I have loved animals as far back as I can remember. I played with my "imaginary" animal friend as a child, not knowing at the time what a power animal was. I had vivid dreams and visions throughout my life. I also felt drawn to different animals at different times in my life and when I found out about power or spirit animals, I finally understood why. Reading up on those animals and then going on shamanic journeys and meditations afforded me the entry point into the world of animals on a spiritual level. The reason I prefer the term power animal to spirit animal is simply because it feels more grounded and manifested to me. You are, of course, welcome to use whatever term you like; power animal, spirit animal, animal guide...You choose. The important thing is to have a strong, loving connection and to trust and ask your animal to teach you and share its wisdom with you.
Python is a nonvenomous reptile that kills its prey by constricting it so it can no longer breathe and dies of cardiac arrest. They are a family of snakes found in sub-Saharan Africa, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, southern China, Southeast Asia, and from the Philippines southeast through Indonesia to New Guinea and Australia. The family is subdivided into eight genera, which in turn incorporates 31 species. These count some of the largest snakes in the world amongst them.
The largest of those genera is the Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) of Asia attaining a maximum recorded length of 9.6 metres (31.5 feet), which has also been known to swallow a human being whole, whereas some Australian pythons (genus Liasis) never grow much longer than one metre. Many others, however, regularly exceed a size of 3 metres. Despite their size, their extraordinary skills at catching rats have protected them from extinction through humans in many places and Pythons would be living a good life if it weren’t for their beautiful pattern which makes them of great interest to the leather industry.
The eight different genera of Pythons are the 1. Anchieta's Dwarf Python, or Angolan Python; 2. the Borneo Python; 3. African Rock Python; 4. the Blood Python; 5. the Indian Python; 6. the Southern African Python; 7. the Ball Python, or Royal Python; 8. the Reticulated Python. Moreover, in various sources, the Timor Python and also (as one generus) the Red Blood Python, Malaysian Blood Python, or Sumatran Blood Python are mentioned, which would bring the number of genera up to 10. As I am not an expert in the field of zoology, I cannot attest on which account is correct.
Most members of this family of snakes are ambush predators and lie in wait until its prey is close, then strike suddenly. A python has four rows of teeth that are curved inwards, thus preventing its prey from tearing free, once the python’s teeth have hooked into its flesh. And because the jaws are not connected, larger pythons can even swallow cows and crocodiles or antelopes whole after suffocating them. However, they generally only attack when feeling hungry or provoked and when they have eaten, can lie motionless to digest for many weeks. One python has even been recorded to not eat for two years.
As opposed to boas, which bear live young, for example, pythons lay eggs and the female will incubate them until they hatch. During this period, they don’t eat, but merely bask in the sun in order to raise the temperature.
On a spiritual level, Snakes have always been seen as a symbol of life, change and longevity, as well as healing. A snake sheds its skin in one when it outgrows it and this symbolises complete renewal, a reinvention of something greater than before emerging when shedding its old skin. There are so many different types of snakes, however, and it would be futile not to go into more detail with a particular one you come across, just as it would be to merely look up bird, regardless of you having encountered a sparrow or an eagle.
In my personal experience, I have had Cobra as a power animal for a very long time already, but, at the time of writing this, I have encountered a python in a guided meditation to meet your guide or guides which was part of a group course. As I was fairly familiar with Cobra already, I had never much looked into other snakes thus far and the experience I had was anything but ordinary. It was because of that that I started to research python, first to find out which one it was I’d seen (a Burmese, as in the picture above), and then I thought this would be my next blog on power animals.
Snake is a typical animal to come to you when your life is undergoing profound changes and you are in dire need of healing. This is more often associated with venomous snakes as from their poison, medicine can also be produced. In any case, when Snake slithers into your life, things are about to get real!
Python reminds us that the beauty of ourselves lies in our mystique. We should allow ourselves to be admired from afar but also be wary of those who might want to use us for their own selfish reasons. Python can never be wholly trained and tamed. Therefore, we must nurture our innate free, wild spirit and undergo our transformations consciously.
During any period of transformation, Python serves as a reminder to take time and space to go through this process with tenderness and care for ourselves and our healing process. She tells us that it is vital to take time even after the period of transformation, so the experience and the changes can be fully integrated and the body, mind, heart and soul can all assimilate these new energies in a healthy and holistic manner.
Balance & Flow
Python is a creature connected to the earth and lends us the powers of our intuitive knowing to be able to determine who is good for us and has honourable intentions and who isn’t – and take necessary steps to protect ourselves from the latter. Python serves to remind you that you are already powerful. When I had the vision of Python, it literally told me so. It said I held more power than even I could ever imagine and once I didn’t deny myself access to it any longer, I could become someone the world had never seen before.
Rather than making me the new Messiah, the singular chosen one by some Divine authority, this declaration from Python serves to remind us that this kind of infinite creative power she spoke of slumbers in all of us. Through conditioning, fear and feelings of unworthiness, we have cut ourselves off from it, but that doesn’t mean it does not exist. We are all capable of moving mountains and creating a new world for everyone to be living a happy and fulfilled life in. Our power is in our very DNA, which is arranged in a helix, a spiral ladder that looks like a snake as well.
Python can kill but she only does so when absolutely necessary. She is not a volatile or evil creature, but only exerts her power when necessary. In the meantime, Python will nurture her powers to grow and be integrated fully. She finds regular times of healing and skin shedding, or renewal in order to keep this process in a healthy flow. As Python is a very good swimmer as well, who can sometimes be found in the ocean far away from any shores, this is another reminder that we must not allow ourselves to stagnate with the Earth element, as grounding as it is, but also find a healthy balance with the flow of the waters of life and change.
Python’s eyes are always open, as it is with any snake, and the eyeball is protected by an opaque scale, which turns blue when she is ready to shed her skin. The colour Blue stands for truth and this means, you are ready to step more into your own truth, your innate divine power, your conviction based on the ultimate truth.
Interestingly, Christianity portrays the snake as the master of lies (speaking with a split tongue, double-tongued, as it is called in the German language, saying one thing here, another thing there, being untrustworthy), when all ancient cultures see snake as the harbinger of truth, the healer (truth heals).
Mystery & Power
Python reminds us to embrace our own mystery, our power, but to husband it wisely. Likewise, we are asked not to be fearful of it and the freedom it affords. That was also a personal message I received during the vision I mentioned above. She told me to hold out my hands when I asked for a gift and spewed gold coins in it. Having a history of shadows and blockages in regards to physical abundance, she looked into my eyes and said, “Here. Now you have enough. While you recuperate, think what you are going to do with it.”
The underlying message here was that this overflowing heap of gold coins would never diminish, it was always there and now I could see it if I hadn’t been able to believe it before. I was told to stop wasting my time worrying about lack and get on with what was really important. At the same time, with regards to my being ill, I was told to not go out and spend mindlessly but to take my time getting back to health and then making plans. Slowly, not rushing, giving myself the time and space for each step of the journey.
I’ve documented much of this journey in my book of spiritual poetry, My Spirit Song. In it, I am poetically documenting my inner journey stretching over several years from living in a mindset of total separation to slowly embracing my own divinity more and more.
As Python swallows her prey whole, it needs a long time digesting it and so it is telling us also that big chunks of upheaval in our lives need their time to be “digested” in order to get fully integrated and not cause any damages, as a whole body can sometimes break through a python’s body and rip it open when the snake moves, which is why they are so lethargic and don’t move at all if at all possible after having fed.
Python tells us to allow ourselves enough time and space for all we are going through, to experience each step of our journey in our spiritual growth throughout our human earthly life consciously and fully present.