************************************************************************Cf. All the stuff in the Old Testament about the Copper Serpent (a well-established goddess-worshipping cult exported out of Egypt when the Hebrews left for the "Promised Land") For a "far out" take on ancient serpent symbolism in the Middle East, check out "The Gnostic Secret of Solomon's Temple" by none other than Philip Gardiner See also this entry from Ancient Goths, a Google blog, for lots of images of Iron Age serpents and serpent symbolism from the Iron Age See also references to serpent goddesses in When God Was a Woman, by Merlin Stone (couldn't the author come up with a better name than that???), at Google books. The reference to the goddess "She" reminded me so much of my college days when, for some course or other, I ended up reading the classic H. Rider Haggard novel She.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
New Findings on "Snake Cult"
Oh yes, the Goddess in the form of a serpent rears up and - well - you can read for yourself. Just be sure to substitute feminine pronouns for masculine pronouns, and Goddess for God, and the article will make very good sense. Please also keep in mind that the Iron Age is relatively recent in historical terms. New findings on snake cult challenge Iron Age theories John Henzell Last Updated: July 16. 2009 1:29AM UAE / July 15. 2009 9:29PM GMT New research into a snake cult that lived in the mountains near Masafi during the Iron Age will be presented next week at the world’s leading conference on Arabian archaeology. Initial excavations at the Al Bithnah site, between 2000 and 2004, indicated that it had been the meeting place for a religious cult based around snake iconography between 2,500 and 3,100 years ago. Anne Benoist, the French archaeologist who headed the dig, will tell the Seminar for Arabian Studies in London that a new meeting place has been found near the first, with their proximity challenging theories about territorial organisation, religion and collective life in eastern Arabia during that era of the Iron Age. The artefacts unearthed by Dr Benoist’s group include incense burners and posts decorated with snakes, along with signs that copper had been mined and smelted. They indicated a god symbolised by a snake, in common with iconography found elsewhere on the Arabian peninsula [and much older serpent iconography in both Mesopotamia and Egypt, not to mention well-established serpent-worshipping centers elsewhere in the Middle East], and supported theories that there was an ancient but complex society with separate roles for priests and bureaucrats. At the time, snakes were considered to be symbols of knowledge and prosperity. Similar sites have been found elsewhere in the UAE and in Oman, Yemen, Bahrain and southern Iran, suggesting that there were cultural and trade links during the Iron Age. Dr Benoist’s presentation will be one of dozens at the three-day seminar in the British Museum, which begins next Thursday. Other speakers will address connections between the Levant and Southern Arabian communities in the Pleistocene era, the use of fragments from early Qurans to describe the development of written Arabic, and new methods to investigate sites at the bottom of the Gulf, which was above sea level 18,000 years ago at the last glacial maximum.