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Holy Mountain Trading Company - The Idyll of the White Snake

Holy Mountain Trading Company - Year of the Snake Predictions

C hinese believe that harmony only comes with balance. Nothing is every absolute -- with good also comes evil. So, too, is the personality of the snake, the representative animal of the 12-animal Lunar New Year zodiac for Year 4710. Graceful feminine fingers with long white nails holding beautiful white snake © 2007 by Karen Gentry iStockphoto
On the dark side, snakes are believed to be evil, lazy and venomous. However, snakes are also thought to be wise and good-hearted, as well as helpful in times of need, for example, by eating rodents that might destroy farmers' crops.
"Good" snakes can transform into dragons and rise to the heavens. Yet, even the good snake can wreak havoc, stirring up storms or tornadoes, known as "spinning dragon winds."
In both Western and Eastern cultures, snakes have been the seducers of humans. In the Bible, the snake tempted Eve to taste the "forbidden fruit," and became symbolic of sin and evil. But in Chinese culture, snakes have generally been held in good esteem.
The snake is considered a wise reptile, symbolizing fertility in Chinese folklore. As an animal that moves close to Mother Earth, it draws great reserves of yin -- the female branch of energy. Chinese myths are replete with stories associating snakes with female deities who take on a human form and charm scholarly young men, then give birth to gifted children who become leaders in royal courts. These snake goddesses are heroines or scholars of literature and martial arts. Some benevolent goddesses are even known for daring to steal sacred medicine from the Heavenly Palace of the Jade Emperor to save the lives of the sick and poor in times of plague and disaster.

One of the most famous Chinese folk stories is a version of "Lady White Snake," a tale about love and deceit, gratitude and sacrifice, which also illustrates the romantic and human side of the snake's character.
Lady White Snake matured over centuries, gaining power until she eventually took on the form of a human. Through scholarly masters and Buddha, she learned all kinds of magic that she used to help the needy. Indeed, she transformed into a woman just so that she could help a young man who once saved her life when she was a snake many years before.
Lady White Snake married the young man and lived happily for years until a certain Dragon Boat Festival. Not knowing that his wife was actually a spirit, the husband brought back a gourd of wine that was believed to drive away evil spirits. After taking a sip, Lady White Snake could no longer hold her human form, and inevitably appeared as a huge, white snake in front of her husband. The poor man was astonished and frightened, literally shocked to death. When Lady White Snake resumed her human form, she was heartbroken to find her husband dead. She then began a long and difficult search to obtain a celestial herb that could save her husband's life.
Like Lady White Snake, people born in the Year of the Snake are intellectuals, apparently passive, making their plans coolly and carefully in anticipation of the decisive moment. They may seem detached and somewhat self-involved, but that is part of their iron self-control. They are deeply caring once they have made a serious commitment, work hard without showing the effort, and are very difficult to defeat. Occupying the sixth position in the Chinese zodiac -- having been the sixth animal to reach Buddha's call -- snakes draw on the centrality of the 12-animal cycle.
Chinese astrologers are warning everyone to maintain a cautious year. According to predictions, over the next 12 months, snakes will face frustration and misfortune. They will lose direction and are urged to refrain from making any drastic moves or life changes.