Horned serpent deities figure in the mythology of most Native American and Meso-American peoples. Most of these horned and/or feathered serpents are associated with rain and thunder, or waterways.
Some, like the Cherokee horned serpent Utkena, or the Australian aborigine monster, bunyip, are malevolent beings or monsters who devour their enemies.
Others, like the the Choktaw deity Sint holo, are givers of inspiration, promethian spirits who introduce agriculture, language, and other gifts of knowledge to mankind. The Tewa deity Avanyu is the feathered sky serpent of the Pueblos (Zuni, Kolowisi, and Hopi, Paluluka), a rain and lightning deity who is believed to have given birth to the waterways, and whose voice is thunder.
Algonquin pictographs commonly depict a horned, feathered serpent known as Mishipizheu. Similar icons are scattered across North america.
The best known feathered serpent of the New world is, of course, the Aztec Quetzalcoatl, (Mayan Kukulkan, Incan Urcaguey) who was exiled by the gods for his gifts of knowledge to the Aztec people.
The horned serpent is not restricted to the Americas- some version of this creature can be found on every continent. There are literally hundreds of “cosmic serpents” peppered throughout world mythology, whose origin and meaning are never satisfactorily explained. There is the Celtic, ram-horned serpent associated withThe forerunner to the biblical serpent was Ningiszida- in Sumerian texts, this horned serpent guarded the tree of life and the gateway to the underworld. Wadjet, the winged serpent of Egypt, protected the Pharoahs and controlled the waters of the nile.
For more on serpent symbolism, see: The Secret language of symbols: The Egg and the serpent