Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Musings & Meanderings:
Snake Woman, Shedding Her Skin

in Home, Musings & Meanderings

me & the garden

me & the gardenThe other day my friend Nora came over to visit and help me pack up my studio. She was still kind of drifting in that in-between space you inhabit after a peak experience, as she had been home only one day from a week at Pagan Spirit Gathering in the Midwest. PSG is a festival Nora has attended for many years as a Circle minister, and the community there is one of her spiritual homes. She was too ill to attend in 2013. Her return was all the more poignant because her husband Bud had expected to take a portion of Nora’s ashes to PSG last year, when we were all expecting her imminent death

One turn of the Wheel later, she returned to the arms of her spiritual family with great joy, love, and laughter.

And we all stand in awe, once again, of the Great Mystery.

As Nora left my house, I saw a little black snake slither through the edge of my garden. I’ve lived here six years and have never seen a snake here before. Change. Rebirth. Transformation.

“Snake Woman, shedding her skin,” the chant goes. For I am changing too, shedding one house and home for another.

As I took to Facebook to bemoan my “betwixt and between” state, no longer at home here but not yet settled there, my friend Lunaea reminded me that those liminal spaces are “where the magic happens.”

Oh yes.  Where would we be without our sisters to give us these gentle reminders?

packingAnd so, in this in-between space, I am sorting, purging, and packing my possessions. Craig and I did one round of this in April when we put half our belongings into storage, in preparation for putting the house on the market. We took loads of “stuff” to recycling and thrift shops. But still — “stuff” remains.

Sort, purge, pack. Sort, purge, pack. I become ruthless, not allowing myself to be sentimental. “Off with their heads!” I would mutter to myself, visualizing the many-armed blue Kali (instead of the Red Queen), blades in hands, slicing away at all my possessions. (Except the art supplies. Never throw away art supplies.) Books, I’m releasing. (Not all of them.) Tarot decks too. CD’s? In the box. (They’re all digitized anyway.) I cranked up the soundtrack from “Nashville” and hacked away.

Then I stopped, gobsmacked, by two big boxes full of magazines that contained artwork or articles that I’d contributed, some going back to the 1980’s. SageWoman, Circle, The Beltane Papers, and a few others. I laid some of them out on the floor, looking at the fruit of my labors of the last 20+ years. Felt a little misty-eyed, I must say. It was a whole lot of good work, and I’m proud of it.


Then I lifted those boxes again. Heavy! And I thought about how I lugged those boxes around from house to house, and never opened them except when I’m moving them. A candidate for the blade of Kali / Red Queen if there ever was one. So, quickly, before I could think too hard about it, I posted a giveaway on Facebook, and within an hour I had divvied the magazines up between several people.

I don’t regret it. I feel really good about the magazines going into the hands of mostly younger women, the next generation of Goddess women. The ideas and artwork in the magazines will spark them, inspire them, nourish them. This is so much better than having those boxes stuck on a shelf in a closet in my back room!

I have the sense that I am creating a bright open space for new creations to inhabit, by letting go of so much “stuff.”

Today, I am back at it.  Sort, purge, pack.

Snake Woman, shedding her skin.

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Cari Ferraro Fri - Jun 27th 2014 7:34 am

    Joanna, this is a beautiful post and one I may revisit, for it describes so well that process of sloughing off and becoming light. This snake chant is one of my favorites and it often comes to me at these emotionally precarious times. I love that you can feel the passing of your wisdom to the younger ones. This is what becomes our solace as we let go. And all thanks to Lunaea for that gentle reminder of “where the magic happens.” Entering transformation willingly is not easy, but here are treasures unknown, if only we have the courage to follow our dreams. Blessings on the journey!

    • Joanna Powell Colbert Fri - Jun 27th 2014 7:41 am

      Thank you Cari! And blessings on your own transformations. XO

  • Loran Hills Fri - Jun 27th 2014 8:01 am

    I’ve done the same thing, sorting, purging packing. And now I’m still unpacking, sorting and continuing to purge. The transformation process hasn’t been easy. I’ve lost my ground. I’ve literally lost my place on the land. The new land is beautiful but I have no roots yet. I know it comes with time.

    Thanks for posting this chant. It’s good medicine.

    • Joanna Powell Colbert Fri - Jun 27th 2014 8:08 am

      I hear you, Loran. I felt the same way when I moved here to Bellingham after leaving the island. I never really put roots down on this land, although I have enjoyed living here. I was extremely resistant. I hope it will be different for you!

      • Loran Hills Fri - Jun 27th 2014 9:39 am

        I’m glad you can return to the place you love, Joanna.

        Time will tell as far as living here goes.

        • Joanna Powell Colbert Sun - Jun 29th 2014 5:22 am

          I hope your new Place takes firm root in your heart, Loran. XO

  • Patience Fri - Jun 27th 2014 8:17 am

    Thanks for your so-true words but especially the chant as I sit with my birthing daughter-in-law and we await this babes arrival~~~

    • Joanna Powell Colbert Fri - Jun 27th 2014 8:25 am

      Blessings to you & the new mama, Patience!

  • maurie Fri - Jun 27th 2014 10:27 am

    Having done this very thing last spring and summer in preparation for our own downsize and move. I feel ya! It was part ruthless purging, part sitting with myself and allowing the emotions, finding the peace, being gentle where I most needed to be. Leaving something and coming back to it, if too much turmoil arose. I too felt better seeing things go into the hands of those who would continue to use and appreciate them. In the end, we feel lighter and brighter… more available to the new and wondrous adventures to come!
    I’m at it again on a smaller scale, myself. Things that never found their space in our new place, things that sit unused. It is a process, always evolving – just like us.
    Happy shedding, dear Joanna!

    • Joanna Powell Colbert Sun - Jun 29th 2014 5:22 am

      Oh it sounds like you learned so much from the process, Maurie. Blessings to you!

  • Gretchen Staebler Fri - Jun 27th 2014 10:43 pm

    Thank you for this, Joanna. I have moved many times, and I am a purger—I become less and less sentimental with each move. I have never missed a single thing I let go of. And now I am living in a house occupied for 50 years by two people who never threw a thing away. It drives me to distraction. Someday it will fall mostly to me to clean out; I both dread it and can’t wait. Purge on, my friend. And happy moving.

    • Joanna Powell Colbert Sun - Jun 29th 2014 5:21 am

      Thank you Gretchen. Once again I have so much respect and compassion for you!

  • Joan Wofem Sat - Jun 28th 2014 6:45 am

    As you know we are going through the same process, and your post is so inspiriing, especially concerning releasing the very emotionally charged things which I’ve dragged from place to place, and, as you said, only see them when moving. I will seek my inner Kali. Thank you!


    • Joanna Powell Colbert Sun - Jun 29th 2014 5:21 am

      Thank you, Joan!