Minoan Snake Goddess - Herakleion Museum, Crete, 1600BC
This figurine represents an agricultural fertility Goddess or her Priestess. The original was found in a storage room in the Palace of Knossos, Crete. She is a votive offering and not a cult figure and therefore, probably represents a Priestess who is perhaps a princess of the palace. Although she is dressed in the garb of her deity, a Cretan Earth Mother, she is a personification of Earth from which all life springs and returns. She carries the snakes, symbols of death and rebirth. Crouching on her crown is a lion cub, usually associated with royal houses. In her crown are poppy pods, indicating the use of opium in her worship.