Snakeskin Magic

For many people, being an effective practitioner of magic includes the ability to think outside the box. By being a creative and imaginative thinker, you can find magical uses for non-magical items.There are plenty of unconventional ways to turn regular items around the house into components in magical workings. If you happen to stumble across a snakeskin while you're out and about – or if you're fortunate enough to have a snake of your own – you can use it in magic related to protection, transformation, and a number of other magical purposes.

Why Use Snakeskin?

High Angle View Of Dry Snakeskin And Yellow Flowers On Footpath
What magical uses can you think of for a snake skin?. Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul / EyeEm / Getty Images

Historically, many spiritual traditions have used various animal parts in magic and ritual. From found bones and antlers to fur and skins, there's always some sort of magical use available for animal parts. Obviously, you want to make sure any parts you acquire are collected respectfully, ethically, and humanely. Fortunately, snakes shed their skin all on their own – if you encounter a snakeskin shed, it's because the snake left it behind, so you can feel free to use it as you wish.

While a lot of people are afraid of snakes, it's important to remember that in many cultures, serpent mythology is strongly tied to the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Because of these associations, it comes in handy in magic related to transformation, protection, and other themes.

In some forms of Hoodoo and folk magic, snakeskin is dried and then ground into a fine powder, sometimes referred to as "snake dust." You can either do this, or you can use a full piece of snakeskin. In the American south, it is believed that rubbing a bit of snakeskin on your hands can keep you from dropping things. Another legend is that if you carry it in your pocket, it will bring you good luck.

Artist and author Sarah Anne Lawless says

"In European folk magic snake sheds and other bits can be used for healing and fertility amulets as well as any charms or tools having to do with otherworldly travel. Snakes are sacred to many deities and I like to add powdered snake sheds to incense burned to invoke those deities (Damballah, Hekate, Hermes, Legba, Odin, Veles…)."

Magic, Ritual, and Spellwork

Shed skin of a Rat Snake (Colubrinae)
Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Protection Magic

Try using the shed skin in spells related to protection, such as a Protection Witches Bottle, particularly if someone you're having trouble with is afraid of snakes. You can place the skin around your property, guarding the perimeter, to keep these people away.

Consider using a snakeskin or a piece of one in a charm bag with crystals and stones for protection. If you really want  to get creative, and the skin is supple enough, make a charm bag out of the skin itself! 

If you associate snakes with change and transformation, since they shed their outer layer of skin to reveal a shiny new one, it seems very fitting to use it for transformational spellwork. Use in spells or rituals to help you reinvent yourself into a new, better, stronger person.

Some people use snakeskin in warding spells to keep rodents and other pests out of the larder or pantry – after all, snakes eat rodents! Make a small crocheted bag made of cotton thread and stuff it with protective stones and snakeskin. Scatter several of these bags around in late summer and early fall when rodents are prone to be looking for a winter home.

Transformative Magic

You might want to try using snakeskin in a spell to help you get over something, allowing you to move on from past mistakes, or shed a bad relationship or unhealthy habit. Make a poppet to represent yourself and fill it with little things that remind you of the baggage you're carrying with you – letter clippings, wadded up photos, anything small enough to fit.

Wrap the snakeskin around the poppet as you focus on releasing and shedding the negative feelings. Do this every night for a week, and when the new moon rolls around, take the skin off again and bury it.

More Snakeskin Spellwork

In some cultures, the rattle of a snake is considered a very powerful amulet used to increase wisdom and sexual powers. Wear the rattle as a necklace or carry it in your pocket as a talisman.

Snakes often lay in the sun, so if the skin is durable enough, use it to make a charm bag for crystals and gemstones. Place the bag outside on a sunny day, and allow the energy of the sun to cleans your stones.  

You can even use snakeskin in a healing ritual. Make a couple of bath bags out of light cloth, like muslin, and stuff it with healing herbs. Add the snakeskin to represent change and transformation towards good health and wellness. Light a blue candle, to symbolize healing, and visualize illness leaving the body.