100 books like The Cosmic Serpent

By Jeremy Narby,

Here are 100 books that The Cosmic Serpent fans have personally recommended if you like The Cosmic Serpent. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

A thorough look at the origins of Christianity and how the once powerful role of serpent (along with the goddess) was undermined and cast as a tempter and deceiver.

Pagels details how a rigidly-patriarchal interpretation of Genesis perpetuates the myth of separation and disconnection from spirit, nature, and ourselves. While snakes as animals are not covered in any depth, this book does explore why negative perceptions of snake still figure so prominently in Western collective consciousness. 

By Elaine Pagels,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Adam, Eve, and the Serpent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author deepens and refreshes our view of early Christianity while casting a disturbing light on the evolution of the attitudes passed down to us. 

"Confirms her reputation as both a scholar and a popular interpreter.... Continuously rewarding and illuminating." —The New York Times

How did the early Christians come to believe that sex was inherently sinful? When did the Fall of Adam become synonymous with the fall of humanity? What turned Christianity from a dissident sect that  championed the integrity of the individual and the idea of free will into…


Book cover of Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

This very engaging, well-written (and weighty!) book shares Harry Green’s personal experiences with snakes, along with an overview of the history, biology, and wide range of snakes—from their unique lifestyles and diet to their behavior and amazing adaptations to living in so many different environments on land, under the earth, in the seas and water, and even gliding through the air.

The text is complemented by color images of many different snake species by internationally-known nature photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden. Overall, an excellent resource for all things Snake!  

By Harry W. Greene, Michael Fogden (photographer), Patricia Fogden (photographer)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Snakes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a book about some of nature's most alluring and forbidding creatures, written by a man with an abiding passion for snakes, as well as for science, the fate of the planet, and the wonder of life. Harry Greene presents every facet of the natural history of snakes--their diversity, evolution, and conservation--and at the same time makes a personal statement of why these animals are so compelling. This book provides an up-to-date summary of the biology of snakes on a global basis. Eight chapters are devoted to general biology topics, including anatomy, feeding, venoms, predation and defense, social behavior,…


Book cover of Insights Into the Consciousness of Snake Remedies

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

Homeopath Sadhana Thakkar helps to dispel the negative image of snakes by revealing how profoundly snake remedies can help humans heal and awaken.

The author offers an introduction to the physiology, temperament, lifestyle, and survival strategies of many snakes, and reveals how homeopaths match these patterns to effective venom-based remedies.

Homeopathy itself is a fascinating study, and Thakkar does an excellent job of deepening our understanding of how and why it works through her many stories of humans successfully treated with snake remedies. I found this book super informative and fascinating to read!  

Book cover of The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

While this book is less about snakes and more about the people who are obsessed with snakes, I recommend it for a fascinating perspective on the dark intrigue and alluring mystery inherent in our relationship with snakes.

Why are some individuals (and institutions!) willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money to possess a rare snake? Why do wildlife traffickers go to incredibly dangerous lengths to find, capture and smuggle snakes on trucks, trains, and planes across international borders? And why do others make it their personal mission to stop these illegal activities?

An engaging book that is difficult to put down! 

By Bryan Christy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lizard King as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Bryan Christy began to investigate the world of reptile smuggling, he had no idea what he would be in for. In the course of his research, he was bitten between the eyes by a blood python, chased by a mother alligator, and sprayed by a bird-eating tarantula. But perhaps more dangerous was coming face to face with Michael J. Van Nostrand, owner of Strictly Reptiles, a thriving family business in Hollywood, Florida. Van Nostrand imports as many as 300,000 iguanas each year (over half the total of America's most popular imported reptile), as well as hundreds of thousands of…


Book cover of Antisuyo: The Search for the Lost Cities of the Amazon

Vincent R. Lee Author Of Forgotten Vilcabamba: Final Stronghold of the Incas

From my list on discovery of the true Lost City of the Incas.

Why am I passionate about this?

Vincent Lee is a professional architect and former Alpine climbing guide and instructor, US Marine Corps officer, Andean explorer, and author. Searching in the high Andes of Peru and the rain forests of the Upper Amazon for the remains of the long-lost final redoubt of the once-powerful Inca Empire not only appealed to his life-long interest in all of these disparate fields, but it called upon his many years of experience in each: wilderness trekking, mountain warfare, mapping and drawing the remains of the more than 500 ancient structures discovered.

Vincent's book list on discovery of the true Lost City of the Incas

Vincent R. Lee Why did Vincent love this book?

Following up on Hiram Bingham's 1911 visit to an overgrown ruin in the forest at a place called Espíritu Pampa (The Plain of Ghosts) and dismissed by Bingham as unimportant, Savoy set out in 1964-5 to prove him wrong. Bingham had identified Machu Picchu as the lost Inca capital, Vilcabamba, but Savoy was sure there was more to be found at the Plain of Ghosts than Bingham knew. He was right, and in several adventurous expeditions found a large Inca city there that he thought better met the Spanish accounts of Vilcabamba.

By Gene Savoy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Antisuyo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This inspiring and historic book: Antisuyo by Gene Savoy, is about the search for the lost cities of the Amazon. Antisuyo is the full account of the authors' daring expedition beyond one of the few remaining uncharted frontiers, and of his glorious discovery of the fabled cities of Viacabamba and Muyok Viejo--two of the most important archaeololgical sites found in recent years. He takes the reader through the forbidding mysteries of the wild territory in search for of clues to puzzles that have remained unsolved since the days of Pizarro: Aztahualpa: the legendary Manco Capac; the famed El Dorado, City…


Book cover of At the Mountains' Altar: Anthropology of Religion in an Andean Community

Catherine J. Allen Author Of The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community

From my list on Andean life, landscape, and personhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

My connection with the Andean highlands of southern Peru stretches back to 1975 when I spent about a year in a small community of Quechua-speaking potato farmers and llama herders. I have returned there many times over the years, most recently in 2019. Its people, their way of life, and vision of the world are dear to my heart and are the subject of The Hold Life Has as well as a play, creative nonfiction, and, more recently, poetry. I love the way anthropology forces me to think outside the box and experience the world with different eyes, something I aim to convey in my work.

Catherine's book list on Andean life, landscape, and personhood

Catherine J. Allen Why did Catherine love this book?

This is a wonderful, sophisticated yet accessible book that provides readers with a vivid community study that is also a wide-ranging introduction to the anthropology of religion. The title refers to a small adobe house in the community of Rapaz that serves as a temple for religious practices directed to sacred mountains. Each chapter explores aspects of the temple and related ritual practices from a different theoretical vantage point, in order to “put before students’ eyes one case, an Andean temple, and treat it as an example for pondering the possibly pan-human matter of sacred ritual” (p.9). It’s beautifully written, personal and thought-provoking.

By Frank Salomon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Mountains' Altar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In high-Andean Peru, Rapaz village maintains a temple to mountain beings who command water and weather. By examining the ritual practices and belief systems of an Andean community, this book provides students with rich understandings of unfamiliar religious experiences and delivers theories of religion from the realm of abstraction. From core field encounters, each chapter guides readers outward in a different theoretical direction, successively exploring the main paths in the anthropology of religion.

As well as addressing classical approaches in the anthropology of religion to rural modernity, Salomon engages with newer currents such as cognitive-evolution models, power-oriented critiques, the ontological…


Book cover of Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru

Susan Kellogg Author Of Weaving the Past: A History of Latin America's Indigenous Women from the Prehispanic Period to the Present

From my list on the history of Native women in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a sheltered environment on Long Island, NY, I had little sense of a larger world, except for seeing images of the Vietnam War. Going to college in the early 70s and becoming an anthropology major, the world began to open up, yet I hadn't experienced life outside the U.S. until my mid-20s as a graduate student living in Mexico to do dissertation research. That experience and travels to Guatemala, Peru, Cuba, and Costa Rica helped me to see how diverse Latin America is, and how real poverty and suffering are as well. Coming into my own as a historian, teacher, and writer, my fascination with women’s voices, experiences, and activism only grew.

Susan's book list on the history of Native women in Latin America

Susan Kellogg Why did Susan love this book?

This book is a classic of Latin American women’s history, telling the story of how Andean women’s relative gender equity (what the author calls “gender parallelism,” a concept that applies to gender structures in many Latin American societies, especially the Aztecs—known as Nahuas—about whom I’ve also written) became transformed first by the Inca, then by the Spanish.

Written with feeling about forms of both complementarity and exploitation, Silverblatt shows women of the past, non-elite and noble, to have been productive, creative, and responsive to the social and economic conditions around them.

By Irene Marsha Silverblatt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moon, Sun, and Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Spanish arrived in Peru in 1532, men of the Inca Umpire worshipped the Sun as Father and their dead kings as ancestor heroes, while women venerated the Moon and her daughters, the Inca queens, as founders of female dynasties. In the pre-Inca period such notions of parallel descent were expressions of complementarity between men and women. Examining the interplay between gender ideologies and political hierarchy. Irene Silverblatt shows how Inca rulers used their Sun and Moon traditions as methods of controlling women and the Andean peoples the Incas conquered. She then explores the process by which the Spaniards…


Book cover of Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru

Lawrence Winkler Author Of Orion's Cartwheel

From my list on becoming the hero of your own myth.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is no quality of life without meaning, and there is no better meaning than the search for it. The Vision Quest has been a beacon of hope for me my entire life. It permeates all my aspirations and writing. It inspired me to hitchhike worldwide for five years and continued into my professional life. I hope you enjoy the selections.

Lawrence's book list on becoming the hero of your own myth

Lawrence Winkler Why did Lawrence love this book?

Tahir Shah’s writing is inspired, funny, multifaceted, and offbeat. This book is his account of hiring a crazy Vietnam vet named Richard Fowler to escort him into the remote Amazon to look for the birdmen of Peru.

I hired the same guy to take me and a good friend into the same jungle several years later, with similar results I recorded in Stout Men. Both are vision quests through slow water in strange company and a passion for the bizarre and grotesque.

By Tahir Shah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trail of Feathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Enthralled by the chronicle of a 16th-century Spanish monk, which said that the Incas 'flew like birds' over the jungle, and by the recurring theme of flying in Peruvian folklore, Tahir Shah set out to discover whether the Incas really did fly or glide above the jungles of Peru. Or was it flight of a different kind, inspired by powerful drugs? After gathering equipment in London the long quest begins, in the mountains of Peru, with a trek to Machu Picchu, the Incas' most sacred city. Then on to the mountain city of Cusco and a mysterious island on Lake…


Book cover of The Fabric of Resistance: Textile Workshops and the Rise of Rebellious Landscapes in Colonial Peru

Leo J. Garofalo Author Of Afro-Latino Voices: Translations of Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic Narratives

From my list on Afro-Latin American and Afro-Andean history.

Why am I passionate about this?

History tells us who we are and what we can become. History in the Andes tells us that people of the African Diaspora have been a part of building that part of the world into what it is today for over 500 years. I have been fascinated by learning this history and inspired by leaders, writers, artists, and fellow historians who consider themselves Afro-Andean and are building the future. For 25 years now, I have been scouring historical archives in Peru, Spain, and the US to find more sources to help us recognize and understand that history as we use it to build a better, more just present and future. 

Leo's book list on Afro-Latin American and Afro-Andean history

Leo J. Garofalo Why did Leo love this book?

For thousands of years, right down to the present, textiles and weaving in the Andes has been some of the most exquisite and sophisticated in the world. It has been linked to the amazing cultural creativity of people in the Andes and the rise and fall of successive empires because controlling textile production is controlling power and wealth.

This book shows us something entirely new: how the weavers who made these amazing textiles experienced and often resisted that power and the exploitation of their labor. Even though this book is not explicitly about Afro-Andean people, they were an integral part of the Andean labor force, and they figure in histories of resistance and rebellion in the Andes.

By Di Hu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fabric of Resistance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Fabric of Resistance: Textile Workshops and the Rise of Rebellious Landscapes in Colonial Peru documents the impact of Spanish colonial institutions of labor on identity and social cohesion in Peru. Through archaeological and historical lines of evidence, Di Hu examines the long-term social conditions that enabled the large-scale rebellions in the late Spanish colonial period in Peru. Hu argues that ordinary people from different backgrounds pushed back against the top-down identity categories imposed by the Spanish colonial government and in the process created a cosmopolitan social landscape that later facilitated broader rebellion.

Hu's case study is Pomacocha, the site…


Book cover of Zonia's Rain Forest

Laura Resau Author Of Stand as Tall as the Trees: How an Amazonian Community Protected the Rain Forest

From my list on children’s pictures set in South America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I feel passionate about spreading the word about all the fantastic children’s literature set in South America. As an author and a multilingual mom whose son enjoys learning about his Latin American heritage, I’ve always brought home stacks of picture books—in Spanish and English—that celebrate Latin American cultures and settings. I’ve loved traveling to the Andes mountains and the Amazon rain forest as part of my children’s book collaborations with Indigenous women in those regions. Most of all, I love transporting young readers to these inspiring places through story.

Laura's book list on children’s pictures set in South America

Laura Resau Why did Laura love this book?

Several years ago, I took a beautiful and eye-opening trip to an Indigenous-run ecolodge in the Amazon Rain Forest.

Tragically, the following year, the community was displaced after an oil company invaded and destroyed their forest. So, I connected strongly to this book, which tells the story of Zonia, an Indigenous Asháninka girl living in the Peruvian Amazon, who forms playful and sacred bonds with her plant and animal friends.

But when she comes across felled trees, she must respond to the forest’s call for help. The illustrations are sweet and warm, inviting readers to take part in Zonia’s experiences. And when we witness the stark devastation, we feel her despair and her call to action.

I loved this book that encourages us all to support Indigenous and environmental rights.

By Juana Martinez-Neal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zonia's Rain Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A heartfelt, visually stunning picture book from Caldecott Honor and Robert F. Sibert Medal winner Juana Martinez-Neal illuminates a young girl’s day of play and adventure in the lush rain forest of Peru.

Zonia’s home is the Amazon rain forest, where it is always green and full of life. Every morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia, and every morning, she answers. She visits the sloth family, greets the giant anteater, and runs with the speedy jaguar. But one morning, the rain forest calls to her in a troubled voice. How will Zonia answer?
Acclaimed author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal explores the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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