I stopped short and unmoving, my eyes fixated upon the snake. It was small but it was definitely a rattler. Diamond head topping the grey rattlesnake pattern and a single tiny rattle at the end of its tail. It was very still. Alive or dead? I wasn’t sure yet. I waited and watched. Prairie rattlers have been seen and encountered in our neck of the woods but we hadn’t yet noticed their presence on our farm. This was a baby. Maybe 8 or 9 inches long. A pretty new baby as it had only one little rattle. But when there is one baby rattlesnake, there are bound to be more nearby. I was definitely on “high alert” status.
I was happy the little dog was not with me. I waited. Was the snake just sunning/warming itself? Or was it dead? Hard to tell. I once stepped over a big old stick/branch in Texas… but as soon as I did, I realized it wasn’t a stick at all. I had just casually over a huge 6 foot rattlesnake.
I remember looking back and catching my breath at realizing I was just inches from such a huge rattlesnake. – the bend of it didn’t lead me to believe it was a serpent at all. The turns and bends weren’t smooth and regular. They were uneven and knobby much more like a branch than a snake. I have learned since to realize snakes can make themselves such shapes.
I watched and waited a bit. The little snake did not move. I looked for something nearby to toss at it to see if I could indeed make it move. A nearby maple tree had some bark mulch. I grabbed a handful, got within a few feet and tossed. I misjudged the windspeed and came up short. I got another handful with a little straight stick in it, and tossed again. This time I had a direct hit as a few woodchips landed on the snake. Nothing. It was indeed, dead.
The snake’s head was pointed to the farm, as if it were on its way there, yet it barely got halfway down the driveway before dying. It was not injured in anyway that I could see, it simply died. Right in its tracks.
What were the Nature Spirits telling me?
This small, very deadly and very real threat, is itself dead, even as it continues to appear to be alive.
So it still looks like it can hurt us, but it cannot.
I let all of that sink into my awareness collected the refuse bins and made a mental note to bring a shovel, collect the snake, thank it for its message, send it blessings and return it to the draw for burial. I also intended to communicate with its nestmates, likely still nearby.
It was evening time before I could return with the shovel. When I got to the place where the snake lay, I found that it had been run over by someone, not sure who, and not sure that matters but that action created quite a little picture for me to see. The mulch, with the one “larger” piece of wood was embedded in and around the body of the snake. The larger piece of wood, took the shape of a narrow column or staff, the wheel smashed the curves more smoothly. I stood looking at a perfect Rod of Asclepius, made with snake and wood. Right on my driveway.
Another, deeper communication from the Nature Spirits. The below information is taken from symbolsarchive.com
The Rod of Asclepius Symbol-
The probable medical origin of this ancient Greek symbol with a snake wrapped around a staff is the ‘worm theory’ that dates back to about 1500 BC. It was a description of treatment for the parasitic Guinea worm written on papyrus, said to be among the first ancient Egyptian medical documents. Ancient physicians probably used signs with a worm on a stick to advertising the worm treatment service they offered.
Another theory has Biblical origins. Moses had a bronze staff with a snake coiled around it. Any Israelite bitten by a venomous snake only had to look at the snake on Moses’ rod to be cured.
Whatever the exact origin of the symbol is, the Rod of Asclepius is the dominant symbol for a lot of medical and professional health care associations all over the world. The most prominent of all is the World Health Organization.