Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold

I'm curious how others would interpret the metaphorical meaning behind the following:

In this myth, there's an entrance to an underworld palace; inside the palace lies all the contents of the mind, the unconscious, the realm of thoughts, dreams, and nightmares. The entrance is flanked gigantic snakes, one on each side, that serve as guardians of the threshold. One snake is venomous; the other is not.

A spiritual leader approaches and is felled by the venomous snake before he can enter. Later, a scholar approaches and with her learning recognizes which snake is venomous, thus taking extra pains to avoid its strikes...but she falls prey to the nonvenomous snake. An innocent ultimately defeats both snakes by feeding them rodents; they lie sated and immobile as they digest their food, and she passes unmolested to enter the palace.

What do you think the snakes represent?

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