Author:Luci Attala (University of Wales, Trinity St David)
Paper short abstract:
The snake appears to be a potent and meaningful symbol for the human mind. Cross cultural comparisons reveal interesting connections and associations between reached conclusions as to the meaning and purpose of ‘snake’. Looking at the persistence and correspondences of serpent mythology throughout human culture this paper aims to link symbolism, healing and knowledge with snakes and other serpent like creatures including parasites.
Paper long abstract:
Inspired by the work of Narby with the Ashaninka in Peru, this paper journeys round the planet to link snake mythology with healing practices and notions of knowledge. Knowledge is understood as the construction and communication of meaning using symbols including language, but is also extended out from the human into possibly discarnate sources such as 'hallucinations' or spirits. In an attempt to rationalise seemingly irrational explanations, Narby's work suggests that the DMT induced hallucinations created through drinking an ayahuasca brew cause 'insight' by redirecting sight inwards to view the weak photon emissions of neurological DNA. He links the pervasion of snake symbolism to our genetic code's molecular structure. The mythical serpent thus transforms to being the internal coding of life itself mutating throughout time into all form. Focusing on both positivistic scientific conclusions looking at ethnobotanical findings of parasitic infestation and ethnographic interpretavistic experiential subjectivities this paper joins meanings by linking parasite activity/motivations, genetic material, hallucinations and the possible consequences of purging with common associations of the physical form 'snake'.
Cryptozoology: animals out of place or time