In fact, the modern symbol for the caduceus, the emblem for doctors, has two snakes entwined around a staff. But, this symbol was really appropriated from many different mystical traditions with snake tattoos being a very appropriate tattoo art for almost any occasion.
The Caduceus is representative of the way tattoos were used to mark a segment of a population that shared similar traits, like a tribe or clan. If one were in the medical profession, caduceus snake tattoos would seem to make a lot of sense. However, there is a lot more to the snake tattoo than meets the eye, and it becomes clear that the caduceus symbol can take on many different meanings with medical interpretation being just a recent revision of ancient ideals.
The winged staff intertwined by two snakes was a symbol that was around in ancient Egypt and India. It symbolized harmony and balance and it’s not surprising the medical profession usurped it for it’s own symbol. Many people like these snake tattoos but aren’t aware of the very ancient roots of this symbol.
Occult teachings talk about the two serpents actually representing the kundalini creative spiritual force rising within the body of man. Using this interpretation, caduceus snake tattoos aren’t just emblems of healing but also of deep spiritual wisdom and awakening.
Snake Tattoos And The Divine Feminine
Another possibility is that snakes represent the Divine Feminine and was associated with temples dedicated to the Goddess. They represented a regenerative capability in the shedding of their skin, which must have indeed seemed magical to ancient people. This regenerative ability was associated with fertility and thus played a part in fertility cults. In many ways, snake tattoos can be worn by women who are honoring the Divine feminine within themselves.
Snake Tattoos As Totem Markings
Many cultures believed that the body was a reflection of the soul. By performing tattoo rituals, one was performing a type of magic that gained the person undergoing the ritual certain desirable qualities. In the case of totem markings, the tattoo image was deliberately picked as an animal, bird, or reptile that had qualities that the bearer of the tattoo wanted to magnify in their own being. Snake tattoos done as totem markings might be trying to grant the owner wisdom, craftiness, or stealth. Or, in another interpretation, the snake tattoo design may be a form of declaring a relationship to that particular energy that snakes embody. It was seen as a link between the qualities of that animal and the bearer of the tattoo..
With so many ways snake tattoos can be interpreted, it makes one of the most versatile of themes of tattoo arts. The mystical orubus, a snake biting its tail, is a tattoo using the snake to symbolize eternity or the cyclical nature of life. The Snake tattoo can use these ancient themes or new ones can be created to personalize them further. They can be easily combined with other symbols, like hearts, stars, and religious symbols, to bring even more mystery and drama to the design.