Today, however, I woke after many days of living magic in this quickening time, to the exacting and harsh voice of my inner assessor who, by the way, happens to be extremely opinionated and…uh…did I mention judgmental?? She went so far as to barge right in on my morning meditation and started pacing around growling her ideas about my lovability, value as a human, inability to really enact my vision, etc…..and try as I might to simply be aware and not get hooked by her…I got hooked. I moved through my morning as I usually do with my pup and time in the garden, etc., but couldn’t release her.
Later, while driving back from town I slowed and then stopped on my small Boulder road for a beautiful snake crossing the road. I parked just behind it intending to block the road in case anyone else came. I got out to usher it safely across the road, but it would have nothing of it and turned and retreated back into the grasses on the side it was coming from. It was a beautiful gopher snake which, by the way, are hugely important to we who garden and farm as they are a thankless predator of the gophers who wreak havoc in gardens.
I hopped back in my little Suburu and headed home. There I took a few more minutes to drink a cup of tea and read a bit more from Martin Shaw’s amazing book entitled A Branch from the Lightning Tree. Martin is a storyteller extraordinaire and I was taken by his explanation of a particular myth that spoke of the young boy who had to slay the serpent in order to bring back the cure for his sick Mother. I read the chapter headed “The Alchemy of Serpents” and then acquiesced to Ubuntu’s pleading eyes and headed out the door with him into our amazing “backyard” to walk along the stream, adjacent to the sinuous mesa that we locals call “the Dragon”.
It was a gorgeous late afternoon walk with no other humans in sight and only our footprints still showing on the trail from the day before. We moved swiftly along the sand trail, stopping here and there for Bu to pounce (always unsuccessfully) on fallen wood or sagebrush in his hunt for lizards. We arrived at a particularly lovely place along the stream where slick rock slopes gradually to the water and provides something like a petrified beach. By then the shade had traveled down the west slope and we could duck into cool under a little shadow. Though I’d never thought to do it before, I suddenly decided that he and I should hop to the other side and sit by the water there…so with his leash long enough not to pull me in, we both jumped over and stood in the shade there for a moment…and only a moment before I saw the most magnificent…and LONG snake with it’s upper body partially up in a bush and it’s extravagant and precisely marked tail lingering a few feet from me and Bu. I tightened his leash up to have him close and then showed him the snake…it was not easy for him to pick out somehow…but then he saw it! In that moment, snake too, realized our presence and slowing began to move down. It was huge…close to 7 feet in length and nearly 3 inches diameter in it’s widest part! Beautiful! I wanted Bu to get that these kinds of creatures were NOT to be messed with!! Then suddenly, just above the bush, was another snake…much smaller and doing a very interesting maneuver with it’s head…maybe trying to dig a hole?? Bu and I stood very close and watched. I had to keep pointing it out to him because I’m guessing they are pretty camouflaged to their eyes. The larger snake had disappeared for the moment and then my eyes picked out that geometric pattern again…further down stream a few feet. At first I thought it was the big snake, but then I realized no, it was another one!!! A third snake…this one was about five feet in length and was not moving at all.
By the third sighting, my body started getting just a little nervous…what was this? some kind of snake den that I was standing amidst?? So we crossed the creek again and I stood on the far side now watching the largest snake, who appeared again, moving very slowing within just a couple feet of that bush, winding back and forth around the area. The small one disappeared to my eyes and the other one was still not moving. Suddenly I realized that THIS…right here with these incredible beings…was a ceremony waiting to happen!! I addressed them regarding all their mythic magic and unarguable messages…thanking them for showing themselves to me and providing a mirror for me in this moment…on this day. I felt immensely honored and Bu and I headed home
I reread the pages in the book after I returned home and what stood out was a passage referring to an initiatory ritual that medicine men in Australia underwent…”they are supposed to endure a swallowing by a huge snake deity that ruptures their perceptions and pushes them into new, strange terrain.” Author Eliade writes this:
“The ritual swallowing by the snake was to be interpreted as a return to the womb – on the one hand because the snake is often described as female, on the other because entering the belly of the divine also carries a symbolism of return to the embryonic state…It represents not so much a ritual death followed by a resurrection as a complete regeneration of the initiate through his gestation and birth by the Great Mother.”
I noticed how this landed in me…solidly and without question....regeneration and birth by the Great Mother sounded alot like being a seed to me!
In this time of feeling both the quickening inside me AND the way in which I am only too aware of how I absolutely must become brand new now…push my germinated self up through the crusty black soil of the world and allow something new of me to be seen…for the first time!!!
No wonder my inner assessor is frantic in her task of protecting me!
I bow to the alchemy of serpents and the ever present
field that lies so richly in service to transformation.