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Rattlesnake, Diamondback, Sidewinder, Rattler Tattoos
For the Native American, the indigenous rattlesnake (commonly known as the 'rattler', but also as the diamondback or sidewinder) is a symbol of potency and fertility. With a strike as fast as lightning, it has become associated with rain and the act of entering the earth and bringing forth life. It is regarded as the male symbol of creation. It is also a symbol of death and transformation, since its venom has the power to turn life towards death, delivering humans to the edge of one world and to the brink of another. In some cases the victim returns, since the bite of the rattler is not always deadly.
Because it rattles its tail before striking, as a warning, this poisonous snake has been called courageous. Appalachian fiddlers are said to place the rattle of the snake inside their fiddles to improve the sound.
The snake's phallic shape has long made it a symbol of fertility, as well as the fact that many species of snakes mate in large balls of intertwined individuals, and the young emerge from eggs. Conversely, the widespread distribution of poisonous snakes have long made men have a healthy respect for the power that snakes have - literally one of life and death.
In many myths, snake bites and snake venom are featured as representations of life and death. This duality often has snakes as symbols of the Underworld, or Underground.
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