Life is magic, as it always has been. As science is shaping us into a new homo deus, artificial intelligence and genetic enhancements are breaking the boundaries of cognition and mortality. Yet, scientists remain ignorant on core issues like human conscience and the origin of the universe. Life is magic, as it always has been. Homo sapiens’ quest for answers forwards us to our future, and connects us to our original past, to ancient myths of magical serpents.

Mesopotamian serpent god Ningishzida
Serpent god Ningishzida

In many civilizations animals have been at the core of religion and mythology. The ancient Mesopotamians had a dual relationship with snakes. Their shedding and renewal of skin made them a token for protection and healing. The snake staff symbol still represents healthcare today. As venomous bringers of death, they were also regarded as factors of chaos and mischief.

Our division of science, magic and religion did not exist in ancient times. Early scholars studied and classified causality of omens. The Mesopotamian Summa Alu tablets contain some 500 snake related omens, structured in a most modern “IF - THEN” fashion. “If in a man's house a snake enters carrying a mouse in its mouth, that house will experience release.” Omens were logic, the magic of the unknown a driving force for the creation of both myths and science.

Some 5000 years ago this snake seal was worn by its bearer as an amulet of logical beliefs. It is now a testament to modern science rooted in ancient questions. It connects us to the eternal quest of the magic of life.