Yes, I would posit that a snake can be an object of desire. I don’t understand why but many people keep snakes as pets. Certainly, to a snake charmer a cobra is more than just an object of desire. And as for how thoroughly the serpent manipulated Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by playing on their desires…We are fascinated by them even while we recoil from them. I’m thinking about all those pictures I’ve seen of anacondas swallowing something as improbable as an alligator and killing themselves in the process because of their greed. Where were they when somebody said you should never attempt to eat anything that is bigger than your head?
Still they are God’s own creatures and they have been used as symbols of positivity and spirituality. Witness the Ouroboros, an ancient symbol of a snake devouring its own tail.
Not to mention the caduceus which is not to be confused with the Rod of Asclepius, a snake coiled around a wooden staff that is also the universal symbol of medicine and healthcare. The irony that something that represents poison is also something that represents healing is not lost on me.
This piece of permanent public art rising out of the Loire River where it empties out into the Bay of Biscay near Nantes, France is called Serpent d’ocean. It’s a 130 metres long and created by the artist Huang Yong Ping. It makes me think of all the prehistoric leviathans that roamed the earth before human beings appeared. It connects us to our past and where we came from. It is an eye-catching piece of art that creates a point of startling interest on an otherwise bathetic stretch of beach. It shows us what it is possible to do in order to uplift the landscape without raping it. It’s a feat of artistic and engineering ingenuity. I really like it. It’s scary, exciting, startling and thought provoking. It makes a snake qualify as an object of desire.