Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quest for the Nomadic Serpent

 Imagine yourself in a room full of people, spouses, coworkers, the community food drive, the pta's meet and greet. While you are milling around feeling a little uncomfortable some one stops with an introduction. You politely give your name and then freeze ... before stumbling through who you are, what defines you. Labels are a fact of life no matter how we hate them. They are how we identify ourselves and how we relate to others individually or in any particular community. Unfortunately it is also how we identify and relate to others and how others identify and relate to us.
   When I sat down to write my bio I found myself at a complete impasse of how to label myself in the pagan community. I am not a part of a particular tradition, I don't practice under a singular pantheon, although I consider many I have worked with and have the privilege to call friends I follow a completely different path. I didn't have a label that would be relateable to other pagans. I could call myself eclectic but that has become almost a bad word in the pagan community. It seems to draw the idea of someone who is wishy washy, someone who lacks in knowledge or legitimate study, and worse yet someone who lacks the ability to know who they are and what they believe. It is sad that so many people in the pagan community jump to this stereotype but it is true more often then not.
   So I was still thinking who am I in this path. I am fairly well read and have been studying for years. I am not, let me repeat, NOT wishy washy. I have definite ideas and feelings and will argue if I feel it is needed. I by choice haven't grouped in a particular tradition not because I don't respect them or many of their practitioners but, to use one of my favorite peoples sayings, it just isn't my flavor. My problem was that I don't have a label to easily put me in a niche that someone can relate to.
   Then I tried to look back at my path at how I got to the place I am now and through a late night philosophical conversation I joked that I was on the path of the Nomadic Serpent.
Serpent, I may be interested in spirit animals but the snake has never been one I have ever found a kinship with. I grew up in Texas where I was taught to have a healthy fear of dangerous snakes and knowledge about there behaviors and types. I have held and touched snakes, I have carefully backed away from dangerous rattlers. When thinking about my path I noticed from puberty through the twenty or so years since I have time and time again found myself attracted to, and practicing to Gods and Goddesses that have significant links to the serpent. So I have decided to explore each of these pieces in blog form one by one to see where it goes, where it comes from, and if there is another possible connection other then simply being a part of my path.
   I grew up with a mom interested in metaphysical practices and following a spiritual path so I started early on with an interest in the worlds religions and spiritual paths of the past and present. Before I even knew what Paganism really was the first deity I was drawn to was Shiva. I had only a very simplistic basic knowledge of Hinduism but Shiva, the God who danced the world into creation, really interested me. Maybe it's my Scorpio nature but life/death, creation/destruction, and life cycles in symbolism have always fascinated me. I purchased a small bronze statue created a small shrine to meditate at and got to work.


   Although there are many symbols in the imagery of Shiva filled with cultural importance and beauty, the serpents symbolism was one that interested me. The serpent is typically wrapped around Shiva's neck three times symbolizing past present and future. Sometimes they are translated into life death and rebirth. They show Shiva's understanding and transcendence over the cycles, time, and transformation. In many ways Shiva was the one that created the doorway to a path that transformed my life.

Written By: Julie Alexander

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