Tree and Serpant Worship Or Illustrations of Mythology and Arts in India
by James Fergusson
In so far as such glimmerings as we possess enable us to gguess the locality of its origin, I would feel inclined to say that it arose among a people of Turanian origin, the primaeval inhabitants who first settled on the banks of the Lower Euphrates, and that it spread thence as from a centre to every country or land of the Old World in which a Turanian people settled. Apparently no Semitic, or no people of Aryan race, ever adopted it as a form of faith.
It is true we find it in Judea, but almost certaintly it was there an outcorp from the older underlying strata of the population. We find it also in Greece, and in Scandinavia, among people whom we know principally as Aryan, but there too it is like the tares of a previous crop springing up among the stems of a badly-cultivated field of wheat. The essence of Serpent Worship is as diametrically opposed to the spirit of the Veda or of the Bible as is possible to conceive two faiths to be; and with varying degrees of dilition the spirit of these two works pervades in a greater or less extent all the forms of the religions of the Aryan or Semitic races. On the other hand, any form of animal worship is perfectly consistent with the lower intellectual status of the Turanian races, and all history tells us that it is among them, and essentially among them only, that Serpent Worship is really found to prevail.
The almost universal association of human sacrifices with the practice of Serpent Worship would render it extremely desirable to ascertain, if it were possible how far the connexion between the two is real, or to what extent the juxtaposition may be only accidental. The subject is ,however very seriously complicated by the circumstance of the very different form which the rite took in various ages, and the different points of view from which it must consequently be at times regarded.
In its earliest and simplest from human sacrifice seems merely to have been regarded in the natüre of a tithe. A cannibal savage shared with his cannibal god the spoils of victory as he did the products of the chase or he sought to sanctify his revenge or his sensuality by making his deity a participator in his crimes. Another form arose from the idea that death was only a change, and that the future state was little more than a continuation of this World. It became consequently necessary for his enjoyment of it, that a man should be accompanied by his cattle, and his slaves, male and female, and in its most refined form the wife voluntarily sacrificed herself to rejoin her beloved husband.
A third form sprung from a higher and more religious motive : it arose from a convition of man’s own unworthy and sinful natüre as compared with the greatness and goodness of God, and the consequent desire to atone fort he one by the sacrifice of whatever was most dear, and to propitiate the favour of the deity by offering up whatever was most precious and most beloved – even one’s own, and it might be only, child.
A fourth form, equally compatible with the highest civilisation, was the national sacrifice of one to atone fort he sins of the many. Serpent Worship is associated in a greater or less degree with all these forms of the human rite, and so much so that it is nearly correct to say that wherever human sacrifices prevailed, there Serpent Worship is found also, though the converse does not appear so capable of proof. Serpent Worship did continue to exist when, at least, human sacrifices had ceased to be performed, though even then it is not wuite clear whether it was not only from the disuse of one of two things which had once been associated.
In Egypt human sacrifices never assumed the position of a religious or domestic institution. The victorious king dedicated the prisoners taken in war to the gods, but beyond this it does not seem to have been carried ; and Serpent Worship in egypt seems likewise to have been sporadic and of little importance.
In Judea, so long as any traces of Serpent Worship prevailed, the idea of human sacrifices seems to have been familiar, but after Hezekiah’s time we simultaneously löse all traces of either.
So long as Greece was Pelasgic, Serpent Worship and human sacrifices went hand in hand, but with the return of the Heraclidae, the latter went out of fashion, though the former still lingered long but in a modified form.
In Rome, on the other hand , as we shall presently see the worship of the Serpent was a later introduction, but as it strengthened, so did the prevalence of human sacrifices ; and till Christianity put a stop to them they certainly were considered an important means of appeasing the wrath or propitiating the favour of the gods. It may, in Rome, have been to some extent derived from Etruria, or encouraged by the example of Carthage, where human sacrifices certainly prevailed till the destruction of the city, and wherever Moloch – “horrid king” – was worshipped ; and in all these instances the practice seems to hav erisen and fallen with Serpent Worship.
In Mexico and Dahomey, where in modern times human sacrifices have been practised to an extent not known elsewhere, there too Serpent Worship was and is the typical and most important form of propitiation ; while in India, there can be little doubt but that the two existed together from the earliest time. The sacrifice of men could not, however, stand before the intellectual acumen of the Aryan, and was utterly antagonistic to the mild doctrines of the Buddhist.
It consequently was abolished wherever it was possible to do so; but the more inncocent worship of the Serpent cropped up again and again wherever neglected, and remained in many places long after the sister form had practically lost its meaning. Both still exist in India at the presentday, but not apparently practised together or by the same tribes.
It is however, by any means clear whether the dissociation is real, or whether we merely assume it is so in consequence of our ignorance of the subject. Human sacrifices, especially among the Khonds, have attracted the attention both of governments and of individuals; while it is only now that attention is being turned to the modern forms of Serpent Worship.
Notwithstanding all these coincidences – and they might easily be extended- it must not be overlooked that nowhere can we trace any direct connexion between the two forms of faith. No human sacrifice was anywhere made to propitiate the serpent, nor was it ever pretended that any human victim was ever devoured by the snake god.
In all instances, as just mentioned, the serpent is the Agathodaemon, the bringer of health or good fortune the protector of men of of treasure, and nowhere was it sought to propitiate him by sacrifice of life beyond what was necessary for food, nor to appease him by blood offerings.
When the subject has been more thoroughly investigated than has hitherto been the case, it may be possible to trace a more direct connexion between the two forms of faith than we are now able to do. At all events we sahll then be in a position to say whether it was a real partnership or only an accidental juxtaposition. In the meanwhile all that is required in this place is to draw attention to the subject and to point out a coincidence which is so remarkable that when investigated it may hereafter lead to the most important results.
In an attempt to investigate any form of ancient mythology from an historical point of view, we naturally turn first to Eygpt; for not only was Egypt the earliest civilezed of all the countries of the ancient World, in so far at least as we at present know, but she was pre-eminently the parent of all idolatries.
Wtih the Egyptians all knowledge was considered as divine, and wahtever they saw, they worshipped. Their gods had been kings; their kings were gods ; and all the animal kingdom was considered worthly of worship in a greater or less degree.
From bulls to beetles, or from crocodiles to cats, it made little difference ; all came alike to a people so essentially religious as the Egyptians seem to have been. It is little wonder, therefore that Serpents and it may be Trees, should be included in theier multifarious Pantheon, and it is easy to detect numerous instances of the honours bestowed on both. Still it would be straining the argument beyond its legitimate issue to describe the Egyptians as in any sense an essentially Tree of Serpent Worshippine people.
The Serpent was worshipped on the banks of the Nile Among other animals, perhaps in some instances with a certain degree of pre-eminence; but on the whole the accounts are hardly sufficient to enable us to say that the serpent was more honoured than his associated animal gods. At the same time it must be admitted that the serpent very frequently appears in the sculptures of the Temple walls, and frequently in a place of honour, as on the brow of the king, or as a prominent ornament of his dress, but hardly ever there with that pre-eminence he attained in other countries.
The relative position of Tree Worship among the Egyptians seems to be almost the same. It is true that the important part which the TAMARİSK plays in the legend of Isis and Osiris, as told by Plutarch, might tent to a somewhat different conclusion, and the prominence given to the other tree, which marked and shaded the tomb of Osiris in the same legend, might lead to the belief that a form of Tree Worship prevailed in Egypt before the multifarious Theban pantheon was eleborated. The authority, however for these facts is not such as can be relied upon, and the sculptures again do not favour the belief that Trees were considered as divine on the banks of the Nile, though they may justify the belief that the SYCAMORE was sacred to the goddess Netpe and the Persea to Athor.
The great test of such a subject in Egypt are the scultures which cover the walls of the Temples. These are the Bible of the Egyptians, in so far at least as we know it. Any one studying these with that object might easily pick out fifty or a hundred examples which would tend to Show that the Egyptians were both Tree and Serpent worshippers ; but on a fair review of the whole subject, these would probably be found to be only a fractional part of the natüre worship of the Egyptians, and neither the most prominent nor the most important. In spite, therefore, of the passages in classical authors which may be quoted against this view, it would probably be incorrect to include the ancient Egyptians among the votaries either of the Serpen tor of Trees.
In attempting to explain the phenomena presented by the architectural history of Greece, it seems necessary , as a basis for any reasoning on the subject, to assume the existence in that country of two distinct and antagonistic races at one period of the story.
The one race is represented by the tombs, or so-called treasuries of Mycenae and Orchomenos, and the megalithic polygonal masonry of the walls of the most ancient cities. To the other belongs the chaste intellctual refinement of the Doric order, while between the two intervenes the elegant and ornate Ionic as a compromise combining the peculiarities of each.
The first class of buildings have been ascribed to the Pelasgi ; and though considerable difference of opinion exists as to the exact ethnological position of those people, and whence they came, there seems no valid objection to assuming that they were a people of a race entirely different to the Hellenes, who afterwards superseded them. If not of purely Turanian race, they must have been so closely allied to that family that, till the contrary is shown, they may be considered as belonging to it.
In like manner the Ionic order as certainly represents an Asiatic.
To some extent it may be a Semitic element in the population of Greece, while the Doric remains the exponent of the intellectual refinement to which the Aryan element attained during the short but dazzling outburst of their greatness.
The same distinction seems indispensable in treating of the mythology of ancient Greece. Assuming the Veda and the Zend Avesta to be exponents of the religious feelings of the Aryans, it is imposible to understand - if language is any test in such a matter - how a people speaking a tongue so purely Aryan as the Greek, could so completely have relapsed into a Turanian ancestral worship as we find that of Greece in its great age. Unless a great substratum of the inhabitants of Greece belonged to the Turanian family, their religion, like their language, ought to have presented a much closer affinity to the earlier scriptures of the Aryan race than we find to be the case. The curious anthropic mythology of the Grecian Pantheon seems only explicable on the assumption of a potential Turanian element in the population, though the study of the language fails to reveal to us its existence.
Such an hypothesis is still more indispensable when we refer to the Tree and Serpent Worship that certainly prevailed to a greater or less extent during the whole period of Grecian history, though of course more prominently during the earlier part. Here agian it is necessary to make a further distinction. All the earlier myths refer to the destruction of serpents or of serpent races.
This continues down to the return of the Heraclidae ; after that time, when Hellenic supremacy was assured, we meet with a kindlier feeling. The serpent then became the oracle - the guardian of the city or the healing god - the Agathodaemon in short. In Greece, as everywhere else, when a new faith once feels secure in its position, it no longer objects to the forms which it superseded, and these by degrees crop up again, and eventually become part at least of the outward faith of people whole real sentiments may, nevertheless be most diametrically opposed to such superstition.
One of the oldest and most celebrated myths of Greece relates the destruction of the Dragon. Python by Apollo and his taking possession of the oracle which the serpent guarded. Cadmus fought and killed the dragon that devoured his men and sowing its teeth raised soldiers for his own purposes. In Indian language, he killed the Naga-Raja of Thebes, and made sepoys of his subjects. The tradition of the close of the career of Cadmus and his wife is even more suggestive of Serpent Worship than the events of their life. Their conversion into serpents as a cure for ills that had become unbearable, and the respect with which it is represented they were afterwards regarded, point to a form of faith that must have been at time familiar to the inhabitants of Greece.
The Argonautic Expedition was undertaken to recover a fleece that hung on a sacred tree, guarded by a dragon that Jason and his companions would have been unable to cope with, unless they had been aided by the enchantments of Media.
But the great destroyer of serpents in those days was Hercules. Most appropriately was he represented as strangling two serpents sent by Juno to destroy him while he was yet in his cradle.. His adventures in the Garden of the Hesperides is the pagan from of the myth that most resembles the precious serpent-guarded fruit of the Garden of Eden, though the moral of the fable is so widely different. He fight with the many-headed Lernean Hydra, on the other hand, suggests the origin in the West of many-headed serpents with which we are becoming so familiar in the East.
In the earlier representations, apparently he had only seven heads, but afterwards as was also the case in India, they were indefinitely multiplied. A still earlier, perhaps the earliest, mention of this mythological animal is in Homer, who speaks of a three-headed snake as adorning the baldrick of the buckler of Agamemmon. As a Grecian peculiarity, this many-headedness might be passed over, but it is interesting as bearing on the subject we have specially in hand.
Though generally represented as the destroyer of Serpents, Hercules, on the other hand, is said to have been the progenitor of the whole race of Serpent-worshipping Scythians, through his intercourse with the Serpent Echidna.
There is nothing however, inconsistent in this. The age in which he is said to have lived was one of transition between two civilizations . An old Turanian Serpent-worshipping race were, in Greece, passing away with their religion, to make place for the Aryans and their more intellectual form of faith. Hercules was the popular embodiment of all the favourite myths of the age ; and to him consequently was ascribed the destruction of whatever was old wherever it was detroyed, as well as the perpetuation of whatever remained wherever it was known to have been preserved….
…If, indeed, there is one point which comes out more clearly than another in the course of this investigation, it is that Serpent Worship is essentially that of a Turanian , or at least of a non-Aryan people. In the present state of the enquiry it would be too bold a generalization to assert that all Turanian races were Serpent Worshippers ; and still less can it be affirmed that all who looked on the Serpent as a God bleonged to that family of mankind. It is safe, however, to assume that the whole tendency of the facts hitherto brought to light, lies in that direction; and it seems probable that eventually the worship of the Serpent may become a valuable ethnographic test of the presence of Turanian blood in the veins of any people among whom it is found to prevail….
…The Aryan religion of Ormuzd was united in bonds of most unholy matrimony with the Turanian form of Ahriman, and the Magian religion acted as a flux to unite the two, at least to such an extent as probably to defy all the efforts of modern analysis to separate them again into their original elements….
The other a Turanian race, known as the Dravidians, and speaking Tamul, or languages closely allied to it, entered India probably earlier than the Aryans….
… If we take, for instance, the three leading features of that faith, atheism, metempsychsis, and absence of caste, they are essentially Turanian and found everywhere among people of that race, but are distinctly opposed to the feelings of the Aryans wherever they are found. It is quite true that the Indian Aryans may, during their 2000 years residence have become so mixed with the native tribes and so impure that some of their families may have temporarily adopted the new faith….
…We find no traces of Serpent Worship among the purely Teutonic races (old literature for Germanic people)….
Mısır/Egypt: Demirci... link
Tamarisk, Tamara, Tomer, Tameri, Tamera, Timour, Tamur, Tamira, Tamar, Temira, Tamir, Temir, Taamir, Timir, Tamra, Taamira, Timur, Temir.
TAMAR - TEMİR - TAMİR - TİMUR - DEMİR
TAMAR - DAMAR - KAN
TAMAR - TOMUR - TOMRUK - TOMRİS - FİLİZ
TOMRİS - DEMİRİN UCU, DEMİRİN SESİ, DEMİRİN ÖZÜ/FİLİZ
TAMAR - TAMARA - AKTAMAR
TAMAR - ŞAMAR - DEMİR DÖVMEK , ŞEKİL VERMEK
TUMRUL - DUMRUL - DEMİRİN UCU
TAMAR; Demir damarı, cevheri
TOMAR ; Örs
Tamarisk from the book Tree and Serpent Worship by J.Fergusson
...Bundan başka Mısır kral/allahlarına verilen eski isimler DEMİRCİ manasına olarak tercüme edilmiştir. Bunlar hem muharip hem maden sanatlarını yapan insanlardı....
Bugün muhakkaktır ki, ilk Mısır ahalisi milattan 5000 sene eveline doğru Asya'dan gelmiş olan beyaz ırktır; bu ırk Nil vadisinde yerleşti. Kabileler halinde kümeler teşkil etti. Herbir kümenin reisi, dini ve kanunları vardı.
Bu malumattan ve Türk tarihine methalde Türklerin umumi muhaceretlerine dair verilen tafsilatın ihtiva ettiği delillerden Mısır deltasına yerleşerek ilk Mısır medeniyerini kuranların Türkler olduğu anlaşılır.....
...Nil vadisinin delta kısmını ilk işgal edenler , Orta Asya'dan muhtelif yollarla ve birbiri ardısıra gelmiş olan Türk kabileleridir.....
Afet İnan.TÜRK TARİHİNİN ANA HATLARI. link
Proto-Turks in sources:
....The original civilising race came apparently from Asia, before the age of the Pyramids.....(the carved slates, supposed to be as old as the 1st dynasty, represent hunting scenes, and wars with negroes ; and the writer regards them as showing invaders from Asia Minor; for they are armed with the double axe of Karians and Kretans, found also on Hittite monuments, and at Behistun as well as in Etruria as used by Turanians....)
....14th dynasty at Xois (Sakha) :say 2400 to 2000 BC. The Turanian fondness for confederacies of tribes instead of kingdoms (seen also among Hittites and Etruskans)..... link
Pelasgians: Turkic Names of Pelasgians...link
SERPENT : YILAN : DRAGON - TÜRK KÜLTÜRÜ
all the fairy mythology in fact,
of the east and west,
belongs to the Turanian races...