A serpent from ancient Siam, somewhere in the files of my memory card eventually would be unleashed.
Serpents often guard entrances to temples or sections of the park in Angkor. The serpent is a symbol of fear in many civilizations as well as one of medicine and spirituality. The western symbol of medicine is a staff with a snake wrapped around. Fear of snakes is deeply engrained often most likely stemming from the numerous venomous snakes capable of killing with a simple quick nip.
It’s hard to ignore the power of spiritual imagery which does not end with serpents at Angkor. Buddha faces and Hindu spirituality appear around every corner. The great scribes of the day perhaps worked with the stone carvers to impress the kings and the masses with the most important imagery. Places like the Angkor archaeological park would command the highest of available talented stone carvers of the time.
The walls of Angkor’s structures tell numerous stories of spirituality. Battles waged, won or lost also play out through the characters, their horses and weapons all by their sides. These tales give strength and bring hope. May we never re-live the horrors of the past. We can never use the battle strategies of the ages but for hopes sake just gain an altogether bigger picture.
There’s something powerfully uplifting about wandering through huge old ruins where so many have wandered before. It brings you back to beginnings and wakes up that exploratory wonder that makes you feel small, but alive.
What more can I say about Cambodia other then I hope to return one day, to sit in an ancient temple as the rain pours the heck out of running tourists, to zip by rice fields in a put put-ing tuk tuk as the sun sets over the jungle where fear is not too far behind amazement.
Climb up an ancient adult playground of stone, to roast in the midday heat and bike along red dirt roads to hundreds of new temples that line the road of discovery.