From the Introduction
This book is a dream-inspired look at Snake -- from the secrets and surprises of its biology to the many varied ways that humans interact with this profoundly amazing and most mysterious of creatures. We will explore not only Snake’s physical presence on earth but also its larger mythic story and the ways it continues to influence human consciousness today.
In order to understand Snake, it is helpful to become a bit snakelike -- adaptable, curious, with eyes wide open. Whether traveling through remote jungles of the mythic past, burrowing into the subconscious, or exploring the dreamworld, an ability to discern pattern and engage insights from a variety of disciplines is useful.
Throughout my journey, I rarely knew where Snake’s path would lead. Following it was a twisty, curvy, one-thing-leading-to-another adventure. Yet time and again, I found something remarkable. From its role in the Garden of Eden and that first bite of forbidden knowledge to the power of kundalini rumbling up and down our spine, Spirit of Snake speaks to human awakening and spiritual evolution.
Like its sister totem Dragon, Snake guards a treasure both powerful and dangerous. Still and silent, Snake energy may remain dormant in our most secret spaces or manifest in frightful ways to keep us distant -- until we are ready to awaken. Snake protects a knowledge best not accessed until we are emotionally, consciously, and spiritually mature.
I believe there is very good reason why Snake frightens so many. Snake’s story is much larger, more involved and interconnected to our own than most of us would ever imagine. To face Snake means facing a shadow part of ourselves that we have long denied. Is it no wonder that Snake engenders such strong reactions from humans?
Ordinary as a green grass snake yet extraordinary too, Snake may surprise us with its many guises. Mythic earth mother, master healer, companion to the Goddess, awakener of deepened consciousness, Snake appears in the collective dream when change is most desperately needed.
The questions are many. Why Snake? What did the ancients know that we have forgotten? How and why did Snake’s story become so misconstrued? What does it mean to put Snake back together again? By following its tale, what will we discover about Snake, and about ourselves?
From Chapter 11: Snake’s Dream
“Why snakes?” people ask. Why would you want to write such a book?
We often have a hard time relating to animals or humans that are different than ourselves.
We distance ourselves from “scary” animals, projecting they are slow-witted, unfeeling, malicious, or even malevolent. Such animals may experience the world in very different ways than we do. Perhaps they have sensing mechanisms we are unfamiliar with -- a forked tongue, an ever-present gaze, an intimate connection with the earth, the means to burrow, swim, climb, slither along the earth and glide through the air, all without limbs.
Snake’s history with humans has been a perplexing series of ups and downs: rises to reverence and falls to demonization. Through it all, Snake remains true to itself, constantly learning and evolving, a true master of transformation.
I have come to appreciate that part of the way Snake speaks to us is through mystery and paradox -- through its presence, for example, in so many different disciplines, often revealing itself in conflicting, inconsistent, and contradictory ways. Snake cannot be holed away into one small cubbyhole of thought.
This is part of the great value of learning from an animal such as Snake. Snake pushes us to move beyond our comfort zones and neatly-ordered categories, to experience life in larger, wider and deeper ways.
While I asked myself several times, Why snake?, I was inspired by the many people who so generously shared their intriguing, powerful, and transformational encounters with snakes. I was also heartened to learn how talking about the book and sharing my experiences shifted the minds of many who were at first appalled.
Snake’s story is deeply interwoven with our own, and continues to influence us today. From its incarnation as the great cosmic serpent and its ubiquitous role in mythology to its value in modern medicine and vital role in our ecology, from its inspired guidance in dreams and transformational experiences to its connection with healing, kundalini, and the life-giving molecule of life, Snake is ever present in our world. Winding its way through human history, Snake both charms and frightens, encouraging us to release that which restricts in order to awaken anew.
I think everything the ancients and alchemists knew about Snake is true and needed now -- today, more than ever. Snake’s wisdom is vital to us during this time of planetary upheaval and profound paradigm shifts. As noted in the Introduction, “Snake appears in the collective dream when change is most desperately needed.” And that is where we are.
The global transformation we are currently experiencing (which feels like madness and destruction to so much of the world) is part of an immense shift, a move from rigid patriarchal rule to a more balanced consciousness that reunites nature with spirit, sacred masculine with sacred feminine, and more.
Snake’s expertise is in bringing together that which is separated and disjointed -- something that is essential right now to our survival as a species. Snake lives within us. Curled gently around the base of our spine, Snake not only guards the sacred portal of enlightenment, but opens it too. A spark of divine awareness glows at the base of our sacrum, our holy bone. It is time for Snake to unwind, to flow upward along our spine, connecting and integrating -- male and female, life and death, human and divine -- riding ancient currents that inspire and revive.
Wise guide, powerful archetype, dream visitor, protector of that which is most sacred, it is Snake that leads us -- propels us -- to awakening.