Yesterday I had a bit of a conversation with a snake. She was coiled on a rock beside a peony bush that is in the middle of my potato patch. She didn't comment on the strangeness of having a peony in among the potatoes. Perhaps she was too polite, but she seemed to be both guarding the peony and relaxing at the same time. She looked very peaceful.
I told a friend of mine about my snake encounter and got an unrequested lesson on how to destroy and dispose of a snake with a shovel! I'm not interested in that at all, but it does seem to be a common reaction many people have to snakes. Maybe it's fear based, although in my part of the world, snakes aren't poisonous or dangerous in any way unless you've run into an imported pet variety. I'll admit they "give me pause" and I felt better putting up a cartoon picture of one than any of the millions of pictures of snakes that are out there. "My" snake looked very harmless though and was just out collecting some Vitamin D from the sun I'd say. I don't think she deserved a hit on the head with a shovel! She certainly seemed non-confrontational. I left her sunning herself and guarding the peony.
Daniel Mapel, in "Into The Heart of the Wild", explains the symbolism of the snake as a totem creature. Snakes are seen as shamanic teachers that facilitate deep transformation. The snake is a creature that is said to help us both deepen and integrate experiences of archetypal energies, insights, and connections with our higher selves. I suppose there is some fear in that.
Having a snake appear in your life may signify periods of change and transformation, deep emotional healing, or an increase in the depth of your spiritual practice. Maple recommends snake essence for people that are wanting to "shed their skin" and start anew the way the snake sheds it's skin.
At the risk of sounding like one of the Wilder's in "The Little House" books, (remember "Little House on the Prairie"?) one of my most prized possessions one summer was a snake skin. I found the entire thing, totally intact as though a snake had just slithered out of it, in the hay field in the phase between cutting and baling. It was tough but fragile at the same time. It caught the light in a sparkling kind of way and it seemed just amazing. It almost looked like the ghost of a snake.I proudly took it home, put in a very special box, and kept it in my drawer (sorry Mom!). When school started in September, I took my snake skin to show and tell. The other kids were as amazed by it as I was. So amazed in fact, that someone stole it from the teachers office! I'm still a little mad about that. The shovel concept rears it's head again- okay, not really that mad- they must have needed it more than I did.
Maybe we are a bit envious of the snake. That ability to just shed your outer layer for something new and revitalized underneath sounds pretty appealing. What strikes me is that to anyone else, the new layer really doesn't look any different- and yet, in some ways it's a whole new snake. That's the kind of transformation that can come from spiritual expansion I think.
If you feel that kind of expansion and transformation occurring in your life and could use a little support, the Bach Flower essence, Star of Bethlehem might assist you in your journey http://pixiedusthealing.blogspot.com/2011/02/waiting-for-transformation.html
There are also a number of Perelandra essences that might help you adjust to a new skin. From the Garden collection, Corn and Yellow Yarrow might be helpful. From the Rose Collection, you might consider Gruss An Aachen, Orange Ruffles, or Royal Highness. In Machaelle Small Wright's "Flower Essences", she provides the following definitions for these essences :
Corn: Stabilization during spiritual expansion. Assists translation of experience into useful understanding and action.
Yellow Yarrow: Emotional protection during vulnerable times. Its support softens resistance and assists the integration process.
Gruss An Aachen: Stability. Balances and stabilized the body/soul unit on all p.e.m.s. levels as it moves forward in its evolution process (p.e.m.s.:physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)
Orange Ruffles: Receptivity. Stabilizes the individual during the expansion of the sensory system.
Royal Highness: Final stabilization. The mop-up essence which helps to insulate, protect and stabilize the individual and to stabilise the shift during its final stages while one is vulnerable.
There might be other essences that are a better match for you. Then again, you might be getting all the help you need from the totem snakes around you. But if the transformation feels difficult, there are essences to ease the experience.
All in all, I feel pretty honored to have a snake around me. I will continue to show her the respect and compassion she deserves. As I write this blog, the snake is back on her rock again. I'll take that as a positive sign for this post. Maybe the peony will transform into a potato??