I define myself as someone who cares for others. It’s in my nature to try to make others feel happy, to feel safe, and it makes me happy when I help them.I was sensitive toward animals before having a dog, and now I’m even more concerned about their well-being and rights. Hence, it was a shock for everyone when I bought a necklace with a rattlesnake vertebra for my birthday.
A Lifetime Fixation
Before I started working with animal spirits, I was interested in snakes. I see them as beautiful, a symbol of transformation, and there’s something seductive about them, a mix of danger and attractive that it’s fascinating. With a blank canvas for skin, I already have a few tattoo ideas and many of them involve snakes one way or the other.
My favorite myth ever is Medusa’s, even before I learned about her story, but her image as a snake-haired woman was enthralling. When I read the different versions and how unfair and tragic it all was, I saw some of myself in there.
She was a victim and still remained peaceful, although others portrayed her as a monster. Medusa was living a life in solitude on an island and only killed when someone went there to kill the monster. She was hunted and killed for being different, and I could easily see myself in that.
The idea of shedding their skin, as if reinventing themselves, going through a bit of pain to be reborn as something else, something better, to be more protected, was something I wanted to do as well. Snakes are not afraid of pain if it means they’ll have a better chance at surviving.
Estonian singer-songwriter Kerli shared a video where she met with an Estonian Witch and she told Kerli that “women who had worn a viper around their neck will never be cursed ever again”, also pointing at the serpent’s protective energy. They have a predator image, dangerous and lethal, and they should, but some of them can also be pets.
And let’s be honest, they’re plain gorgeous. Even my mom once said “how something so beautiful can be so dangerous. Some of them are even cute!” And I agree. Looks can be deceiving. Sometimes they are meant to be.
Rain of Fire Kind of Energy
When my birthday arrived this month, I went to a local Gothic store just to take a look at things and kill some time, and I found a gorgeous necklace with a bone in it. There were all kinds of things, some more grotesque than others, but my eyes wouldn’t stop staring at that one little detail.
I asked the owner how she got those remains and she calmly explained how they’re all ethically sourced, and I knew that store had been established 10 years ago, so she clearly knew what she was doing. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about what owning animal remains would mean for me as a witch and as a human being.
In my mind, I kept thinking about what kind of energy I would bring to me, what it would be like, if I would feel different. My mind kept replaying a lot of what ifs as I read about rattlesnakes, their anatomy and biology, on Wikipedia.
I had a lot of mixed feelings about it, but then I read that their venom is not lethal if treated in time, and that their rattle, that particular sound they’re known for, it’s a warning for others to get away before they attack. There’s some kind of mercy in it for me, as if they said “hey, I don’t like you, please get away”, and even after biting, “you asked for it, but you can still survive if you get help, just leave me alone”. There’s more to it, but I hope you read about them and see the same as I did.
Finally, I spoke with a friend and he told me that “I would say rattlesnakes are good for offensive magic, or for aggressive defense.” That clicked something in my mind. “Rain of Fire kind of defense?” and he said “Why yes, yes in fact. Yes indeed”. That was all I needed. The next day, I got it and left it in a selenite wand all night to cleanse whatever negativity or energy leftovers it could have.
Wearing the Dead
When I wore it the first time, I didn’t feel any different, depressed, anxious, or anything negative in general. It was just a necklace, just a decoration, I liked it, and as with anything I like it made me feel good. I was happy with it, and have worn it a few times already. However, I know I have something that was once alive hanging from my neck, something that has power, and as such I treat it as sacred.
I wore it again when I had to cast a protection spell, a big one, for a lot of people, and then once again when I saw a very special friend. However, I did feel more focused, more in control of what I was doing, more inspired and creative during the spell and could think about what I needed to do at the exact moment. I like to think it was because of the rattlesnake vertebra necklace, because even the bones have meaning. Skulls are for mind, hands are for work, and I associate vertebrae with firmness, mostly.
For me, this has been a lesson that, if done with good intentions and a pure heart, anything can be useful. I feel I’m the same person I was before, I don’t see any changes, and I’m in no hurry to surround myself with dead things. I don’t feel I need them or have a different opinion on the matter. It’s still something I want to consider carefully and take as slow as I may need.
However, that one necklace is very special, has some meanings, and it helped me when I needed it. Things have power and associations, but we can also make our own and give our own meanings to things if we are respectful and conscious.
I didn’t buy it on a whim, I gave it a lot of thought, gave myself time to think, to read, research, share, hear opinions, and ultimately said I would decide the next day although I was very convinced by the end of my birthday. The next day, now officially 27 years old, I felt okay with the idea of wearing the dead. If anyone wants to ever try that, that’s what I’d recommend them to do.