In the Belly of the Serpent

Art by Yvesy

Spiral inward–

Then go deeper. Deeper.

All the way down into the bottom of your belly, to the space that longs to press itself to the raw earth.

Embodied. Here.

This constant contact is a conduit of cosmic expression, a current of universal energy creating a clear channel through you, here on Earth.

If you want Heaven on Earth, it begins right now. And right now. And every time you choose to embody the bridge.  

Welcome to Summer Eclipse Season, 2018. With three eclipses beginning on July 12 and culminating on August 11, the energies are intense, all-consuming, and deep as we dive again into our personal and collective stories around nourishment, power, and compassion all during the hottest part of the year (in the northern hemisphere). Even though these transformational frequencies can feel fast and furious there is also an element of timing that is important–this summer, seven planets will be entering retrograde motion indicating a time for reflection, going with the flow instead of trying to force the river, and a serious element of divine timing at play as we collapse timelines and enter higher initiated levels of self.

As we find our footing in this shifting, and possibly confounding, new landscape with so much energy and insight available, Serpent offers a wisdom teaching from its very core…

One of the most confronting aspects of snake medicine for many people is the way they eat. Especially for those of us who choose a meatless lifestyle, the Serpent’s deeply primal way of hunting and killing for food can be difficult to connect with and can even inspire fear. But consider how much care, attention, and thought we humans put into how we nourish ourselves, and yet how often we turn a blind eye to the source of our meals. Perhaps our discomfort arises in part from our own disconnection with the food we eat and the world it comes from.

Feeding ourselves can be a grounding, connective ritual process that delights us on all sensory and energetic levels, if we allow ourselves to experience it fully. Food taps us in with the primal energy that lives and moves through all living beings and throughout the cosmos, connecting us to the circle of life and to the Universe.

Snakes are not so different—and they may be better at it than we are.

Art by Ellen Brenneman

The Serpent’s way of eating can feel so confronting in part because it is so precise, fast, and powerful. Because of this power, some are inclined to see them as ruthless killers—but contrary to this popular belief, snakes are some of the swiftest and least violent hunters in nature, and kill only what they need or to defend themselves. They do not slash, mangle, or strangle their prey, nor do they tease and torment the hunted as some warm-blooded hunters do, or kill for no purpose. Snakes wait patiently, strike swiftly, and end life quickly and without struggle, either by stopping the heart through constriction or through injecting deadly fast-acting venom. Snakes actually minimize suffering for both prey and predator when they hunt! 

Snakes also experience a great deal of stress when they hunt, even risking their own lives. It requires every ounce of their focus to successfully strike and kill, and consuming the meal takes time, during which the snake is completely vulnerable. Once the meal has been consumed, it takes a minimum of two days for the main digestion to take place. During this time the snake will be mainly dormant, conserving the majority of its energy for optimal digestion. 

Art by Susanne Iles

Snakes are so masterful at nourishing themselves that their digestive process is able to extract the utmost amount of life-sustaining energy from their food. Depending on the species, one meal can sustain a snake’s vitality for anywhere from 2 weeks up to a year! It is not uncommon for snakes to fast for long periods in the wild, particularly in the winter and spring when the environment is too cold for them to properly digest. The heat from warmer months speeds up the digestive process as snakes are able to bask in sunlight and draw in solar energy. If you care for a snake and are having trouble with feeding, checking for appropriate temperature levels and maintaining a quiet undisturbed space for your serpent to feel as safe as possible (even turning out the lights!) may be helpful. 

The medicine of digestion & integration feels especially important as we traverse this eclipse portal. With all the energies available to us, this is an excellent time to do practices to encourage healthy fire in the belly, conscious breathing, space and time for reflection, and assimilating unprocessed emotional energy. Engaging in these practices will help us become more efficient in nourishing ourselves, allowing us to more fully engage with all life has to offer. When constriction arises, breathe into the belly and breathe out slowly, drawing the belly in to the spine as you do so–this encourages release in the belly and helps us digest emotions. We can guide our emotional energy with the breath and restore our consciousness to the present moment.

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