The snake symbolized healing because of its amazing power to shed its skin. It can also go without eating for days and maintain an absolute stillness that resembles death. Not too surprising, the snake also represents rebirth and transformation, since often a snake appears dead then comes alive. Since a poisonous snake can have a fatal bite, it also has the power of death.
Wisdom is another attribute of the snake. Although, most believed a snake can move fast, people can outrun a snake even if the snake pursued, which most would not. Often, what people think is a snake following is both are taking the same path. A snake survives by making quick deduction regarding the need to escape when to strike. (The Bushmaster that hails from Costa Rica and Black Mamba from Africa can outrun a human.)
Many creation legends feature snakes. Even though the familiar Christian legend puts the snake in a Satanic role; it depends on interpretation too. The snake offered Adam and Eve knowledge as opposed to remaining ignorant. In the Hindu culture, the snake represents the Kundalini energy that is coiled at the base of the spine and spreads through all the chakras as a person matures spiritually.
In Egypt, the snake represents immortality. The snake serves as the Earth Mother in Israel providing growth and fertility. Often, in Christian drawings the snake is pictured with a woman’s head to represent lust and temptation. The strange relationship Christianity had with snakes is due to the determination to separate from anything having to do with the Goddess Asherah who very popular at the time. The best the new priesthood could do was to change everything associated with Asherah into evil. The poor snake has suffered unprovoked attacks from women ever since.
Snakes are helpful of ridding areas of rodents. Most snakes retreat from humans and only attack when cornered and no other response is available. Still, this is no invitation to pick up snakes, especially poisonous ones.
Keeper of sacred knowledge
Protection from religious persecution