Be More Snail – snail medicine for self-preservation

Be More Snail – snail medicine for self-preservation

No, you will be relieved to know I am not touting the skin cream that uses snail slime as its main ingredient.

I’m a fan of the snail as long as it stays away from my tender plants. You can’t blame any creature for wanting an easy meal, and in a balanced ecosystem, natural predators like thrush, blackbird and the humble duck tend to keep slug and snail numbers at a reasonable level. As a small child, I kept garden snails as short term pets and my brother gave my daughter a giant African land snail; said creature lived with us for 8 years and taught me a great deal of amazing things about the species in general. If you want a rapid overview of this animal, have a quick look at wiki: or

But the message of Snail as a guide is a powerful one I think I need to listen to. “You tend to be a creature of habit and have a great deal of of patience. You know how to take things as they come. More often than not you prefer to be alone, are not very social, and sometimes very timid as well. You are constantly having to balance protection with trust (not easy) and often never show your true self to the world. Your feelings are generally at the forefront of most of your decisions and actions. A person with this totem also needs to be careful about hiding in their shell. They need to make a point of dealing with their emotional issues or they could withdraw permanently.

You have a strong work ethic and will often put in much longer hours than everyone else, however, you do tend to work very slowly and meditatively. Everything you do is very well done and maintains a high standard of excellence. You have a tendency to rely on yourself to get the job done.

People with this mollusc as their totem are very deliberate people. Once they set a goal to achieve there is no diverting them from their path.” from:

A snail is a sensitive creature; their horns are actually organs of sense, with which they smell and feel their way in the world. The phrase “pulling in one’s horns” has come to mean a retrenchment or a retractment, but curiously enough, it’s origin is directly linked to the humble snail: . I feel like I need to pull in my horns, and hide in my shell. I know I need to embrace the slowness that seems to be a feature of my life, and to step aside from the hurly burl of the world and just be, slowly, slowly, moving forward but never rushing. The writing world is full of rush, of pressure to get work out, get published, never let up, never take a quiet month, get that word count up up up. (Roz Morris wrote in praise of slow writing, of taking your time here:

People who remember the children’s TV show Fingerbobs will know the song associated with the tortoise in the show: Slowly, steadily, I move at my own pace, they call me Flash, but I won’t dash, who wants to run a race? As long as I get there, why worry? What’s the hurry The song works just as well for snails, who are even slower.

8 thoughts on “Be More Snail – snail medicine for self-preservation

  1. Nods, sometimes we need to take a break and re-focus on what matters. And no one can choose for you how long that takes so take your time and be good and fair to yourself.


    • Slow and steady wins the race. Or so I am told.
      At Tai Chi today we did tai chi walking, which is like walking on a tightrope made of ice; every movement slow and deliberate and aware.


  2. Oh, exactly! We are not machines, as I keep telling my students – and if you suddenly can’t write, then pay attention. It means – for whatever reason – you don’t have the headspace. Thank you for a lovely article, Viv.


    • You are very welcome. Yeah, I kind of know we’re not machines but I saw a writer friend on Fb (who is VERY successful) releasing her 60-something book and I felt… diminished. It was a horrible feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – and the fact I am FINALLY starting my publishing career in ernest aged 60 is winding, too… But we all are on our own journeys, with our own stories to tell – I’m determined NOT to keep wondering what might have been if I hadn’t been derailed by outside circumstances and got my career off the ground back in 2008 when it all started coming together… But – as you say – easier said than done!


  3. Wise creatures. I’m working on the lessons. I was once an extrovert who moved fast, talked fast, and worked all day and night. Extreme hearing loss and mild vertigo accompanying the hearing loss changed that. I need people to speak slowly so I can read their lips. I need to meet with friends in quiet places. My personal world has slows as the outer world speeds, careens, and crashes. I focus on keeping my local environment beautiful and calm for bluebirds, butterflies, and me. Slow writing is part of that and sometimes no writing at all.


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