I think snakes are beautiful, and I have a rich history with them.
I befriended a rattler once when I was living as a hermit, and was devastated when a neighbor ran over and killed it. I cured his skin (and in the process learned it was a he) and turned him into an art piece with dragon wings, gold bead halo, gold beads filling in his ripped skin, dry yucca pods across the top, and his vertebrae strung with gold beads hanging from the bottom.
The artwork hung in a galleries in Tucson and Bisbee, Arizona, 2002-05, before I disassembled it and buried the pieces.
The bull snake, at top, greeted me last week as I was driving home from a shop in the country. At first I thought it was a rattler, but it’s “just” a bull snake. Zoom in on the photo (a double-click should do it), and you can see that the tail is striped to look like rattles, as a defense.
Snakes are ancient symbols of healing and transformation, often depicted twining up a sword, much like the AMA’s early caduceus logo (until 1912) and the modern Rod of Asclepius.
While searching for these images, I came across a letter purported to be from the communications coordinator of the AMA, describing the reasons for the logo change from two snakes on a sword (Hermes’ symbol) to the single snake on a rod, the Rod of Asclepius (http://www.channelingreality.com/Medical/medical_logo_change.htm).
At the bottom of her (purported) letter is this comment on the snake as symbol – I thought it interesting to come from the AMA:
Kindness to all animals….