Eclipses & Constellations

Image by Patricia Ariel
Image by Patricia Ariel

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”John Keats, Letters of John Keats

No rest for the weary.

Lately my dreams roil with snakes: piles of striped snakes, red snakes, rattlers, garden snakes, and snakes shedding their skins.

The symbolism of these dreams isn’t lost on me.

My life’s molting and changing. I’m leaving an old ‘skin’ behind. I’m shape-shifting, but it isn’t clear yet what the shift means or entails.

I have my theories, but right now the only certainty is that everything feels uncertain, adrift.

Snakes frighten me. They’ve frightened me since I was a small child. Taken camping in the desert with my granddaddy, just on the heels of a Mump’s shot, I associate them with the abject terror I’m sure my mom felt having an active two-year-old with a bad vaccination reaction, set loose in a landscape full of creatures whose bite would kill her.

I remember that horrifying fear five decades later.

Still, despite that fact, there’ve been many times in my life — when in the throes of deep change — that, as I sleep, snakes have come to visit.

I awaken, heart pounding, realizing profound change is afoot.

Transformation, healing, resolve, and spiritual instinct all surface with the snake.

Total Eclipse.

In addition to my visits with the serpent, I’ve also been unpacking the extreme energetic shifts currently flooding the world.

The partial eclipse this past Thursday — in Scorpio —  signaled the closing bell on the past nineteen years of our lives. When I heard that, I thought back to 1995 and remembered what I set in motion that fall: graduate school in creative writing. I sent my application in that November. I finally read The Artist’s Way, after leaving it on the shelf for eighteen months after I bought it, and I realized — at the age of 35 — that if I didn’t make a change in my life, it was likely I wouldn’t survive much longer.

I circled the drain for another five years, but I went to school, got my Master’s, wrote my thesis, and told myself — in no uncertain terms — that I was a worthy investment. That my creative life mattered. That my words mattered. That the voice inside of me would be heard.

Twenty years later, I marvel at the fact that I let myself outgrow those self-inflicted chains.

Now what?

As this phase of my life draws to a close, snakes come to signal another round of total transformation. Like Eve with her apple, I sit and wonder what the next bite will taste like, what will fill my soul’s plate.

I have inklings — wispy ideas of what might be on the way — but as usual there’s nothing solid.

God damn, isn’t that just like change?! Rolling through causing mayhem and upset, without a single answer to a single question.

Everything’s a riddle.

There’s no use in a magic eight ball or in throwing the I-Ching. The answer’s always the same: in time, it will become clear.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”Anaïs Nin

So, I’ll change my diet and I’ll take more walks. I’ll read the books I’ve tucked away for far too long. I’ll outline my book proposal and talk to my writing buddy in London. I’ll catalog the desert birds that visit my backyard and drink hot water with lemon. I’ll cut rosemary and get the scent all over my hands. I’ll snip some fresh peppers and basil and cook some lunch. I’ll watch evening shade turned to violet shadow. I’ll sit under the stars and open my chest to that vast sea of constellations, and I will pull it all into me.

I’ll remember that life is lived as a series of moments, nothing more.

We are here.


There is nothing else and nowhere else to be.

I’ll worry less and play more. I’ll figure it out.

In time, everything will become clear.

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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