Temple of the pythons

A SNARL OF SNAKES FORMS a knot in the corner of a nondescript indoor pit. Other serpents slither around them. Though it’s an intimidating sight, in this African temple the powerful pythons aren’t feared but instead revered and worshipped.

The Temple of Pythons is a site of historical and modern symbolism and spiritual practice in Ouidah, Benin. The snakes are a major totem for followers of Vodun, a religion practiced by groups of people within West and Central African nations such as Ghana, Togo, and Benin.