The snake is a symbol for charm, danger and sexual energy.
The snake is one of the oldest symbols that appear repeatedly in the Bible and in the Egyptian iconography. In China it is one of the astrological symbols and they believe that people born under the snake sign would lead charmed lives and would gain and inherit wealth. These people also tend to be seductive and are often attractive to others. Its phallic shape makes it be associated with fertility and because during mating seasons many species of snakes mate in large balls of intertwined individuals but their young ones normally emerge from eggs. In different regions and cultures, the snake is seen as a foe or friend.
People have respected the snake because of its widespread distribution of poison and that is why in many myths, when the snake bites, its venom represents life and death. This has therefore made them a symbol of the Underworld, or Underground. Other communities represent the snake with wisdom and knowledge. In Greek serpent was associated with the goddess of the moon and as a female it was believed to bring knowledge to mankind. Other communities portrayed it as a goddess of mystery birth and death and in India cults worshipped this goddess because it represented fertility and prophecy. On the other hand the Kundalini of Yoga says that the serpent has energy coiled at the base of its spine. This energy is ready to rise from the snake’s sex centre. Many myths are based on the idea that many snakes hibernate underground and seem to renew themselves by shedding their skins on a regular basis.
The act of sloughing off its skin makes different communities associate it with rebirth and immortality. According to the Aboriginals of Australian, the giant rainbow serpent is a symbol of creation, and in Africa the rock python sacred. In the Old Testament, however, the snake that was in the Garden of Eden was defeated by God making people believe it is an eternal trouble- maker for man.
In many communities, the rattlesnake and the cobra which are the most poisonous snakes are seen to be the most sacred with cobra seen as the largest venomous snake in the world. In India the cobra is held sacred and a totem for the indigenous people. It is a symbol of power and many myths tells of it sheltering god Buddha from the sun when he slept. In Egypt, the cobra represented several ancient deities and Cleopatra is associated to it but it is said that she used the venom of the cobra to end her life. A cobra found in the tomb of Tutankhamen was believed to be a protector.
In American, the rattlesnake which known as the 'rattler is a symbol of potency and fertility. With its strike which is as fast as lightning, it has been associated with rain because rain enters the earth and bringing forth life. The rattle is a symbol of death and transformation since its venom can turn one nearing death to life.
As a tattoo therefore, it symbolizes power for the natural and supernatural. It represents fertility, regeneration and wisdom. In other instances the snake represents temptation, feminine sexual power. Snake tattoos are also popular because they can easily combine with other tattoo symbols.