Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Snake Medicine

While I know snakes aren't to everyone's liking, I've always found them fascinating. Spiders, on the other hand, not so much;-) Recently, we had two unique snake experiences on one of our drives. These experiences made me look up "Snake Medicine" when we returned home. If you aren't familiar with animal shamanism or medicine, I urge you to do some research. You may be surprised by what you learn! This website has a wonderful, extensive list of animals, and is always the first one I go to: Animal Spirits. I also have some books - this one was given to me, and is really interesting (the cards make it even more so!): Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals I'm not heavily into it, but it intrigues me enough to keep coming back to it when I have unusual animal encounters.

So, the snake experiences definitely qualified as unusual. The first happened when I caught something in a tree out the corner of my eye. My initial thought was snake, and then I thought it couldn't be. We pulled over, and I walked back to the spot thinking it had to be a rope or something. Nope, it was most definitely a snake, and a dead one to boot! I don't think this photo is too graphic to post. I believe it's a California Kingsnake. What's unclear is how it got into the tree. Did someone run over it and then sling it on the tree for something to find? Or, did a bird of prey get it, and have its meal interrupted? It looks like there are a couple of flat places, so I'm not sure which scenario fits.

dead california kingsnake
I figured a dead snake would be like drawing the card in the contrary position; it "indicates an imbalance in the medicine of that card". I read that part in the book above, and it definitely spoke to my mom and I - here's some of it:

"....you may have chosen to mask your ability to change. Look at the idea that you may fear changing your present state of affairs because this may entail a short passage into discomfort... Is the old pattern safe, reliable, and a rut?"

Yup! Exactly what's happening in our lives right now - we've become stuck in this place since my grandparents passed. We're caught between wanting to move on, and not knowing how. Fear definitely plays a part. It's past time to shed this skin, and that snake was a powerful symbol.

Pacific Gopher Snake, Central California
If we had just seen the dead snake, we may not have paid attention or looked it up. However, when we met this Pacific Gopher Snake, we had our "Aha!" moment. We'd come around a curve, and then saw him in the opposite lane. Again, we were able to pull over and get out. I kept getting closer and closer with my camera - it was awesome! We knew we had to get him out of the road, though. So, my mom grabbed a stick and nudged him off the road (okay, so neither of us was quite into the idea of picking him up, harmless as he was;-). He disappeared into the grasses, and we got back into the car. Right after, two cars came up the hill in that lane - if we hadn't seen and moved him, he, too, would have been dead. Hence, the name of the photo: "Lucky" - it was for us and for him (and I thought this shot was cool enough to put in our shop:-).

Pacific Gopher Snake portrait
From what I've read, Snake medicine is very powerful. With the shedding of the skin, it's no wonder snakes represent transmutation. That's the main quality that stood out the most in my research for my own life. It's what's needed now, and is definitely what both my mom and I are working on. I thank Snake for appearing when I most needed him/her - I truly appreciate the magic of nature! I hope you've enjoyed this little journey, and that it will make you look more closely at special animal encounters in your life. If you already do this, I'd love to know of your own experiences:-)


Dyche Designs said...

What an interesting post, I've never really looked at animal symbolism before.

Nature ID said...

I thought about your post when we encountered a snake of our own yesterday. Thanks for a deeper insight.

Erica Lea said...

Thank you both! I think there's so much that we don't know about the universe, and so much that animals can share. It's fascinating to even just touch on the surface of this subject:-) Oh, and saw a Red-tailed hawk carrying off a snake yesterday! Thinking that accounts for the one in the tree here, too.