i understood the issues that might arise around the design when i was led to it, particularly since it's my most visible tattoo to date. i thought about how the snake's gotten a bad rep in this culture, what with the whole temptation of eve thing, yadda yadda. to be honest, i'm grateful i haven't gotten many outright inquiries from strangers.
still, serpent's story goes much deeper than eden, particularly for african and other indigenous people, and i knew it went much deeper for me.
if you've been reading for awhile, you know i've written about my spiritual relationship with serpents. in the last few years, that understanding has widened and deepened, and all i can do is stand in gratitude for its role in my evolution.
over the years, i've learned that serpents have always been friends of the goddess, symbols of sacred wisdom, rebirth, and resourcefulness. when you consider the development of the major three western religions and what they needed to suppress in order to spread, flourish, and--let's face it--control, you can understand why the serpent had to be denied its prominence.
Healthy snakes usually have little or no difficulty with shedding and tend to shed their skins in one entire piece. Exceptions to this include snakes with injuries to the skin and/or scales resulting in scarring, and snakes housed in enclosures with suboptimal temperature and/or relative humidity levels.
The stresses associated with shedding can be substantial. Sick snakes, those suffering from malnutrition, or those whose health has been directly or indirectly compromised by poor husbandry experience delayed and incomplete sheds. These snakes tend to shed their skins in pieces. In fact, many of the pieces remain adhered to the underlying skin and eyes (retained eye caps).
The shedding process is preceded by a period of relative inactivity. This period usually lasts 1-2 weeks, during which time the eyes begin to exhibit a dull, bluish-white appearance. During this period, the snake's vision is impaired, which causes them to be rather unpredictable and sometimes aggressive. The skin during this period tends to have an overall dull appearance. The underlying new skin is soft and vulnerable to damage while the outer layers prepare to slough away. (source)
...now think about that symbolically, emotionally; what it would mean to manifest this lesson while inhabiting a human form.
this is the gift in studying animals you are attracted to or that show up in your dreams. it's what should always be in the back of your mind while you're watching pbs or enjoying "shark week".
refuse to stop at the "scientific" level. go deeper.
snakes--although worthy of respect because of their potential danger to humans--are not any more evil than any other creature. they are bearers of a particular kind of wisdom, as are all animals. that is why we all share this earth-space.
our four-legged, scaled and winged relations are living, breathing illustrations of nature's beauty, diversity, and conscious design--just as humans are.
examine what you've been taught to demonize. question what you idolize. you might surprise yourself.