Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.
I’ve been blogging this month about Power Animals or Personal Totems sharing about my own, a snowy owl and snake. Yes, a snake And an owl!!!
It wasn’t always that bad. But as a child coming upon a garter snake in my backyard or the fields behind my house did startled me.
What brought on the terror?
When I was in fourth grade, I was chased by a group of boys who had caught a couple of snakes on the school grounds. Their idea of fun was to put the snakes down the neck of my dress. (This was in the fifties and girls did not wear pants to school not that that would have made a difference).
Since they were between the school building and me, safety did not lie in that direction.
Down the sidewalk away from the school‑‑‑
Down the sidewalk away from the school‑‑‑
Determined, they followed me‑‑‑
I was tiring and they were gaining‑‑‑
What to do?
I dashed inside the first doorway I came to‑‑‑the Mausoleum.
Empty. No people, no sounds, no safety.
Where to hide? I saw the sign for the stairs. Yanking open the door, I started down. When I reached the ground floor, the very bowels of the building, I turned down one of the aisles. Collapsing in a corner, I awaited my fate. There was nowhere else to go.
Surrounded by crypts, I wrapped my arms around my knees and sobbed.
I have no memory how long I was there before an older man, who I learned was the caretaker found me.
What happened next is hazy. I know he took me upstairs (by then I was hopelessly lost). Obviously I got home but I’ve no memory if he called my parents or I finally walked the ten or so blocks home.
What I do remember is that after that experience, my fear of snakes was so strong I became hysterical if I saw them in any form.
|Top shelf is dragon cup with snowy owl and wizard below|
That life event showed me that I had to do something. I couldn't be that vulnerable. So, when an opportunity presented itself for me to learn NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) I jumped at the opportunity to attend an introductory workshop. So desperate to alleviate my fear of snakes, I even volunteered to be the subject of the evening. With my breathing fractured, my heart racing and my palms sweaty, I went through the process using the event of being chased by the boys with the snakes. To my great relief and gratitude, I left that workshop no longer terrified of snakes.
It isn’t that I want one for a pet but my heart stays calm and my breathing regular if I see one on television or in a magazine. Since I do not like thriller or many adventure movies or programs, the prospect of coming upon a snake is reduced. But I can once again leaf through National Geographic magazines.
What I find intriguing about all of this is that other members of the reptile family have not been sources of terror.
Not that I want to come up close and personal with a crocodile or alligator or a Komodo dragon but I remember being fascinate by chameleons as a child. Did you know that if you step on their tail, it comes off and they grow a new one? Geckos are another member of the reptile family that fascinates me.
What would have happened if I had not done the work to eliminate my terror of snakes years before I learn it was one of my Power Animals? My guess is that I’d never read about them and learn that they represent wisdom and healing and are a symbol of transformation (rebirth and resurrection) in many cultures.
Transformation: A snake transformed Adam and Eve’s lives in the Garden of Eden. While I have nothing that dramatic in my own life, my life has had several transformations‑‑‑times when an abrupt turn or out-of-the blue change/shift occurred. Some I’ve sought out and others just seem to happen.
I will admit I’m more involved with my Snowy Owl totem but I do not ignore my Snake totem. I have a snake bracelet (see above) and a couple of snake fetishes. However, I embrace the dragon and they are all over my house. Check back next Monday and see why.
Do you have a favorite animal? Or a least favorite? Is there a story behind that? Please share!!!