June 15, 2023 | by Vivian Hurley |
Evenings in June, if you have a dark sky, you’ll be able to pick out the constellation Draco, the Dragon winding around North Star Polaris. In Glenn Kreisberg’s book Spirit in Stone, he writes: “From antiquity, Draco, the Dragon, has long been known as the serpent or snake constellation. 5000 years ago, the Star Thuban in Draco marked the north point in the Sky as Polaris does now.”
Ophiolatreia, the worship of serpents, is one of the most remarkable, and at first sight unaccountable, forms of religion the world has ever known. It is difficult to reconcile mankind’s worship of a creature that is generally found to be repulsive. Yet there is hardly a country of the ancient world where it cannot be traced.
Snakes and other similar creatures often played a role in myth creation. In these stories, the Gods would battle such creatures for control of the Earth. Once defeated, the serpents were flung up into the sky.
In her book The Celestial Ship of the North, E. Vaelentia writes: “A symbol of sacred knowledge in antiquity was a tree, ever guarded by a serpent, the serpent or dragon of wisdom. The serpent of Hercules was said to guard the golden apples that hung from the pole, The Tree of Life, in the midst of the garden of Hesperides. The serpent that guarded the golden fruit … and the serpent of the Garden of Eden … are the same.”
With over 30 documented sites, the Ohio Valley is known as the Land of the Serpents. The most famous one is The Great Serpent Mound which was the epicenter for the North American Star Mounds and perhaps the axis mundi or navel of the entire Ohio Valley Area. It is the world’s largest Serpent effigy (a mound in the shape of an animal). It is 1,348 foot long, three foot high, and located on the plateau of a crater in Adams County, Ohio.
Some scholars believe that the Serpent Mound served as the center of religious rituals, as a pathway for practitioners to walk, chant hymns, and to thank their Gods for continued fertility for the land as well as facilitate prayers for its continuance.
Ross Hamilton writes in his book The Great Serpent Mound Book of Wonders and Mysteries that the Serpent Mound could have been a departure point for activities of a grand medicine lodge or spiritual lodge whose services may have included healing and hospice functions. It served as guardian of the pathway of and protector of the dead.
During the times when Thuban was the pole star, Serpent Mound was fully aligned with the Draco star pattern. Its head points to the Summer Solstice Sunset and the mound has at least seventeen other astronomical alignments, including true north, lunar and solar ones.
Vivian Hurley is a Travel Advisor and certified TOTAMS Astrologer. She has undertaken extensive research on the topic of the mound structures which she presented at the 2023 TOTAMS Annual Gathering in Oracle/AZ. Her topic related Facebook group is Ancient Ohio Valley Earthworks & Sacred Landscape Project.
Image credits: EarthSky.org; Ross Hamilton