Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Snakes Alive

Magick predates all relgion as this new discovery confirms. Ritual is NOT religion, it is human conciousness making itself known to itself and the other. A message and a rememberance.

World's Oldest Ritual Discovered --
Worshipped The Python 70,000 Years Ago

A startling archaeological discovery this summer changes our understanding of human history. While, up until now, scholars have largely held that man's first rituals were carried out over 40, 000 years ago in Europe, it now appears that they were wrong about both the time and place.

Associate Professor Sheila Coulson, from the University of Oslo, can now show that modern humans, Homo sapiens, have performed advanced rituals in Africa for 70,000 years. She has, in other words, discovered mankind's oldest known ritual.

The archaeologist made the surprising discovery while she was studying the origin of the Sanpeople. A group of the San live in the sparsely inhabited area of north-western Botswana known as Ngamiland.

Coulson made the discovery while searching for artifacts from the Middle Stone Age in the only hills present for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. This group of small peaks within the Kalahari Desert is known as the Tsodilo Hills and is famous for having the largest concentration of rock paintings in the world.

The Tsodilo Hills are still a sacred place for the San, who call them the "Mountains of the Gods" and the "Rock that Whispers".

The python is one of the San's most important animals. According to their creation myth, mankind descended from the python and the ancient, arid streambeds around the hills are said to have been created by the python as it circled the hills in its ceaseless search for water.

Sheila Coulson's find shows that people from the area had a specific ritual location associated with the python. The ritual was held in a little cave on the northern side of the Tsodilo Hills. The cave itself is so secluded and access to it is so difficult that it was not even discovered by archaeologists until the 1990s.

When Coulson entered the cave this summer with her three master's students, it struck them that the mysterious rock resembled the head of a huge python. On the six meter long by two meter tall rock, they found three-to-four hundred indentations that could only have been man-made.

"You could see the mouth and eyes of the snake. It looked like a real python. The play of sunlight over the indentations gave them the appearance of snake skin. At night, the firelight gave one the feeling that the snake was actually moving".

It was a major archaeological find five years ago that made it possible for Sheila Coulson to date the finds in this little cave in Botswana. Up until the turn of the century, archaeologists believed that human civilisation developed in Europe after our ancestors migrated from Africa. This theory was crushed by Archaeologist Christopher Henshilwood when he published his find of traces from a Middle Stone Age dwelling in the Blombos Cave in Southern Cape, South Africa.

Some still do.....

Study: First Europeans lived in Italy

ROME, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A team of Italian scientists says it has determined the first Europeans lived in southern Italy and not Spain, as had been thought.

Researchers from universities in Rome, Turin, Florence and Ferrara say a collection of fossilized flint tools and other instruments found in the southeastern region of Puglia has been dated to about 1.7 million years ago -- predating the oldest Spanish finds by nearly 1 million years, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The researchers say their discovery means paleontologists will have to redraw maps charting the path of ancient man out of Africa.

"This discovery reopens the debate on the origin of the population of the whole of Europe," said Carmelo Petronio of Rome's La Sapienza University. "It supports the theory that the first Europeans migrated westward across the Near East and not from northwestern Africa.

Once ritual becomes institionalized as a Theism which then maintains specialists; priests, it goes from being empowering spirituality of the community/commune to oppression. As I wrote here;

“The Shaman/Trickster appears in the cave paintings of the Early European Tribes, about 18,000 about years ago. Warriors don't appear until about 9,000 years ago. Kings appeared even later. It appears historically that the Shaman/Trickster came a lot earlier, perhaps even before the cave painters appeared. The Shaman/Trickster is closely tied to hunting, and hunting and gathering were the origin of human society, maybe 50,000 years ago. The warrior and the king are possible only after the development of cities.THEORIES ON THE NORTH AMERICAN TRICKSTER

Magick in practice is mnemonic, it is a remembrance of mans development of tool making and technics, the subconscious memory that labour altered our consciousness. The tools of magick, the cup, the pentangle, the athame, the wand and the sword are mnemonic symbols of the development and transition of the human from the dominance of the world of nature, into nature’s transformer, the magi. The invocations and the evocations of magickal chants are the voice of humankind speaking of and to the names of the natural world as it are transformed by our labour. [4] As the world changes so do the deities, the reifications of the world made in the image of man. Or to put it another way "That which is mostly observed, is that which replicates the most."

“Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world,” as Marx says in his introduction to his Critique of Hegel below. And we could add that man also makes science, and that magick which originates science[5], as it does religion, it continues to be a different form of science, natural science as opposed to technic based science of capitalism.

And as Frazer says in the Golden Bough; "So far, therefore, as the public profession of magic has been one of the roads by which men have passed to supreme power, it has contributed to emancipate mankind from the thraldom of tradition and to elevate them into a larger, freer life, with a broader outlook on the world. This is no small service rendered to humanity. And when we remember further that in another direction magic has paved the way for science, we are forced to admit that if the black art has done much evil, it has also been the source of much good; that if it is the child of error, it has yet been the mother of freedom and truth."[6]

Ophism is the earliest and longest living magickal meme in our memories and continues through Christianity and the other Abrahamaic religions thanks to Ophidian Gnosticism.


The worship of the serpent is found in many parts of the Old World, although it is not unknown in the Americas. In Australia, the Aboriginal people worship a huge python, known by a variety of names but universally referred to as the Rainbow Serpent, that was said to have created the landscape, embodied the spirit of fresh water and punished lawbreakers. The Aborigines in southwest Australia called the serpent the Waugyl, while the Warramunga of the east coast worshipped the mythical Wollunqua. In Africa the chief centre of serpent worship was Dahomey. but the cult of the python seems to have been of exotic origin, dating back to the first quarter of the 17th century. By the conquest of Whydah the Dahomeyans were brought in contact with a people of serpent worshippers, and ended by adopting from them the beliefs which they at first despised. At Whydah, the chief centre, there is a serpent temple, tenanted by some fifty snakes. Every python of the danh-gbi kind must be treated with respect, and death is the penalty for killing one, even by accident. Danh-gbi has numerous wives, who until 1857 took part in a public procession from which the profane crowd was excluded; a python was carried round the town in a hammock, perhaps as a ceremony for the expulsion of evils. The rainbow-god of the Ashanti was also conceived to have the form of a snake. His messenger was said to be a small variety of boa. but only certain individuals, not the whole species, were sacred. In many parts of Africa the serpent is looked upon as the incarnation of deceased relatives. Among the Amazulu, as among the Betsileo of Madagascar, certain species are assigned as the abode of certain classes. The Masai, on the other hand, regard each species as the habitat of a particular family of the tribe.

SERPENT - WORSHIP. 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.

From all parts of the world there is a very considerable body of evidence for the prominence of the serpent in religion, mythology and folk-lore. Snake-. Preval- worship still prevails largely in India, and a writer e p ee in in 1896 remarks that the previous census showed in varying the North-West Provinces over 25,000 Naga (serpent) forms. worshippers, 123,000 votaries of the snake-god Gaga, and, in the Punjab, some 35,000 special votaries of the snake godlings.' The evidence from modern India can be supplemented by the medieval and ancient Indian sources, and, in particular, by the representations of the adoration of snake-deities on the Buddhist topes of Sanchi and Amravati. 2 There we find, not indeed living serpents, but deities with serpent-symbolism, indicating a composition of various strata of religious belief, analogous to the evidence for serpent-symbolism from Babylonia, Crete, Greece or Peru; for the higher religions have almost invariably retained in their ritual and belief, sometimes with only slight modification, cruder conceptions which can still be studied in less elevated form among the lower races of India, Africa or America. The result is instructive when we turn to the numerous serpent myths and legends from the Old World and the New, to the stray notices in old writers, or to the fragmentary scraps of popular superstition everywhere. Modern scientific research has vividly illustrated the stereotyped nature of the human mind; there is a general similarity in the effect of similar phenomena upon people at a similar stage of mental growth; there is an almost inherent or unconscious belief which has been transmitted through the countless ages of man's history. At the same time, apart from the gradual evolution of religious and other conceptions there are the more incidental and artificial influences which have shaped them. Hence, our evidence for serpent-cults everywhere represents varying stages in the historical development of a few related fundamental ideas which are psychologically explicable; and it is impossible to deal with the subject geographically or historically. It is most useful, perhaps, to survey some of the general features of belief as an introduction to the more complex inquiries which involve a consideration of other subjects over a larger field.

Ophis (greek ophis: serpent)

Cornelius Agrippa wrote: "Pherecydes the Syrian describeth the fall of the devils, and that Ophis, that is the devilish serpent, was the head of that rebelling army" (Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book III, Ch. 18).

This history of Ophis as a demon is particularly unusual: he appears to be one of those creatures carried over from earlier greek mythology, eventually making the transition from Titan (and godhead) to being mis-identified as a possible Lucifer.

Ophion is the presumed origin of this name, a titan who had the form of an enormous serpent. Ophion, by some earlier greek myths, ruled Olympus with his wife, Eurynome, long before the appearance of Zeus and the other olympian gods. He was displaced by Cronus, another titan, who was later deposed by the thunder god.

A sect of Gnostics named the Ophites worshipped Ophis as the serpent (whom was later reincarnated as Christ) in Genesis¹. Ophis is identified as the serpent who persuaded Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, thus disobeying the Demiurge's attempt at witholding knowledge from them.

OPHITES [Ophites] [Gr.,=believers in the serpent], group of Gnostic sects notorious for extreme cultism and inverted morality. Certain of these sects were known as Naasseni. Almost all that is known of Ophitism has been gleaned from St. Irenaeus, Origen, and other writers opposed to Gnosticism . The Ophites carried to extremes the teaching of Marcion that an essential hostility exists between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. The Ophites held that the Old Testament villains were actually heroes and revered Cain, the Sodomites, and the Egyptians. Specially worshiped was the serpent, as the creature in Eden that tried to give Adam and Eve the knowledge withheld from them by Jehovah. Much of the serpent worship and the occult ritualism was probably symbolic of certain esoteric knowledge. The Ophites acknowledged Jesus as the savior, but rejected the importance of the crucifixion; Christ came to reveal gnosis (knowledge), not to die for people's sins. One Ophitic hymn, the Hymn of the Naasenes, survives.

Bibliography: See E. Buonaiuti, Gnostic Fragments (1924); R. M. Grant, Gnosticism and Early Christianity (1959, rev. ed. 1966).

The Ophite Diagrams are ritual and esoteric diagrams used by the Ophite gnostic sect, who worshipped the serpent from the Garden of Eden. They also viewed the Old Testament god as the evil god Yaltabaoth.

Celsus described them as ten separate circles, circumscribed by one circle, the world-soul, Leviathan, divided by a thick black line, Tartarus, together with a square, with words said at the gates of Paradise. Further to this, the Ophites were said by Celsus to add the sayings of prophets, and circles upon circles, with some things written within the two great cosmological circles representing god the father, and god the son.

Moses' Brazen Serpent as It Relates to Serpent Worship in Mesoamerica
Wallace E. Hunt Jr.
Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 1993. Pp. 121–31

The Ignorant Demiurge

When gnostic Genesis interpretation comes as far as the Snake, the main lines of gnostic narrative are already clear. The Snake may only cover a few logical possibilities: He is good, evil, or neutral. If good, then the Tree of Knowledge has to be good, and for the sake of economy the Snake may only be one of the available good characters of the narrative in disguise, unless an uneconomical solution is chosen and the Snake becomes a new character. Thus he can only be Sophia (or a duplicate thereof), the Savior, or a third representative of the Pleroma. If the Snake is evil, then the Tree of Knowledge must be evil as well, unless a solution of compromise is chosen and the Snake, although evil, would act for a while like a channel for the Pleroma. As evil, the Snake can only be the Devil or the Demiurge or a duplicate (angel) of one of them. As neutral, “the Snake is the Snake” (to paraphrase Lord Byron)—he is just a temporary mouthpiece for someone else’s message. Yet this would be an uneconomical solution that gnostics tend to avoid.

Taken altogether, gnostic hermeneutical candor is total. No limit is imposed on the number of transformations of myth. In the case of the Snake, as well as in other cases, we may say that the number of logical bricks that could be inserted at that point in the narrative sequence has been exhausted. Any other brick would be fanciful or, worse, redundant. Then why does tradition, which appears to be on the wrong side of logic, seem so austere and the antitraditional gnostics, whose logic is almost impeccable, so fantastical? Because a mythical narrative is a multiple-choice sequence, and gnostic thinkers (those who shared the two premises, or rather rejections, mentioned above) were able, at least for a while, to fill in not one but all cases.

Toward the beginning of Islam, gnostics were exhausted, wrung out from history by the relentless pressure of traditional powers and especially the Christians, who had switched from a persecuted religion at the beginning of the IVth century into a totalitarian, persecuting state religion by the end of the same century. Christians were motivated in suppressing gnosticism by that peculiar feeling of guilt one gets from the existence of a brash, heedless, and decidedly troublesome close relative. Yet the system set in motion by the gnostics was not exhausted. Therefore new, so-called dualistic trends sprang up to manifest it, realizing more of its potentialities.

The Serpent Code

The Tale of Serpent Worship in Ireland and Christianity's Role in its Destruction

Ireland was once infested with snakes. It was, if you believe the Christian stories of St. Patrick, who supposedly expelled them with his Baculum Jesu or Staff of Jesus (according to Giraldus Cambrensis or Gerald of Wales.) Of course Ireland has no indigenous snakes at all and so we must be speaking here of a symbolic representation - but, symbolic of what?

For years, scholars, Christians and even alternative historians have been arguing over what exactly St Patrick was eradicating. Of course, there is precious little evidence that even St Patrick came to Ireland, just as there is no evidence St Paul went to Malta and kicked out the snakes there too! In fact, this wonderfully symbolic tale can be found in many places and always in association with the serpent. So what's the truth?

Across Ireland there are hundreds of crosses, many of which can be proven to have pre-Christian origins, and many are entwined with images of serpents. The same is true of other locations, such as Malta we have just mentioned - although here the snakes are found upon ancient megalithic monuments. These are remnants of a pre-existent serpent-worshipping cult that we discovered existed across the known world in ancient times. In fact, the very reason that Ireland was said to be infested with serpents, was in reality a Christian code word for serpent worshippers. And Ireland has not been the only place infested and eradicated of serpent worshippers. Malta, Rhodes, India, Greece and many more have all at one time or another been laid waste of the serpent cult, so often misread as solar worshippers. The truth of the solar worship becomes obvious once one understands the beliefs of the serpent cults. They worshipped the esoteric or inner light of themselves or wisdom which was manifested in the sky as the sun and this light came about via methods pertaining to the inner serpent energies, [1] as they perceived them. These inner serpentine and solar linked visions were then manifested or physically represented in megalithic monuments, oral folktales and art.

Samuel Zwemer, The Influence of Animism on Islam - CHAPTER XI ...

We turn finally to Serpent-worship in Islam. Here also we are surprised to find how much animism remains in Moslem lands and lives and literature; all covered of course with the charitable mantle of their creed. The Arabic dictionary gives two hundred names for snakes. As-Suhaili says that when God caused the serpent to come down to the earth, He caused it to alight in Sijistan which is the part of God's earth abounding most in serpents, and that if it were not for the 'Irbadd — (the male viper) eating and destroying many of them, Sijistan would (now) have been empty of its people owing to the large number of them (in it).

Ka'b-al-Ahber states that "God caused the serpent to alight in Ispahan, Iblis in Jeddah, Eve on Mount 'Arafah, and Adam on the mountain Sarandib (Ceylon) which is the land of China in the Indian Ocean." The curious may find much on serpent lore in Damiri (Vol.I, p. 631). The most common belief is that serpents are often human beings in the form of snakes. The serpent has a place also in the story of Creation which is given as follows: "Al-Kurtubi relates in the commentary on the XL chapter of the Kuran on the authority of Thawr b. Yazid, who had it from Khalid b. Ma'dan regarding Ka'b al-Ahbar as having said, 'When God created the Throne, it said, 'God has not created anything greater than myself,' and exulted with joy out of pride. God therefore caused it to be surrounded by a serpent having 70,000 wings; each wing having 70,000 feathers in it, each feather having in it 70,000 faces, each face having in it 70,000 mouths, and each mouth having in it 70,000 tongues, with its mouths ejaculating every day praises of God, the number of drops of rain, the number of the leaves of trees, the number of stones and earth, the number of days of this world, and the number of angels,— all these numbers of times. The serpent then twisted itself round the Throne which was taken up by only half the serpent while it remained twisted round it. The Throne thereupon became humble."6

The following story is told on the authority of one of the Companions of Mohammed: "We went out on the pilgrimage, and when we reached al-'Ari, we saw a snake quivering, which not long afterwards died. One of the men out of us took out for it a piece of cloth in which he wrapped it up, and then digging a hole buried it in the ground. We then proceeded to Makkah and went to the sacred mosque, where a man came to us and said, 'Which of you is the person that was kind to 'Amer b. Jabir?' Upon which we replied, 'We do not know him.' He then asked, 'Which of you is the person that was kind to the Jann?' and they replied, 'This one here,' upon which he said (to him), 'May God repay you good on our account! As to him (the serpent that was buried) he was the last of the nine genii who had heard the Koran from the lips of the Prophet?'"

And it seems that the best literature on the subject remains that published over 100 years ago. Or at least the most prolific publishing. Of course it was the age of Imperialism, colonial Africa was a rich find for would be anthropologists.

Worship of the Serpent

This is an early 19th century study of Ophiolatreia, or snake-worship. Deane's primary thesis here is that ancient serpent worship was based on memories of the Garden of Eden. He has a monomaniacal devotion to the subject of snake worship and sees evidence of it everywhere. Deane reviews a massive amount of data from antiquity, travelers tales, and legend and folklore. A particularly compelling portion of the book describes ancient megalithic temples such as the Avebury and Carnac complexes as giant representations of snakes. One wonders what he would have made of the ancient American mound builders, who made huge sinuous earth sculptures in the Ohio valley.

Because he wrote before such advances such as the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics, excavations in Mesopotamia, detailed knowledge of eastern religions in the west, and the systematic study of folklore and anthropology, much of this information is outdated or incorrect. For instance, many of his etymologies can't be supported by modern historical linguistics. On the other hand, many later discoveries added to our understanding of the special role that snakes and other reptiles play in religion and mythology.

Modern writers from Carl Sagan to David Icke have taken the same themes and derived interesting, if controversial theses of their own. Sagan (in The Dragons of Eden) wrote about the ancient relationship between mammals and reptiles which goes back to the time of the dinosaurs. Sagan pointed out that there is a section of our brain, which is morphologically and functionally similar to a reptile brain, embedded in our brain stem, called the "Reptilian Complex". He also discussed the fear of snakes which seems to be hard-wired into our brains, and inferred that it began in the primordial struggle for survival between reptiles and mammals. At the other end of the spectrum, Icke believes that a shapeshifting race of reptilians have dominated history and even today are the secret rulers of our planet. Certainly, the full account of this topic has yet to be written.

Serpent and Siva Worship
and Mythology in Central America, Africa, and Asia and the Origin of Serpent Worship (1877)

Hyde Clarke and C. Staniland Wake

Comprehensive treatise on the Serpent Cultus.

From the Preface:
The researches and explorations of travelers, scientists and learned investigators, are every day adding to our knowledge of teh Serpent-Cultus. It is rising above the old conception of an obscure and ill-defined superstition, to the dimensions of a religion, distinctly outlined in its characteristic features, and by no means without a recondite metaphysical basis. Not only did the children of Israel burn incense to the symbolical animal from Moses til Hezehiah, but the Hamitic races " from Memphis to Babylon," and all indeed at the far East and remote West, who accepted as sacred, what Mr. Brown denominates, "The Great Dionysiak Myth."

Tree and Serpent Worship

By S. Beal
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
New Series, 1888, pp. 547-548

Universality of Serpent-Worship
W. G. Moorehead
Old Testament Student, Vol. 4, No. 5 (Jan., 1885), pp. 205-210

Tree and Serpent Worship: Or Illustrations of Mythology and Art in India in the First and Fourth Centuries after Christ. From the Sculptures of the Buddhist Topes at Sanchi and Amravati
by James Fergusson Anthropological Review, Vol. 7, No. 26 (Jul., 1869), pp. 217-230
And somethings never change when it comes to Africa and the thousands year old cultures of the Kalahari desert. DeBeers versus the Bushmen

Of course we knew it would all end up with sex. You know Sex=Sin, so how could you avoid it. In the begining was Adam, Eve and Steve the serpent makes three. Since the serpent in all ages and belief systems is the icon for procreation.

The Sex Worship and Symbolism of Primitive Races - Sex Worship II

An animal symbol which has probably been of universal use is that of the snake or serpent. Serpent worship has been described in almost every country of which we have records or legends. In Egypt, we find the serpent on the headdress of many of the Gods. In Africa the snake is still sacred with many tribes. The worship of the hooded snake was probably carried from India to Egypt. The dragon on the flag and porcelain of China is also a serpent symbol. In Central America were found enormous stone serpents carved in various forms. In Scandinavia divine honors were paid to serpents, and the druids of Britain carried on a similar worship.

Serpent worship has been shown by many writers to be a form of sex worship. It is often phallic, and we are told by Hargrave Jennings that the serpent possibly was added to the male and female symbols to represent desire. Thus, the Hindu women carried the lingam in procession between two serpents; and in the sacred procession of Bacchus the Greeks carried in a sacred casket the phallus, the egg, and a serpent.

The Greeks also had a composite or ideal figure. Rays were added to the head of a serpent thereby bringing it into relation with the sun god Apollo; or the crest or comb of a cock was added with similar meaning.

Many reasons have been offered to explain why the serpent has been used to represent the male generative attribute. Some have called attention to its tenacity of life; others have spoken of its supposed mystic power of regeneration by casting its skin. Again, it seems probable that the form is of symbolic significance. However this may be, we find that this universal serpent worship of primitive man was a form of phallicism so prevalent in former times.

As is often the case in the Ophidian mythos; the snake contains within intself that sexual dualism so necassary for creation. And the result is again another form of berdache, or transgender shamanism as Edward Carpenter noted a hundred years ago.

NAAGAMANDALA (Serpent worship/ritual)

Coastal Karnataka (Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district) has a fantastic all night ritual performed during December to April. The ritualistic performance starts before monsoon. Serpent worship is common among the Hindus all over India. Serpent God is a symbol of fertility and life.

This ritual is observed mostly by the Brahmins. 'Naagamandala' is performed by two groups of performers; the 'paatri' (a Brahmin) who gets possessed after inhaling the areca flowers becomes the cobra God. The second group of propitiating is 'Naagakannika'. The 'Naagakannika', a female serpent, which is actually a male disguised in female dress or visual costume (half male and half female costumes). This character is identified as 'ardhanaari' or 'naagakannika' who dances and sings around an elaborate serpent design drawn with natural colors on the sacred ground.

The dance 'naaga' takes place around this 'mandala' drawings. The all night dance and song propitiation creates an awe inspiring experience. Brahmins utter the mantras in sanskrit and the other proceedings take place in Kannada.

And no article dealing with Snakes, Ophites, Ophidian worship, serpents, serpent worship, is complete without reference to, well you know.....


Primitive People

Primitive Man





Sea Serpents/Sea Monsters

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