Pagan Paths

A blog dedicated to the renewal of the ancient Vesta tradition, the “spiritual focus of the home,” in modern households.

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Snakes On A....Lararium!

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for animals.  That extends to non-fluffy, non-cuddly creatures that slither and scurry, even the ones that tend to make my skin crawl (I'm not fond of spiders, yet I'll toss them outside instead of stepping on them). I'm a bleeding heart all the way.

That's why I'm often disheartened by the way some creatures are depicted in popular culture and religion. And perhaps no creature has been more slandered, misrepresented or generally pissed on than the snake.

Personally, I love snakes. I think they're lovely creatures that mesmerize me with their colors, movement and mystery. But too often, they're held out as a sort of Satanic serpent, as a dark angel of the devil (whatever that means to some) or the underworld. The depiction of the snake in the Old Testament is an example of this. And unfortunately, it's done a lot of harm by making many people fear and hate what is one of Mother's Nature's most remarkable beings. It has made too many people revile what they should revere.

That sentiment is powerfully expressed in D.H. Lawrence's "The Snake."  It's beautiful.

But more than that, it's important.  Because unfortunately, humans tend to regard most of nature the way we regard the snake - as something we have the right, even the obligation, to control and exploit in whatever ways we want...we treat the natural world and its non-human beings as subordinate.  That is taught in some religions, yes, - but it's also a dark corner of the human heart that we should all try to illuminate.  

In antiquity, a snake symbol, painting or decoration was a common item, often represented on the family's lararium or household shrine. It was believed that the snake had the power to ward off evil and protect the home.  

So if you have a lararium, think about adding a snake to it. I have a glass snake on mine and it's quite lovely. Murano glass snakes are a low-cost option that come in many gorgeous styles, colors and shapes - you can find them almost anywhere, from glass shops to Ebay.  A quick Google search will show you what I mean. 

Having a "protective" snake aligns naturally with the way that I honor Vesta in my home; however, I'd love to hear how your tradition or faith regards the snake and how you incorporate this into your life or practices.  The snake has broad poetic and spiritual appeal, one that crosses cultures and ages.  Let's hope it's survival, and our own, reaches as far into the future as it does into the past.

All best, in Vesta. 


Image credit: Wikimedia commons, Holleday. Holger Krisp, Ulm, Germany.

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Debra Macleod, B.A., LL.B. is a couples and family mediator, a top-selling marriage author-expert and a popular resource for major media in North America. She is the leading proponent of the New Vesta tradition and order. Her New Vesta book series and Add a Spark women's seminars "spread the flame" into modern lives and homes.


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