Snake Tattoo History, Designs, and Meanings
Over time and all over the world, the snake has played vivid parts in the imaginations of mankind, and as a symbol, the snake is as potent as poison. As with all animal symbols, the snake tattoo represents all of the traits and attributes of the snake: sinuous, secretive, sleek, sneaky, and seductive. Snakes represent many powerful things psychologically and symbolically, and as a life symbol or animal spirit, they are powerfully evocative. As Nietzsche said, “The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be minds.”
In this article, we will review many designs of snake tattoos. We will also discuss snakes in history and the various cultural meanings of snakes. Use this information to help you in your next tattoo adventure.
Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.
— Gautama Buddha
Snakes in Science, Religion, History, and Folklore
Snakes have historically enjoyed a vast array of symbolic meanings that are both positive and negative in nature. Snakes hold symbolic value in a number of ancient cultures and often play parts in ancient stories, legends, mythology, and religious texts. Throughout history, the snake has been portrayed to be a symbol of evil but it has also been viewed in a positive, virtuous, and good light as well. Evil or good, the snake is universally powerful.
Snakes are some of the most misunderstood animals in the world. Although some are dangerous, the majority are harmless to humans. They usually shy away from human contact. When humans are struck by a snake, it is always in self defense. A snake is intelligent and knows that patience will pay off when it hunts. They live in darkness and come out to hunt before dusk. The majority of snake bites occur right before dark.
However, there are a variety of snakes that can cause death to humans in one lethal strike. Some, such as the cobra or rattlesnake, can cause death within minutes. From Africa to America, these dangerous snakes can be found. As a result, the snake has been a longtime symbol of danger.
Snakes are able to shed their skins. This act can be seen to represent rebirth, transformation, and change. As a tattoo, the snake can similarly represent a brand new start in life.
One of the most famous stories of of a snake comes from the Bible. When God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in the Garden of Eden and told them that they could have anything from the garden except the forbidden fruit. A snake, referred to as the “serpent,” came along and tempted Eve with the fruit. She eventually ate it, and sins began as a result. Because of this, the snake can represent temptation, sin, and evil.
The ouroboros (the ancient symbol of a snake biting its own tail) represents the eternal circle, reincarnation, the unending cycle of life and death, and continual renewal. The ouroboros eats its own tail, forever. This symbol originated in Egypt and represents the circle of life and the cycles of the universe. It symbolizes the changing seasons of life and the cyclical nature of the universe.
Historically and across cultures, serpents represent fertility and creative life force. Since they shed their skins they are apt symbols of transformation, rebirth, healing, and immortality.
In ancient mythologies, the snake is often a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, fertility, knowledge, and patience. Snakes are considered sacred in a number of different cultures, including the Native Americans and Africans. Native American Indians linked the rattlesnake to rain and lighting. It was believed that snakes played a role in creating the planets. The snake has both masculine and feminine qualities. As a tattoo, it can be worn by both men and women.
Snakes are sometimes perceived as evil, but they are also perceived as medicine. If you look at an ambulance, there’s the two snakes on the side of the ambulance. The caduceus, or the staff of Hermes, there’s the two snakes going up it, which means that the venom can also be healing.
The Snake in Chinese Astrology
The Chinese zodiac has 12 signs that change yearly. If you were born in 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, or 2013, your sign is the snake.
The Chinese do not associate the snake with danger and evil. Instead, they focus on the fact that snake has a secretive lifestyle. They associate this sign with grace, wisdom, organization, wisdom, wit, mystery, and divination.
Snake Tattoo Meanings and Interpretations
When it comes to the meanings behind the snake tattoo, there are many, both positive and negative.
- Cycles of Life
Any of these meanings can be associated to snake tattoos. However, in the end, your tattoo represents what you want it to.
It is always best to do your own research when it comes to choosing a tattoo symbol. It is very important to understand what your tattoo represents to you and to others.
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.
— W C Fields