From the time before time, human and serpent spirits have writhed together in this world. When they dance together in dreams, the symbolism can be sexual, psychic, and strike fear into the heart of even the most stalwart soul.
Dreams about snakes are one of the most common dreams. The mental and emotional effects can live in a person’s consciousness for many years. Because of this, the deeply intertwined connection of the human psyche to snakes is a ceaselessly discussed, dissected, and debated subject in dream interpretation and analysis circles.
Before we dig into the meaning of dreams about snakes, it’s important to know that based on Gallup’s Fears Poll – 56% of Americans cited a fear of snakes. So, it makes sense that snake dreams are most associated with feelings of anxiety, terror, and stress.
True, this does not bode well for most dreams about snakes. But, beyond the basic notion of being a slithering, sinister reptile, that repulses many (after all, nothing without legs should be able to move that fast), snake dreams can hold a tremendous amount of positive symbolism for you! Hard to believe, we know.
What Does It Mean When You Dream About Snakes
So, why does dreaming of snakes evoke such overt reactions from the dreamer?
As earlier stated, snake energy and the consequence it has on the human psyche is primordial. From world myths of snake deities who protect the realms and property of mankind to cosmic snakes seen in the stars who watch over us from the heavens, serpents take up a lot of human headspace.
The purpose for again bringing up the historical ties between reptiles and humans is to drive home this point – when we dream of snakes, we are dreaming with our most ancient memories of the collective consciousness.
Through our cellular memory, when we dream about snakes, our subconscious summons up centuries of snake imagery. This is incredibly powerful stuff! It’s no wonder snake dreams freak us out!
Bottom line? Dreaming of snakes speaks to us at our very core. Thus, snake dreams usually occur only when we have something quite serious pressing on our mind, body, and spirit.
Remember, though, not all snake dreams are nightmares. Keep reading to discover how dreams about snakes can actually be wonderful omens! Yes. Really.
Snake Dream Interpretation & Meaning By Dream Symbol
Before using the BuildingBeautifulSouls.com Dream Dictionary or the snake dream meanings in this article, take a few minutes and read Learn to Interpret The Meaning of Dreams. It will help you to be better able to analyze your dreams.
Most importantly to snake dream interpretation is to consider how you feel upon waking from the dream. Were you terrified, hopeful, amused, angry, sexually aroused, etc. Do you feel like the dream is a psychic premonition?
The lenses through which you view snake imagery help shape what the snake symbols might mean to your dream interpretations. Do you have a phobia or love of snakes? Are you neutral about snakes?
As an example, if you fear snakes, acknowledge this emotion and ask yourself if there is something you are fearing in your waking hours. Is there something you would rather avoid that requires your immediate attention?
Alternatively, if you have a special love for snakes, is there something in your waking hours that you are enthusiastic about? Is there something you can really “wrap yourself around” and become incredibly passionate about?
For further analysis, think about the action the snake is doing or not doing when you encounter it in your dream narrative. The snake’s movements, actions, and the landscape the snake interacts with can be translated to offer meaning.
Consider all of the following potential dream scenarios and how they differ:
Dreams About Snakes in the Water
Water symbolizes the primordial waters of chaos, and with the serpent in the water may signify creation of the universe. The serpent is sometimes depicted as emerging from the cosmic egg. Water symbolizes emotions and with a snake symbolizing wisdom, this image may suggest the wise control of one’s emotions or wisdom derived from emotional experiences. Water also comes to represent the subconscious mind; a snake in the waters in this context suggests diving into the subconscious for a period for the purpose of self-exploration, only to later re-emerge both changed and wiser than before.
Dreams About Snakes in the Grass
While slithering around in the grass is the natural habitat of the snake, there’s a sinister connotation to the snake moving about on the earth. This association likely comes from the strike of poisonous snakes, in which some like the cottonmouth can prove aggressive. Thus, this symbol represents something sneaky, sinister, untrustworthy, potential danger, conniving, and hidden, unforeseen strikes or attacks “below the belt.” In contrast, snake lovers might see the snake in the grass only to stop and appreciate it’s smooth, flawless movement, remarkable self-control and strength. Thus, the dream of the snake in the grass for the snake lover may point to desired traits to incorporate into one’s daily life, or to act like a snake with flawless motion and self-control in a given situation.
Dreams About Snakes and Sexual Symbols
Sigmund Freud considered snake dream imagery as a sign of sexual repression because of the snake’s phallic like qualities and believed the repression had to do with discomfort with male genitalia. In some cultures, however, the snake is a sign of fertility. The Hopi Indians had a yearly dance to honor the union of Snake Girl and the Snake Youth, which were believed to renew nature’s fertility.
Dreams About Snakes In Your Bed
As the initial dream scenario presents, there’s nothing to make you feel oh so vulnerable than to wake up with a serpent coiled up nice and tight as it sucks up your body heat! To dream of snakes in the bed is to recognize your vulnerability, to feel as if you are in danger, to fear making a move lest you are bitten, and to pull back, act quickly, and run from the snake’s vicinity in an effort to protect yourself. Translated into waking hours, there is likely something the dreamer is doing or will be doing that incites a sense of danger, vulnerability, or the need to act quickly on the situation before acting on it is no longer an option. Alternatively, snakes are associated with phallic symbols because of the shape of their bodies and are therefore a symbol of sexuality. With snakes in the bed, the emotion you experience at sighting them may indicate how you feel about sex, intimacy, and someone crossing into your personal space. Moreover, the snake in the bed might show some hostile feelings towards a romantic partner.
Dreams About a Snake Pit
If you dream about falling into a big pit of snakes, your dream may be expressing the feeling of being out of balance, unsteady on your feet, insecure or unprotected in your waking life. This type of snake dream is common for those trying to climb the corporate ladder as well as anyone who is or wants to be in a position of leadership.
Dreams About Being Chased by Snakes
This is an interesting dream because it brings together chase symbolism with the symbol of the serpent. Chase dreams are not at all uncommon, and often times the person/being/monster/creature chasing you is a symbol of one or more people you are currently dealing with in your waking hours. Consider the word “snake” when used to describe the characteristics of a person: It represents someone sneaky, devious, or even potentially someone you might consider evil. This dream may be calling on you to take a closer look at the people you are dealing with and to reconsider whom you trust. At the same time, this dream might also be a sign that you are running from a toxic situation or condition that only you can rectify once you face it head on. Being chased can also make you feel incredibly unsafe and vulnerable: These feelings may point to conditions that make you feel stressed, vulnerable, nervous, or anxious.
Dreams About Snake Bites
Dreaming about being bitten by a snake has several meanings and, in fact, this imagery is quite common as a dream scenario. First, the most obvious sign is potential danger most likely from something that is toxic in your waking life. Another clear meaning is that since the serpent in the Book of Genesis is associated with the idea of temptation, the snakebite might be a sign of some temptation you can’t seem to avoid or escape. When a snake bites you it is undoubtedly alarming and it is a moment when the snake has your full attention; thus, this dream may signify that you need to heighten your awareness and pay attention to things you’ve otherwise been neglecting in your life, otherwise you risk being “unexpectedly” bitten by a troublesome condition.
Dreams About Being Bitten by a Poisonous Snake
There’s little doubt of the destructive power of the toxins that enter the body. They may signify that a poisonous situation is likely having a physical effect on you or you might feel paralyzed or frozen in a situation as you resist the necessary change that must be implemented to free yourself from self-imposed restrictions. Finally, when a snake bites you, the toxins enter the body and produce tremendous changes. Therefore, the snakebite is often a symbol of dramatic change, initiation, or transformation physically, spiritually or both. One important note: When a snake bites you in a dream, pay close attention to the location of the bite. As the snake is also a symbol of healing, the imagery may signify the need to give that part of the body some extra attention or that you might develop a health issue related to that part of the body.
Dreams About Snakes and Fire
The venom of a snake links the reptile to the element of fire, and everything the element represents including passion, creativity, sexuality, lust, purification, but also destruction, compulsions, ambition, motivation, and the spark of both life and creativity.
Dreams About Snakes Wild and Tame
Dreaming of encountering snakes outdoors suggests danger and unpredictable behavior. Of course, Eve encounters a talking serpent in the Garden of Eden, thus, the wild serpent is not only an indication of temptation, but of poisonous words, gossip, lies, and misleading information. In contrast, if you happen to dream about having a pet snake you adore, it can mean you will increase your wisdom or experience spiritual enlightenment.
Dreams About Snakes and The Shadow Self
Theresa Cheung, the author of “The Element Encyclopedia of 20,000 Dreams”, writes how the snake serves as a symbol for our ‘The Shadow’. The idea of a shadow aspect is born out of Jungian psychology, where Carl Gustav Jung suggests that largely negative part of a person that the individual reject or refuse to acknowledge and it remains a part of our unconscious. Jung also asserts that the, though not completely negative, the shadow becomes more dense and blacker the more a person avoids it. When the snake enters your dreamtime narratives, it may be The Shadow part of yourself bubbling up from the unconscious seeking recognition. Perhaps it is time to embrace a bit of your shadow nature, which is said to lend to creative endeavors and personal growth.
Snake Dream Interpretation in Religion and Mythology
When viewing snakes through a lens of religion or a particular mythos, there is so much symbolism you can discover – especially pertaining to goddess lore! Snakes have played a prominent role in many religions throughout the world. In examining these cultural and traditional references, you may find that religious and mythological snake symbolism helps in shaping a richer understanding of the dream imagery you are experiencing.
In Babylonian, Mesopotamians and Semite cultures, the snake is identified as a creature capable of living forever. Transmutation and shedding of snakeskin are behind this notion, with the snake always looking refreshed and young after each shedding. Thus, the snake naturally comes to signify reincarnation, renewal, and rebirth. The ocean goddess Tiamat in Mesopotamia is a deity associated with chaos and images portray her as a serpent, thereby connecting the snake to chaos, the primordial waters, and creation.
The idea snakes are a symbol of healing is a centuries old idea, with the Sumerians first worshipping Ningishzida, a god of the underworld. Underworld connotations were all too easy to assign to serpents that crawl on their belly on the earth. Ningishzida’s symbol consists of two intertwined serpents (an image connoting the harmonization of two opposing forces or energies), and this image exists long before the Greek God Hermes, who happens to serve as a guide for the dead as he leads them into the underworld, is presented with a caduceus (a rod with two intertwined snakes), or the presentation of the rod with a single serpent wrapped around it belonging to the god Asclepius within the same pantheon, who is a god of medicine and healing. The serpents on today’s medical symbols stem from this mythology.
Goddess symbolism abound is associated with snake symbols! In ancient Egypt, many of the goddesses wear crowns fitted with a cobra on the front, and their hieroglyphs also contained images of the snake. The goddess Wadjet, featuring a cobra-headed female, is Upper Egypt’s patron goddess. It is here the serpent is recognized as a symbol of immortality and, with the cobra, in particular, featuring a spot on its back that looks like an eye, became the symbol for inner wisdom and vision.
In ancient Rome, the genius loci, which happened to be special guardian spirits that guarded a select location, were depicted as serpents: So it is here the snake takes on the role of an otherworldly protector.
In central Italy, there is Angitia, the Marisian healing goddess whose name originates from the word “serpent.” She is associated with the snake charmer, snakes, and witches.
Greek mythos has plenty of snake images, beyond those of Hermes, including the snakes that Hercules conquers as a young boy, and the Minoan Snake goddess who wields a snake in each hand: Her statue is one that serves as a sign of strength and wisdom.
Of course, in Greek mythology, snake imagery is associated with the monstrous as well, but none so well as the gorgon Medusa who, despite how is often hideously depicted, is actually a sign of feminine wisdom.
The Virgin Mary: The Virgin Mary is sometimes depicted with her foot on the head of a snake: This depiction is a sign of her purity and how she did not succumb to the devil’s temptations during her lifetime. With a foot on the head of the snake, it suggests that Mary bruises the snakes head and thereby delivers a fatal blow to the reptile. That being the case, if you see the Virgin Mary with her foot on a snake in your dream, it could signify that you are defying temptation or that you should make every effort to do so in your waking life.
Dreams About Snakes – A Shamanic Perspective
As a totem, snake brings fire medicine and teaches you how to purify and transform your life. Some shamans see the snake as a symbol of the cord that connects the soul to the body and keeps it tethered. Dreaming of this totem is a hint to pay attention to the teachings of the snake in your waking life. At my sister site, WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com, learn all about snake as a spirit, totem, and power animal.
This is a creator deity in Aboriginal Australia: The serpent is said to live beneath the earth and he rises up to create the mountainous landscape. If you dream of a colorful serpent, it may be hinting at a need to reconnect with the earth. This serpent is known, as a healer as well, and through ritual, will pass on the abilities to a person. That being the case then stop and consider if your subconscious is hinting at a need for personal healing or if you need to help in the healing of another.
The word Kundalini means, “coiled one,” and in this case, it is referring to the shakti energy that rises up from the base of the spine where the root chakra is located in order to trigger the opening of the energetic wheels. The wheels run along the spine from your root chakra to your head and beyond; the coiled energy is considered a “sleeping serpent” that, when awakened, will lead to a spiritual awakening. Seeing a sleeping, coiled serpent in your dream may be a reference to this energy and a hint at a future spiritual transformation.
Dreaming of Snake As The Trickster
The snake is a symbol of trickster energies. It is associated with someone being sly, cunning, and mischievous. It can, therefore, serve as a symbol for any trickster-like character, whether it is the devil in the Christian-mythos or some other deity stemming from an alternative mythology. If you sense the snake appearing in your dreams has trickster-like qualities, you may be in a situation where someone is creating chaos or is behaving mischievously. Often times in many myths, the trickster’s actions end up being a catalyst for a greater good. When snake appears, consider who is the trickster in your life and what might this person’s motives be for their behavior?
Dreams About Snake Handling
Snake Handling is a religious practice in which the practitioner believes that if they maintain a solid faith in God, that He will protect them and keep them safe from receiving any snake bites from the snakes they choose to handle. The handlers also believe that if they are bitten or if they drink of the snake venom, that God will ensure no harm comes to them. If you dream of snake handlers, your subconscious may be foretelling a test of your faith in your waking hours.
Ouroboros is a depiction of a sea serpent swallowing its own tail and in doing so, it is said to encompass the world’s oceans. The symbol has come to be recognized as a depiction of the World Snake and sign of life, death, and rebirth. If you see this snake symbol in your dreams, look to see what you are shedding away from in your waking hours and what is being reborn or renewed.
Snakes in Astrology, Zodiac Signs, & Birth Totems
Sometimes, when we dream of snakes we might be dreaming of a particular person if snake is their zodiac sign or birth totem. In Western Astrology the Scorpio star sign is represented by a scorpion, snake, and eagle. To learn more about snakes in astrology, read about the Year of the Snake & the Chinese Zodiac Snake plus Snake as a Native American Birth Totem.
Snake Dreams Symbolic Key
Snakes, through the lens of mythology and religion, have come to symbolize so many things over the course of time. The main snake symbolic meanings include:
- Life, death, and rebirth
- Healing and Medicine
- Goddess energies/The Divine Feminine
- Inner Vision
- Creation/Birth of the Cosmos
- Primordial waters
- The Monstrous
- Feminine Wisdom
- Snake as Trickster
- Faith testing
- Renewal and Transmutation
Dreaming of Snakes
Yes, dreams about snakes can be horrifying. But they can also be intensely spiritual and profoundly meaningful. No matter how creeped out you are after dreaming of snakes – take some time to really analyze what’s going on in your heart and head. Don’t miss the psychic message that may have been gifted to you from your own spirit guides, ancestors, and angels.