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By July 19, 2012December 9th, 2014Claudia's Corner

“He’s lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.”
“He’s a snake in the grass.”

I don’t know if it’s the Garden of Eden allegory or the slithery aspect of movement, but snakes have become the personification of evil for many of us.  Even the Harry Potter books advance the notion of snakes as being, well, snakes!

    Slytherin is one of the four Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and is traditionally home to students who exhibit such traits as cunning, resourcefulness and ambition. Its emblematic animal is the snake.

In dream analysis through the world of animal spirit guides, snakes take on a surprisingly different meaning.  To dream of a snake can mean “You’re about to go through some significant personal changes, so intense and dramatic that an old self will metaphorically die as a new self emerges.”  Or “You’ll experience a dramatic and unexpected physical or emotional healing very soon, coming from an unexpected source.”  That doesn’t sound so bad!  The book Animal Spirit Guides (the source of the above quotes) says to call on Snake when “You’re going through a major life or developmental transition, one so powerful that it requires you to shed a lot of attachments, especially to your old identity.”

Why Snakes Shed Their Skin

Basically, a snake will shed its skin to allow for continued growth. The skin of a snake is different from the skin of a mammal (including us) in that it does not grow as the animal grows. When we get bigger with age, our skin grows right along with us. But snake skin has a limited capacity for growth and enlargement. Thus, when a snake outgrows the skin it’s in, it simply sheds the outer layer and starts fresh.

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So if a snake couldn’t shed it’s skin, it would not have the normal capacity to grow and flourish.  It might die, just as a hermit crab will die, as it outgrows its shell, if it can’t find a new, bigger, more suitable home for itself.  Interesting in the light of the symbolic meaning of Snake.

In an email I received last week, ‘…just watched a documentary called “Finding Joe” about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and Follow Your Bliss. One quote I remember: “A snake who does not shed its skin has to perish.” So what old stories are you holding onto that need to die so that you can start Living?’

What if we were to die if we continued to hold on to ‘our story’ as Bryon Katie calls our life details?  It is hard for many of us to imagine who we would be if we let go of some of the emotionally charged events of our life.  If you have lived as a victim,  do you know how to live without being one?  If you have based your relationships on the belief that you are unloveable, how do you relate to people if you jettison that thought pattern?  It can be terrifying to let go of the masks and personae we have created in order to survive our life details.  Who are we without them?

In many ways, when we hang onto an old belief system, a thought about ourselves and our place in the world, an idea that constricts our ability to live freely, in joy, with love, and peacefully within our own skin, we are like the snake that cannot shed its skin and perishes because it cannot.  

A little bit of us dies if we cannot shed “the old stories”.
Isn’t better the “story” die so that we may live?

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