Softening Fear in Meditation; Learning About My Animal Guides

If you read my post about Chapter 3 of the TOSW, you know I have been in the process of figuring out what animal guides should be assigned to the directions of my circle.  I don’t intend to work in a shamanic circle until I am more advanced, but I do want to know what animals I should assign for when that time comes.  I pondered and hoped that my animal guides would reveal themselves to me in a dream last night.  That is not how it worked out.  Therefore, today I used a guided animal guide meditation from YouTube, and then tweaked it a little to my liking.  I did not go into a deep meditative state in which the physical and spiritual worlds vividly collide.  Meditation does not work for me in such a manner.  I hear/read about people having these vivid vision experiences.  Perhaps one day I will experience such wonders, but that day has not yet arrived.  For me meditation is a relaxed exercise in visualization.  Lets underline relaxed.  The scene in your mind’s eye can become frightful when anxiety drips into the exercise.

Now lets apply this to my animal guide meditation today.  While contemplating what animal spirit should fill a particular spot in my circle, a snake seemed to want to slither into the picture.  I tried to push it out of my mind with an “eep!”  sort of manner.  I find snakes fascinating to watch when they are in enclosures and I know I am safe.  However, they pretty much horrify me when they are not in those enclosures.   I called on Mother (the Goddess, not my human mom) to help me get this figured out.  She then informed me that the snake belongs there, but I could put a garden snake there.  What I know as a garden snake seems to be called a smooth green snake.  These are the little vibrant green snakes that you might see hanging out on your lawn if you look closely, wee little snakes that are the only snakes I might consider kind of cute.

“Hey buddy!” Doesn’t this snake look friendly?

By assigning this particular type of snake to the role, the message that the snake spirit needs to bring to me is delivered with a rather gentle image.  This enforces the knowledge that what is scary might be turned into something more approachable if only I ask The Divine for help.  I suggest anybody who suffers with anxious meditations to apply the same principle to their practice.

Now lets talk about this snake spirit.  I saw this snake filling a water medicine role, swimming along a creek.  As I researched the snake spirit animal I found sources stating the snake was fire medicine.  “Well, that’s not what I am getting…”  I continued to research and then found some things that hit home.  First, this photo:

This affirmed what I saw with my mind’s eye.  Then I read, “snakes span the symbolic bridge between lunar and solar associations as well as aspects between water and fire.  Coiled within this polarity, we clearly see symbolism of duality and the search for balance.”  Ding ding ding!  We have a winner!  As I kept on reading from that source (http://www.whats-your-sign.com), the snake spirit made more and more sense for me.  This experience demonstrates that we should at least consider our first instincts before dismissing them.  Being able to distinguish truth from common perceptions is a major part of spiritual development.  The witch is often in the place of the snake; being feared and hated because of misconceptions.  Sure, some are dangerous.  Plenty are just trying to harmlessly mind their business though.  That sums up this epiphany.  I recommend you check out the previously mentioned website if you are interested in animal guides.

Quick edit:  However many hours after posting this, I was looking over animal spirit information in a later chapter of TOSW and read “Snake is sacred to Persephone”.  Well then.  :-p  Additionally, it reminded me that years ago my favorite work of art was Lilith by John Collier.  In it, one sees a fair, gentle-looking woman who seems unafraid while exposed in the dark with a snake wrapped around her.

Lilith by Collier
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