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©2019-2020 by Lara Vesta 

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The Snakes

April 28, 2015

 

Here is a dream:

you are riding in a car

down a dark road

with all the women in your life

your mother

your grandmothers

daughters

sisters

aunties

nieces

friends

ahead there is an accident

and when you pull

over

you see

emerging 

from the wreckage

a deadly

poisonous

snake.

You are 

afraid

but you know 

the snake is a threat 

to your

beloved women

that if you let the danger

go

someone else will be

bitten.

What will you do?

What action will you 

take?

Will you chase the snake,

confront your fear,

grasp it writhing

in your hands?

Will you hold it

even as it bites?

If so

you may find

you are immune to the poison.

If so

you may find

the snake you fear

is wisdom

and the women

of your life

hold a container

to keep the knowing

safe.

 

This is a dream I actually had six years ago on my daughter's birthday. I have two dots tattooed on the inside of each arm where the snake "bit" me, a reminder that I can--that we all can--face our fears and emerge stronger.

 

The last six years have challenged me to face fear after fear.  Amid joy, of course.  More than I ever could have imagined.  And the snake bites were important in the journey, a place to pull my attention when my courage was failing.  Sometimes if we can't "do the thing we cannot do" (Eleanor Roosevelt) for ourselves, we can do it for others.  

 

This year I turned forty and decided it was time to not only remind myself that I was immune to the venom of my fear, but that I could claim whatever caused me pain, claim it as an ally, that wildness.  For the last several years, the snakes came to me, slithering round my arms.  My son took in a ball python, and for hours let the snake show me mystery.

 

Women and snakes have been equally maligned and aligned through history, as dangerous.

 

When we claim our danger we heal the rift between ourselves and nature.  When we own our fear, we may embrace what is in equanimity.

 

The snakes on my arms whisper, "no more hiding."

 

In this, at least, we are free.

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