Updated: May 15, 2021
This blog shares a trilogy view into my relationship with Snail.
Featured here are images I've taken of them over the years,
as well as paintings & collages
I've created to honor the magic & medicine
Snail has brought into my life.
May this blog inspire within you
a wider level of appreciation
for your fragile & courageous self.
Part 1: Childhood
One of my earliest childhood friends was Snail.
I loved laying on the ground & hanging out with them.
I would tell them stories about my day,
and since they moved slowly,
I was able to get in a few tales during an interaction.
I've always been a dynamic storyteller.
Snail was one of my first audiences.
I was fascinated at how small & vulnerable Snail was.
I guess I saw a part of me in them.
I thought it was awesome they had a shell home
they could take with them where ever they went.
They could run away & still be protected from the elements.
I guess I saw a bit of my dreams in them.
I was fascinated by the trail of slime snails left in their wake.
Other people found it disgusting; however, I noticed
that when I tilted my head a certain way,
the sun would glint off the slime
and cast a magical trail of light.
It was a form of glitter sparkle
that made my spirit smile.
I was fascinated at how Snail extended their antennae
out into the big world,
Hesitantly at first, then courageously,
reaching out to see, feel and smell their way.
Seeing the black slimy pin prick of an eye
at the end of their antenna was amazing.
I wonder what the world looks like to snail?
I would get sad & angry
when I saw people poke snail in the eye.
This would cause them to quickly contract their antenna
back into their head, or maybe even
their whole body would retreat back into their shell.
Yet inevitably, they would stick themself back out again...
out into the very world that poked them.
What an act of courage!
I wonder if snails get PTSD from getting
poked in the eye over & over again?
As a child I was deeply moved
at the influence people had over snails.
With one step of a foot
a person could kill a snail;
either intentionally or accidentally, murder is easy.
This contemplation helped me better understand
themes of annihilation in my own life.
I felt so many similarities to Snail
as a child, and am grateful
I grew up with so many of them
in the ecosystem of my childhood.
Part 2: Death Lodge Companion
There was a span of years
during my early 40’s
when I was super sick
and life was very dark for me.
Shadow forces were winning
and my will to live was waining.
It was during this time
Snail glided back into my life
as a companion and teacher
of courageous living.
I was on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.
I had little life left in me
and felt my end time was near.
I contemplated where I wanted to die
and decided I wanted it to be somewhere beautiful.
I found a rocky spot in the rain forest
next to the Hoh river.
I laid on the earth next to the stream,
and waited for death to come.
Laying there cold & alone
embraced & ravished by the loneliness of my life
is when snail ambled back into my world.
This time, in the form of slug,
a snail without a shell home.
Slugs are just flesh, completely exposed.
So small in such a large world.
Once again I saw a piece of me in them.
Slugs moved by me, day & night,
wet with the rainforest,
witnessing my decent & slow demise.
Slug kept me company for days,
witnessing my movement through many veil layers
There I was, yet again,
laying on the ground,
telling my stories to Slug.
I shared my stories of pain, fear & sadness,
as well as regret, guilt & shame. .
My tears fell & mixed with the slime trails
left by slugs on the river bed.
Together we lubricated the journey
through many spirals of being.
...and when the fingertips of death brushed against me,
I contracted back...quickly,
like a snail does when you touch its antenna.
This contraction happened deep
in the center of my core.
It came from that instinctual place
that contracts against pain & death
and drives the will to live.
That touch of death & primal contraction
pushed me up to my knees,
and that is when I crawled back to civilization
to start the healing process of living.
Thank you Slug for being present with me
during this lonely time of my life
and teaching me how to be
courageously exposed in my fleshy self.
Part 3: Now....
And so now here I am,
in the middle of a global pandemic,
which coincides with years 3 & 4
of my MiddleWorld Apprenticeship.
Prior to the pandemic,
I was getting my bearings in the MiddleWorld.
I had a new job in New York City
and was getting acclimated to my new work teams.
I was finding ways to inject myself
into humanity, and expand kindness
through my Wild Soul Wanderings.
I was packing up to move cross country
to North Carolina to live next to the Appalachian trail.
I had big momentum happening in my life.
Then everything came to a halt.
It was like the pandemic poked me in the eye
and I contracted back into myself...
like a snail.
I retreated into my shell home
and isolated myself.
Over the year of quarantine,
I moved through many layers of sadness
and a big layer of ego death.
I was comforted by the thought
that so many people
were going through this as well,
and that I was not alone in my grief.