Bird-Headed Snake Goddess
Egypt, 4000 BC
This statue is from Egypt, 4000 BC, but the imagery is far older and the motifs were common throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe. Snake Goddesses represent rebirth and renewal; as the snake sheds it skin, so the soul is reborn. Snakes are dualistic; they can be maternal in their protection of crops from vermin, but also threatening and dangerous.
They also represent sexuality, as seen in the curving, fluid nature of Her spine. Her bird head represents Her connection to heaven; this Goddess is both the Earth Mother, and the Queen of the Skies. Her snake body is of the maternal earth, and her bird head is wisdom and the sky.
She raises her arms upwards in an act of worship, reminding us that Goddess and worshipper, human and divine, are one.