… Because it sheds its skin, the snake has long been a symbol of death and rebirth. It sheds its skin as it outgrows the old. This death and rebirth cycle is part of what snake represents. It has ties and significance to the ancient alchemists and their symbolic transmutation of lead into gold. This is associated with higher wisdom that comes with the passing of time. This cycle of death and rebirth is often symbolized by the ouroborus, the ancient image of a snake swallowing its own tail. It is the symbol of eternity.
Before the snake begins to shed its skin, its eyes will begin to cloud over. It gives the snake a trancelike appearance. To many mystics and shamans this indicated the ability of the snake to move between the realms of the living and the dead, of crossing over from life to death and then back to life again. As the skin begins to shed, the eyes begin to clear as if they will see the world anew. For this reason, alchemists often believed that wisdom and new knowledge would lead to death and rebirth, enabling the individual to see the world from an entirely new perspective.
… Anytime a snake shows up as a totem, you can expect death and rebirth to occur in some area of your life. This rarely reflects an actual death, but rather a transition. Look for a change in conditions and a movement to new life. Examine what is going on around you. Are you needing to make changes but aren’t for some reason? Are you trying to force change too quickly? Are you striking out at people and shouldn’t? Are you not striking and should? Remember that a snake not only uses its venom and bite to overcome prey, but also for defense. What is needing to be healed? What new opportunities are surfacing that you need to strike out for and take advantage of?
… Snakes are symbols of change and healing. They have speed and agility, so those who have snakes come into their life will usually find the changes and shifts occur quickly and are soon recognized and defined. When snake comes into your life you can look for a rebirth into new powers of creativity and wisdom.
~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
Happy Saturday! It is Saturday, isn’t it? There is little change in the rhythm of the days lately, making it difficult to remember what day it is. I am pondering the possibility of setting up some kind of schedule for myself that will help differentiate the days. It’s hard to say if that’s really necessary or if it’s just another little mind game. The latter, I suspect. It might not be such a bad thing to let go of the organization of time.
I’ve been trying to imagine what it must have been like, so long ago, when there were no man-made calendars or clocks. Actually, it’s not hard to imagine it at all, given our present circumstances. Nature provides time frames in the form of sunrises and sunsets, and the seasons. If I were to give a name to the past week or two, I’d call it The Greening Time. Soon we will enter the Time of the Irises and Peonies.
It’s funny how arbitrary time becomes when you don’t have to pay attention to it. This small exercise in renaming the months or the days makes that more apparent than ever, at least to me.
Living like this means you don’t have a container anymore for the different days, can’t hold in a little twenty-four-hour-sized box set of events that constitute a unit, something you can compartmentalize, something with a beginning and an end, something to fill with a to-do list. Living like this means that it all runs together . . . one of those sunsets that seem to take longer than is possible, where the sun just refuses to go down, where the hour seems to elongate to the point that it doesn’t seem like it can stretch any farther without detaching completely from the hour before it, like a piece of taffy, like under sea molten lava forming a new island, a piece of time detaching from the seafloor and floating up to the surface.
~ Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Early this morning I listened to a story told by an excellent storyteller. Hanuman Academy has been presenting what they call The Metamorphosis Dialogues. Once a week, on Fridays, a storyteller presents a story or, as it’s put in their newsletter, they present us with a “..brilliant storyteller to enchant us with a soulful tale.” I didn’t see the sign-up email for it until Thursday (which was actually Crazy Wind Day) so I missed the first few stories. I’m going to try to catch up this weekend. I do enjoy a good story and a good storyteller. I often wish I had a talent for oral storytelling. I suppose I could develop some skill at it if I practiced. I think I’ll work on that for a while. I will do it during my morning meetings in the woods with the trees and birds, spin them tales of all kinds. Then I will practice with my grandsons while we Zoom or use Marco Polo.
I like that idea. Very much. I think one of the things we really need now are stories, old and new. Some of the old stories could use some updating to make them more relevant to us and to our time. Or maybe they just need someone to come along and tell them in a way that makes them more relevant. I believe there might be a difference.
The Hanuman Academy storytelling time is live on Zoom, but they also have the replays available for those who can’t make it to the live version (or, like me, who are late to party and already missed the first few stories). Here is a link: The Metamorphosis Dialogues. You will have to register (and yes, that will mean emails). The story I listened to early this morning was Darren Silver’s An Indian Tale from Karma to Dharma. It’s a wonderful story with some wonderful messages buried within it, as is true of most wonderful stories. I highly recommend it.
I thought I had a lot on my mind when I started this post, words ready to be typed and deleted, replaced or gone but not forgotten. I start and stop a lot when I’m putting together a post. I often begin in the early morning when the words flow freely. I come back later, hone and shape, find a theme somewhere in the mess of words and thoughts that are usually scattered all over the place. Sometimes the images lead the way. Sometimes the words do.
But the words have stopped now, and the thoughts have flown the coop. It’s time to step outside and see what the world is offering on this Laughing Gull Day. Maybe the irises have begun to open. Or another inhabitant will show up to remind me of a story, or to tell me a story. Perhaps it will be a story about how to live in liminal times. I’d like that. Like many people, I struggle with the in-between, the uncertainty, the waiting for the next phase.
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change, there is power.
Thank you so much for visiting with me today in this virtual way. Let’s meet out at the dock for sunset this evening. It’s scheduled for 7:55 PM but if you’re paying attention to the light, you’ll figure out the time without having to look at a clock. I like to go early, when the sun is about even with the mid-line of the trees out back. It’s been somewhat warm today, near 70°F, but it cools off quickly once the sun slides down towards the horizon. A light jacket or sweater or sweatshirt should do the trick.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,401) Laughing gulls glowing with the light of the setting sun. 1,402) A good story, one that teaches or soothes or brings hope. 1,403) Finding those moments of great joy or laughter and then letting them go when they’re ready to go, making room for the next one. 1,404) Another beautiful day for us to enjoy. 1,405) Spring’s reminders of rebirth.