for you to become a human being, and though I am not really human any longer, I must go back to my parents and tell them what has happened.” 6 This legend, first recorded in 1933 by anthropologist Samuel Barrett, never provides a clear reason as to why, exactly, the human mother eventually loses her own humanity after interbreeding with the snake (though the concept of a loss of innocence under the snake’s influence somewhat resembles that of Eve’s fall before the serpent in Genesis). She nonetheless returns home, explains this mystery to her parents, and parts way with them, presumably to rejoin her serpent kindred once and for all.

One other curious representation of the snake god in world mythologies comes of interest to us here, skipping halfway across the world to a small municipality in northern Spain known as Betelu, in which the mythology of the Basque culture features rather prominently a character known as Sugaar, often depicted as a snake or dragon. The Basque tradition here holds that Sugarr, a consort of the greater pre-Christian Basque goddess known as Mari, is actually a demon, and was described as being an entity who travelled through the sky between the Balerdi and Elortalde mountains, appearing as a great fireball. 7

Aside from bearing a snakelike form, one may wonder precisely what this particular deity has to do with snake-human hybrids, let alone the pervasive notion in folklore that some historic “bloodline” between the two might exist. But what if there were indeed some variety of phenomenon present that, coinciding with the folklore, pointed to a real divergence in human blood types; what would this suggest? Indeed, from this point we will thus enter the realm of speculation; in doing so, though the ideas and motifs that emerge become difficult to resolve, they nonetheless outline a curious parallel that exists between the culture of the serpent god, and a genuine anomaly known to exist among human blood types… and one that is often considered for its potential alien connections.

Indeed, it is amidst the Basque of France and Spain that we find an odd prevalence of one human blood type known as Rh-negative. The use of Rh here denotes “Rhesus,” as the origins of the blood type were labeled after a common factor shared between humans and the Rhesus monkey; today, the Rh blood group system is one of thirty of the existing current blood group systems recognized by science, of which close to eighty five percent of humans have. 8 The most common manifestation among the Rhesus blood factor in humans is known as Rh-positive blood. By studying the common factors present between blood types of, for instance, humans and the Rhesus monkey, it becomes clear in terms of the genetic information present here that at some point in our ancient past, humans must have shared a common ancestor with this species of Old World monkeys.

The Rh-negative factor is where the anomaly begins to occur, because in this instance, we discover that the blood type in question differs greatly enough from the Rh-positive varieties that a number of conditions can occur when a mix between the two occurs. For instance, the disease known as Hemolytic disease of the newborn can result, in which an expecting mother that is Rh-negative can suffer an allergic reaction to the presence of the fetus if it is Rh-positive. Antibodies are built up within her body, which can have the effect one would expect of any foreign body or virus entering one’s immune system; hence, the newborn can suffer a variety of complications, or even death from heart failure in the womb, as these antibodies produced by the mother pass along to the infant through the placenta. 9 Isn’t it strange that a mutation, as the Rh-negative factor is supposed by many to be, could occur in such a way that it would cause a developing fetus to be treated as though it were literally alien in this way? And yet this is precisely what medical science has found to occur… although the origins of the curious Rh-negative factor remain a mystery.

Part 2

By Scott Alan Roberts and Micah Hanks


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