In the Alchemist’s Garden – The Passage of the Snail

by Annie Dieu-Le-Veut

The ancient Egyptians honoured the scarab or dung beetle for several reasons, and not least because it oriented itself and navigated its path via the Milky Way.

I’ve been wondering if that is the reason why Mr Snail keeps somehow wriggling itself under my front door every night, and doing a little circuit on the red carpet (according to the silvery, gungy pattern he deposits) before leaving again?

Sometimes, the pattern looks like a symbol… and I wonder if he’s trying to tell me something…?

Maybe he’s just saying: “Look, I have to come this way, by the light of the stars, just as my ancestors going back millions of years did. It’s not my fault that you put your house in my way!”

Anyway, I posed the question in a shamanic journey this morning and instead of a definitive answer, I just got a pat on the back of encouragement that I’m on the right path in asking it.

This is often the way with the spirits… the learning is holistic and unfolds fractally in its own way and in its own time … and usually with great synchronicity, resonance and mirroring with inner lessons and healings in our own self development. In other words, this is part of an ongoing odyssey of alchemical learning and it’s not going to be just about the passage of the snail – although it can reveal itself as slowly as snail’s pace!

It all began a few weeks ago when I came out one morning to find that my newly planted purple sprouting broccoli had been decimated, with silvery trails leading from the scene of the crime and all over some of the remaining chewed leaves still managing to cling on limply to their stalks.

I asked around some friends who garden, and they recommended using copper wiring which apparently delivers a mild electric shock to the slug or snail, thus deterring it from going any further. Luckily, I already had some and so I surrounded all my new veggie plants with it – not just the broccoli, but also the ruby kale, the butternut squash and the mange tout peas.

That night, I went into the garden at about midnight to find what must have been at least 50 snails, all queuing patiently at various plants like Friday night supermarket shoppers at the check-out. I was so disappointed that my copper wire solution hadn’t worked, that I’m afraid it was a knee jerk reaction – I just scooped them all up and put them in a plastic bag, sealed it tight, and put it in the rubbish bin. Then I went into complete denial about how I felt about it.

The next night – as if in a sort of Groundhog Day recurring nightmare – there they all were again, or at least their friends and relatives. So again on recommendation – one person said ‘Drown the little buggers in beer, Ishtar’ – I put out jam jars of Budweiser.

When I told another friend, the next day, that I’d used Budweiser, she’d said: “You were supposed to get them totally paralytic, Ishtar, not just mildly squiffy on weak horse pee!” I think that was what happened. I’d come out at about midnight again to find one hell of a party in full swing involving the usual suspects of around 50 snails. However, the next morning, there were fewer than 10 of them lying feet skywards with bloated bellies and blissful grins on their faces… the rest must have somehow staggered home. I can’t imagine that their wives would have been very pleased to see them.

Obviously, stronger measures were called for. The next night, I put out Newcastle Brown ale. Again, I went out at midnight to find half the neighbourhood snails there, and that’s when I realised … I wasn’t just killing my own garden snails but just about every terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusc in the Glastonbury area. They’d all been attracted by the powerful aroma of the strong, yeasty beer… and so what had just been meant as a damage limitation exercise had turned into mass genocide.

I felt really awful … I’d hated having to kill them anyway and now I was really upset, too upset to journey in the formal way. I just lay on my sofa and shouted inwardly for my spirit guides. They came quickly. What I learned from them was something I’d already known…but forgotten. We no longer know how to kill. Those of us who aren’t vegetarian would quickly become so, I’d be willing to bet, if we had to kill our own dinner.

However, becoming a vegetarian is not necessarily the answer, because it wouldn’t negate the fact that we live in a ‘death pit’. Everything born here begins the process towards death as soon as it takes its first breath. Everything lives off everything else … and no-one gets out of here alive. The spirits of the earth, skies and seas receive the energetic detritus of our corpses as their food… just as the trees feed off our carbon-di-oxide and give us oxygen in return, and so the cycles go round and round.

My spirits reminded me that I had to learn how to kill in a way that honoured these cycles and was protected by sacred ceremony, just as our ancestors had with their ‘hunting magic’. In this way, the animal is able to pass through the death gate surrounded by blessings, and those blessings act as a sort of psychopomp to support it and guide it to its next destination. This is what shamans used to do; they would move the ‘energy in the wrong place’ to its new destination where it was able to continue its evolutionary development without annoying other life forms. I had to learn how to do that…

The next night, I did a small ritual in my garden, and offered up the bodies of the snails to the spirits. I asked for blessings on their passage through the death portal into the next dimension…and through various means which unfolded afterwards, was given to understand that those prayers and the offering had been well received.

I’ve also now started using iron phosphate to see off the slugs, which only kills the snails that eat it and doesn’t attract others into the garden because there’s no aroma. Iron phosphate occurs naturally in the soil and is safe and non-toxic to other animals. So far, it has been a success.

After all that, I thought that was the end of it… and that I’d learned the lesson which the snail had brought. But no, there is still one insisting on coming under my front door at night.

At first, I found that a length of coiled copper wire kept him out… but last night, he decided to brave the shocks and crawl under the ‘electric fence’ to come in anyway. I felt bad for putting him to so much discomfort. And so once again, it was back to my spirits for guidance on the matter, and whatever lessons there are for me to learn…. I’ll let you know how all that goes!

I think to be considered worthy as an alchemist by the spirits isn’t about having all the right answers so much as knowing when to ask the questions, and what to ask. I hope so, anyway!


Reclaiming Sovereignty

Shamanic Earth Magic

Amazon cover

Buy it here

When the people of Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, the word on everyone’s lips was Sovereignty.

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All of those pundits were wrong – although they were hardly to blame for their errors. Sovereignty actually starts off life as a spiritual transmission from the spirits of the land, but this is no longer taught to the general populace.

However, a few mystic types did know about Sovereignty, and so they weren’t at all surprised when its spirit rose up from the land on the Summer Solstice of 2016, and infused the hearts and minds of the ordinary people of Britain.

In this book, Reclaiming Sovereignty, you will learn all about the spiritual source of Sovereignty – and how to find it and reclaim it in your own life and on your own land.

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One comment

  1. downbythebrook

    Snails eat some of my crops but I never kill them, being a veggie Buddhist sort of woman. They have to eat too, but planting chives in the strawberries stops them there. Companion planting like this helps as does planting crops in plastic boxes and high containers and sticking rough stuff on the sides of the boxes they can’t slither up, and putting grit around it.

    Like

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