The Meaning of Snakes in African Religions
My love of snakes took me to an actual workshop. The trainer had cages of various sizes placed around the room. No one was interested in the corny corn snake, or the friendly but beautiful king snake. We all rushed to the cage that was holding the mighty python. I wanted to hold it in my arms, and feel its skin slither across mine, but the trainer wouldn’t allow me to even touch it. He picked up the python with an elongated hook and extended it beyond my reach.
It was at this time that I learned about the tentative relationship between man and snake. Pythons have serious trust issues, and they don’t allow themselves to be touched or held by people they don’t know. The trainer then told us a story about a man who innocently wrapped a python around his shoulders. The python, out of fear of falling, begin to squeeze tighter. The man, unable to breathe, struggled to get the python off of him. The more the man struggled, the more the snake resisted. Fortunately, the man received help and wasn’t badly hurt. Other people aren’t so lucky.
The relationship between snake and man represents the resistance and struggle that we create for ourselves when we don’t trust our nature. When we wrap life around our shoulders to try and control it, it will strangle us to death. Nature, energy, needs to flow. However, so many of us attach ourselves to certain outcomes, people, and objects. Attachment is the cause of all suffering. We suffer when we burn emotional energy on things that we really can’t control.
Nature is very much like a snake. It is free and flowing, and we need to trust it. We start to get attach when things don’t go our way. We get attached when we feel like we need to be in control. It is important to not be afraid of losing something or someone. Nature works very much like a snake shedding its skin, when one thing dies, something or someone else is born to replace it. When you stop the resistance, you stop the struggle, then you can trust the fact that nature will never let you fall.
Yamaya Cruz is the author of When The Shadows Began To Dance. She writes about African spirituality, chakra healing, shamanism and much more.