Recently, setting out on my daily walk, I turned left instead of right. As I skirted along the edge of our lawn, I came up short: just where the grass met the street, there was a fairly large coiled snake, As its head was tucked under some leaves, I wasn’t sure if it was alive or not. From its markings, I made it out to be a garter snake, but it was a very unusual blue-green color. I’ve never seen a snake like this. I dashed back into the house to get David and his camera, knowing that we had been given a special vision, a medicine gift from the snake spirit.
David shot a whole series of photos, in the process determining that the snake has passed on. When I returned from my walk, I carried the snake into the forest across the road from us, and laid it down with flowers from our garden, thanking it for choosing to show itself this way. Coming in, I googled on “green garter snake” and discovered that what we had was the Florida Blue Garter snake, an especially large species of garter native to this area.
A few days later, David got a prompt that we should finish a series of botanical ally images that we had begun this summer. These particular images are made by doubling flowers (and sometimes trees) in such a way as to heighten the recognition of their “faces”. We had created one set of Botanical Allies for our “Visions of Selby” art show in Sarasota, Florida last year.
Now we are completing a second set of botanical allies who serve a slightly different healing function. The flower faces were mostly complete, but we needed a special border to put around them. We sat together, as we do, tuning into visual options, when we thought of the blue garter snake. With its curving lines and unique but subtle colors, it might complement all the flowers in this series. Quickly, we created a mandala from the snake photo, and it worked with every single flower.
Deep cellular memory often makes us shy away from snakes. This is good defensive behavior until we have identified the snake (as I can testify from living many years in rattlesnake territory). Sometimes we tap into echoes of collective consciousness which identifies reptiles with evil. Yet snakes serve many functions in the bio-systems around us. Garter snakes eat small creeping-crawlies that otherwise eat my plants as well as aerating the soil as they move through the garden beds.
Beyond that, snakes represent kundalini energy rising up from the Earth below into the high domains. Intertwined snakes wrap around the caduceus, symbol of healing mastery. They appear in Hindu and Buddhist sacred art in association with certain gods and goddesses, and they evoke the life-creating power of our DNA strands. Strong symbols for healing and awakening.
In the creation of our new plant allies series, nothing could have been more of a gift than to find this blue snake. We honor you, snake spirit, as a medicine offering from the living world. May all who see you be blessed by this vision.