Serpent or Snake

As I was creating the above artwork, I thought to myself is this a Serpent or a Snake. I realized then, that I did not know what the difference was between the two, if indeed there was any. I have always thought of serpents as being massive and powerful creatures, but that is probably due to historical references like Jormungand, the powerful sea serpent.

When I looked-up each word it seems that a serpent and a snake is one and the same thing. An interchangeable word, stemming from the Latin word serpens (to creep, crawl), with snake being the more modern word used today.

Lilith by John Collier (1889)

In the bible both the words serpent and snake are used. The first, and probably most well-known, story to jump to mind is about Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4-3:24). I looked up this chapter in a variety of different versions of the bible and found that the more modern scriptures used the word snake. In the Expanded Bible (EXB), when they used the word snake, they put in square brackets beside it [serpent] to indicate they had made a change from the original version.

The serpent in the story of Adam and Eve is associated with the devil. Either as the devil himself or as a puppet of the devil. I even read that in some cases the serpent was thought to be Adam’s first wife, a female demon called Lilith. That was a new one for me, I have never heard that before.

I guess this is why cunning, sneaky, untrustworthy people, are often referred to as snakes. However, the serpent or snake, in some beliefs, is considered to represent fertility. Because they shed their skin, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality and even healing. The ouroboros, the snake eating its tale, is a symbol of eternity and the continuing renewal of life.

I called my artwork Serpent, not only because I find the word more appealing than snake, but because in my mind serpents are just bigger and more formidable.

What are your thoughts on it? Please share them in the comments below.


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Vanayssa Love

That big yellow eye is like a lightbulb lighting up as a new idea or concept forms in the serpent movement universe.

Vanayssa Love

Well, that is so interesting, Pennie. I have two different concepts of serpent and snake but I had never noticed it before. Serpent is a type or aspect of consciousness, sliding through our hearts and brains, bringing thoughts and intentions that are full of cleverness and insight, very incisive, whereas snake is just an animal in the grass, maybe small or maybe very long and dreadful. But serpent is where it’s at, where the intentions and outlooks form.