top of page

The Serpent Symbolism in the Yazidi Religion and Traditions and the Snake in Yerevan

Written by Sara Bozyel

Serpent symbolism holds a significant place in various religious and cultural traditions across the world. In the Yazidi religion -as well as in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia- the serpent has long been a symbol laden with meaning. Any visitor to Lalish in Northern Iraq will engrave in their memory of the first thing they saw, an image of a massive black snake that welcomes them upon entry into the courtyard of the Yezidi main sanctuary. The carvings on the walls are as intriguing.

(Image Credit:

Yazidi Serpent Symbolism:

The Yazidi religious tradition, rooted in ancient Mesopotamian beliefs and influenced by Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Christianity, encompasses various symbols, among which the serpent holds a prominent position. The Yazidis associate the serpent with wisdom, knowledge, and the divine (1). The snake is often seen as a symbol of creation and fertility, as well as a representative of cosmic forces and the transcendent. In Yazidi cosmology, the serpent plays a role in the creation of the world and is associated with the deity Tawûsî Melek, also known as the Peacock Angel (1). The Peacock Angel, often depicted with serpents, is considered both a benevolent figure and a bringer of knowledge.

The serpent holds a central place in Yazidi rituals and traditions. It is believed that the snake possesses healing powers, and Yazidis revere them as intermediaries between humans and the divine (1). Snakes are often kept in Yazidi shrines, and their presence is believed to bring blessings and protection. Yazidi religious practices also involve snake handling and dances, where participants express devotion and seek a spiritual connection with the divine through the serpent's symbolic presence (1).

Snake Symbolism in Yerevan:

Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, also exhibits a rich history of snake symbolism. The presence of snake imagery in Yerevan can be traced back to pre-Christian times when Armenia practiced a polytheistic religion (1). The snake was considered a guardian and protector, as well as a symbol of fertility and wisdom. With the advent of Christianity, many ancient beliefs and symbols merged with the new faith, and the snake continued to play a significant role in Armenian culture (1).

(Image Credit:

The snake symbol in Yerevan is often associated with the Armenian hero and national figure, Vahagn (1). Vahagn, also known as Vishapakagh, is depicted as a warrior holding a snake in his hands, representing his power and valor. The snake is a symbol of protection and strength, serving as a guardian against evil forces (1). Today, snake motifs can be found in various forms of art and architecture in Yerevan, such as carvings, sculptures, and mosaics, further emphasizing the enduring significance of snake symbolism in the city.

In conclusion, the serpent symbolism in the Yazidi religion and traditions and the snake symbolism in Yerevan showcase the enduring power and multifaceted meanings attributed to this enigmatic creature. In the Yazidi religious tradition, the serpent represents wisdom, creation, and the divine, and its presence in rituals and shrines signifies spiritual connections and blessings. In Yerevan, the snake symbolizes protection, strength, and heroism, connecting it to the national figure of Vahagn. Both contexts demonstrate the enduring presence of serpent symbolism in religious and cultural traditions, emphasizing its universal allure and ability to bridge gaps between diverse belief systems and cultures.


  1. Nicolaus, P. (2011). The serpent symbolism in the yezidi religious tradition and the snake in Yerevan. Iran and the Caucasus, 15(1-2), 49-72.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page