I have been looking around for a while for a snake for my garden. You would think this would be a regulation item; maybe you only get one if you already have an apple tree, or quince, as the one in Eden more likely was.
After some years of hoping that a black rat snake or the like might amble by and make a den under my porch — it happens around here from time to time — I went on a search for at least an iconic snake. You would not believe how hard it is to find one. You can get reproductions of antique garden statuary from every epoch; you can get little hydrastone or resin sculptures of bunnies, froggies, duckies, mushrooms, and most sickening of all, spuriously adorable smiling children, but just try to find a snake; a nice, coiled, diamond-headed snake.
I mused over an image of Buddha with nagas and a fairly affordable little Asklepios hanging out with his snake, but I wasn’t trying to stick Buddha in my garden and the Asklepios statues are annoyingly popular with M.D.’s. Finally I ran across Hyperion.
He lives on the teak furniture in my lower garden; he may get a pedestal but it can’t just be any one. I feel much better since he came to stay; there has always been a slight hinkiness about that end of the yard, causing me at one point to go down there with salt, purified water, burning incense, a bell and some fresh-cut flowers to clean up the atmosphere. God knows what my dogwit neighbors thought, but they probably decided long ago that I practise eighteen types of pagan magic (the bell and flowers part of the ceremony is actually Balinese).
A woman sculpted him, someone who worked in the building trades and sells little metalwork snakes and bats as a retirement gig, so he’s one of a clan. Her name is almost exactly the same as mine. I had to get him. The name just came to me as names do; a chthonic critter like a snake seems to wear a Titan’s name well. Hyperion was the father of the Sun, the Moon, and Dawn, all of whom I like to admire from his general location.
As soon as I placed him on the table I was moved to leave a little offering, as people have done with sacred snakes for millennia. He is a garden deity so I bring him flowers, and sometimes mint, every time I go down there.
The people next door are probably calling an exorcist. This could be fun.