Monday, September 1, 2008

Ohio's Great Serpent Mound

Located east of Cincinnati in Adams County Ohio, the Great Serpent Mound is one of the finest effigy mounds and the largest of its kind in the world. It is located atop a ridge that over looks the Ohio Brush Creek. Serpent Mound averages about 1330 feet in length and 3 feet in height. Representing an unwinding serpent, the mound is sheathed in mystery and controversy. The serpent is thought by most to be about to swallow an egg. There is still controversy over the origins and dating of this historical site but evidence now suggests it dates back to the Hopewell culture from around 100 b.c.-500 a.d.

Our trip to Serpent Mound was taken on August 23rd. Intrigued by the mystery surrounding Serpent Mound, I was glad for the opportunity to visit it despite the 95 degree heat of the day. I have to say I am still surprised by the number of Ohioans unaware of its existence.

Our day started early, leaving the house by 6:30 Am to meet with the kids at their place, an hour and a half southwest of us. From there we traveled about another three hours taking the winding state routes until we arrived at Serpent Mound. Once there we began with a picnic lunch under the pavilion.

had brought along a few of my crystals and stones (as did Kandice) to lay out and charge near the mound while having lunch.

Coop & I in front of one of the conical mounds on the site.

After lunch we headed up to the lookout tower to get an overview of the Serpent.

From there, we decided to take the hike into the valley below, the site of the meteorite impact that occurred 250 to 300 million years ago.

A fraction of the way down I was sure I had better turn around and head back. Despite looking wide and welcoming in the photo above, the path narrowed significantly and I was losing my equilibrium making me quite wary of proceeding, especially since there was no guard rail along the edge of the path to prevent a tumble down the side into the depths of the valley below. Yikes! But not wanting to be a wussy as well as not wanting to miss the opportunity, I trudged on. I mean really, how often does one get the opportunity to walk through a meteorite impact site? Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy the view much at all because every time I looked down into the valley below I again lost my equilibrium. So I focused on the path ahead of me and ventured on and made it out alive and well. : ) Despite not seeing as much of the landscape as I would have liked, I was very proud of myself personally for making the hike. I could have easily turned back and chickened out but instead, moved on past my fear of falling. I also didn’t die of a heart attack or heat stroke either, which I thought quite fortunate and impressive in my heat exhausted, wobbly condition.

Looking up at the bedrock walls of the impact site.

Cave beneath the serpent

Cliff below the serpent's tail

On our way out at the end of the hike. The path widens again, there is a fence, I feel safe. Safe enough in fact to turn around and snap this photo, lol! (Call me a cissy, I don't care.)

Once out of the valley and off the trail we made our way around the Great Serpent. My pictures don't capture the serpent well. Aside from the mound having eroded over the years, the terrain was so dry and brown the photos just don't show good definition.

The Great Serpents tail.

The egg at the serpents mouth

The serpents mouth (left) swallowing the egg to the right

Near the serpent's mouth was this sign

and just beyond was this observation deck high above the impact site where we'd hiked prior.
That's my grandaughter Destiny.

Coop at the observation deck . I took this photo of Coop against the tree tops for perspective.

Afterwords we rested at a picnic table. That was when we noticed a fellow at the front of the museum, displaying geometrical drawings and chatting with visitors. Once rested, we ventured in that direction as the drawings showing geometric layouts and correlation to the stars and constellation Dracos were intriguing to say the least.

I would love to go into a detailed account of the science, astronomy and geometry associated with Serpent Mound, much of what was shared by Ross Hamilton on our visit that Saturday. However, some of the it is far better summed up by Ross, so I highly suggest reading some of the PDFs available on his website. Ross has researched Serpent Mound for a number of years and authored several projects on Serpent Mound and ancient North American culture.

The information shared by Ross Hamilton was primarily in regard to astrological alignments and geometric patterns coinciding with the Great Serpent. This fascinated me because of my interest in Sacred Geometry and the Golden Ratio.

Other interesting facts pertaining to the geographic location of Serpent Mound as well as its apparent connection to the Hopewell culture and sacred astronomy and geometry can be found here and here.

All in all it was an interesting day and I’m glad I got to take part in it despite the heat and the long and winding drive into southern Ohio.


  1. What a neat trip for you and your family! I've never heard of the Serpent Mound (not from Ohio), but I'm going to read up on it now.
    Thanks for "taking" me along!

  2. This is one of the best posts I've read. I've both heard and read about the Serpent Mound but this post made it a personal journey I must take when I have the time and money.

    I'm writing a fantasy novel and your post has put the Serpent Mound in the story.

  3. I haven't been to that mound in a LOOOOONG time.

    There are a couple mounds in our area I visit.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  4. Ms. Cooper, thanks for your blog on your journey to Serpent Mound. I believe I saw you that day! I volunteer at Serpent Mound and I am the Director of the Friends of Serpent Mound(FOSM).

    FOSM helped the staff at the park fix some of the trails this year, but you are right they still need some work! :~) I will take your suggestions to them and see what we can tackle in the spring.

    I thought I would share two things with you after reading this posting and your Dec. 14th posting. First, that Ross Hamilton, a good friend of my husband's and mine, has been quite sick and even though he's getting better, he's not out of the woods and could use many prayers and well wishes. Second, have you thought of coming back to Serpent Mound this Sunday, Dec. 21st for the Winter Solstice? FOSM volunteers invite the public to help in lighting over 900 luminary candles around the effigy mound and throughout the park. We start laying out the bags around 4pm and light the candles about 4:45. We're asking that anyone wanting to help to bring a taper candle, since we light all the candles from one sacred fire. Afterwards there are a few other ceremonies that are scheduled that evening, but FOSM is not in charge of them. There will be hot drinks and snacks available and we only asked that one leave a donation (any amount is appreciated). This donation will stay at the park and will go toward next year's activites and projects. Like putting up a new guard rail!

    Again, it was a delight to read your experience at our beautiful park!

    Take care,
    Delsey Wilson

  5. Delsey - thank you so much for your comment. Please, if you can, let Ross know how much we appreciate th information he shared with us on our visit and that I have passed the info onto my daughter to hold good thoughts for his return to health.

    Also, thank you for the information on the Winter Solstice event at SM. I would have loved to attend but plans but alternate plans were already in the works. Sounds lovely, though and hopefully I will be able to attend in the future.

    I really enjoyed your comments and appreciate you and those who keep the park accessible to the public. Thanks again so much.


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