Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Serpent Within

I used to be terrified of snakes. For years I would get sick to the stomach and weak every time I even looked at a snake. On a farm where the annual mating migration of the garter snake would take place as they came from western Canada to land in Manitoba where they mate every year, this would become a challenge. The migration would not just have a couple of snakes here or there. They would swarm the place. The grass would rustle and suddenly it would seem like the entire earth was moving. They would not hesitate to crawl over you if you were sitting, standing or lying there. One at a time was bad enough, but en mass was unbearable. Then one of my spiritual teachers asked me one day what it was that any snake had done to frighten me so? I couldn't come up with an answer. Suddenly it occurred to me that it was not the snake I was afraid of. It was the violence that erupted every time a snake was spotted. My mother and my sisters were all avid snake killers. On a farm where mice and rats were abundant as well, one would think that keeping a snake around would come in handy. But no, they were afraid of snakes but learned to kill them as quickly as possible with as much screaming involved as could be created. I was young and very impressionable, so I transferred my reaction to the violence onto the snakes themselves.

So when I was about 16 I bought myself a ceramic cobra and named him "Oliver Twist". My mother freaked out when she saw it, but I explained to her that I was going to get over my fear of snakes. She couldn't argue with that. I placed Oliver at the foot of my bed on a box where he could watch over me all night long. Last thing at night and first thing in the morning he is what I would see. I began petting him in appreciation for helping me with the snake phobia. My mom asked me if I was now going to be able to kill snakes. I told her that this was not the point. How could I kill something that I had befriended? No, I was just going to allow myself to get over my fear of snakes. That was all. Little did I know that snake was soon to become one of my most powerful spiritual allies.

Years later, after many situations where snake medicine had helped me along my sacred path, I was at the petting zoo with my daughters. We were looking at the monkeys when I felt a familiar energy flow calling to me. I turned around and found a zoo worker holding a green python. "Look!" I exclaimed to my daughters, "What a beautiful snake!" Some of the mothers who were at the zoo with their children were quite freaked out by the python. But I went up and asked if I could hold it. And hold it I did! My daughters petted it while I held it and talked with it. A beautiful snake indeed. It's name was Sypher, not the silly name that they had given it at the zoo that was something like "spot". Holding him and communicating with him was an amazing experience. I wish that I had my camera at the time or that someone would have taken my photo so that I could have put that one on the blog for you. So this photo of a hot calendar guy with a snake in his hand will have to do. Just know that, in that moment, I was just as hot! That was before I abandoned my workouts.

What also amazes me is the fact that so many women are so afraid of snakes. The snake is a power animal of the Earth Goddess. One would think that women would have a natural resonance with it. I think that this is a statement of how conditioned women have become to deny themselves the pleasure of their own Divinity. I invite women everywhere to find it in their hearts to re-embrace the magical medicine of the serpent. It really is a phenomenal and powerful spirit.

Many Warm Blessings

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Festival Reporter said...

i recall a story my parents happily tell about me when i was prolly around the age of five...we went into this pet shop and they had this large boa, they called him george...story goes i all but demanded to hold this beastly sized snake, and they drapped him along my shoulders, every time the snake seemed about to try slither away, i would not let snake phobia here...hehe


Vanitha said...

I was certain that it was a picture of you - snake charmer!

Trent Deerhorn said...

Awwe, Shucks, thank you Ma'am! Twern't nothin'!

Gail said...

Snakes and spiders used to terrify me no end. Since I've been on this journey called my life, I've come to learn about and appreciate so many different types of medicine, no matter its source. Respect for all life forms, no matter their outward appearance, and the acknowledgment that their power and wisdom is so freely shared with those who can see, hear and value it, is truly an amazing gift - to give and to receive!