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Snake Medicine. A rattlesnake slithers across the path in New Mexico.

Animal Medicine…I met a huge rattlesnake on my hike today.

It was lying in the sun, stretching a good three feet across the sandy desert path as I hiked up the mountain.

I saw him. I stopped. Backed off and observed for a minute.

I’d never seen one this close, and he (she?) was fascinating… a glorious beauty of texture and pattern and raw potent reptilian aliveness, his eerie rattle, black and white rings around his tail.

I took a single step to see if I could walk around him, and he raised his head and looked at me.

…from a distance, we regarded each other for a few potent moments.

And then he slithered off, away from the trail and down the side of the mountain.

My breath flowing again, I continued up the trail, a heightened awareness beneath my feet, an alertness at how suddenly such an amazing critter could appear.

The last time I’d met a snake in the midst of a trail like that (though it wasn’t quite that big and not a rattler) was right before I left California, in the middle of a pandemic, and amidst a world of change.

And I was potently aware then, as now, of the profound levels of change I was facing….

The snake. The symbol of transformation. Shedding the old skin and rebirthing into something completely new.

The clear message from the universe was a glorious gift… because it reminded me that the way forward NOW was in total transformation.

… it was the answer to a heartfelt question I’d put out to my higher self, just that morning… HOW do I release these old habits of feelings, that are SO STRONG…

…and the answer came, now, in the reminder that true transformation has no holding back. No halfway. No holding on to the old while trying to reach for the new.

And the clarity of that message, fueled by the shot of adrenaline from meeting my reptilian friend so close, filled my being and soul, and I got it… the only way forward right now was a commitment to total transformation.

And in the full committing, my path somehow became easier. The difficulties might not be gone but they mattered less. They took on a different tone and perspective and the path forward became the thing… not the old feelings and habits and states that are shedding as I step into the new.

What animals have crossed your path with messages lately? What wisdom have you received from the natural world?

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