Every so often I like to write about animals that are less popular, in the hopes of shifting some perspectives. For my brand new logo (seen at the top of the page) I asked the wonderful artist who designed & painted it for me, Hilary K., www.hilarykart.com/ to include some “less universally loved” animals such as snakes and bats. Snakes are often feared, even those that are not venomous, even the sweet looking small ones that live in our gardens and hide from us rather than risk confrontation. In fact snakes have much more to fear from us, many people kill snakes on sight without thought as to whether they are a non-poisonous integral part of our ecosystem, without thought that this snake may be a mother, without any thought of this snake as an individual, a being.
Snakes share a lot of knowledge about healing, and are even visually represented on the Rod of Asclepius which is an ancient Greek symbol associated with medicine, consisting of a serpent coiled around a rod. Snakes shed their own skins, which makes them wonderful examples of transformation and releasing that which no longer serves us in our lives, like old limiting beliefs. Snakes are here to help us, to show us what is possible. They have no arms or legs but they can move with amazing speed. They move with an “S” curve type motion, always graceful. They taste the temperature. They harbor no hate for us, although they do get tired of being misunderstood, feared and killed so often.
If you are one (of the many) who fears snakes, don’t feel bad, but please consider exploring that fear. When we confront our shadows we can shine light on them. Bright light can make an Anaconda look like a baby garden snake. Consider how a shadow can make someone appear like a giant at a certain angle. That is how fear warps & distorts our emotions. The fear could have been passed down ancestrally, either consciously or subconsciously. Try sending love to a snake somewhere. It could be sent to a photo of a snake, like this one posted, which I photographed at the Atlanta zoo. You could visit one that is (humanely) captive, like in a rescue sanctuary or an animal companion who spends some of their time in an enclosure, so the barrier helps you feel safe. These are ambassadors. You can ask them to show you where they would be in the wild if they were free. When you feel love there is no room for hate or fear. Think about what is lovely about the snake? The shiny scales? The colors? Some look like they are smiling.
Please take an imaginary leap with me. Imagine that this snake is a person on their way home from work. Maybe they accidentally drove into your lane and frightened you as you had to quickly move over, or perhaps they are that relaxed person walking slowly as you are on the way to your car, they are enjoying the sunshine, while you are rushing and you feel they are intentionally blocking your path? Think about why they are enjoying the sunshine, maybe they live in the moment, maybe they need vitamin D to feel healthier. Who are they going home to? Is their dog patiently awaiting them? (This exercise might make us feel more kindly toward people as we commute too) Snakes are not people, but they are individual beings, as we are. I believe sometimes a bit of imagining can help us relate a bit better and lose some of the fear.
We can also think about why snakes were given such a negative image in myths? What do they represent to you? Ultimately there is the symbolic snake and the actual real snake that may be in your garden. Please give them a chance at life, they are as much a part of our natural environment as the birds and the squirrels and (depending on where you live) most are non venomous and want to get away from you even more than you want to avoid them!
I understand that there are poisonous snakes and this can be a concern especially with small dogs or children. That does not have to mean a death sentence for the snake. I live in Atlanta GA and we have an organization called the Amphibian Foundation that will actually come and pick up copperheads (our poisonous snakes) and safely relocate them unharmed to a nature preserve. If you do find a copperhead here in Atlanta and don’t want them in your yard, you can call the Amphibian Foundation. www.amphibianfoundation.org/ Please check for similar resources in your home town/country. If there are no outdoor animal companions or small kids, you can consider simply letting them stay. They do serve an important role for the ecosystem and if they were all gone there would be drastic consequences. Depending on the size of your yard, you could consider having certain areas that are more suited for wildlife, separate from sitting areas. This may sound cliché but I still love the saying “live and let live.”
Many of us already love crystals and are aware of their energetic qualities and the benefits they offer, in addition to being beautiful to look at. We collect them, wear them as jewelry and use them as tools to assist with energy healing and for overall health benefits. After communicating with a number of animals I found that many would ask for specific crystals to be placed in their environment. One little dog with anxiety from past rejection (before she was adopted by her current wonderful parents) asked for rose quartz which carries a vibration of love and is very soothing to be placed near her bed. Her guides gave me the suggestion to actually sew small pieces into her bed (on the inside) so that she could be right up against them without worries of accidentally swallowing one or of the crystals getting lost.
Often they just want them in the house, but last week another sweet dog surprised me by asking for her very own crystals and she had a small list! This lovely dog has strong star energy and she included moldavite as one of her picks. Moldavite happens to be one I really enjoy too and I wear it often as jewelry, even sleeping with it as it feels protective to me. This is one however that some feel has “too strong” energy, so I recommend holding it before purchasing, and only using if your companions either ask for it or seem drawn to be near it. When my son Jarvis was diagnosed I got a large amethyst and placed it on the floor in the room where he slept to help keep the healing space clear and help him feel like he was in a "bubble" of light. Amethyst also helps to "charge" other crystals. Most crystals need to be cleaned or "charged" occasionally by running cold water, sunlight, moonlight, sage or salt, Please check on this individually as some dissolve in water and others don't fare well with salt.
Not all animals ask for crystals specifically, but they enjoy the energy when it is shared with them. I think it is a wonderful gesture to research which crystals have qualities that will help with something your animal companion is going through. For example animals are very sensitive to us and to our energy, so if we are going through something emotional, we could place black tourmaline in the room to help absorb some of this and thereby shield them from the burden of taking it all on to help us. I also communicate often with companions that feel very protective toward their humans and sometimes they feel they have to actively “defend” the home’s perimeter and when we use crystals to help with this (like by gridding-placing them in different areas of the home) it can ease some of their sense of responsibility and help them be more calm at night.
There are a lot of books on crystals, so I won’t go into the many kinds/definitions here, (not sure I can pick just a few!) but if you are interested a couple of books are:
Love is in the Earth-a kaleidoscope of crystals by Melody
The Book of Stones by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian
And this is one specifically for animals which is great:
Crystal Healing for Animals by Martin J. Scott and Gael Mariani
Most of what you read about how stones help humans (like with emotional or physical maladies or protection) will also apply to how they can help animals. I am also a big fan of following your intuition when selecting crystals, rather than only reading the descriptions. Hold an image of your companion in your mind and heart as you search and see which crystals you are drawn to for them. Often you will naturally be drawn to the ones needed and then it is also fun to read about these afterwards, and maybe discover additional meanings.
If you have never used crystals before, try starting by getting a few smaller pieces (or a large one that can be used as décor) and see if you and/or your animal companions (or human ones) notice a difference. It may be very subtle, perhaps the room will just feel a bit lighter, or more “bright.” This is great too for indoor only companions, such as cats, because it helps them to receive some energy from the earth, like they would if outside. Crystals and stones can also be placed in/around horse stables, chicken coops or underneath/around cages for smaller animals & birds.