This is a magnificent, archetypal moment/place. These snakes swarm inside of me.
At my feet a small black, red, and yellow snake is emerging from the ground, its head pushing out of the dirt. Then the dirt falls away revealing the hole it is curled in. It is slowly uncurling as it rises up and up. I am transfixed at the sight of it.
On the Internet I learn that the snake in my dream is a coral snake, one of the deadliest snakes in North America. This is what it says on Wikipedia:
“Coral snakes vary widely in their behavior, but most are very elusive, fossorial snakes which spend the vast majority of their time buried beneath the ground or in the leaf litter of a rainforest floor, coming to the surface only when it rains or during breeding season.”
I guess the unconscious knows a lot more about snakes than my conscious mind does. Does this mean it’s breeding season in my psyche?
I grew up knowing the rhyme to help people distinguish the coral snake from its nonvenomous lookalike: Red on black, friend of Jack. Red on yellow, kill a fellow. This one was red on yellow. So who’s the fellow?
That would be me. When this snake is fully emerged, something in me will be dead. And that’s a good thing. Dreams teach that there is no such thing as death; only transfiguration. We get bitten by snakes, or drop off cliffs, or burn in fires and we emerge transformed.
The bottom line of this dream, any dream, is the feeling that arises in me at the sight of this snake emerging. Like the tiny gun in my Charlie Crews dream (see my previous post “Heart in His Hand”), this snake is curled at my heart. The hole it’s curled in is like the cage of my ribs, and the rising is not a metaphor or a symbol. I can feel it animating my whole body.
This is the miracle right here, folks—the fact that this rising snake is real. This is happening in me physically. I need only return, remember, drop my thoughts and check in, to know that this is a true experience that gets more real the more I attend to it.
Red on yellow. Bring it on.