Animal Studies Journal


This paper imagines Snake Church as a post-secular worship practice that reaches with and beyond the vilified serpent held within the limits of Judeo-Christianity. Snake Church offers a devotional practice enlivening enough to shift the languish of a post-secular world where the reasonableness of Enlightenment has crumbled into numbers like 440ppms and 1.5C. The Western empire has been revealed as stark naked, vulnerable, an old skin that cannot hold my world. Snake Church offers me a sacred opiating hope. As I approach a nascent liturgy, here, in the settler-ravaged Stony Rises, home to the Eastern Maar tiger snake and Eastern brown for millennia, I wonder, what might a prayer do for these ancient locals? Snake Church is not a holy rolling out of the self, to assume the mantle of a snake who wants nothing at all to do with me and the harms of my species. Instead, perhaps, it is a shedding of my old He-God skin, freeing me to grow towards something new in this play of sacrilegious devotion. Like a drop of poison, Snake Church might change my body completely.