opening ourselves with the hinging daylight hours

Friday, April 17, 2009

St. Bernadette's snake

St. Bernadette Souborirous was born the daughter of a poor miller in Lourdes, France. When she was 14 she lived in the basement of a dilapdated house when the Blessed Mary began visiting her. There were 18 visits in all, they began when St. Bernadette was only 14, before she had taken her first communion. Her visions were criticized with great skeptisism initially but her daily visions of the Lady led to great crowds journeying to the spot. St. Bernadette said that the Lady came wearing a white robe, blue sash, and feet covered in yellow roses and instructed her to have a build a chapel in that place. 

Bernadette was instructed to dig in that exact spot where the vision of the 16 or 17 year old Lady that  had visited her. IN that spot a spring welled forth from the underwaters. People came to drink and wash  to gain wisdom and insight. 

At Eve's Garden today  after the regular greenhouse hours, we went divining for a well. Our local soil scientist went water walking to find the well. We would like to have a spiritual and physical meeting place for water at the greenhouse.  Father Michael speaks of his experience with a divining rod. Stories of wells are all over scripture, in both poetics and physical life sustaining purposes. Father Michael walked with the divining rod  through the pastures of Ireland until it took a nose-dive into the earth. THe rod was tapped and out sprung a life-giving flowing spring, a new well for the Doyle farm.

It got dark on the well tapping tonight, perhaps we will resume tomorrow. 

I've been looking to find my copy of "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard, I love the way that she writes of the snake skin compared to the season of spring in the chapter entitled "Catch Me If You Can." I've been looking but I think I gave this book away sometime ago. She found a snakeskin that had been half flipped inside-out as the snake made its great escape. It created  a Mobious strip, a ring that is half flipped that creates a ring that has one continuous side, instead of a top and a bottom. Dilliard writes of the seasons in the same way, that the transitions are seamless, without beginning or end, and never can you really ever point to a blossoming tree or a crocus and say "there. there is the beginning of this season" like a divining rod finding water. We found a snake today at Eve's Garden, and the snake had much to say.

It was a decay snake, a non-venomous brown snake. I was tempted to pick it up when I saw it laying low between the potting mix and  Juni's bunny hutch as we were transplanting seedlings beside the greenhouse.  I picked up the snake and took her to show the Junior farmers.  We put the decay snake, named Juli into one of the aquariums at the greenhouse and watched her slither. We carried her to the expert herpatologist in residence who told us to find her worms, slugs, and snails for subsistence.  We put the aquarium back at the greenhouse, and Lenny, one of the Jr. Farmers decided that he wanted to carry her. He carried her down to the community garden at the end of the block and we walked to see which seeds had emerged.  We spotted the very first potato stem stalking up and out of the ground. Lenny held Juli close to the leaves of the solanaceae, the leaves of the potato that emerged exactly one month after the Monk's had been here with us on their walk to D.C. planting potatoes on St. Patrick's Day for nuclear dissarmament in their Buddhist saffrons.

The neighborhood herp told us that we could keep her, and that she wouldn't even bite us. We put her in the aquarium and left for the night.  I returned and found an empty aquarium, with no Juli. I have hope that she will grow into an adult and enter into the food web with confidence and liberated curiosity, our integrated pest manager. The snake is the Spirit Animal of rebirth, resurrection, initiation, and wisdom. The snake appeared like an ancient gatekeeper, surrounded in yellow roses, returning to the well that we are unlocking, and the skins that we are shedding this Easter season, here at Eve's Garden.

To the mayans the story of Quetzcoatl is the myth of a dying god who would someday return. 
In Greece the snake was a symbol of healing and medicine. THe modern medicine symbol of intertwined snakes arises from the the Grecco god Hermes' staff of intertwining snakes.

In India, the goddess Vinata was the mother of snakes and a symbol of water and the underground.

St. Bernadette died today, on April 16th 1879, we are greatful for her life and the snakes that come to us, as we continue to tap our well through the earth and the sediment stories.

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