About a week ago, I posted about the dragon slayers on ancient Hellenic mythology. My wonderful friend Robert Clark, Co-founder of Elaion, the Hellenic organisation this blog is associated, read the post and emailed me some of his thoughts on drakons (serpents) and the meaning behind them in mythology. I found them so inspiring that I would like to share them with you today.

"Well into the third century, the human soul was understood to take the form of a serpent (snake) on leaving the deceased body.  Apollon kills the Python as He is the 'new Python' in a sense, a protector and averter of evil par excellence. The Pythia gave her oracles from the spring that was under the Temple of Apollon. The Kastalia spring was used for cleansing before entering the precinct of Delphi. There is the healing serpent of Asklepios and the two serpents of the kerykeion, the Agathos Daimon and Agatha Tyche, the crescent moon and full moon and perhaps the disk of the sun, the likeness to the horns of consecration, etc. that permeates our religion. 

Cadmos as instructed by Athena in Ovid's Metamorphoses: 

"She commanded him to sow the dragon's teeth in mellowed soil, from which might spring another race of men. And he obeyed: and as he plowed the land, took care to scatter in the furrowed soil the dragon's teeth; a seed to raise up man." 

In the end, Cadmus and Harmonia are turned into serpents:

"Weighted with woe, bowed down with years, their minds recalled the time when first disaster fell upon their House:—relating their misfortunes, Cadmus spoke “Was that a sacred dragon that my spear impaled, when on the way from Sidon's gates I planted in the earth those dragon-teeth, unthought-of seed? If haply 'tis the Gods, (whose rage unerring, gives me to revenge) I only pray that I may lengthen out, as any serpent.” Even as he spoke, he saw and felt himself increase in length."

Harmonia is also changed into a serpent:

"Oh, why not, ye celestial Gods, me likewise, to a serpent-shape transform!”— So ended her complaint. Cadmus caressed her gently with his tongue; and slid to her dear bosom, just as if he knew his wife; and he embraced her, and he touched her neck. All their attendants, who had seen the change, were filled with fear; but when as crested snakes the twain appeared in brightly glistening mail, their grief was lightened: and the pair, enwreathed in twisting coils, departed from that place, and sought a covert in the nearest grove.— There, then, these gentle serpents never shun mankind, nor wound, nor strike with poisoned fangs; for they are always conscious of the past."

Thank you, Robert, for your words of wisdom.