Fantastic 13th – A Chronicle of Magical Creatures: Rainbow Serpent

WHAT IS IT

The rainbow serpent is often a creator god or deity that has been connected to some cultures as the creator of our little world.This is often in Dreamtime stories. Physically, the snake looks like a snake (and a rainbow?) yet the gender depends on the tale – some female, some male, some ambiguous while others suggest it’s both. Unlike some of the malevolent creatures we cover, the Rainbow Serpent is one that has been praised in fertility rituals (Kunnipi blood ritual), especially in indigenous cultures. The reason behind this is the connection between menstruation and when a woman can have the ability to bring life into the world, same as the serpent snake.

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ORIGIN

Originating from Australia, the rainbow serpent ( coined by Anthropologist Alfred Radcliffe-Brown) comes from some interesting beginnings, the first drawing on rock dating 6,000 years ago. This creature is responsible for creating the world’s mountains and ridges by literally moving under the earth’s surface, and it inhabits waterholes while also being in charge of water as a course. Many stories depict the snake as a strong protector of people but just as strong with punishing those who break the law.

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MODERN USE

This creature has become an icon in recent movements and an entire music festival (Rainbow Serpent Festival) in Australia. There is also The Rainbow Serpent by Dick Roughsey, an award-winning children’s book, as well as a character in the comic book Hellblazer.

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UNIQUE IDEAS

I’ve thrown you a curveball here, using a deity instead of our usual creatures but there’s an opportunity here using creation gods in general. A major idea is to use the Rainbow Serpent as a talking character like in A. Lee Martinez book Divine Misfortune because what is there left to do for a creation god when the world’s done? Another direction is adventure, using the creature as a backdrop – think The Mummy. Either way, it’s another region-specific creature that could be utilized.

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