What Did Snakes Represent in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, snakes held a significant place in many cultures. They were often associated with powerful deities, healing, fertility, and transformation. Let’s take a closer look at what snakes represented in different parts of the world.


In Mesopotamian mythology, the serpent was a symbol of both good and evil. It was believed to be a protector of the sacred tree of life and also associated with the goddess Inanna. However, it was also seen as a creature of chaos that threatened the order of the universe.


The ancient Egyptians revered snakes as symbols of rebirth and transformation. The cobra was particularly significant and was associated with several goddesses, including Wadjet and Nekhbet. The pharaohs also wore headdresses adorned with cobras as a symbol of their power.


In Greek mythology, snakes were associated with healing and medicine. The god Asclepius was often depicted holding a staff with a snake wrapped around it. This became the modern symbol for medicine.


In Hinduism, snakes were believed to be sacred creatures that represented both creation and destruction. The god Shiva is often depicted wearing a snake around his neck as a symbol of his power.

Native American Culture

Snakes played an important role in many Native American cultures. They were often seen as symbols of fertility and renewal. Some tribes believed that snakes carried healing powers and would use their venom for medicinal purposes.

Despite their varied meanings across cultures, one thing is clear – snakes have always been powerful symbols throughout history. Their sleek bodies and ability to shed their skin made them an apt representation for transformation and regeneration.

If you’re interested in learning more about the symbolism behind animals in ancient times, be sure to check out our other articles on the topic.