Lions, and Tigers and… SNAKES?!

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I stumbled into the kitchen and this feeling of horror crept over me!  What had I done?!  Had I really let in the enemy?!

Coffee seemed of little importance as I stared at the shed snakeskin I had cut and laid out on parchment paper the night before… and I cringed.  I nearly squealed with delight upon finding the shed snakeskin the day before.  My husband had gently lifted the brittle shell to carry it into the house, and from the looks of it, the snake had shed its skin several days prior, maybe even weeks.  It was so very fragile and I immediately went to work researching shed snakeskins.  That’s when I discovered how to make jewelry pendants from the skins, an idea that caught my fancy, and I went to work hydrating the skin so I could lay it out flat to dry overnight.

But things always seem different after a good night’s sleep and something about the snakeskin seemed eerie in the morning light.  I became immediately conflicted about its presence in our home, let alone the idea of wearing it!  Several thoughts stampeded my brain.

As a Christian, I was instantly reminded of the verse in Genesis where God cursed the serpent more than all cattle and more than every beast of the field, doomed to go on his belly and eat dust all the days of his life.  Floods of other scripture reminded me that the snake is the symbol of evil, the serpent a deceptive trickster particularly adept at promoting all God has forbidden as “good”.

I had to pause and take a breath before sorting through the other thoughts flooding my mind:

While Christians may believe the serpent to be a symbol of evil, snakes serve as different symbols in other cultures:

  • In early Egyptian society the snake was the symbol of royalty and deity.
  • As a Spiritual Animal, the snake represents healing, transformation and life changes, often providing guidance about life changes and transitions – physical, emotional, and spiritual.
  • In Medicine, the snake is a common symbol on pharmaceutical packaging and hospitals, with the two serpents wrapped around the staff of Asclepius, Greek mythological son of Apollo and god of medicine and healing.
  • Ancient symbolism (the ouroboros) depicts the serpent or snake eating its own tail, representing the infinite cycle of nature’s endless creation and destruction, life and death.
  • In other eras and other cultures, the snake symbolized eternal love, healing, fertility, wisdom, and even immortality.

But the symbolism that resonated with me the most was the role of the snake in the circle of life.  In fact, most naturalists will suggest you do nothing to remove snakes from your yard or garden because they play a critical role in the natural ecosystem.  Not only do snakes help control the rodent population… snakes also serve as a food source for several bird species, including owls, hawks, falcons, and herons.  And you know how much I LOVE birds!

I came “full circle” in my thinking when I remembered Psalm 148 which serves as praise to the Lord from Creation itself, praise from all things – beasts and creeping things (including snakes) – and I could suddenly imagine snakes everywhere praising God for having created them too (image snakes at a Christian rock revival).

I started to breathe easier after my mental wrestling match and decided to celebrate our find.  Snakes shed their skin to allow for further growth, and further growth is good for our wildlife habitat.  Further growth is also all part of God’s design and I decided that finding this particular shed was a gift, one I could wear as homage to the circle of life and all things created by God.

So I ask… is it a terribly weird idea and you’d never let any part of any snake in your house, no way, no how?  Or, do you totally love it and want a pendant of your own?  Thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Lions, and Tigers and… SNAKES?!

  1. I recently had a cottonmouth/ water mocassin snake raise up at me with his mouth wide open (white on the inside) as I stood five feet away placing the lawn mower inside the shop. No gun, no shotgun, no shovel, nothing to protect myself with. I calmly walked away…down the concrete walkway towards the road and walked fast to my front lawn. I did not look back. When I neared my home with its long concrete front, I saw something move across the corner by my potted trees on the patio…it was a huge black water mocassin snake about as large around as your fist and even though stretched out in curves it was five feet long. I noticed its broad head with the pointed end..charging towards whatever was behind me. I ran to the front door, and hurried inside. Some people have stayed in ICU for weeks due to a snake bite. Your body does not clot where you are biten and you can bleed out. A few days later, my 89 yr. old mother and I walked to my parked car between her house and mine and were shocked to see another water mocassin snake lay on the freshely cut and weed eated grass by my car…we were in the car at this time, and it calmly crawled under her storage building where I had recently sprayed 365 RoundUp to kill weeds. After living here for many years and never seeing snakes, we realised we were over feeding birds and squirrels in all of our trees. At night, field mice were also eating the bird seed and yes…snakes were hanging around and eating everything there at night. So, we quit feeding anything and moved the bird feeders about a mile down the road away from our homes, and on property I bought near the woods. I could never wear anything related to a snake, I have had them chase my 2 little, Yorkie dogs; and water mocasins are fast and aggressive. One was laying across the threshold of my front door last year. We stay alert , do away with clutter, and keep grass cut short. I have no regard for them! I could never wear snake jewelry. Here in Northeast Texas, with people in such danger by the venomous bites, it would not be an enjoyable or comfortable experience for me to wear snake jewelry. I supose if you lived somwhere where you were not threated by them that it could be fascinating to wear snake jewelry, but I have to pass .

  2. Marj Stark says:

    Hi, Kristin, I, too, found a shed snakeskin in the woods & thought it was totally awesome! I think a snake pendant would be totally cool!

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