"The High Fruitful One," brings Rebirth
This lunar fertility goddess was known for her
athletic prowess. Serpents, symbols of rebirth, were ritually handled by her
priestesses, whose bare-breasted costumes suggest the sacred role of sexuality
in the Minoan culture.
Serpent Goddess promotes trance
and dream time. The energy exuded by the snakes of this Cretan maiden exemplify
sexuality, regeneration, and the mysterious otherworld of spirit journeying.
Note her staring gaze and enigmatic inward smile, and if you choose, invite
these "otherworldly" characteristics into your own meditations.
THE DELICATE SERPENT GODDESS (of Knossos) was discovered in the underground
repository of the Second Palace of Knossos (1600 BCE] and was worshiped in Crete
as early as 6000 BCE. She depicts the benevolence and sacred power of the Life
Force, holding high the two serpents of immortality. The tiny panther or lion
cub on her headdress may connect the goddess to the fertility rites of the wine
god Dionysos or denote an altered state of consciousness.
Celtic Snake Goddesses
Irish Snake Goddess Corchen
from Manx is an ancient snake Goddess about which little is known. Some
contend that she was probably once a regional earth mother Goddess, or one of
rebirth and regeneration. Others believe her lost legends made her a creation
Tenau of the Golden Breast: was a Celtic Goddess so
called because a snake clung to her breast so tenaciously, it had to be cut off
and replaced with a nipple of gold.
Celtic Snake images definitely make their way into jewelry designs.
Snake Witch Pendant
The Snake-witch (Ormhäxan),
Snake-charmer (Ormtjuserskan) or Smiss stone (Smisstenen) is a picture stone
found at Smiss, När parish, Gotland, Sweden. Discovered in a cemetery, it
measures 82 cm (32 in) in height and depicts a figure holding a snake in each
hand. Above the figure there are three interlaced creatures (forming a
triskelion pattern) that have been identified as a boar, an eagle, and a wolf.
The stone has been dated to 400–600 AD.
Although many scholars call it the Snake-witch, what the stone depicts—an
accurate interpretation of the figures—and whether it derives from Celtic art
or Norse art remain debated.
Parallels, interpretations, and speculation
The figure on the stone was first described by Sune Lindquist in 1955. He tried
unsuccessfully to find connections with accounts in Old Icelandic sources, and
he also compared the stone with the Snake Goddess from Crete. Lindquist found
connections with the late Celtic Gundestrup cauldron, although he appears to
have overlooked that the cauldron also shows a figure holding a snake.
Arrhenius and Holmquist (1960) also found a connection with late Celtic art
suggesting that the stone depicted Daniel in the lions' den and compared it with
a depiction on a purse lid from Sutton Hoo, although the stone in question does
not show creatures with legs. Arwidsson (1963) also attributed the stone to late
Celtic art and compared it with the figure holding a snake on the Gundestrup
cauldron. In a later publication Arrhenius (1994) considered the figure not to
be a witch but a male magician and she dated it to the Vendel era. Hauk (1983),
who is a specialist on bracteates, suggested that the stone depicts Odin in the
fetch of a woman, while Görman (1983) has proposed that the stone depicts the
Celtic god Cernunnos.