After reading people's thoughtful responses (comments and e-mails) to my snake dream, I thought it only fair to attempt to analyze the dream myself.
In my home office, I have several snakeskins on the edges of my bookshelves. If you have been imagining me working in a neat, uncluttered office, you are completely wrong. Well, some parts of my small office are neat, but the edges of the bookshelves and the windowsill and desk top are also filled with rocks, shells, feathers, and snakeskins. One time one of my kids left my window open on a windy afternoon and I walked in to a room that was just dancing with feathers, all blowing about amongst the stacks of books and piles of papers.
The snakeskin represents the part of the snake that resonates with me the most: the ability to change, to transform, to shed old skin, to grow.
Change can be frightening. When I was a child, I never wanted to grow up. I wanted to hold onto the safety and security of childhood. I've lived in the same place my whole life: I don't think I am by nature an adventurous soul. I cling to people and places. I am still friends with my best friend from kindergarten. I am married to the man I first dated when I was sixteen years old. I still camp every summer at the marsh I fell in love with as a child. When I was in first grade, the teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grew up: I said a writer and a teacher. I have stuck stubbornly with those career goals.
The presence of a friend in my dream does not surprise me either. Always I have had friends to nudge me towards changes in my life, forcing me to allow curves and tangents and unexpected happenings. The older I get the more I realize how important friendships are in my life: without them, I would probably just cling to a straight path, looking ahead and missing a whole lot.
So learning to allow snakes into my dreams has been about embracing change. And trusting friends to help me change and grow in all kinds of ways.
I am not exactly sure what particular change the dream was talking about. Does it have to do with my plan to take my writing more seriously this summer? Is it part of my spiritual journey and my realization that I am no longer part of the Catholic Church? Is it about a failed friendship that I clung to for years before finally letting go? Or is it about the fact that my children are growing up rapidly, becoming adults, changing my role and identity as mother?
When I look at the snakeskin, I remember PoetShaman's advice, and I try to welcome change into my life, accepting the snakes in my dreams, even if I am not entirely sure what that change might be. And I am thankful for the friends, including of course those in my blog community, who are helping me to discover all the curves and paths and snakes that would stay hidden without their help.