Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kiss the Serpent on the Tongue

Lately I've been interested in the evolutionary origins of religious belief, and today I stumbled upon this fascinating article from 2006 marking the discovery of humanity's oldest known religious ritual. According to the find, ritual python worship began in Africa 70,000 years ago, as evidenced in part by the spectacular python sculpture photographed above (along with numerous artifacts discovered around the stone).

Reading about this reminded me of "The End" desert sequence from Scorsese's The Doors (see crappy Youtube clip here), which my old religion professor at Flagler College, Dr. Timothy Johnson, always screens at the first meeting of his Religion & Film class. In the sequence, Jim Morrison drops acid in the desert with his band-mates while babbling about kissing a serpent. Dr. Johnson uses the clip to help expand the definition of a religious film beyond biblical epics like The Ten Commandments, but I feel like the clip takes on new resonance now that I know python worship is the original "faith of our fathers."

None of this changes the fact that I'm terrified of snakes.

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