The Serpent Symbol
Native American Indians were a deeply spiritual people and they communicated their history, thoughts, ideas and dreams from generation to generation through Symbols and Signs such as the Serpent Symbol. The origin of the Serpent Symbol derives from the ancient Mississippian culture of North America, the culture of the Mound Builders. The Mound Builders associated great mystical value to the serpent. Some Indian tribes still retain some elements of the Mississippi culture. Their sacred rites, myths and symbols and are presumed to descend from the Mississippians. The Great Serpent Symbol represented a malevolent creature but similar creatures like those depicted in the Horned Serpent Symbol and the Feathered Serpent Symbol, were generally viewed as a benevolent, although fearful, creatures. For additional information refer to Mythical Creatures.
Serpent Symbols - the Feathered Serpent, the Horned Serpent, Coiled Serpent and the Great Serpent
The Meaning of the Serpent Symbols
The meaning of the Great Serpent symbol is chaos, corruption and darkness. The Great Serpent is seen as a malevolent being or monster who devoured his enemies. The Great Serpents, resided in the Underworld and are described as powerful beings who were in constant conflict with the forces of the Upper World who were represented by the Thunderers who were Birdmen or Falcon beings. The Great serpent took its place in the mythology of the Underworld due to its association with death and in its role as a messenger to and from the world of the dead. The Horned serpent was the feared guardian of life and the forces of life. The horned serpent is associated with rain, thunder and waterways. The zigzag and meandering lines of the serpent or snake are symbolic of water. The horned serpent symbol meaning represented life and the renewal of life, just like water. For additional information refer to the Snake Symbol.
Native American Indians the Serpent Symbols
The worship of snakes or serpents is probably as ancient as the Native American civilization which is not surprising as the rattlesnake is so characteristic of the American continent. The definition of a serpent is a large snake. There are many famous snake mounds in central USA particularly in the Ohio. The serpent mounds are huge sculptured representations of snakes or serpents that have been made by heaping up soil. Many Native American tribes held ceremonies and performed rituals relating to snakes and the serpent, including the Feathered Serpent, Horned Serpent and the Great Serpent. The tribes included the Pueblo, Hopi and Zuni. Both the Iroquois and the Cherokee tribes also performed snake dances. Native Americans carried medicine pouches containing the rattles of rattlesnakes, venom fangs and the skins of snakes which they believed held magical powers. In Inuit mythology, the Tizheruk is the name of a mythical large snake-like creature that is said to inhabit the waters near Key Island, Alaska.
The Great Serpent Symbol - Mississippian culture
The most ancient Native American Indian symbols, like the Serpent Symbol, came from the Mississippian culture which was established in 1000AD and continued to 1550AD onward. The Mississippian Native Americans were the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States. The Mississippian culture was based on warfare, which was represented by an array of emblems, motifs and symbols. The Mississippian culture warrior icons like the Great Serpent symbol provides interesting history and ideas for tattoos that include cosmic imagery depicting animals, humans and mythical beasts. The Mississippian Native Americans practiced body painting, tattooing and piercing.
Feathered Serpent Symbol
Attribution: Herb Roe
Native American Indians - Serpent Symbol
Native American Indians of the Mississippian culture were sun worshipers and had a highly complex warfare culture. Their symbols, such as the Serpent Symbol, reflect the warfare culture and the religious beliefs and cosmologies of the different historic tribes who existed at the time of the first European contact.
The Mississippians believed that the universe consisted of three parts with good and bad spiritual forces. These three worlds were linked together and their connection was usually portrayed as a cedar tree or a striped pole. The Underworld was inhabited by spirit snakes, the Upper world was inhabited by spirit birds and the people of the earth who were ruled by these powerful spirits like the Great Serpent.
Items displaying symbols, like the Great Serpent symbol, from the Mississippian culture have been found in burial sites that contained war axes, knives and other weapons. This type of symbol was embossed in valuable materials such as rare shells, copper and lead and depicted on pottery and stone tools and weapons.
- The Serpent Symbol of Native Americans
- Meaning, symbolism and interpretation of the Serpent Symbol
- Interesting facts and info for kids and schools
- Pictures, meanings, patterns and designs of symbols
- Native American Serpent Symbol meaning
Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Great Serpent. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the History of Native Americans and illustrate many symbols used by American Indians. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic of this section - Great Serpent. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the Native Indian Tribes Index - a great educational resource for kids.