Snake Medicine and the Transformation of Reality

By Emily Heffner

In many indigenous traditions, the serpent is considered to be a sacred symbol of rebirth.  In his book Animal Speak Ted Andrews explains, “Because it sheds its skin, the snake has long been a symbol of death and rebirth.  It sheds its skin as it outgrows the old . . . It has ties and significance to the ancient alchemists and their symbolic transmutation of lead into gold.”  In the shamanic tradition I studied, we explored four different levels of engagement with reality.  The snake represents literal reality, or, an unemotional assessment of what “is.”

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