(This is a cross-post from my FetLife writings. After I wrote it, I realized it belonged here as well.)
I’m not really into snakes. I mean, I’m not phobic or anything, but they’ve just never really held any fascination for me. But I’ve found myself co-habitating with one for a little while, and I got the honor of watching it shed a complete skin.
I’ve been doing a lot of heavy thinking about rebirth and renewal symbology. As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t really identify with the phoenix – I think it’s so overused as to become a little trite (for me, not for others) – and my changes aren’t big and flashy and all in one moment like the phoenix, either.
I’ve thought about onions with layers, but the more layers you pull away from the onion, the smaller and less useful it becomes.
I came to accept and really like the concept of humus – the fertile soil that is created by the death of green things (like leaves and grass) – the end result of a long breaking down process. How winter snow creates the perfect condition for spring renewal.
I know a snake shedding its skin is also a little overused, symbology wise, but what I loved about what I witnessed is that the snake is still basically the same – it is the same size, shape, color, and exhibits the same behavior – but something is different. I can’t tell what it is, and so each night I watch it a little closer.
You might know that I’ve submitted paperwork to legally change both my first and last names. This was something I desperately wanted to do for a very, very long time, but I put other things over it in priority. So once those other things removed themselves from the hierarchy, off to the courthouse I went.
I’ve been Told by one of my Gods that I have to ritualize this change in some way. That it’s more important, more earth-shattering than getting a little piece of paper to take to the DMV. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make that ritual happen, and I have some concepts I’ve been tossing around.
I’d love to hear your ideas, your thoughts, your reactions, about how to ritualize taking on a new identity, a new name, a new phase, a new skin. I don’t want this to feel like the flash of a phoenix, but the reward after a long process of breaking down and finding the good deep within all the fertilizer.