Like the Goddess I serve, I am known by many names,
and I walk the earth in many forms.
Yoga teacher. Clinical psychologist. Dreamworker. Two-spirit.
Tantrika. Dancer. Scientist. Snake lady.
Modern day priestess.
Woman gone wild.
You can call me Summer.
This is the story of how I got here,
and the answer to a question I am often asked.
I was not always a snake lover. In fact, early in life I had some frightening experiences with snakes, including being surrounded by baby rattlesnakes during hatching season when I was just 4 years old. I remember vividly the barely controlled fear in my mother’s voice when she realized that her baby girl was surrounded by venomous snakes, cut off from her with no way out. Interestingly, I myself was not afraid at the time. We simply waited, patiently, until the snakes went on their way. But my mother’s fear stuck with me.
Years passed, and I struggled with depression, anxiety, sexual trauma, and anorexia. I lost friends to suicide and self-harming. I attempted to die, yet was not allowed to do so. One of my few pleasures came from connecting with animals and nature, yet I was both fascinated and repelled by snakes. I felt torn between my desire to get closer—to connect with these beautiful and powerful animals—and my fear, which I could not understand or explain to myself. Tired of wrestling with the conflict, I convinced my first lover to get a baby python. We named her Suspiria. When the relationship ended, so did my connection with the snake…or so I thought.
About a year later, I learned that my former flame neglected Suspiria after the separation and that she died of starvation.
I knew instantly, intuitively, that my life was forever changed. My fear and carelessness had cost that baby snake her life. I was disgusted and horrified by myself and what I had done. In that moment, I committed to transformation—I would overcome my fear of snakes and adopt an unwanted rescue, providing a safe sanctuary for a serpent like Suspiria had been.
I would never again be paralyzed by fear.
I was done depending on others to do for me what I should have done for myself.
Not long after, I met Rose Mary dancing with her snake at a dance retreat. I had never seen anything like it. Yet as I watched them twine together like lovers I felt something stir inside me, like an old memory, as if I too had danced like that with serpents before (although I never had, in this lifetime). Watching serpent and dancer moving with one rhythm and one breath, I realized that this was the true path of the serpent guardian—moving through fear, towards love.
Within a month, I adopted my first royal python.
I joined the Sanctum and began to learn the ways of the Serpent.
And I began to heal myself.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. I make mistakes, and I learn from them. I ask for help when I need it. I commit to doing the work—I no longer expect others to do it for me. And the work is hard—change isn’t easy, and I have had to face many parts of myself I thought I couldn’t bear. But the blessings come back to me a thousandfold.
I have learned to transform my fear into courage and love,
to move through my anger into compassion,
to see my jealousy as appreciation of a beautiful world,
to recognize my carelessness and turn it into wisdom,
& to transmute my pain into powerful joy.
From this perspective, I am able to choose to be more humble, loving, and graceful in my relations with all beings. I have learned how to listen and honor the lives around me. I am learning to claim my power in a good way.
Perhaps most importantly, I have learned who I am.
I AM A HEALER.
I WALK THE HEALER’S PATH.