The snake that found its way around my neck danced and slithered its way around me in perfect unison with my big movements. We were a pair. Our dance signified the union of man and animal in this ritual celebration. Jiggling, writhing, bumping and sliding with every rhythmic beat that enveloped us. The fire was growing and its blazing heat drawing the ritual into a depth of sacred prayer that consumed each of us. Burning the old, discarding the bad and transforming into the new.
We were the tribe that fertilized the ground for new horizons, better ones that our children would revere and caretake. There was reason for optimism and our celebration was evidence of that.
We lay motionless on the cool grass, unaware of how we all got here. The last thing I recall was lightning and the burning coals exploding in every direction. Feeling hypnotized, somewhat headless, my toes twirl through blades of grass and I realize that the warm, pleasant water has turned cold and uninviting. No laughter resides here now. No squeals of joy from children. This land has been changed, reborn and I’m laying in the amniotic fluid that birthed her. Wet and slippery, I am trying with all my might to get my eyes to open even though I’m terrified of what I might see. I try Blinking, batting, squeezing and my lids remain tightly sealed.
Suddenly, I feel movement sliding up against my wet body, my hearts racing, wondering what it could be. And then her hiss reveals all. Its her, snake, sliming her way up my body towards my face until the pointy wetness of her tongue darts around my eyes, licking them clean. Her warmth brings my body alive as I regain access to my limbs. She’s saving me, like an animal mother does as he she licks the sack from her newborn and frees the new body into life. My eyes effortlessly open to see her sliding away into the trees.
A single gaze had transformed the land and everything on it forever. My blurry newborn eyes could barely take it all in. All of my senses were being overloaded with new stimulation and as they each adjusted to the marvel that surrounded me, my groggy body began to reassemble itself. Just then, my heart dropped, like the deepest drum beat, in realization that my family were not closeby. In that instant, my eyesight sharpened, my legs scrambled to standing and started galloping in a frantic search for my daughter and husband.
There were giant bugs populating the new steamy ground with the odd human body scattered here and there. Hundreds of deer darting through the forest and embers glowing the trees. Her hiss was as loud as a trumpet in a desert, she was summoning me. Slowing down long enough to notice her beckoning call, I moved in her direction and there beneath the tree, lay my beloved family, peacefully resting, awaiting their initiation. I dropped to my knees in relief and gave her the approving gesture she was waiting for to begin her work.
Moments later, we were together again, rebirthed in this new life with a piece of death closeby, as we embraced the newness that was to be our life. She, our snake was our aumakua and had graciously granted us access to this new world.