Snake Dance -
The Snake Ceremony of the Hopi Indians. This dance was a
prayer for rain in which the snake priests carried live snakes - bull snakes,
whip snakes, and rattlesnakes - in their mouths while they danced around
the plaza of their village. At the end of the dance the snakes were
carried to the edge of the village and turned loose as messengers to the
rain gods, with whom they were supposed to win favor.
The only venomous snake used in this dance
was the rattlesnake. As far as it is known the fangs of the rattlers
were not removed, but the priests, because of their skill in handling dangerous
reptiles, seldom were bitten. But just in case they should be bitten,
tribal medicine was made before the dance. Among common cures for
snakebite in the Southwest was the placing of a part of the belly of the
snake on the wound.
within this Site
][ Hopi ][ Pueblo