I was never a fan of snakes.
However, they seem to find their way to me. Luckily for me, I haven’t had too many encounters with real live snakes, although I’ve seen quite a few sliding their way throughout the canyon. My relationship with snakes has typically been more on metaphorical and metaphysical planes. Thank goodness. (Except for those years in high school when my brother had a pet snake that would periodically escape and hide somewhere in the house. Even though my brother lovingly thought that Zulu was merely being adventurous, the rest of us ladies were horrified, and quite frankly, full of anxiety that he would slither under the covers to cuddle with one of us at night.)
Years ago, during times of massive personal transformations, I would experience these transcendental states of feeling the shivering energy of the Chi, the Life Force, the Kundalini—the coiled snake energy at the base of my spine—start to rise in my body. I was frightened at first, as I didn’t know what was happening. It changed me forever, and led me down a profound path of learning everything I could about this energy. I eventually became a Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher so that I could learn how to control and utilize this cosmic force moving through me. Later on, I’d understand more about the Ida and Pingala and how they weave back and forth around the Shushmana, moving the energy from the root chakra through the pineal gland and beyond, creating powerful states of ecstatic bliss and intuitive knowing.
Then there was that time when I decided to go live in a city with a Pluto line running straight through it, according to my astro-cartography chart. My Vedic Astrologer friend ever so sweetly suggested multiple times that I choose another place to live. Pluto is the planet of death and transformation. Its symbol is the snake. I arrogantly responded, “I live and breathe transformation. I’ll be fine.” Ha. What fools we mortals be. It rocked my world, and this quote I came across on someone else’s Instagram meme seems to fit the bill: “I attended many funerals this year. All of them were mine.” That snakey Pluto place thrashed me around and transformed me into a completely different person.
I was born in ’77, the Chinese Year of the Snake. It appears I arrived here with this profound curriculum for deep transformation, over and over again. I was upset about this for years. (Sometimes, I still get a little cranky about it.) And although I still don’t want to hang out with or touch actual snakes, I’m finally learning to make peace with the transformative snake energy that has been circling around me all these decades. I’m learning to ride the waves and getting better at shedding my skin more quickly and with less attachment. Snakes shed their skin simply because it doesn’t fit anymore or it’s old and worn out. I now liken this practice to releasing old limiting beliefs and behaviors that are no longer in alignment with who I’m becoming. It’s a constant process. I’m sure I’ll be in this process for the rest of my life. We all are, of course.
I came across this quote on snake medicine and felt called to share, in case this feels relatable to you too.
“Snake medicine speaks of transcending personal pain, gaining a sense of security in the midst of instability, and learning how to renew without having to replace. The teachings of this animal urge us to not give up on or throw out that which may still be quite useful. When snake medicine glides into your life, it is time to schluff off the old pattern so that the new design can pulse with the most current energy. It is time to listen to your body’s discomfort and locate the real source of the pain. Snake, unlike dragonfly or butterfly, does not transform herself into a completely new shape. She molts; a process of gliding through old dead cells to emerge improved and renewed with its original design intact. This molting process, when applied to healing, can range from mildly irritating to debilitating contractions of violent pain depending on the lessons being presented. What do we do with pain? How can we end it? Snake says, don’t run from it. Turn around and move into it. Snake unlocks her jaws and swallows life whole. Confronting pain is the only way to completely dissolve it. Snake teaches us that the basic function of pain is to teach us of the true reality of life outside delusional social conventions. That reality is a silent experience beyond words. It is in this silence that healing occurs.”
I especially love the part I made bold here. Are there things you are currently scared of? Consider what it would be like for you if you didn’t run from it anymore, but instead turned around and moved towards it. Consumed it. Befriended it. What about is you sat down with your fear and asked it a bunch of questions?
In my personal and professional experience, the faster we go towards the things that frighten us, the more quickly we have the opportunity to learn what they are here to teach us. We can then alchemize the teachings in our bodies by raising that coiled life force energy from the lower centers towards the higher self. From this higher place, we gain new perspectives.
Everything we need to rise higher in our own evolution towards self mastery is inside us and reflected in nature all around us. All we have to do is pay attention to the undulating movements of Mother Nature.