Ostara is upon us. Naturally, I thought this month’s Power Animals column would be about rabbits, or lambs, or chickens — you know, a springtime plush animal you see at any store this time of year. Of course, Goddess had other plans. Snake came to me in three dreams this month, and I could not ignore her call.
In my research, I was pleased to find that snakes are heavily associated with Ostara. At winter’s end in Scotland, for instance, people used to bang sticks on the ground until snakes emerged. The speed at which the snakes slithered to the surface let farmers know how frozen the earth was. This act of snakes rising from the belly of Mother Earth is part of what gives snakes their association with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Another more well known reason is, of course, the shedding of their skin. Snakes are constantly transforming and giving birth to bigger and better versions of themselves. They are rebirth in action. (As a side note, if you have any snake skin sheddings, this is the time to use it in your magical workings!)
Snakes are seen all over the place in the mythology of different cultures. In Egyptian mythology, we see the serpent Apep in a nightly battle with the sun god Ra. In Aztec and Mayan mythology, many deities often appear in the form of the snake, where their shed skins were deemed sacred to traditional priests. Snakes are also associated with the chakra system of Eastern traditions, where it is believed a coiled snake rests in the root and then rises up the chakras through the spine, activating kundalini energy. A perfect balance of the masculine (rising snake) and the feminine (coiled snake), it’s clear this reptile has a rich ancient history and is not at all lacking in sacred symbolism. Snakes are all about transformation, fertility, intuition, wisdom (the serpent in the garden of Eden, anyone?), healing, protection, and did I mention transformation?
My work with Snake this month involved a great deal of inner working and tuning into my intuition. I journaled about the dreams she gave me, intuited three crystals to use to connect with her (serpentine, septarian, and desert rose), and meditated on goddesses who share her mythology, such as the Egyptian Isis, the Minoan Snake Goddess of Crete, and the Mayan Ix Chel (pictured above). Through this inner journey of dreamwork, journaling, and meditation, the message from Snake was clear, again and again: surrender to your fears.
I do not fear snakes, but in my first dream about her earlier in the month, the only word I can use to describe how I felt as she slithered toward me is “terror”. She spiraled herself around my body (and for the record, Dream Snake was huge), and then she did exactly what Dream Me hoped she wouldn’t do, and she sunk her fangs right through my skin. They say dreams aren’t supposed to hurt, but let me tell you, this one did! It wasn’t until I let go of my fear and surrendered to the snake that the pain dissipated, and I felt the snake and I merging together as one.
Snake represents the ultimate wisdom of the infinite. I encourage you to ask yourselves the same questions I asked myself after waking from this dream: What ego-based fears is Snake bringing you face-to-face with? And how can you gather the courage to lean into that fear to better understand it, instead of running from it? Before transformation can occur, there must be understanding. Only then can you shed your old skin that is no longer serving you.
Do you know why snakes shed their skin? It is because as their bodies grow, their top layer of skin doesn’t grow with them. They literally outgrow their old selves. Being like Snake and letting go of things we have outgrown takes courage. Fears must be faced and challenges welcomed before we can reach that point. But I know we can do it. We can rise from the darkness of the earth’s depths in the spring, refreshed and renewed and filled with a wisdom we may not have had before.
Blessed Ostara to all!