Blog Template Theology of the Body: Snakes!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I am getting into Anthropology of Religions lately (again!) The stuff is fun- newfangled, trendy, gender inclusive, and everything else that masquerades as modern academia- but it also lends itself to the Gospel, when and if one comes around to heaving their definitive sigh of relief in Christ.

For instance: it has been suggested to yours truly that we need to pay more attention to snakes. Snakes shed their skin in a cyclical sort of way, and thus are taken to typify the Divine Femminine, or the Goddess, which featured predominately in pagan worship. The Problem is that we find "the Patriarchial Religions" (i.e., Judiasm and Christianity) sending all of the demonized snakes away, in Typical Oppressive Fashion. Thus, in order to "oppress and demonize women," they say, Christianity depicts Satan as serpent, and has St. George slaying the dragons, and St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland. - "part and parcel of Patriarchal Subjugation," they say. -Or is it?

When they bring up "oppression," they have forgotten the central oppression of Christ the Crucified, the only Innocent, the only true Victim, and His suffering so that the oppressor in all of us might die- and that we might then rise again with Him. He redeems everything. It strikes me that even the iconic serpent has a part to play in His victory. And sure enough, what do we find in Christian iconography, typifying Christ Himself? - Snakes.

(There are two critical images showing Christ typified by snakes, which are most poignant symbols of the theme of death and resurrection on account of the shedding of their skins: one from the Book of Kells of the fifth century, here, and of course, the image of the Serpent in the Wilderness, above.)