My shaman friend Deana once told me that my line of work and hers weren’t all that different; astrology deals with the energy of heavenly archetypes (i.e. the sun/moon/planets/stars) while shamanism works with the earthly manifestations of these archetypes via animal symbolism. I have always been an animal lover, but my relationship to the animal kingdom experienced a huge shift after that conversation, as now I saw them more as living, breathing symbols in their own right and finally understood that all those dreams I’d been having of various critters almost nightly all my life weren’t simply neat oddities spawned by my abiding love for fauna. No, the critters themselves actually carried messages, so I started pondering and/or researching their symbolism whenever I would come upon them in my dreams or in real life.
Why the preface, you ask? Because yesterday when I was in the garden harvesting some stray heirloom tomatoes and preparing to pull up a few beets to roast in this chilly autumn weather, I had quite an interesting encounter in the carrot row. Gathering the small pile of tomatoes into my arms, I turned to bring them inside before focusing my attention on the selection of beets when I heard something rustling in the leaves below. My gaze fell toward my feet and the black landscape fabric beneath that was radiating heat garnered from the absorption of afternoon rays, when I suddenly spied a small snake – he must have been trying to warm himself up when my movements startled him and sent him into hiding beneath the tangled mass of carrot fronds nearby!
Naturally, I quickly placed my bounty on the ground and moved closer to inspect – he darted from my grasp and even tried to strike at me a few times before I was finally able to pick him up and have a good look at him. I told him aloud that I wasn’t going to hurt him – he responded by repeatedly flicking a red and black forked tongue over in my direction, as if suspicious of my stated intent. He was a juvenile Eastern Brown Snake about a foot long and no wider than my pinky, and by the look of his milky eyes it seemed he was getting ready to molt.
Now you may recall from a previous post how snakes are linked to Pluto energy – would it surprise you then to know I caught this little fella basking in the Sun just as the Sun and Pluto were approaching a square to one another? I always love it when life/nature imitates astrology…! So as not to cause the snake further distress, I placed him back where I had found him and he wasted absolutely no time in slithering deep into the carrots to make himself invisible. But this story is an excellent example of the old “As Above, So Below” axiom in action – if you see it in the sky, look closer because you’ll see it on the ground, too. There is no real division between Heaven and Earth – it’s just an illusion if the spiritual and material worlds seem separate because the reality is it’s all intertwined…