Who knew that this simple line could contain so much symbolism among the Jedi and Sith? I surely didn’t. The first time we heard this line of dialogue in a Star Wars film was by Rey in The Last Jedi. Before I go on any further, The Last Jedi was never my favorite film to begin with. In fact, it was one of my least favorite Star Wars films in the entire Skywalker saga. However, after putting away all of my negative emotions and watching it a few times with a more open and cleared mind, I’ve realized that it’s full of rich symbolism. The Snake is one of those symbols that really intrigues me the most.
When we think of snakes, we think of them either harming or even killing us. They certainly aren’t something to think of at nighttime when trying to count sheep. Although some may be fine as pets, the term “snake” isn’t a pleasant word. In many cultures, when used directly at a person, it’s regarded as a negative connotation. Hence, why Rey used it to attack Kylo Ren. He certainly was acting like a snake then.
Before The Rise of Skywalker was released last December, some marketing material was leaked that was really a shock for some hardcore fans like me. A new Jedi symbol was shown with a snake wrapped around an upside-down ignited blue lightsaber. The symbol also included a circular wrapping of words that included “TRUE JEDI” and below it “Strength, Wisdom, Loyalty, Bravery.”
When looking at it, it comes across as if the Jedi are to be considered ‘murderous’ or something more frightening than the way George Lucas ever intended them to be portrayed. Among the masses, the term “Jedi” is usually portrayed as something believable and good. However, this new symbol confused me more than anything else. So, after sitting around and coming up with no solid conclusions on my own, I decided to follow in the footsteps of an author who wrote a similar post on Reddit. After Googling “snake,” Google suggested “snake around a staff.” The search led me to The Rod of Asclepius.
Asclepius comes from Greek mythology and is associated with “healing and medicine.” The rod was used for medicinal and healing purposes.
Maybe you are already putting the pieces together, but wasn’t there a snake in The Rise of Skywalker that was healed by Rey? There certainly was. Rey healed a giant snake that Poe certainly thought was going to harm them. Using the Force, Rey took the initiative to heal the injured creature. It was then that we started to understand why snakes are an important symbol among the Jedi and not altogether evil.
Although considered to be Legends and not canon, Darth Bane said something very interesting about the Force.
“The Force is not fire, it is venom.”Darth Bane
The Sith utilize and worship only the evil that can come from life itself. Hence, why Sith teachings focus on self-centeredness and revenge. Sith use the Force for violent attacks, which is similar to a snake using its venom. The Sith couldn’t grasp the good that could come from the Force. Instead, they manipulated the Force to serve their own needs instead of like the Jedi who try to use themselves as selfless conduits to fulfill the will of the Force.
Although the Sith worshipped such a creature, Sith-related cults, like the Heinsnake cultists, worshipped snakes as some form of deity of evil as well.
“The Heinsnake cult was an ancient sect the members of which wielded a dark and powerful magic capable of rivaling the Dark Lords of the Sith and clouding their vision. Its symbol was a green headless snake.”Fandom
Emperor Palpatine knew of such a cult and its relation to a snake, being a worshipper of this creature as well.
“I have heard of the mark of the headless snake. It’s the symbol of an ancient cult. Dead for eons. Said to possess a powerful dark magic.”Emperor Palpatine
All of this explains why a snake was left protecting the Sith dagger in The Rise of Skywalker.
What was the snake protecting? A Sith dagger. The weapon used to murder Rey’s parents. The order to murder her parents came from Palpatine, a Sith Lord and worshipper of such a creature. That weapon ended up in the hands of a snake. This Sith weapon fell into the hands of a creature that’s been worshipped by the Sith and other dark cults for generations. Now, that’s symbolism for you.
However, although Rey is a Palpatine by blood, she realized that all creatures, whether human or snake, do have good in them, something the Sith fail to see. When Rey healed the snake, it felt peace and an unwillingness to attack. Jedi teach a familiar philosophy based on this occurrence.
“You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”Yoda
The snake gained knowledge when Rey healed it. It learned a valuable lesson from a true Jedi.
Although I don’t know everything about symbolism in the Star Wars universe, I can tell you Rey proved then what Yoda said to Luke in The Last Jedi.
“Oh, read them, have you? Page-turners they were not. Yes, yes, yes. Wisdom they held, but that library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess.”Yoda
While the snake is rich in Sith symbolism, it also pointed to the healing and redemption of Kylo Ren. Just as Rey healed the snake, she also healed Kylo, both physically and spiritually. The snake represents the good and evil in the universe. While it’s a source of knowledge, healing, and symbolism for both good and evil, it was the conduit for healing the galaxy from an imbalance in the Force.