Magical Gifts from a Woman and a Snake
I fully admit to squeeing in girlish glee when a birthday parcel arrived in the mail from my friend Nikiah of herbal teas, her handmade feathered earrings, a bird’s wing (looks like a pheasant or grouse) , rawhide pieces, a lovely scroll, an owl trinket, and a book she told me I’d love to bits. Thank you lovely lady! For those of you who follow Nikiah, she has a book coming out soon co-authored with her beekeeping friend Nao. Check it out: Moon Mysteries – A Sneak Peek.
The other magical gift I received was my snake Plissken‘s first shed (well, first since I’ve had him). The fellow I got him from said he wouldn’t shed like a normal snake and his skin would flake into little bits, but I gave him a bath when his eyes clouded over and the next day off his skin came in one almost perfect piece. Shortly after being freed from the crusty prison he wiggled his way all over the terrarium delighting in his renewed flexibility and brilliant colour and then promptly demanded a feast of crickets.
Snake sheds are such miraculous things; perfect inside-out hollow replicas of snakes. Each scale is detailed in perfection – even the eyes! Watching a snake slither out of its skin is like watching a cicada struggle out of its old husk or a moth escape its cocoon. It is very fitting as all the creatures that have been coming to me lately have all been about transformation and rebirth as I remake myself into who I shall become. And so this shed shall be made into a charm to remind me of the need for transformation and my need to accept it and not fight it. Snakes don’t have a choice whether they shed their skins and we don’t have a choice when change comes into our lives.
Snake sheds are used in hoodoo mainly for cursing and are slipped into goofer dusts, crossing powders, and the very creepy “live things in you” spell. In European folk magic snake sheds and other bits can be used for healing and fertility amulets as well as any charms or tools having to do with otherworldly travel. Snakes are sacred to many deities and I like to add powdered snake sheds to incense burned to invoke those deities (Damballah, Hekate, Hermes, Legba, Odin, Veles…). You can add snake sheds to an ointment for hedgecrossing and shapeshifting or to a ritual oil like my oleum of yggdrasil. Make your own oil using the sheds to align yourself with serpent energy for rites and ceremonies. I’m sure you can think of many more uses!
By Valerie Worth, Crones Book of Words (p.140):
To Converse With a Snake
Speak to the serpent
With his voice,
In the language
Of his race,
Slow and sliding,
Sweet and gliding,
Say it, gazing
In his eyes–
His subtle tongue
Will turn you wise