Where I live in Southern California it is now rattlesnake season. As the weather gets hotter, the snakes come down from the hills in search of water and inevitably encounter the human world. A few years ago, we found a rattlesnake coiled up in our garage one morning. And just a few days ago a neighbor killed a rattler in his yard. Rattle snakes are dangerous and where we live we have to be on constant alert for them. Unfortunately, when we do run into them either the human or the snake usually gets hurt or (in the snake’s case) killed.
This got me to thinking about snake/human interaction is other parts of the world and how snakes are often involved with religious activities. While snakes may be exploited in these religious ceremonies they fare better than the rattlers that make their way into our neighborhood.
Here are some reports on the Nag Pachami Hindu Snake Festival:
A Day of Revering Snakes in India
Three Die of Snake bites During Nag Pachami
Here are some American examples including links to the 1967 documentary film Holy Ghost people which is well-worth watching:
Snake Handling Churches in America
Christians Disagree Regarding Snake Handling
It’s Better than Pot Smoking and Drinking!
Bob Jenkins and the Snake Handling Church Song
And in case you want to get closer to snakes…..