Nahualli Oracle - Serpent & Rattlesnake


Snakes were plentiful in Central Mexico during the time of the Aztec empire. They were carefully observed and identified, because some could kill, like the rattlesnake, while others, like the coral snake, brought favor to one's house. There was no one general, all-encompassing omen that applied to "Snake". Like many things about the Aztec religion and civilization, it was more complex than that. For this reason, we have chosen to have 2 snakes represented: Rattlesnake, representing the ones with venom; and Serpent, representing the non-venomous ones.

The keywords for Rattlesnake are Fear, Anger, Destruction and Aggression. While the omen for a Viper crossing your path mean't death and pain, the omen for a Rattlesnake incurred the terror of the Underworld and the disfavor of the gods. Some said a rattlesnake was not a snake at all, but a nahualli that wanted to take them to the Underworld because of some crime that they had committed. Rattlesnake was associated with the terrible Aztec goddess Serpent Skirt (Coatlicue), whose image had multiple rattlesnakes wrapped around her, and who wore a necklace of human skulls, heads and hands. Needless to say, this was not a goddess that anyone looked forward to meeting in the Aztec afterlife!

"When Rattlesnake appears in your reading, look for ways that anger or fear may be manifesting in your life. It may be signifying self-destructive behavior, or it may be a message that others are working against your best interests. It can also indicate imminent danger from natural sources. A visit by this nahualli is one sign that you should certainly pay attention to and investigate further."*

The keywords of serpent are Unification, Integration and Synthesis. In the mythology of the Mexica (the name the Aztec people called themselves), the Serpent could go anywhere, from underground cave to the branches of the tallest tree. The most precious gemstone in Central America (and China, with a very mysterious relationship existing between the two) is Jade, the blue-green variety of which is known as the Serpent's Heart. It has this name because of the way it is interwoven through the rock in serpentine-like strands.

When Serpent appears in your reading, or in your life (all of these interpretations apply equally well to real-life appearances as well as readings), look for ways to integrate the blocks that you are experiencing. "Integration and Synthesis are parts of the process of weaving together disparate parts of your life into a beautiful, colorful tapestry."*

Serpent asks "what is blocking you"? What is keeping you from feeling fulfilled, enriched or abundant? Not only does Serpent force the question, but it provides the answer to resolving the block. The art of synthesis and integration in problem-solving is a negotiation technique that has proven itself again and again. When there are two polarized positions in any given problem, the negotiator will find the non-conflicting core values that both parties can agree on. This also works in dealing with personal blocks. Keep digging until you find what attracted you to obtain the "blocked" skill, project or goal in the first place, then build from there in a new way.

Serpent also addresses repression, which is the opposite of synthesis. "Difficult emotional issues and negative behaviors can never be repressed successfully. An integration approach finds a way of utilizng that energy in a more productive or positve way. Integration does not deny any part of us, but instead blends each separate part into one cohesive whole."*

If you have had any experiences with snakes of any kind, try to relate the time of appearance with what was going on in your life, or in your thoughts, subsequent to that moment. If you'd like feedback, feel free to share the experience here on this forum.

Like most oracles, keeping a journal can prove very valuable. If you enjoy working with animal energies, begin a journal of animal sightings. Include next to the animal, what thoughts the sighting evoked within you. It may prove to be a wonderful teaching aid for your own inner teacher and your animal teachers as well.

Caelum & Ivory

* indicates direct quotes from The Nahualli Animal Oracle.