I'm fascinated by snakes. they are plentiful around the cottage. and I often swim in the company of watersnakes in the lake. people in antiquity were also fascinated. I guess it isn't so strange; they are so alien to us. silent, without any limbs, they seem mysterious. their bodies are so sleek, it makes their eyes seem prominent. and some of them are dangerous.
snakes are silent, but they have a language; body language. in a way they are like letters, silent but communicating visually. so they have come to symbolize wisdom & secret knowledge that only those who knows how to interpret the signs can access. also snakes were believed to be connected to the underground and the dead. letters can also be our connection to the now dead people who once wrote them.
silent people make other people uncomfortable. because the silent are listening. (silent and listen are two words that are made up from the same letters in english language. I find that neat.) to learn, one has to be silent and listen. also when you are silent, people think you have something to hide. when paganism was banned, pagans were silenced and forced to go underground, so to speak. to communicate only with secret signs.
so that is how & why snakes and paganism is connected, and why snakes went from being revered, to being despised and feared. the snake is a misunderstood, mythologized & demonized being. I wish I could say that there were not any reason for pagans to be afraid and to hide anymore. but sadly the hate and suspicion against old religion is brewing strong as ever.