Speaking Snake

Harry Potter isn’t the only person who can speak to snakes.

In ancient Egypt, snakes spoke Canaanite and were used to protect dead people from getting bitten – um – to death.

At least that’s what I get from this National Geographic report about a recently translated spell in Egypt.

The passages, inscribed on the subterranean walls of the pyramid of King Unas at Saqqara, reveal that the Egyptians enlisted the magical assistance of Semitic Canaanites from the ancient city of Byblos, located in what is now Lebanon.

The Canaanite spells were invoked to help protect mummified kings against poisonous snakes, one of ancient Egypt’s most dreaded nemeses.

According to the incantations, female snakes—acting as mediators for Canaanite magicians—used their multiple mouths and sexual organs to prevent other snakes from entering the mummified rulers’ remains.

While I don’t quite get the multiple mouth thing and using their sexual organs to prevent other snakes from doing things is just unfair. Maybe that’s just me. Do I look like an ancient Egyptian?

The story goes on to explain that the Canaanite people got along rather well with the serpant folk and describes where the spells were found and a little about the content.

In the inscribed spells, a Canaanite-speaking mother snake cajoles and threatens invading snakes in their own language.

“You need somebody with good connections to the snake. You can’t just come along and say, Get out of here, snake. Why should the snake listen to you?” Steiner said.

“You need to involve someone who commands the snake’s respect, someone who can speak to the snake in its own language and who is related to it in some way—its mother or its lover,” he added.


Is that why we have such trouble talking to Dick Cheney? He doesn’t love or respect anyone. No. That can’t be it. What? He also isn’t a poisonous snake? Gee I hadn’t noticed.

But maybe I should go find some Canaanite sourcerers just in case.

Or maybe just I should just hiss for Harry.

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