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Snakes play a significant role in the folk beliefs and legends that surround Sofi Hamid. Many snakes in this arid, desert-shrub land are poisonous. That's another sign of the sacredness of this site. You should watch your step as they can suddenly slither across your path, seemingly out of nowhere. People will tell you that if you are a person of integrity, the snakes will not harm you, and that if you take a clod of earth from Sofi Hamid to your own place, snakes won't bother you either. Several graves have carvings of snakes. The stone carver told us that here it signifies that the person who passed away was not afraid of snakes and they were percieved as being so kind and pure that even snakes would not harm them.Snakes depicted on gravestones do not mean that the person died of snakebite or that they were involved in the occupation of milking snakes for their venom which has numerous therapeutic uses.
Photo: Farid Ashrafoghlu
Back to Index AI 13.1 (Spring 2005)
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