Snake on Headstone


Snake represents life and death

Snakes or Serpents Headstone Meaning

The snake or serpent as a symbolic symbol on a headstone is fascinating to try and decipher.  You have to think about the characteristics of a snake, how they coil their bodies and spring into attack with a venomous bite or squeeze the living life out of its victim.  Snakes regularly shed their skin, bringing a new lease of life and lots of different cultures use these characteristics to tell informed stories to each other.  

One example is the bible that features the;snake as a symbol of temptation and evil in the story of Adam and Eve due to the snake being the servant of Satan.

Another example is the Egyptians ancient belief that the world was formed when a cosmic egg was inseminated by a God who took the form of a snake coming from the water.

The Chinese mythology sees the world being guarded by two snakes that are intertwined and symbolise Ying and Yang (power and wisdom of the creator) and if you study mythology from different cultures, you will see that the snake has a a dual purpose. It can represent good by creation of the world and life, but can also bring death and destruction.

  • A snake eating its own tail is called an ouroboros and is an ancient symbol for eternity and the cycle of life and death
  • If one snake entwines a staff, it represents the Rod of Asclepius also known as the Staff of Asclepius and is wielded by the Greek god Asclepius, a deity associated with healing and medicine 
  • If two snakes are entwining an often winged staff it represents the Caduceus and is the traditional symbol of Hermes. This symbol is often confused with the Rod of Asclepius, but the Caduceus has ancient and consistent associations with trade, eloquence, trickery and negotiation.
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