My spouse and I enjoy all the nature in our backyard. We don’t have a grass lawn. Rather, we have trees of all sizes, wild weeds, wildflowers, and many other plants that do well in our area. We also manage to grow a few herbs and other edibles. The trees limit our sunlight, so it’s a constant experiment to discover which plant works where in each time of year. We learn this by paying attention to the messages we receive.
Our yard attracts the local wildlife and we learned to make peace with the fact that there will always be racoons, snakes, possums, and citrus rats. Removing the “pests” bring reinforcement populations. We do not leave the bird feeder up at night and carefully monitor everything else. Imagine my husband’s horror when his first two echinacea flowers were but stems one morning! He found part of them a few days later. I’m sure those leaves were tasty.
One day, my husband walked out and saw the skin of a snake on the oak tree just outside the front door. We know its owner, a North American racer – or black racer. My husband spots him frequently when gardening. One of the snake’s kin fell prey to our kitty and was buried in the yard along with a few other victims but that is another story. Black racers are a welcome yard guest as they help keep other populations in balance.
As I’m prone to do, I pondered the message of the snakeskin and found it reminded of my shamanic work. The snake represents the South and the shedding of the past in the tradition I studied. It also represents rebirth, transformation, renewal, and exploring life from the grounded perspective of lying on the Earth. These thoughts remind me that letting issues from the past go completely is imperative to my future well-being. Many years ago, one of my boys had a pet snake that had trouble shedding its skin. It turned out that it was stressed and not healthy. The wholeness of this skin, therefore, reminds me to let it ALL go as stress is a killer of good health.
This snakeskin’s position and orientation on the tree also struck me. It was located above eye level and headed up the tree. I suppose it is easier to move up to higher realms when I leave my past behind, however, his road – like mine – was still not direct. The snake’s head and first part of his body were intertwined with the dried resurrection ferns. How many times have I needed to form a decision in my mind to let things go before I’m able to do so? I suppose this might also mean that a little thrashing about is a necessary part of the process. Even the ferns got me thinking. They appear shriveled and dead until the next rain when they will bounce back – a definite symbol of the constant cycle of shrinking back and renewal.
The snake shows me I will be reborn, renewed, and fresh again after a bit of sloughing. I believe humanity is in the process of shedding its past. Its unconscious past is becoming conscious and ready to be released. Are we ready to learn from it, release it, and start again? Are we ready for renewal and moving to a higher realm? How difficult will we make this transition? Nature shows me that with a tiny bit of work, we can do it.
I’d love to hear from you about the ways nature talks to you.