October 28, 2014
Snakes have been considered sacred in Greece and the Balkans, as well as other cultures, since at least 7000 BCE. They are symbols of rebirth and regeneration, as they travel between our world and the world below, disappear and re-emerge from the earth in spring, and shed their skins in seasonal renewal.
The Cretan Snake Goddess from Knossos (ca 1600 BCE) stands serenely with serpents wrapped around her body, showing how snakes were considered benevolent and were revered, not feared. Snakes are also powerful symbols of healing. Recently, I had an extraordinary experience of ‘serpent healing’ after a serious injury.
Friends of mine run a yoga retreat centre in Mani, Greece, called The Spirit of Life, where their son keeps a number of snakes including a beautiful Royal Python named Monty. Monty and I have met on several occasions over the years, and whenever I have spent time holding him, I have felt a sense of great peace and calm. More than that, Monty has shown an uncanny ability to move directly to places of tension in my shoulders, and to gently yet firmly massage sore muscles in a soothing way.
Therefore, on a recent visit, I decided to let Monty go wherever he wanted, just to see where he might choose to move. I had had quite a bad fall from my bicycle several weeks before, resulting in multiple injuries...
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