Wanted-Shamanic Consult.

An open letter to all wise souls, old or new, this life or past,

In case you don’t each have enough on your metaphysical “plates”, I hereby request a consult on the following rather eerie events involving….dum-dum-dummmm….me and snakes!

And not only snakes but the ratt-ly kind and my recent tendency to attract them…wherein…

A few weeks ago my sister Laurie and I were hiking on Mt. Diablo (now no longer in danger of being re-named Mt. Jesus by some neo-con-evangelists, thank goddess (he-he). We were coming out of Sycamore Canyon near Curry Point when I actually stepped on a rattlesnake as it was “booking” across the trail. “Booking” is a term often used by herpatologists to describe snakes when they’re moving faster than 60 mph. It was going so fast it left a straight line in the dust instead of the characteristic zig-zig pattern. Anyway–I noticed something kind of well…wiggly…under my left boot and sure enough I’d come down right on his head. After leaping straight into the air like a Saturday morning cartoon character, it continued its’ “book” across the path, apparently unscathed, and only then I noticed it was a young Western rattler, about 18 in. long. Two or three rattles…pissed.

So okay, adrenaline rush but no harm, no foul. Then about 50 yards further up the trail, we were no longer talking but scanning the trail ahead for “sticks” with fangs, Laurie suddenly stopped in her tracks and at the same time put her hand on my left shoulder to stop me from proceeding further, which I immediately interpreted as “something large and menacing just landed on you—don’t move”. Naturally, and being a little jumpy already, I ignored her and launched into what would later be called the “White Guy Dance of Panic” trying to shake off whatever beast was about to sink its’ fangs into my neck. This involved several gyrations and jerking movements that propelled me forward about 6 feet up the trail in the direction of…yes, you guessed it…another rattlesnake, this one not “booking” but “chilling” directly in our path. She saw it, I didn’t but would soon…

Laurie tried in vain to calm me down by yelling “You idiot..what are you doing?!!” But I was busy whirling like a dirvish thus when I finally caught on to what the “problem” was, I was standing directly over the snake. Fortunately, it was another smallish rattler, curled up, in fact I thought it may actually be dead or injured for its’ lack of notice it had taken of me and my spastic behavior. I looked down, gathered my thoughts, weighed my options, considered wetting myself but instead backed away slowly. I found a stick and nudged it a bit. It was definitely alive and slithered off…pissed.

At this point I thought I would start talking in parsiltongue or something. I’d seen maybe two rattlesnakes in the wild before, one of them on a cold day near Brushy Peak after eating a rodent (the snake, not me) and it was so docile I could have eaten my Cliff Bar off it’s back. The other one came out of the ground right before kickoff on a soccer field in Concord. Sara did some moves that are still being talked about in that adult league.

Okay…so fast forward to yesterday. The gardener Roberto we hired to defoliate our back yard, told me after he was nearly done that he’d run across not one, but “dos serpientes” under the leaf litter and debris. I thought, okay, gopher snakes. We live next to some open space, and probably several gophers…gotta be gopher snakes. “Serpiente de los gophers”…I offered in my pristine spanglish. Shaking his head he wiggled his pinky finger back and forth and made a hissing sound. Then he spread his arms out wide as someone would lie about the “fish I caught once” and a little chill ran up my spine. I had been stomping around up there that very morning in my Birkenstocks noting which trees I wanted Roberto to remove and probably walked right over the “dos serpientes” several times in the process. And these weren’t little ones but “serpientes grande”.

So here’s my question to all you “knowers of ancient wisdom” and “readers of sign and wonders”. What the hell is going on with the two rattlesnakes thing? And the narrow escapes? And the fact that they seem to be getting incrementally bigger? I’m about to do some research into Buddhist lore since I am practicing again seriously but I’d really like to rule out:

A. That I didn’t piss off some Mayan snake god and this is just a warning.

B. That I shouldn’t take up base jumping immediately.

C. That I’m really just trapped in a video game.

D. That maybe I am indeed…The Chosen One.

Any mythic correlations or shamanic interpretations are welcome. Thankssssssssssss…..

Scroll to Top