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Snake Medicine

This fall, I began to contemplate a new logo for my healing arts business. After much thought, prayer, and dreamwork, I eventually settled on the concept of an ouroboros circling the moon and herbs. My graphic design artist sister brought the vision into completion. This post will be the first of three explaining the significance of each of those symbols. I will start with Snake who, for millennia, has represented divine wisdom and rebirth.

Goddesses such as Egyptian Wadjet, Celtic Cora, and Greek Athena are shown with Snakes’ powerful coils wrapped protectively near them. A snake encircling a staff, the current symbol of medicine, originates from the story of Asclepius, who was revered by the ancient Greeks as a god of healing and whose cult involved the use of snakes.

Sculptures from antiquity depict the Snake as a woman’s companion, helper, healer and guardian in women’s rituals. Our ancestors sought out dark caves for their visions where they dwelled with their Snakes and listened to the womb of the Earth. While it is often females who are depicted working with Snake magic, Snake energy symbolizes a balance of masculine and feminine energies. For example, they shed skin similar to women shedding their womb in tune with the moon. This is juxtaposed with the energetic force of Snake rising similar to masculine virility.

Kundalini”, translated as Serpent Power in Sanskrit, is described as the vitality within a person and is portrayed as a sleeping coiled snake at the base of the spine ready to rise. When awakened through meditation, kundalini travels up the spinal column to the Third Eye, located at the center of the forehead. The result is unified consciousness between the duality of masculine and feminine polarity. This new awareness comes into being through the death of the old ego-bound, dual personality.

The primordial ouroboros image, a Snake eating its own tail, represents this awareness and is a symbol of infinite wholeness. Snakes perennially shed their skin and thus endlessly create, die, and emerge anew. With its belly on the Earth, Snake communes with the underlying soil and landscape. Regarded by the ancients as the ‘guardians of the underworld’, they embody Earth’s magic. As underground seeds carry the light of new life even through death, so does Snake.

Snake venom contains a substance that chemically alters the brain cells and consciousness (an effect similar to psychedelics), which induces visions. During ancient ceremonies, venom was used to induce dreams and to receive messages from the gods. In Mythic Astrology, Ariel Guttman and Ken Johnson remind us that “a poisonous snake bite can be healed by ingesting the very poison that has injected the sufferer”, much in the same way that recognizing one's own demons can bring rebirth. Demons, or destructive patterns, once understood and transformed, become empowering symbols of the healing process.

So, why did I choose the amazing Snake for my logo? For over a decade, I’ve had numerous dreams of Snakes, encouraging me to shed what no longer serves, unite masculine and feminine energy, and embrace the new life within me. Snake medicine encourages continuous transformation towards wholeness–the perfect symbol for my work as a guide on the healing path.

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