General - A scaly, legless reptile with a forked. Tongue, sometimes venomous. This reptile, often under the name of serpent, appears in many mythologies. (1) In African lore the snake is often depicted with its tail in its mouth as a symbol of eternity. (2) In the East Indies they say that a woman's menstruation is produced from a snake inside her body and that babies are produced from the snake's body. The Dayaks believe that their ancestors are reincarnated as snakes and so refuse to kill them. In Sumatra, Naga Pahoda appears as a serpent in the primaeval waters. Some tribes believe that, if a snake enters a house, the person who sees it first will die. (3) In Hindu tradition the snake (naga) is a sacred animal. It is said to take many forms and is described as having a navel in its forehead. Some say that the nagas can mate with humans. (4) In Muslim lore, an evil spirit, in the form of a snake, lives inside a woman's body. (5) Norse stories include the snakes Ofrir and Svafnir who were continuously gnawing at the twigs of the world-tree, Yggdasril. (6) In North America, the Navaho snake-spirit was involved in a plan with Bear, Frog and Turtle to capture two maidens from an underwater village but the plan went awry and the two girls were killed. Frog and Turtle were lucky to escape with their lives but Bear and Snake fared better. This pair captured two girls who were overcome by the smoke from the kidnappers' pipes which made Snake and Bear appear as handsome braves with whom the girls mated. One of the girls, Glipsa, escaped when Snake reverted to his former shape but he later found her and, once again as a young man, wooed her. He taught her many things, including the Hozoni chant, and eventually allowed her to return to her own people. (7) In Sumeria, the snake was regarded as a sacred animal. They say that it acquired the ability to slough its skin when it swallowed the 'Never-grow-old' plant which it stole from Gilgamesh. In some accounts, referred to as snake, serpent, serpent, ouroboros, ouroboros, Oroboros, ouraboros, uroboros, oroboros or (o)uraboros.

Nearby Myths