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Tracing the origins of the Serpent Cult

Tracing the origins of the Serpent Cult


In mythology, the serpent symbolises fertility and procreation, wisdom, death, and resurrection (due to the shedding of its skin, which is not akin to rebirth), and in the earliest schools of mysticism, the symbol of ‘The Word’ was the serpent. The ‘light’ that appeared was metaphorically defined as a serpent called ‘Kundalini’, coiled at the base of the spine to remain dormant in an unawakened person.   Divinity or awakening one’s Godhood and latent abilities came with the rituals and teachings brought by the serpent people.

To understand them, we must look at the original ‘serpents’.  In China, it was a male and female pair with human heads and serpent bodies named Fu Xi and Nu Wa who created humans. In Sumer, it was the Annunaki Nin-Khursag and her husband Enki who were given the task of creating workers. Enki is known to us as the serpent in Genesis—the one who gave us the ability to think and reason and so was cursed by his brother Enlil for it. To the Hindus, it was the cosmic serpent Ananta who created us. So, if, at the dawn of man’s creation we have a pair of serpent-like beings who created us, then those of the serpent cult must have been their direct descendants, either by blood or by spirit.

Fu Xi and Nu Wa, the mythological serpents who created humans in Chinese mythology

Fu Xi and Nu Wa, the mythological serpents who created humans in Chinese mythology (Wikipedia)

The next serpent was Enki’s son Ningizzidda, known to the Sumerians, Egyptians and Tibetans. According to Zecharia Sitchin, he dwelt in Magan, or what is known to us as Egypt, leading theorists to believe he was Thoth who formed a mystery school propagating ideas of self-improvement and enlightenment, furthering his father’s deeds and philosophy. If Enki and Ningizzidda ruled over Magan as is claimed, then that school would have been a beacon attracting all who wished to gain knowledge, backed by the power and might of Magan. Is there any other proof to that theory? It was claimed at the Council of Nicea that ‘the powers of gods came from Egypt’. There was a Great White Brotherhood (named for their raiment), a prominent mystery school in Karnak. A branch of it became the Egyptian Therapeutate who in Judea were known as the Essenes. Jesus, being an Essene, most likely was initiated in Egypt at this mystery school, rising up the levels until he became a ‘Master’.

The Sumerian God, Ningizidda, represented as the double headed Snake coiled into a double helix

The Sumerian God, Ningizidda, represented as the double headed Snake coiled into a double helix (highlighting the duality in nature), flanked by two gryphons (Wikipedia)

Eventually the Annunaki did lose control of the Earth and its population, which was rapidly expanding, with mankind scattered across the globe forming their own colonies and social structures. Those who followed the serpent ideology would have been concerned with maintaining relevance while faced with constant change, new religions, and potential threats to their own land which was wealthy. To both protect themselves and to encourage people to follow their belief system, they sent out emissaries (the ‘Shining Ones’) and we find tales of these Shining Ones the world over. To simple hunters and fishermen they seemed like gods. They did not come to conquer the lands, but rather to aid the people, teaching them how to cultivate crops, heal their sick and injured, and read the stars. 

Numerous ancient cultures throughout the world worshipped the serpent, beings such as Quetzalcoatl, Cihuacohuatziti, and Cihuacohuatl in Mexico and Peru, the Naga King of India and his Nagin children, Po Nagar in Vietnam, who was their first Empress, and the serpent deities who were beautiful women associated with trees and lakes. The Snake Goddess of Egypt, Wadjet, was protector of the land, kings, and women in childbirth. In Minoa, the Snake Goddess was addressed as A-sa-sa-ra-me and was related to the Hittite Ishassara, the Khmer Apsara and the Canaanite Asherah. Pre-Christian Ireland, Scotland and England also worshipped the serpent.

The Minoan Snake Goddess

The Minoan Snake Goddess (Wikimedia Commons)

However, a visiting figurehead was not enough to cement the serpent cult’s position, especially when faced with new religions and kingdoms that were acquiring political and military might. To that end, politically advantageous marriages were arranged with the emerging ruling families. A serpent prince or princess marrying into the family would bring trade, wealth, knowledge on how to form a coherent society and the secrets known only to the cult, which would then be passed down to the resultant children. It was this well of knowledge that gave the new ruling family the advantage over their people and allowed them to claim ‘Divinity’- or superiority over all others. Yet most of these marriages did not end happily.

King Dwuttabaung of Burma had a Naga princess as wife. The capital of Burma, Pagan, had Naga advisors and attendants.  In some accounts, after a falling out with his wife, he was said to have been killed by the Nagas.

In Laos, the tale is told of the Naga Prince Phangkhi, who fell in love with a Khmer Princess, Aikham. Wishing to have a glimpse of her but remain incognito, he turned himself into a squirrel but was unfortunately caught and eaten. His father, the Naga King waged war on the kingdom in retaliation, capturing the princess. King Phadaeng, who was also in love with her, went to rescue her, but was unsuccessful, becoming the Ghost King and continuing the siege of the Naga King’s capital.

In Cambodia, it was Soma, the daughter of King Naga, who was captured by the Brahmin Priest Kaundinya who then married him. Her father sucked up the water from a swampy land, creating the country of Kampuchea for the couple.

Carving of a Naga, one of many wrought from wood or stone to be found throughout Asia

Carving of a Naga, one of many wrought from wood or stone to be found throughout Asia (

In Java, there is a story that bears some similarity to the Little Mermaid. It is the tale of Nyai Lara Kidul, who was married to the human king. She was so beautiful that his other wives hired a witch to make her ugly. In despair, she jumped into the ocean, where the goddess took pity on her, turning her into a half-human, half-snake and anointing her Queen of the Ocean.

In India, the serpent beings were known as Nagin—the children of the Naga King. Several Royal Families claim lineage through inter-marriage in Nagin including the Manipur, Yadavas and Pallavas.

In Greece, the most famous example is Alexander the Great, whose mother was an enthusiastic participant in Orphic rites, often dancing with serpents draped about her. In the fresco titled ‘Zeus seduces Olympias’, by Giulio Romano; Zeus has a head and torso of a human, but the tail of a serpent.

In France, we have the tale of Melusine—half human/half fish (or serpent), betrayed by her husband who broke his word to honour her request that he not disturb her while she took her ritual bath.

Why, when the serpent beings were known for their beauty and brought such advantages, did the marriages often end so badly? Perhaps the serpent princess found herself missing her home. She also found herself dependant on her husband’s good will to ensure she was welcomed into society and often faced censure, suspicion of her foreign influences and outright jealousy. Unable to form friendships, she was ostracized and should her husband’s affection waver, those who sought her downfall would pounce. In many cases, the princess simply returned home, leaving her children behind. In others, she or her husband would die.  Yet she is remembered through her children, who were born with greater strength and intelligence than those around them, enabling the family to assert its claim that they had been granted the divine right to rule by the gods, the superior children proof of the gods’ favor.

Featured image: Loki's brood; Hel, Fenrir and Jörmungandr. By Emil Doepler, 1905 (Wikimedia Commons)


Serpent Faith – Sacred Texts. Available from:

Traditional Lao Literature: Phadaeng Nang Ai – Seasite. Available from:

Snakes and Snake Women – Illuminated Lantern. Available from:

Naga – Wikipedia. Available from:

Preah Thong and Neang Neak – Wikipedia. Available from:

Deka, P. The Great Indian Corridor of the East, Mittal Publications, 2007

Do, Thien, Vietnamese Supernaturalism, Rutledge, 2003

Gardiner, L. Genesis of the Grail Kings, Bantam Press, Great Britain, 1999

Pinkham, M.A. The Return of the Serpents of Wisdom, Adventures Limited Press, 2013

Sitchin, Z. Wars of God and Men, Inner Traditions/Bear & Company, 1992

By Katrina Sisowath



Snakes are used to express an axis. The snakes refer to the earth axis. The griffons the earth wobble due to precession. This is referring to Thuban the snake and pole star. The other refers to serpens

In ancient maritime such as the Minoan and Phoenician trading empires, both have twin snakes iconography, the former being mother earth, later entwined around the axis of the earth. Thuban, snake in Arabic, alpha Draconis in the Draco constellation and pole star (North) until 1793BC.
The significance of the second snake could be: a) referring to the little dipper (or Ursa minor or little plough): that also looks like a snake, b) that the pole after 1800bce is moving between the two snakes, or c) the second serpent constellation, that is below Taurus (the first zodiac sign – hint) at summer equinox, it is about the equator presenting south. It rises above the horizon at summer if you're in the northern hemisphere.
The Minoan had three goddesses and one male god, that may present cardinal direction as well as explaining seasons. Mother goddess holding both snakes (NORTH, winter solstice, shortest day). Beautiful maiden of birth – Aphrodite type (the birth of day in the east). Mistress of (wild) animals (virgin Artemis the huntress of the moon night (and protector of the underworld – another clue), when the sun sets in the WEST, Athena type). When day and night are of equal length at the equinox, representing the spring and autumn equinox festivals respectively. When the sun is at its highest zenith at summer solstice, the master of (domesticated) animals that you watch over in the day and at summer solstice is celebrated. The youthful Apollo, with the brightest light or spear pointing directly south. The Cretan Palaces and peak sanctuaries all have votives, but the cardinal centre's votives tend to be more prolific towards the respective cardinal direction!
There is a need to kill, cut the head off the snake, it no longer gives you a true bearing North using Thuban the Pole star, hence Athena cutting the head of Medusa. Interesting cutting across the head of the snake Parallel to the eyes of both snakes, Draco and (now also Ursa Minor, which also looks like a snake), both point to Kappa Draconis, through the cut, now the new pole star around 1500bce. It's not a bright star, so brighter pointers help you find it.
The fable of the apple of discord is also interesting, leading to the Trojan war. You have Zeus’s wife (Hera) and mother of his children (North), Aphrodite (East) and Athena (West) and all wanting to be awarded the apple to/for, the most beautiful. Calisto, is the ancient name for a critical trading hub island of Thera in Minoan times (Santorini), as today the most beautiful one. Calisto the island destroyed with the eruption of Thera in circa 1500BC when the pole star needed to be changed! Calisto being killed by Artemis arrow spurred by the wrath of Hera, but Zeus set her amongst the star to become the Great Bear (part of the Draco constellation, but displacing the importance of the snake). Who won the apple, Aphrodite, East. The trade network moved from Minoan to Phoenician control. The Minoans being pressured after the eruption by Mycenaeans from the North and the Iberian to the west. I wonder?
There are lots of the stories that echo in mythology, but help you navigate using the stars and celestial bodies. For example, the reason that Apollo and Artemis are twins is because they both help you find south, in the day when the sun is highest, points directly south, at night when the crescent moon is shining, draw a line through the points of the crescent and like an arrow down to the horizon, you have south. The stories have got a bit muddled with the Greeks because they didn’t really understand the Minoan stories to assist in navigation, but where preserved by the Phoenicians. The Minoan double axe is not just a ceremonial device, it is both a signalling device to bring reflect light(ning) on a foreign ship and directing Minoan vessels to intercept, a navigational tool to cast shadows and reflection on the ship's deck to determine time of day and direction and an accurate angular measurement tool, with offset for seasons to determine latitude! Minoan tech is second to none, everything the Greeks are accredited for seems to have a Minoan origin, including their Parthenon of gods.

Actually the most ancient veneration of the serpent as a symbol of human godliness and enlightenment was done by Ancient Bulgarian zhretsi / priests of God SebAzi of the human soul. Ancient Bulgarian zhretsi used to hold snakes with bear hands during their spiritual rituals and they also used to throw those snakes up, to rotate them and dance with snakes in their hands. Snakes are believd attributes of God Sebazi, ancient Bulgarian God whose name means exactly this: God of the Internal Light the Human Soul. Ancient Bulgarian zhretsi were wise men and women who knew how to master animals and to control them. In addition to that they used to wear snakes heads, skins as well as other animal masks, wings while performing their spiritual rituals. From then spread the cult to the feathered serpent, the sphinx and other gods with animals and birds attributes.

Its interesting about influencing politics. In magicians of the gods by Graham Hancock. There is a sketch of an annuaki. He was depicted with a fish tail for clothes others with snake skin.. what is interesting Merovingian dynasty their first ruler Merovich, claimed he was descended from a sea god it was in a documentary I watched about the Frank's.

Troy Mobley

In Mesoamerica, the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl's avatar as the Feathered Serpent, is one of the oldest and the most important deities of Mesoamerica. In Aztec accounts Quetzalcoatl turns himself into a serpent and then back again into a god with human attributes and form. Quetzalcoatl’s name represents a blending of serpent and bird; the quetzal, a blue-green bird that inhabits the cloud forests of Mesoamerica, and coatl, the Nahua word describing both sky and serpent. Among the Mixtecs of Oaxaca, Quetzalcoatl was known by his calendrical name "9 Wind." The Maya of Yucatan called him Kukulcan.


Katrina Sisowath's picture

Katrina Sisowath

Katrina Sisowath, née Little, (1979--) was born in Frankfurt, Germany to an English father and American mother. Her formative years were spent in South-East Asia before returning to England to finish her studies. Deciding to follow in her father's footsteps,... Read More

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