Snake Mind: The Serpent and the Ally
Yesterday a beautiful garter snake stretched herself between two awakening lavender plants. She was quiet, absorbing the April sun and preparing to shed her skin. Although I stood within a foot of her, she did not move.
April is the month snakes return from their winter haunts in our area of California. Seeing snakes always stops me, brings me into the present. I used to panic. All my female relatives (okay, not all! Not my sister Judy, a biologist, who was disgusted with our reactions!) screamed when we came upon a snake, and would get the men to kill it. My novel Snakes came out of that time. I wrote down all the snake stories that I had heard growing up, and they wove themselves into a tale about our relationship to the earth.
Writing Snakes changed me. My panic turned to awe. The origin of the word “panic” comes Greek panikos or the god Pan. Pan was noted for causing terror. Woodland noises were attributed to him. I have come to see that those mysterious “woodland noises” of whatever variety open us into mystery, and awe does that as well. Panic defends against this experience; awe opens us into it.
Synchronicity is the way of the serpent: that awareness of how like things happen together. To be in a state of mind to notice these synchronistic events is to be in what I have come to think of as snake mind. It is a state of mind of presence— not thinking— but present awareness. In this state we grow soul. Awe opens us into growing soul, if we can sustain it.
On Saturday afternoon Carol McRae and I will present a workshop at the C. G. Jung Institute in San Francisco, “The Serpent and the Ally: An Experience of Connectedness with the Earth”. We will tell you about our trip to the Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio, part of a system of “star” mounds built at a time humanity appeared to be in tune with the heavens and the earth and able to work with cosmic and earth forces to enhance life. We will work experientially with Jungian analyst Jeff Raff’s ally to explore what this consciousness might be in our present time.
We present with our colleagues Frances Hatfield, Barbara Holifield, Leah Shelleda, and Naomi Lowinsky in the two day event in honor of Earth Day, April 23 and 24, 2016, Our Bodies, Our Earth: Dreaming Evolution Forward. Please join us for one or both days!