The Lecture of Wise Snake

Igor Hosnedl (z cyklu „The Lecture of Wise Snake”), 210×135 cm, pigment i klej na płótnie, 2018. Horizont Gallery. Budapeszt 2018

 

„Creation usually begins in a watery cosmos almost invariably animalized as a snake.
The earliest stories have no progenitor spirit, only the mingling of opposites through their sameness. The Sumerian Enuma elish, the world’s oldest extant text, written about 3100 bc, describes pre-creation as a two-fold liquid domain. The male Apsu was sweet (fresh) water and Tiamat, the Great Mother Serpent of Heaven, was bitter (salt) water.

The Guinean Baga’s creation serpent also excited Primal Water and slashed across the earth to disperse it. The Algonquian’s creator is Manitou, the lightning flashing serpent. The Venezuelan Yaruros’ creator is Puana, a snake. Una, the All-Mother of the Aboriginal Australians, whose cosmology is based on the Rainbow Snake, made heaven and earth and always holds the cosmic snake in her arms. The Chinese dragon guardian of pools and ocean extends from the cosmic snake that brings vivifying rain, good fortune and holy sanction.

The Mediterranean’s most spiritual centre for centuries, its oracular women, known as Sibyl or Pythia, influenced history many times with their prophecies. The Pythia and her sacred python sat deep within the temple, at the omphalos, or ‘navel of the world’, where Gaia was revered as a mound or bee hive. Built near a vaporous cave below Mount Parnassus, the temple wast he destination of ritual steps danced in a serpentine line through a threshing floor levelled between mountain and cave, as a re-enactment of a snake birth.

The Hermetic caduceus, a winged staff entwined with two snakes, represents the living force spiralling around cosmic stability and showing (just as in the Neolithic) opposition as a unit, conjoining sickness and health, poison and healing. This displays the principle of immunity – extracting an antidote from what destroys.

Its medieval name ‘Worm’ (from Old English wyrm and Old High German würm, both meaning snake) signifies that though few would know its origins the mythic being is not out of our consciousness. ‘Worm’ evokes the primordial blindsnake, a giant depicted in films like Tremors (1990) and Dune (1984), and its name both inspires fear and promises triumph (…).

But the truly indefatigable serpent lies in science (where it began) and seems to be thriving in the macro of physics and the micro of biology. ‘Worm holes’, time-travelling chutes in the space-time continuum, are conceived as tunnels able to draw an object from one place in time into another place in time. Their designation as ‘worm’ returns this blend of space and time back to its archaic source where the original ‘serpent-worm’ cohered both the universe and its invisible processes.

Drake Stutesman Snake (fragm., 2005)

 

 

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