Life

Snake Tattoo Meaning

Snake tattoos have numerous symbolic meanings. Throughout history, snakes were viewed both as a symbol of good, as well as evil, and they represented both fertility and death. But let’s take a closer look at some of the most important and interesting snake tattoo meanings.

Temptation – Sin – Evil

In Christianity, the snake has always represented Satan and evil. The snake has tempted Eve to eat the fruit and it is therefore also viewed as a symbol of temptation and sin.

Chinese Zodiac Symbol

The snake is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac associated with the following years: 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, and 2013. According to the Chinese, it does not represent evil and danger, but instead it symbolizes gracefulness, wisdom, perceptiveness, gentleness and calmness.

Poison

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Different snakes can cause death within minutes, and with just one lethal strike. For this reason, they have also always represented the symbol of poison, as well as of hate, death and danger.

Healing

This is one of the snake’s positive symbols. The healing god Asclepius has always wielded a rod with one single snake wrapped around it, and since then, this wand has become a symbol of medicine and healing.

However, many other cultures all over the world also associate snakes with healing powers.

Rebirth and Renewal

Snakes have the ability to shed off the old skin and reappear new and shiny, up to a few times a year. This act of shedding and renewing represent transformation, rebirth, regeneration, as well as a new start.

Protection

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Snakes are also considered protectors of the underworld in Greco-Roman ideology, as well as protectors of the sacred knowledge of numerous priests and priestesses. As symbols of protection, they were also wrapped around the sun-disk that some Egyptian Gods and Goddesses wore.

Fertility

Owing to its phallic shape, snake has long been considered as the symbol of fertility. This is also due to the fact that many snakes mate in large balls of intertwined individuals, and within these breeding balls one female may have as many as 100 males around her!

Life and Death

The symbol of life and death is linked to poison. Snakes often represent that brief moment between life and death, due to their ability to take away someone’s life in matter of seconds. While doing it, they look directly into your eyes, or to put it better, into your soul. In this way they also represent power.

Snake’s venom and the snake’s bite are therefore symbols of life and death in many myths and legends throughout the world.

Circle of Life – Cycles of the Universe – Eternity

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Snake is often depicted curled into a circle, or hoop, while eating its own tail. This represents the circle of life, as well as the symbol of eternity. In other words, it shows the cyclical nature of the Universe, which is constantly changing and flowing.

Wisdom

Many ancient civilizations associate snakes with wisdom, probably due to their incredible ability to ponder their actions and movements, as they prepare to attack.

The shedding of their skin indicates their power to transform themselves, and this shows the wisdom they possess.

If you already have, or would like to get, a snake tattoo, please share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments below. We’d love to learn more about snake tattoos!

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Cover photo: ankooru.deviantart.com

About the author

Jessica

Jessica is a translator who has lived for many years in Asia and South America. She now lives and works in Europe, while preparing her new journeys. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, exploring different cultures and foods, and being in love.

4 Comments

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  • I’ve always thought long and hard about a tattoo. I am the year of the snake. As well as I’m Catholic. Of I’m going to get a tattoo I want one big one and have a meaning behind it. So I want this amazing image in my head since I was 14 to come to reality on my body.

  • I feel deeply about snake tatoo. It may be my experience of life that I’m trying to express and all the transformation I’ve gone through. ….hope it’s the right choice. ..

  • I have an oraborus on my lower back. It has always meant that I will go around and around and all will be okay, all is okay, wherever I am in the cycle. I also have a connection to power through this tattoo. The knowing of the process, the understanding of shedding and cycles is empowering- so that every experience has its merit and hope and a reminder to appreciate the moment or believe in the next… depending upon the sensation- expansion or co traction of self. I am terrified of snakes in the physical world. I would very much like to overcome this and become a master of the snake… perhaps this is how I feel about life; I wish to master it’s ways in order to conduct it.