There is a Great Circle; it is so huge it holds everything, for it is the universe, and all that live inside the Great Circle are relatives. When you stand at the heart of the circle, in the Center Place, you can see that the circle has four quarters. Each is sacred, for each has a mystical Power, and it is by those powers that we survive. Each quarter also has its own sacred animals, objects, and colors--these make its power accessible to humans.
Where the blue-black road of the dead meets the white road of the living at the Center Place is very holy. There coils the Rainbow Serpent. Her symbol is the sacred lightning-spiral. For those who look upon the Rainbow Serpent with newborn eyes, she shall wake and arc across the face of the world, and they may climb onto her back and rise into the skyworlds without dying. And, if they dare, they may speak with the gods.
People of the Silence (Native American), p. 19-20
In the beginning, the rainbow serpent, Aido-Hwedo, already existed--created to serve Nana-Buluku, the one god. The creator was carried everywhere in Aido-Hwedo's mouth. Rivers, mountains, and valleys twine and curve because that is how the rainbow serpent Aido-Hwedo moves.
Now when Nan-Buluku had finished creating, it was obvious that the earth just couldn't carry everything--all the mountains, trees, peoples, and animals. So, to keep the earth from capsizing, the creator asked Aido-Hwedo to coil beneath it to cushion it--like the pads people wear on their heads when they are carrying a heavy burden.
Because Aido-Hwedo cannot stand heat, the creator made the ocean for the serpent to live in. And there Aido-Hwedo has remained since the beginning of time, with his tail in his mouth. Even though the water keeps Aido-Hwedo cool, he sometimes shifts around trying to get comfortable, and that's what causes earthquakes.
Nana-Buluku charged the red monkeys that live beneath the sea to keep Aido-Hwedo fed, and they spend their time forging the iron bars that are the serpent's food. But sooner or later the monkey's supply of iron is bound to run out, and then Aido-Hwedo will have nothing to eat. Famished with hunger, he will start to chew his own tail, and then his writhings and convulsions will be so terrible that the whole earth will tilt, overburdened as it is with people and things. The earth will slip into the sea, and that will be that!
Realm of Myth (West African)
According to Aboriginal cosmology, the great Dreamtime Ancestors shaped the earth, its continents, mountains, oceans, and rivers, its lodestones and its veins of crystals, pigments, and metals. Their activities still resonate in the shapes and energies that bathe the earth and all life processes. These energies are often referred to symbolically as the Rainbow Serpent, which, like electromagnetism and all energy fields, exists as a spectrum of various colors, frequencies, or powers.
The 'serpent dreaming' myths are most prevalent in the sinuous river country of northern Australia, yet they are found in stories told through-out the entire continent. They are part of the oldest continuous documented religious theme in the world. The story-images are recorded in cave paintings going back more than 20,000 years. The serpent is always associated with vibration and flowing energy fields.
VOICES OF THE FIRST DAY (Australian)
The rainbow serpent is a powerful mythological figure for all aboriginal people throughout Australia. Characteristics of the rainbow serpent vary from group to group and also depending on the site. Often viewed as a female generative figure, the rainbow serpent can also sometimes be male. She has both powers of creation and destruction and is most strongly associated with rain, monsoon seasons, and of course the colors seen in Rainbows which arc across the sky like a giant serpent.
"She is held in awe because of her apparent ability to renew her life by shedding her skin and emerging anew."--Murray Garde