In Chinese astrology, we are entering the Year of the Snake. I’m not a Snake, I’m a Dog. But living in Australia has brought me more than a few close encounters with snakes, and as Chinese New Year approached, I started thinking about them.
Then I did a bit of research into what the Year of the Snake might mean, and discovered that my youngest daughter is a Snake, which probably explains why she’s never been afraid of them.
My fear stems largely from lack of knowledge. As I said after a particularly nasty encounter with a snake – I stood on its head and it wasn’t happy – many years ago, if it had actually bitten me I would have died of fright even if it had been a non-venomous viper. That’s the thing: I don’t know a poisonous snake from a harmless one.
We had quite a few snakes around the house while living in Central Queensland when the kids were quite young. One day, a massive python took up a cosy spot in the backyard so I called the local “snake man”. Catching snakes wasn’t his day job, so he told me to keep an eye on it until he arrived after work. It was a very long afternoon! When I brought out my camera, he asked the kids if they’d like to hold it for the photos – and Miss Snake was the first to agree.
A year or so ago, she went to visit her cousin (who has a pet python) and promptly sent me a photo of her with it wrapped around her.
I’ve held the odd python for photos too – facing my fear, but getting more than a little nervous by the rhythmic squeeze that shows me just who’s in charge. I like to leave a good long period of time between photo-opps.
Snake people, according to Chinese astrology, are graceful, intuitive and introspective, enigmatic, frequently contemplative and private. They are deep thinkers. They say little, have great wisdom, and never have to worry about money. They are sympathetic and try to help those less fortunate. Snakes are romantic and charming. They are mysterious and softly spoken. They love a good book and appreciate the arts, leaning towards the finer things in life. Snakes trust themselves above all others and are seldom wrong. But they are very superstitious.
This is specifically the year of the Water Snake. My daughter is an Earth Snake. These people, according to my research, always seem to be calm and content. They’re friendly and approachable and believe that they’ll reap great rewards by working hard and relying on common sense. That sounds about right to me.
Among the famous people born in the Year of the Snake are Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace of Monaco, Jacqueline Onassis, Linda McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Elizabeth I, Virginia Woolf, Bob Dylan, Greta Garbo, Carole King, Brad Pitt, Dionne Warwick, and Abraham Lincoln.
Ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is a good omen. I’m not very keen on that idea, even though it apparently means that your family will not starve. So far, so good…
Kung Hei Fat Choi!