This post is part of an ongoing series. Read more of the American Gods project here.
The Great Serpent Mound of Adams County Ohio is the most impressive of the prehistoric earthworks of the United States. More than 1300 feet long, the Great Serpent winds her way across the rolling hills, their topography giving her life, and her grace bringing forth their spirit. The largest serpent effigy in the world, Great Serpent swallows the egg of the West, aligning perfectly with the setting of the summer solstice sun. Is she the serpent who, each night, swallows the sun, and shits it out again come daybreak?
Many in the modern day think that Great Serpent was built around 1070 CE. Some others contend she was born in 300 BCE. There are those who say she is the great Sky Dragon, the constellation Draco, with Thuban, who used to be the Pole Star, at the very center of her spiraled tail. This leads some to suggest that, when Great Serpent was born, Draco was still the Pole, and the spirals taught how to use it to find True North. That laughable hypothesis would mean that Great Serpent was 5000 years old, and, anyhow....it's not as though they'd need a way to find True North....except, of course, that magnetic compasses loose their shit in the presence of Great Serpent, the beguiler of ways. Migrating birds circle above her, lost in her mighty presence.
And then, of course, there are those of us who know that Great Serpent was there before men made an effigy for her. Before men stepped foot into America, she was. Great Serpent is not her mound, is not anything made of human hands. She is of the Land and in the Land, and her spine is the hills, and she twists and turns like the Mighty Ohio.