Digesting ‘Cryptid’ Snakes: A Phenomenological Approach to the Mythic and Cosmogenetic Properties of Serpent Hallucinations’

Attala, Luci (2016) Digesting ‘Cryptid’ Snakes: A Phenomenological Approach to the Mythic and Cosmogenetic Properties of Serpent Hallucinations’. In: Anthropology and Cryptozoology: exploring encounters with mysterious creatures. Routledge, London and New York, pp. 218-237. ISBN 978-1-4094-6675-8

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Serpentine cryptids are to be found in stories throughout the world, invariably representing a provocative, mysterious and powerful mixture of wisdom and danger. This chapter explores the ubiquitous persistence of snakes in human stories and pays specific attention to how existential knowledge is obtained through digestive relationships with specific cryptozoological serpents. Using the ethnographic example of the consumption of Ayahuasca – a hallucinogenic decoction drunk commonly because of the hallucinations of wisdom-imparting snakes it generates - this paper reviews the ‘liminality’ that snakes tend to exemplify by illustrating the correspondences between the inner mythopoetics concerning snakes, the corporeality of snake-ness (in the form of snakes encountered during hallucinogen-induced visions) and the messages snakes present for assimilation. In association with the phenomenological emotionality snakes inspire, I suggest that the feeling-sense of snakes pervades human cultures because it works to facilitate the incorporation of internal non-verbal areas of conflict that might otherwise remain repressed or unexpressed and that this is commonly represented by associating snakes with food, eating, knowledge and the human body.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Luci Attala
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2018 13:20
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2023 15:51
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/834

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