Wisdom or duplicity, healing or death, transformation and a powerful symbol of the energy behind the material universe (the feminine): the Snake has literally been by my side, since the start of last year.
It reasserted its presence strongly on my recent Driveabout through the lands South and West of Jervis Bay, an area managed jointly with the descendants of the local Aboriginal tribe.
Last year, on the way to collecting Mangalo from the airport for our first retreat, I passed 5 or 6 snakes! I drive these roads a lot, NEVER see snakes. On our way back, we saw a further 2. We stopped to check one, alas it was dead. Indeed, all of the snakes I had seen, bar 1, had been.
Throughout the season, snakes seemed somehow present in varying forms - never clear if they were the positive or negative aspect at the time, likely both. One thing is clear though, and in hindsight, it has been a very powerful, transformative year for me, if not always easy.
Currently in Australia, I decided to go on a short Driveabout - to reflect and focus for the retreat season ahead.
Jervis Bay is stunning, turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, ancient Eucalyptus forests, and a style of management in the National Park which seems to preserve the sacred energies of the land.
I loved it. I reflected on last year's challenges. How each retreat brought transformation not just for the retreatants, but for us also. Remembering the snakes, I wondered under which symbol this year's retreat season might unfold.
Although this had been on my mind for a couple of days, it was not so specifically at the moment when I was walking back from the beach that night. Dusk had set in, the sun was on her way to France, the thinnest slice of the New Moon was just coming up.
When I saw, on my left, coming onto the path a Black Snake. It had come to a halt, relaxed, looking at me, from 2 meters away. I passed carefully, being observed by it. Later, I regretted not having the courage to stop, and take a photo, see or hear what message, if any, the snake had for me.
Next day, as I was driving away from Jervis Bay, again, I saw a snake. Striking, alive and utterly beautiful, on my left, looking at me driving past, waiting on the hard shoulder. This snake's position exactly the same as that of the snake the night before. The snake's belly glistened in a most beautiful reddish orange colour - a Red Bellied Black Snake. Again, I didn't stop to engage with it. I was vaguely disappointed in myself.
Only 15 minutes or so later, another snake, on my left, sunning herself on the side of the road, this time a Brown Snake.
That's when I realised, that the Snake continues to be present for what will unfold this year. I understood that the energy this year will even be stronger, the snakes were fully alive, and aware.
A path has opened clearly. My practice has unfolded into something strong, something alive and something very real.
And with it, this year's retreat format has evolved: movement, breath, noble silence, sound and visualisations are all tools that help us reach inside. The practice engages body and soul into a powerful daily dance, nourishing and re-connecting us. Intuitive wisdom flourishes and gives access to a path on which we digest and integrate our fragmented selves.
If you would like to join my practice, you can check dates for this year on the link below.
I am grateful to Managalo for introducing me to a clear, simple practice which remains my foundation.