I spent a lovely evening with the Orange County Science Fiction Club last night, speaking to their group about how I became a writer and what my current challenges are. It seemed to go really well. I began to wonder before I left if they were going to let me leave. 🙂 It was a great feeling until my bladder started bawling.
When I arrived home, I was swarmed by hungry kitties. Soon after feeding them, I fell asleep.
Despite the good day I had, my sleep was filled with disturbing dreams. “Snake slaying” dreams, in fact, which I’ve had my whole life. I haven’t had one in a while…
I woke up in my actual bed but in a different location. The room was much bigger and the floor was covered with a wine red carpet. I peeked over the edge of my bed at the floor and there was the top half of a green snake’s body wiggling around the carpet. He’d been chopped in half but the top half was still alive — or so it seemed. I grabbed the snake, thumb behind the head, and squeezed until I crushed the skull and dark gray brain matter gushed out its mouth.
I worried that it wasn’t safe to step out of bed in my bare feet, but wasn’t sure what I could possibly wear that would protect my feet. I wondered if the snakes were getting into the bedroom somehow. I looked more thoroughly and discovered two more snakes. These were whole and alive. One was a rattlesnake and the other a two-headed white snake that reminded me of a copperhead. I grabbed one in each hand and held it behind the head(s), bodies and tails writhing.
I showed them to my mother. She said, “Why don’t you kill them? You have them in hand.” So I did, crushing them as I did the first snake, but they were stronger and tougher to kill. Eventually the two-headed snake’s necks stretched like gum. I wondered if it was really dead. (To say my dreamself is sometimes obtuse is an understatement.)
I returned to my bedroom and checked under the bed, which was much higher off the floor than usual. The floor sagged beneath . The dusty red carpet seemed to be covering a depression in the floor, possibly a large trap door that was not flush with the rest of the floor. Before I could lift it to verify, I woke up for real.
I am not a snake hater, people.
And I have never before dreamed of the two-headed snake. A cursory search on the web reveals that two-headed snakes were important symbolically to both the Aztecs, the ancient Egyptians, and possibly the Celts. All seem to point to warfare, writing, and the underworld — many of my favorite topics. With the two-headed snake being white, it sure harkens strongly to Quetzalcóatl, who was a god of vegetation, later of death and resurrection. (Some say even of chocolate!)
(Now that I think about it, I drew a picture of a Celtic, two-headed snake on my whiteboard at work. Crazy.)
Snakes themselves embody many beneficial meanings in mythology — perhaps more positive than negative.
So why am I killing them year after year?
Am I simply, as one friend put it, subconsciously badass?