The Medicine of Snail

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,