I met a snake on the way – sort of.

I had been wanting to clean up my rock garden and finally got around to it a few days ago – weeding, cutting overgrown grasses from hidden crevices, removing dried stalks from early spring flowers who now dream of another performance next year. When I moved a heavy garden ornament away from a tree trunk to clean up behind it, I caught my breath – a snake! But it wasn’t moving and I quickly realized that it was only the skin the snake left behind. I could just see it now wriggling itself out of an overly tight suit by rubbing against the rough texture of tree bark. I carefully pulled the paper-thin skin out from in between bark and grass. It broke into 3 pieces.

three pieces on railing

While gathering the skin, I had the odd experience of being watched. What if the snake was hiding nearby and saw me collect its skin? I almost felt as if I was doing something illegal, taking property that belonged to someone else.
Surely, the snake didn’t need it anymore, and was not going to squeeze back into her old suit!

snake skin in three pieces

Shedding one’s skin to move forward into a larger self – isn’t that what learning and growing is all about….
How many skins have I shed already and how have they been re-absorbed into the universal field, just like this fragile layer of skin cells would soon melt back into the soil and add its nutrients to the grasses and flowers growing nearby.

snake skin

Ted Andrews, in his book Animal-Speak, describes how different cultures viewed snakes as powerful agents of transformation. In ancient Greece, the snake symbolized alchemy and healing. In Hinduism, the god Vishnu sleeps on the serpent Ananta, symbol of eternity, while Shiva adorns himself with snake bracelets and necklaces, symbols of sexuality. Kundalini, or serpent energy, gets released from the base of the spine, fuels our creative fires and opens up greater levels of awareness. In Chinese astrology, the snake holds qualities of compassion, clairvoyance and charm and teaches lessons of forgiveness.

mid portion

Snakes are symbols of spiritual death and rebirth, holding the promise of growth, creativity and greater wisdom.

skin twisted

When I found the snake skin, I held it and examined it, sensing that it could tell me something about my own layering, my own need to shed what is no longer necessary, no longer fruitful in my life. There are resentments hiding in some dark corner, old grudges laying around, getting rusty; they contribute to emotional clutter, take energy away from the full focus I want in my current life.

the head

I can see the snake’s face, even the eyes. It’s eerie, ghost-like, the empty shell of a former life, like an abandoned house that is beginning to crumble back into the earth. Maybe that’s what these old resentments are – ghosts that have no real life to inhabit anymore; time to get rid of them.

The snake shows the way.

snake header

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: On the Way.

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
This entry was posted in Animals and Critters, Healing Ourselves and the Planet, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to I met a snake on the way – sort of.

  1. de Wets Wild says:

    Isn’t the fine detail on the skin just fascinating!


  2. bythebriny says:

    Cool photos and I like how you worked in the metaphor about shedding emotional baggage.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: ON THE WAY | The Adventures of Iñigo Boy

  4. schuttzie says:

    Beautiful photos of the intricate details of the snake~ This is a very thought provoking post about shedding and moving on from what is no longer benefiting us in life. It can be applied to many aspects whether it is emotional baggage or just opening the door to new experiences and a new life’s journey. Really lovely, Annette!


  5. Okay. You win the challenge! ; )


  6. Annette, what a deep and analyzing view of a shedding snake. I often had looked at snakes as some scarying and hissing creature, but had not known until I read your post, that snakes stand for compassion, charm and teaching us lessons of forgiveness. Snake skin is something very faszinating in it’s texture and different layers. Comparing the process of shedding with ourselves life makes total sense to me. Thank you for sharing your snake skin experience. You must be a great therapist.


    • Cornelia – so glad this opened up another perspective on snakes for you. So many people just learn to fear and, often, hate snakes. I find them fascinating and mysterious. Nature holds so many teachings for us, if we are willing to observe and listen….


  7. Maria F. says:

    Fascinating close-ups Annette! I just love those textures; you caught some fascinating details.


  8. Aggie says:

    Interesting to me that it broke into three pieces. Long ago I dreamed of holding a three-headed snake in my left hand, and have never understood it’s meaning.


  9. I found a snake skin woven into a bird’s nest last summer. More of that cycle of life you evoke. Annette, this is one of my favorites of your many beautiful posts, not that I’m particularly enamored of snakes, but for the deeper subjects you raise of forgiveness and self-improvement.


  10. Pit says:

    Even that, just finding a snake’s skin, would send a shiver down my spine.


  11. Lucid Gypsy says:

    A really inspiring post Annette, I know I’ve shed a good few layer along my way!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Annette, what an interesting piece, and cause for reflection, especially these words, “Shedding one’s skin to move forward into a larger self – isn’t that what learning and growing is all about….” Like Cornelia, I also wasn’t aware that some cultures view snakes as more gentle, wise creatures, and less as intimidating ones.


  13. T tapped like. =) I read him the post. Very thoughtful, A.

    Onward and upward,


  14. Pingback: Some oomph along the way! | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me

  15. Pingback: Some oomph along the way! | Kick-Ass Ireland!

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