The Charming Serpent of the Past: Hekate, Snakes, and Letting Go

The Charming Serpent of the Past: Hekate, Snakes, and Letting Go November 18, 2017
Can you see the snake?
Can you see the snake?

“A snake will cross my path today,” I said as I searched for the promised trail head marker. My frequent adventure companion agreed. Thrashing our way through the forest looking for the mysterious ruins that were our goal, I led us through thick bush covering what had been a trail. We came to a clearing and looking down, there was a serpent carved into the rock by our feet. A snake-in-the-rock. My snake had been found.

One-Two Punches

I’m not sure how this works. I get a feeling. Then the thing appears. Perhaps it’s Hekate sending a chronic skeptic a double message: the perception and the symbol. Maybe She knows that I need this sort of one-two punch in order to get the message. It’s always something completely out of the ordinary – I had no idea that there was a snake carving in that area, it was far away from the ruins we were looking for and snakes are not that common around here.
Usually it’s a symbol directly connected with Hekate, like a snake or an unexpected dog. I wonder how many messages She sends to me that I miss because of my own self-absorption. Over the years, I have learned to scan for Her presence in a semi-automatic way. It takes practice but it is possible to achieve a balance of self-protection and awareness. Strengthening your connection to Hekate through devotion, prayer, ritual, and study will help.

Serpentine Communications

Regardless of the specific symbol She sends to me, it is always much needed. It could be a reminder or new information. The several serpentine communications I’ve received have always been good omens, but I might feel differently if I lived in a place where they were poisonous! Once I receive a message, it’s up to me to figure it out. Once in a while this is instantaneous.
More often than not, I have to diligently work to discover the meaning like with this latest snake message. Hekate’s association with serpents is ancient – there are several references connecting Her with them in ancient texts, most prolifically in the Greek Magical Papyri. A Roman plaque of a three-headed Hekate with a snake on either side is a popular image today. I’ve heard Her referred to as a snake goddess which seems highly appropriate since the serpent is like Hekate, a universal symbol of life and death, has countless meanings, and is both vilified and revered. Perhaps the snake is Her most potent animal symbol.

The Charming Snake of the Past

I set to work discerning the message of my rock snake. While I was reading and thinking, several unexpected references to snakes appeared – the ouroboros was referenced several times in a TV show that I was binge watching which had nothing to do with the plot and I noticed that the cover of a book on my desk was actually a picture of a shed snake skin. I did a journey with Hekate as The Mother of the Great Serpent.
During the journey, Hekate initially appeared holding two snakes tightly but let them go so that they could be released from Her control. The snake behind Her was the snake of the past while She looked towards the one in front that was the future. This vision showed me that I was still holding both snakes – unwilling to let go of things that no longer served me and desperately trying to control the future. Neither of these activities serves us well and both block us from living Her true will for us. The message of the snake-in-the-rock was that I needed to let go. I had been looking into the past, holding tight to this snake and had been seduced by it’s gaze. In particular, I was obsessing over a relationship that had finally reached a tipping point. However, I had been charmed by the snake of the past into holding onto it. I kept reciting the list of slights over and over in my mind. I panicked whenever I was with the other person dreading what new hell would be thrown on me.

My Tail Tastes Like the Past

While the ouroborus represents a natural cycle of life and death, I was charmed into chewing on the tail of the past too long. I clearly need to let that relationship go, but there is comfort in the past even when it is harmful. It’s familiar. I know the characteristics of this individual. Not every bit of the relationship was horrible. We had an established pattern of interaction that will leave a hole in my life. Nevertheless, it is time to let it go. Like the shed snake skin, I’ve left that behind.

Hekate and Snake Imagery

There are so many vivid images of Hekate with snakes in the ancient texts: having a crown of snakes, being girthed in them, and wearing them down Her back are three examples. Clearly, snakes are in Her favour. Relinquishing the serpent of the past to Her is an expression of gratitude to Her for sending the snake-in-the-rock. The message of this snake is not to be charmed by the snake of the past, but to shed my skin and stop chewing on my own damn tail. Like in my vision, I’ll look towards the snake of the future.

Prayer to Hekate Drakaina for Releasing the Past

Hail Hekate Soteira, Savior!
Hail Hekate Drakaina, Mother of The Great Serpent that is all of life!
Hail Hekate Propolos, Eternal Guide.
Save me from the charms of the snake of the past,
Guide me so that I will know the natural cycle of life and death,
That I will know how to let go of all that no longer serves me.
Accept my offering of this snake of the past,
And guide me towards the holy serpent that brings rebirth.
Hail Hekate Soteira, our Savior!
Hail Hekate Drakaina, Mother of The Great Serpent that is all of life!
Hail Hekate Propolos, Eternal Guide.

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