The Cosmic Journeyman
- Sep 29, 2005
- Creative Industrialist
The chief centre of serpent worship was Dahomey in Africa, but the cult of the python appears to have been of exotic origin, dating back to the first quarter of the 17th century. By the conquest of Whydah, the Dahomeyans began adoption of serpent worship after contact with a people of serpent worshippers, which they first despised. Some 50 snakes reside at a serpent temple at the chief center Whydah. Each python of the danh-gbi kind must be treated with respect - penalty for killing one, even by accident is certain death.The Serpent Cult at Whydah
The destruction of Whydah as a Kingdom did not put an end to the veneration of the serpent there. According to William Davaynes, who was one of the directors of the East India Company and who had left the Coast of Africa in 1763 after having resided there twelve years, eleven years as Governor at Whydah and the other at Annamboe, "The snake was the peculiar worship of the ancient people of Whydah, and when this province was conquered by the King of Dahomey, the worship of the snake was continued upon motives of policy. Formerly a person who killed a snake was put to death; but now a goat is sacrificed as an atonement." The last statement must apply to the case of Europeans alone, for as we shall see the death penalty against...