According to another mythological tale, the universe was created by the union of the mythic tortoise and snake, the former representing stability and immutability and the latter, change and flux. The tortoise alone could also function as the symbol of heaven and earth—its shell as the vaulted heaven and the belly as the flat disc of the earth. In Chinese mythology, the snake, the sixth creature in the zodiac, occupies a far more complex, or at least ambivalent, combination of guises and meanings than in Western mythology. The first man and woman are thought to have had snakelike lower bodies http://visualarts.walkerart.org/oracles/details.wac?id=2214&title=Lexicon