Amphisbaena Symbolism & Meaning
Having trouble making important decisions? Needing healing or a sense of direction? Amphisbaena, as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal, can help! Amphisbaena teaches you how to tune into your gut instincts while helping you discover the path that’s right for you! Delve deeply in Amphisbaena symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can heal, rejuvenate, and enlighten you.
Amphisbaena Table of Contents
- Amphisbaena Symbolism & Meaning
- Spirit Animal
- Totem Animal
- Power Animal
- Greek Symbolism
- Amphisbaena Dreams
- Back to all Fantasy & Mythical Creatures and Animals
- Back to all Spirit Animal Meanings
Amphisbaena Symbolism & Meaning
Amphisbaena is among the most bizarre Mythic Animals the world over. Originating in Ancient Greek and Rome, tales of the creature go back to the first century BCE. Amphisbaena is a serpent-like beast featuring two heads: One on each end of its body. Pliny the Elder wrote some of the earliest depictions about the creature. He describes it as being colorful or scaly, but always doubly venomous.
In Medieval artwork, Amphisbaena had a Chicken‘s scaly feet and wings or the clawed feet of an Eagle. Many renditions of Amphisbaena have both heads hosting identical features. Each head stems from similarly sized necks. Such images make it impossible to differentiate between the tail and head. Other artists depict the creature with the head of a Dragon and Serpent. As such, Amphisbaena symbolizes unique vision, evolution, and the seamless merging of opposing ideas.
Descriptions of the Amphisbaena’s eyes vary from one writer to another. Some writers claim the creature has dull, almost lifeless eyes. But Isidore of Seville claims the creature hosts eyes that glow like a lamplight. Also, unlike other serpentine creatures, Amphisbaena can thrive and survive in cold climates. Other tales tell of the creature living in the arid, warm environment of the Libyan Desert. Such features make Amphisbaena an Animal Guide capable of helping you “see” what is dark or hidden. It also represents survival and adaptation to existing environmental conditions.
The second-century poet, Nicander of Colophon, suggests both heads have blunt chins. Scholars believe he was writing about the real-world Lizard Worm; at a quick glance, it looks as if it has two heads instead of one. The reptile is common in Mediterranean countries where stories of Amphisbaena first appear. Here, the mythical counterpart to the Lizard Worm symbolizes illusions, deception, and false appearances.
Per Nicander, wrapping Amphisbaena’s shed skin around a walking-stick drives off real-world serpents. It is this same action that keeps any Animal that kills by striking at bay. The latter narration alludes to the caduceus: The Rod of Hermes or Mercury. A Chicken or Cock is a sacred Animal to this Messenger God. It links to the occasional rendering of the Amphisbaena with Chicken feet). The rod has white wings (also associated with the Chicken). More importantly, it has serpents wrapping around it. The staff is a modern-day icon for Medicine, so, the Amphisbaena and the rod both represent the healing arts.
As monstrous as the body of this mythic wonder may seem, its design also points to matters of symmetry. For something to have symmetrical qualities, it must have similar attributes or features formed around a center point or axis and elements mirroring each other. It results in equilibrium, orderliness, balance, and agreements, all of which are concepts aptly represented by Amphisbaena when it appears as an Animal Guide.
Also associated with the creature’s symmetrical body is the concept of synchronicity, or what Carl Jung describes as “a casual connecting principle,” linking two or more events that echo or mirror an individual’s experiences or thoughts. Likewise, this double-headed creature symbolizes two events occurring simultaneously, shared experiences, and events that link in such a way it proves meaningful to the individual.
The Amphisbaena’s diet of Ants links it to Ant symbolism and internalizing such attributes; As such, this Spirit Guide encourages you to adopt modesty, community spirit, humility, and an industrious attitude. It also encourages you to embrace creativity, foresight, and a desire for orderliness and preparedness.
Like some amphibians, Amphisbaena can regenerate itself if something severs its body in half. Similar to the regenerative abilities of the Ribbon Worm, Amphisbaena can also grow back another head and brain following decapitation; such imaginings link the mythic wonder to renewal, regeneration, new thoughts, and the formation of ideas built upon existing principles.
The word “Amphisbaena” comes from the Greek roots “amphis” which means “both ways,” and “bainein,” meaning “to go.” A more literal translation is: “To go or walk both ways.” Thus, the beast can move left or right with ease. If looking to move quickly, Amphisbaena would put one of its heads into the mouth of the other to form a circle or wheel. It then rolls in whatever direction it chooses; this action represents cooperative effort, simplicity, going with the flow, new beginnings, and coming full circle. It also links Amphisbaena to the Uroboros: A serpent consuming its tail serving as a symbol for the Alchemy, epiphanies, and the Cosmos.
Nonnus of Panopolis, a fifth-century Greek poet, adds to the explanation of how Amphisbaena’s moves, comparing it to the snake; Amphisbaena has a smooth, winding, and coiling action as it spits venom from one or both of its mouths. Sometimes it moves along with “double-gliding” or sidewinding action, which signifies smooth, uninterrupted movement forward and the avoidance or skirting of obstacles or conflict.
With two independent brains, for this Mythic Animal to move at all, both minds must agree on a direction. Otherwise, a decision is necessary to figure out which head takes the lead; this signifies a need for sharing burdens but also in adopting a willingness to take on active and passive roles when necessary and appropriate. So, what happens when two independent minds do not agree? Here, Amphisbaena comes to symbolize conditions resulting in blockages, deadlocks, emotional and physical standoffs, an impasse or stalemate, and no-win situations.
The Roman author Claudius Aelianus (Aelian) suggests the Amphisbaena designates one head for choosing to move in a single direction while the other head always works as a tail; this links the creature’s actions to the concepts of minimalism, efficiency, productivity, and the mastery of skill.
The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote of the Amphisbaena Tortoise, a creature existing off the Indian Ocean in the Seven Isles. But he also wrote of similar serpentine-like creatures with a single stomach and one of every internal organ. Here, Amphisbaena signifies sharing and taking actions that serve the greater good of all rather than the individual alone.
In ancient times, people believed Amphisbaena had special properties so that people would use it for a variety of magical and healing purposes. Women wore Amphisbaena as an amulet to safeguard their unborn children throughout the pregnancy. The skin of the Amphisbaena, once shed, also held medicinal properties, wherein people use it for treating common ailments like a cold.
Because of the creature’s regenerative attributes, it was dried and later ground, so the powdered material could be used for treating dislocated or broken bones and arthritic conditions. Of course, Amphisbaena was used in love spells and aphrodisiacs (likely due to its phallic-shaped body); consuming the creature after its death made a person irresistible so they could attract potential suitors.
If a person has a pure mind and heart, and they took the life of an Amphisbaena during the full moon, it allowed them to harness power. Loggers working in the harshest conditions in winter months believed nailing a dead Amphisbaena to a tree would make the affected tree fall to the earth with ease. The same practice would help keep the loggers warm.
In magical operations, the name of a person is the embodiment of the individual. It’s like a verbal or written representation of the person you’re naming. For example, if you think of someone’s name, it not only conjures, in mind, a visual representation of that person’s physical attributes but also their behaviors. A name identifies who you are and is distinct, separating you from all others.
The etymology of Amphisbaena’s name reveals some intriguing meaning for this mythic creature; there are at least eight different spellings, including the feminine variants, Anphivena and Amphivena, along with the masculine titles Amphista, Amphisboena, Amphisbene, Amphisbaina, and Amphisbaena. With so many mild variances in its name, the Amphisbaena symbolizes the elusive essence of the Spirit, a search for the self, identity conflicts, and uncertainty about your heart’s desire. Its appearance as an Animal Guide may indicate the failure to follow your spiritual path or live true to your nature.
The twos of every suit in the Tarot correlate with the symbolism and meaning of Amphisbaenae. The Two of Wands points to balance in thought, communications, and having a two-sided point of view; the card suggests looking at both sides of an equation or issue. The Two of Cups symbolizes collaborative efforts, the joining of opposites, commonalities, and healing; the card even depicts Hermes’ caduceus. The Two of Swords symbolizes emotionality versus rationality, being torn between decisions, neutrality, and staying on the fence instead of choosing sides. Finally, the Two of Pentacles signifies keeping things in balance, weighing options, infinite connection, smooth motion, and going with the flow.
The Amphisbaena corresponds to the Earth and Air Elements. Since it slithers or rolls across the land to move, it remains grounded and close to Mother Earth. It’s two heads symbolize the realm of thought, wisdom, and intellect.
Amphisbaena Spirit Animal
Sometimes you may feel as if you are directionless in life or as if you’re not making movement forward with a project, a spiritual journey, or even a relationship. When you’re feeling stuck or unable to determine your next move, that’s when Amphisbaena crawls in as your Spirit Animal; the creature comes to encourage you to take your time, remain level headed, and consider all options before making a final decision about direction. Amphisbaena moves when it’s ready only and uses the most resourceful methods of movement. Once you decide what direction you want to take, Amphisbaena comes to show you the smoothest, simplest, and fastest way to get things moving.
When you make a decision but remain uncertain about its appropriateness, Amphisbaena may appear as your Animal Spirit Guide. When it does, the creature seeks to bolster you and support your decisions. It carries the message that you may soon encounter synchronistic events, the Universe’s signposts, that let you know you’re making the good choices and heading in the right direction.
Just as Amphisbaena arrives to help you feel stronger about a decision you’ve made, this same creature rolls in as your Spirit Animal when you find yourself in an ambivalent situation. Indecision can cause considerable emotional anguish and anxiety, but by working with Amphisbaena’s energetic signature, you can successfully sidestep the conflict and end mixed emotions.
If you’re having trouble seeing eye-to-eye with another or chaotic energies are disrupting a collaborative effort, Amphisbaena double-glides and sidewinds its way in to show you how to open the pathways of communication. The creature’s energetic influence helps you get everyone’s head and actions in alignment, all while encouraging cooperative efforts.
When something really riles you up and stirs up negative emotions, this creature is a great aid for helping you maintain control. The cold-blooded creature can show you how to keep a cool head when angry emotions might otherwise bring things to an undesirable boil. Aligning yourself with Amphisbaena’s energies helps you minimize irritations and moderate your mood by helping you see things in a new light.
Amphisbaena Totem Animal
If you have Amphisbaena as a Totem Animal, you are a stable and sensible being who maintains a level-head, even when there’s chaos all around you. One of your best skills stems from you having an open mind-it allows you to look at situations and conditions from all angles so you can harness the broadest perspective. Your communication skills are impressive, as is your intellect; you are gifted and eloquent.
Though you have many fine attributes, with Amphisbaena as your Totem, you can sometimes become temperamental, stubborn, and hot-headed. Just as having two heads are better than one when you are trying to work out a problem, the same two minds can disagree, which results in some conflict and “head butting.” Likewise, the venomous nature of the Amphisbaena is something you need to consider, especially when choosing your words; bitter sentiments and anger can make your words poisonous enough to cause lasting emotional injury. Those with this creature as a Totem can sometimes succumb to “foot in mouth disease,” where they end up regretting what they say, particularly because they cannot take words back once spoken.
Amphisbaena Power Animal
Invoke Amphisbaena as a Power Animal when you enter new environments or situations, and you want to adapt to conditions with ease. Calling on Amphisbaena allows you to ensure harmonious energies continue to reign at work and in relationships. The same energies ensure your encounters remain peaceful can also help you in evading unnecessary conflict. Amphisbaena’s exceptional site makes people more transparent, easier to “read,” and, as a result, can help make social interactions more predictable.
Call on Amphisbaena when you want to help others heal, or you are looking to master the healing arts. Along the same lines, you can petition Amphisbaena as a power animal when you’re looking to develop new insights or tap into your creative muse. If you’ve reached a point in your life where you are starting over or shaping a new life for yourself, Amphisbaena can help you launch your inner search for determining what will make you feel complete or whole.
Turn to Amphisbaena as your Power Animal when situations call for you to keep your head in the game; despite living successfully in desert lands, there’s no way Amphisbaena will let you bury your head in the sand! Likewise, in situations where you feel you need eyes in the back of your head, Amphisbaena helps stimulate your awareness so you can see what you need for ensuring peace and lasting success.
Grecian Amphisbaena Symbolic Meanings
The birthing of the Amphisbaena contributes to the creature’s peculiarity; King Polydectes, the ruler of Seriphos, challenges Perseus to bring him the head of Medusa. Perseus is successful in addressing the challenge. Later, while Perseus is flying over the Libyan Desert, blood drips from the Gorgon’s decapitated head. The droplets fall, and Amphisbaena spawns from the same blood. Since Amphisbaena stems from the blood of Medusa, it links the creature to knowledge, both frightening and sublime, but also makes the creature an emblem of how fast knowledge spreads once released into the world.
One ancient tale regarding Amphisbaena tells of it being blind. Ants cared for and fed it; the lore earns the creature the monikers “The King of Ants” and “The Mother of Ants.” Some writings present Amphisbaena as so malevolent that it wasn’t satisfied unless it injected a double dose of venom in whatever it attacked. The latter tale makes the creature a force to reckon with, but also an excellent Animal Guide if you’re looking to bolster up your defenses.
Some lore also holds the creature allows one head to sleep while the other head remains awake. It symbolizes not only the ongoing interaction of the conscious and subconscious mind but also the importance of remaining ever vigilant to minimize vulnerability and ensure survival.
John Milton integrates Greek myth in his epic poem, “Paradise Lost.” Following the Fall, when Satan returns to Hell, the angels who supported him during the rebellion in Heaven are turned into Amphisbaenae; the metamorphosis comes to symbolize the form Lucifer takes to make the Fall occur in the first place: The Serpent. Considering the dualistic nature of the Amphisbaenae, it’s the perfect creature to represent the choices Eve faces when considering whether to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil or not; the nature of temptation, and the duplicitous behavior of Eve’s tempter.
If you dream of the Amphisbaena having two heads and an intact body, things in your life are coming into balance, or you will experience harmony and great satisfaction. If, for whatever reason, you dream of an Amphisbaena that is injured or has lost its head, there’s a situation in your waking life that’s creating an emotional imbalance or inner conflict. The dream signals unclear thoughts, utter confusion, and feeling at a loss because you cannot fully understand current conditions.
If you dream of the Amphisbaena crawling the desert sands, it’s time to isolate yourself and do some inner journey work. If you see the creature in colder climates, you may feel as if you are out in the cold, alienated, or your romantic partner may soon become frigid or aloof.
When the Amphisbaena appears in a dream narrative, and you can’t tell which end is its head or tail, you’ll have difficulty understanding someone or “making heads or tails of a person” in your waking life. You may face a situation where confusion arises because of inadequate communication.
If you see the Amphisbaena moving toward you in your dream, you’ll endure conditions requiring you to face things “head-on” without retreat. If the creature moves away from you, you’ll want to avoid taking on situations or relationships you aren’t ready for presently. When the Amphisbaena rolls up and puts one head into the mouth of the second head, you’ll have a head-to-head encounter in your waking life, where you and another will have to work out your differences. The image of an Amphisbaena rolling might also signal a situation where “some heads are going to roll” or trouble is brewing.
Amphisbaena Symbolic Meanings Key