The snake is an ancient symbol that has been used for relics to tattoos. The history goes back to the beginning of time and these serpents have serious symbolism. Much of this symbolism depends on the kind of snake and what is incorporated into the image.
Overall, the snake has gotten a bad reputation over time. Much of this has to do with the Creation Story from Christianity. The snake represents deception in this story and deceived Eve into eating the apple that God told them not to touch. God then cursed the serpent forever.
With a story like this, the snake was always going to have a tough time coming back from that image. However, we are here to tell you that not everything associated with the snake has of negative connotation. In this post, we will explain some symbolism of the snake and talk about the different variations of the snake tattoo and what each of them means to the person being tattooed.
Snake Tattoo Meaning
The serpent is a resilient and unpredictable creature that has become the subject of phobia for many people. Snakes are deadly predators that often hold deadly, toxic venom within them which makes them a deadly foe for many animals and even humans. Their venoms are also known to be used in certain medicines and their meat and blood have been consumed because of their alleged restorative properties. Snakes are often feared and avoided because of their possible toxicity, often seen as a symbol of warning or danger.
Snake deities in India are often called Nagas which are mythological serpent gods and goddesses in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and other religions based in India. These serpent deities can appear in human form but often display snake-like characteristics that easily distinguish them from others. In terms of women in India, the snake goddesses, particularly Manasa, symbolize fertility and the increase of childbearing as well as healing and cure of snake bites.
In Greek mythology, the gorgon Medusa is a horrible creature with snakes protruding from her head in pace of locks of hair. Her repugnance turns those into stone who make the mistake of gazing upon her horrid face. In addition to this, the serpent is a long-standing Christian symbol for Satan and his trickery in the Christian biblical book of Genesis where he appears as a snake in the Garden of Eden to trick Eve into tasting the forbidden fruit.
In Japanese tattoo imagery, the snake, or Hebi, is a symbol of healing and recovery but also caution and honorability. They are often viewed as an omen, good or bad and thought to have the ability to conjure or eliminate bad fortune, depending on the situation. In the Chinese zodiac, those born in the year of the snake (within the Chinese calendar) are thought to be popular, energetic people who are intelligent and charming.
The snake is a daunting image especially when rendered in a coiled or striking position conveying aggression and danger. Even if presented in a more docile pose, the snake is always unpredictable and demands to be treated with caution and respect.
Snake Tattoo Variations
Depending on what you see in the snake tattoo might tell the story of the meaning behind it. Below are some of the more common variations of the snake tattoo and what they symbolize. Snakes represent all sorts of traits and characteristics and much of it depends on what kind of snake you are tattooing and what the snake is doing in the image.
King Cobra Snake Tattoo
The King Cobra is a respected emblem of The Divine. In addition to the prior, the King Cobra is also the royal symbol of pharaohs. The Uraeus was what represented the lineage of the king and was vital in commanding the citizens of Egypt. The Uraeus is the upright, stylized form of the Egyptian snake that was used as a symbol of royalty, deity sovereignty and divine authority.
From India to Burma, King Cobras inhabit the wicker baskets that are sung to by snake charmers. The charmers are said to be tattooed with ink that has snake venom in it for protection. There is still no proof of this but what we do know is that there is a connection between the Divine and the King Cobra. It is a symbol of wealth, nobility and status.
The rattlesnake symbolizes the underdog and an unconquerable spirit. The rattlesnake has always been held in high regard by those inhabiting Central America, but this snake holds great importance to those of the United States as well. The colonists used to fly the Gadsden Flag which had the famous symbol of a coiled rattlesnake and the words ‘Don’t Tread on Me’.
This image is a statement piece for those that under oppression. The story has it that Ben Franklin said Americans should send barrels filled with rattlesnakes to the king in response to the English sending their convicts overseas to the colonies. Since those times, the rattlesnake has been a symbol of fighting back.
Tribal Snake Tattoo
The tribal snake tattoo is a popular one and this goes back many years. Every culture has its own set of unique tribal patterns that they use. These tribal patterns aren’t random. In fact, they usually have relevance to the area they live in and their spiritual beliefs. This is true from every corner of the world. These cultures have long associated their tribal symbols with their local folklore and gods so when coupled with the snake, the meaning is amplified depending on what the snake symbolizes in that region.
Eagle and Snake Tattoo
In this image, the snake and the eagle are polar opposites. They represent the struggle between the pure and impure. The snake symbolizes temptation and sexuality while the eagle represents all that is noble. Therefore, this image symbolizes the struggle between good and evil. It is a battle of our most savage urges versus our minds and nobility.
Coiled Snake Tattoo
A coiled snake tattoo symbolizes a few different messages. The first of which is that of a warning. The coiled snake is letting someone know they are they are they are ready to strike if they have to. This symbol also represents our inner self which is deadly. We try to hide this side of us but when pushed, that side will emerge.
Dragon and Snake Tattoo
In this image, the dragon and the snake represent the yin and the yang. Where the dragon represents the passionate, wild and fiery personality, the snake symbolizes the cunning, calm, and rational. It is said that snakes think while dragons act so in the case of the dragon and snake tattoo, it is a balance of power that is entangled in this tattoo.
In the case of the snake tattoo. The symbolism can be from good to bad depending on how the tattoo is depicted. Before getting your snake tattoo, do some research to find out what message you are trying to convey before jumping into to it. The snake is a powerful image but without enough research, you might give a message you were not meaning to.