This summer I got over my intense fear of snakes. I had harbored that fear for many years, without any real reason. I had never had a bad experience with a snake so it really made no logical sense to me. Add to that that as an animal communicator, I felt deficient for having a fear of any animal. I thought I was supposed to be cozy with them all and that I was the only one! I have since discovered that there are other animal communicators that have big fears of one animal or another. Phew... I'm not alone!
Many people have irrational fears of certain animals, reptiles or insects. I call them irrational because these fears are not usually based in some kind of reality, but rather are the result of a misconception that has been fueled in some way or another over the course of the person's life. Take the Tarantula, for example. By gosh who isn't afraid of a Tarantula? We see them in movies, read about them in books and they are always demonized or made scary in some way. However, in actual fact the Tarantula is one of the most gentle creatures on the planet and such a passivist by nature that it has to be pretty badly pushed around before it will use its stinger defensively.
I bring up the Tarantula because I was taking a walk with an acquaintance this morning and she talked to me about her fear of them. Then she asked me how she could over come this fear, what could she do?
So I shared with her how I overcame my fear of snakes. I have distilled my process down into three tips that I share with you here!
1. Get to know as much as you can about the animal you fear:
Have you ever noticed how people tend to be afraid of animals, insects or reptiles that they have never seen or come into contact with and no nothing about - like that Tarantula? They live in fear that they might someday run across this scary creature and then what??
I knew next to nothing about snakes. So I decided to do some research and find out more about them. I learned how to tell which was which (venomous, non-venomous, constrictors, etc.), the different characteristics of the different snakes that I was most likely to come across, their natures, what they eat, when they come out and about, etc. The more I learned the more I relaxed. I learned that it is extremely rare that I would run into a "bad" snake and that most of the snakes in my area are gentle, docile helpers who aid in getting rid of the baddies (as in eating them for dinner - who knew!), so they are actually really good to have around.
Demystifying snakes helped me to relax considerably. Relaxing is GOOD. It also helped me to recognize that not every snake is a "baddie", which are, in fact, in the minority, and that many snakes are a wonderful boon to have around. My demonization of snakes was replaced with a new and much more accurate viewpoint. I began to see them through new eyes... true eyes, for the often gentle environmental contributors that they actually are!
2. Look into the symbolism of the animal, insect or reptile you fear for more information about the deeper why:
If you know anything about me by now you know that I feel strongly that animals - our pets, etc. - never show up in our lives without a reason. I feel the same way about a random, ungrounded fear of a certain animal, insect or reptile. Just like with that monster that shows up in your dream world from time to time, if you are afraid of spiders there is likely some important information in that for you. Snakes... Elephants... Bears... There will often be a reason you fear that particular animal that goes beyond just that it is furry and has big claws.
Take a look into what the symbolic meaning is of the animal that you fear. Is there a quality inherent to that animal that you might be avoiding fully integrating within yourself? Perhaps the symbolism of that animal points towards something that you may need to consider changing about your own life in order to be more in balance and alignment with your true path.
One of the best books I know of to work with animals in this way is Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small by Ted Andrews. Get a copy from your favorite book retailer or your local library and delve into the symbolic meaning of the animal you fear to see what you might learn about yourself! Andrew's entry on snake provided me with a whole new perspective around my fear and made a huge difference in how I view snakes and my relationship to them which helped to shift things big time for me.
3. If or when the opportunity arises make some kind of connection with that animal:
Now I realize that this is not always possible, but if it is take the opportunity, with your new found expanded and accurate understanding about that animal, to make a connection. This morning I suggested to my friend that she visit one of our local nature centres where she could see and actually hold a Tarantula. This is the action of taking your fear by the horns and staring it in the face so it can go "poof" up in smoke. It takes a big dose of the "braves", however, you are better equipped, with all that you have learned, to step through that door, especially if you're being assisted by someone who knows a lot about your particular animal. I know someone who did this very thing to help her get over her fear of Tarantulas and, after holding one and letting it crawl up her arm and onto her shoulder she was like "Wow, why was I so afraid???" when she was done.
My opportunity arose this summer while my granddaughter was visiting with me. A local fellow known for his expansive knowledge of the area knocked on our door and presented us with a six foot long Rosy Boa he just happened to have handy. My granddaughter went wild with glee and, with absolutely no fear, walked right up, took the snake in her hands and began talking to it and stroking it gently. As I watched her I realized that this was MY opportunity and I had better step up and take it, especially in light of the fact that my three and a half year old granddaughter so happily and joyfully was. So I did. I handled that Rosy Boa and it was awesome. It started out a little (well maybe a lot!) rough and rocky, but as I warmed up to the snake it felt more natural, totally safe and really good to me. I could feel the remaining walls of fear dissolve away with "Rosy" slithering delightfully through my hands.
If you can't actually have a physical encounter with your fear animal then pretend that you are in your imagination. Visualize yourself being in that animal's presence, sitting next to it or holding it in your hand, whatever the case may be for your particular animal. This way if the opportunity arises for you to actually meet your animal you have already done a dry run through of sorts. If not, you have chipped away a little bit more of that fear and moved in a forward direction in tackling it. Which is a really good thing!
Let me know how it goes!
Hi, I'm Clare...
...and I'm a mentor whose passion is helping budding mediums go from feeling weird, worried and overwhelmed to feeling “wow this is so damn cool!”
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