The Story of Snake

SNAKE DRUM hand painted by me…for sale $495


I got the offer from Snake many years ago, while I was still married to my ex, but when it was clear that my marriage was falling apart. There were suddenly snakes EVERYWHERE, especially after he left…

-A six or seven foot black snake living under my stove (!!!!!!!)
-A black snake coiled around my washing machine hose one day as I began to do laundry…
-One morning I woke up in my farmhouse and sat up to look outside, and there in a huge maple tree, on a branch that almost touched my bedroom window, was hanging a snake in the midst of shedding it’s skin…
-A booming, thrashing thunderstorm and I run to close the door and a snake is side-winding up the screen door trying to get in…

This type of snakey-thing went on for MONTHS, and I had a deep primal fear of snakes. I could almost black out for seconds with the screaming fear when one got soooo close. I knew what Hi wanted. I was already deep onto my shamanic Path and I knew Hi wanted me as a partner. I resisted. I was terrified of snakes.

One day I went on a hike, by myself, on a path in Sleepy Creek, WV to a rocky overlook. I needed to get away, maybe meditate, maybe cry. I got to the several hundred foot rocky drop where I often went to be alone. I always look for “others” before stepping out onto the edge of the rocky area to sit down. I
looked. Nobody there, 2 legged, 4 legged, winged or scaled. I stepped down from the path onto my favorite large “seat” boulder and stopped a moment to gaze over the valley in appreciation. Then I took off my pack and turned around to put it down…

and there Hi was.

A huge pile of snakey-ness. HUGE. Head up, arched back, attentive but not quite in strike pose. Rattle-end trembling oh so slightly, but not enough to make a sound.


Was NOT there. How could Hi have been? I had to STEP OVER this huge pile of snake to get where I was now- in between Hir and the side of the cliff.

In those seconds my body wanted to scream, jump backwards (!), leap over Hir huge poised head back to the safety of the path. Less than 2 feet between me and Hir. Less than a half foot between me and the edge of the cliff. On a semi-circular boulder with three current choices… OFF the cliff behind me, OVER Hir head onto the path, or remain very still.

I did one of those things, and I am thankful.

I froze. I stopped breathing. I broke out in goose-flesh and cold sweat and my hair stood on end. After an eternity of a few seconds, I silently said to Hir, something like…

“Please don’t hurt me. I mean no harm. I GET IT and I surrender to you. Please let me live and I will accept your offer”

Ever so slowly, Hi unfurled Hir lovely, horrible body and following the back edge of that boulder where it emerged from the ground, Hi moved away from me. Hir head disappeared over the edge of the boulder before Hir tail even moved. BIG. SNAKE. Timber rattler, I learned later…

I collapsed onto the boulder and cried. Huge shaking sobs. When I finally cried myself out, I had a new Power Animal. Snake. Serpent. Symbol of life, DNA, transmutation. Villain and hero in so many Creation stories from so many cultures.

Snake has been the most powerful Teacher and Companion in my spiritual life. Snake has shown me Who I Am in so many ways. Hi is not an easy Friend. Not warm and sweet like Deer nor strong like Bear. Snake is about transmutation. Snake teaches us to shed our skin when it is time to grow. Snake teaches that the physically fragile can be strong, sinuous, sensual, mystical. With Snake there are two choices: grow or die. Snake IS the DNA strand, the very DANCE of life. I am honored to have Hir.

This is the story of how we met.

***NOTES: Many people have asked me why I associate myself with a Snake. Snakes tend to create fear in us, and make us think of danger. Snake is not evil, bad or scary for me any longer but is a trusted friend.The pronouns Hi and Hir are intended to indicate both respect for the energy of Snake, and to honor Hir state of non-duality- Hi is genderless***


8 thoughts on “The Story of Snake”

  1. I have had the honor of hearing of some of the moments in your Snake Saga, over the years. As we see – from the way it is beginning to be recognized (and saluted by significant works of art by others, not just by yourself) – it is reaching new levels all the time. Slither on!

  2. How interesting!!! My jaw dropped this morning see this email about snakes! I just went on a shamanic journey to find out that the snake, named Andy with human eyes, is my power animal. I was stunned. All of my reading have dealt with transformation and rebirth. He is here to activate my kundalini energy. I am also afraid of snakes! I am learning all that I can about them. They are amazing creatures with a rich history. I have accepted with grateful ness snake’s assistance to help me moved into transformation. His initial message was for me to slow down. I will let you know how my journey goes! Thank you for sharing your story!!! I miss having classes with you… Hopefully when the weather warms up! Stay warm and safe… Priscilla howard

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