Three hours drive west of Cancun, Mexico in the northern Yucatan is the ruined Maya city Chichen Itza.
In 1894 U.S. consul Edward Thompson bought it and spent 30 years exploring the ancient city. In 1932 he published his findings, People of the Serpent.
Twice yearly the sun’s shadow on the Temple of Kukulcan pyramid looked like a snake slithering down the steps. The Mayans sacrificed children and maidens to their snake god Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god of wind and learning. The human remains of these sacrifices have been found on site.
In 1909 British researcher Arthur Lillie said that although snake worship was unexplainable, it existed throughout the ancient world.
American mythology professor Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was known for his work in comparative religion. In a Bill Moyers television special Campbell said, “We find the symbolism of the serpent, tree, and garden of immortality already in the earliest cuneiform texts, depicted on Old Sumerian cylinder seals, and represented even in the arts and rites of primitive village folk throughout the world.”
Why does snake worship occur worldwide throughout history? Could the reasons include distorted memories from the Garden of Eden, a campaign of deception by the Serpent (Rev 12:9), and man’s own rebellion against the Creator?
My next post will discuss Snakes and Christmas.
©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
Sunday December 28, 2008 A.D.
For the LORD gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.