Why Am I Dreaming About Snakes? Answered!

articles Mar 11, 2020

Hiking in the mountains on a dry fall day, I stopped in my tracks when I noticed a long black snake crossing the trail before me. I admired the sleek creature but kept a very respectful distance before continuing on my way. Seeing the serpent was one of the more notable moments of my hike that day.

Just like few of us would fail to stop and take notice- from a safe distance- if we saw a snake appear in our waking life, so too do we take special note when a snake reveals itself in our dream scenery. The snake is a polarized creature with unique pull on our consciousness, at times interpreted as an auspicious symbol while on many occasions provoking intrigue, confusion, or downright fear.

All this begs the question, what does dreaming about snakes mean? Let's explore the myriad possibilities of snake symbolism in dreams.

Dream Interpretation: Snakes

Before picking up one of those big fat dream dictionaries from the local book store, consider the power of personal associations when it comes to interpreting dreams. The collective consciousness indeed holds in its matrix many shared archetypal symbols and agreements. Still, the influence we receive from our specific cultural upbringing and our life experiences carry real weight when it comes to defining the meaning behind any symbol.

Snakes carry a particularly strong dichotomy compared to other dream symbols. When considering a snake dream meaning, interview yourself on your experience of the dream. Asking,

  • What was the emotional nature of the dream?
  • Who else was in this dream with me?
  • What was the setting of the dream (place, historical period, time in my life)?
  • At what point in the action of the dream did the snake appear? What was the snake doing?
  • What kind of snake was it? Were there multiple snakes? What color/size/other features?
  • What is MY association with snakes?

These details will help create a frame of reference for you to get a feel of the overall meaning. Perhaps the most pertinent question is to explore your association with snakes. A person who was bitten by a snake as a child will have a very different internal feeling about the creature than a person who keeps one for a beloved pet.

What Does a Snake Bite Dream Mean?

If you've had a snake bite dream, consider that in this context, the snake is not merely in the periphery or scenery but has made direct contact with you. People or animals in our dreams often represent aspects of ourselves. Having been bitten, could it be that your subconscious is trying to get your attention on an important matter?

In an interview with The Cut, dream expert Lauri Quinn Loewenberg suggests that a snakebite may be a message about your health. Specifically, you may be in a stage of recovery from an illness or disease. Conversely, the bite could indicate that you've been injured psychically or verbally by a harmful person in your life.  

What Does Killing a Snake in My Dream Mean?

In general, dreams about death are not to be taken literally. Symbolism involving death is auspicious because death naturally leads to rebirth in a new form. Death may also be implying the end of something no longer necessary, fruitful, or suitable for you. Perhaps death means you are letting go of the old.

Snakes can serve as avatars for challenges you need to overcome in your life. If you felt victory with killing the snake, facing the problem in your life could likely bring a feeling of success and satisfaction. However, if you had mixed feelings of guilt, perhaps the issue that requires your attention is causing a moral dilemma for you.

Freudian and Jungian Snake Interpretations

As two of the most trusted voices on the deep psyche and dream symbolism, it is valuable to consider the ideas of both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud when it comes to snake dreams.

Freud viewed the snake as a phallic symbol associated with the sex drive, the penis, and male sexuality. In dreaming of snakes, Freud may interpret that your dream was exploring any sexual repression you were experiencing or your relationships with men and masculinity. For men, it could relate to your experience of manhood. In any gender, Freud suggested snakes could speak to any inner conflict you experience relating to your sexual expression.

Jung, on the other hand, correlated snakes to our often-repressed instinctual nature. He observed the wisdom of the snake in its distinct winding movement pattern- ebbing and flowing with life's cycles. He considered the snake to be a representative of a threat or conflict in our life.

The Snake as a Symbol of Evil

The Christian Bible presents one of the most famous snake stories of all time, identifying the snake as a truly fearful being. When the first humans were still in an unbroken relationship with God, the Bible tells of the snake deceiving Eve to eat of the forbidden tree of knowledge.  

Verse 3:14 says, "Then the Lord God said to the snake, "Because you have done this, you will be hated and will suffer more than all cattle, and more than every animal of the field. You will go on your stomach, and you will eat dust all the days of your life."

Over and over again, Biblical stories feature snakes as punishment, symbols of evil, and messengers of fear. As a significant cultural influence throughout history and across the world, Christianity's distaste for snakes could certainly explain why so many people fear and revile them.

Snakes as Wisdom-Bearers

Contrary to the negative religious stereotype of snakes, many traditional belief systems revere the snake's capacity as a symbol of wisdom, healing, and rebirth.

Like many ancient cultures, the Celtic peoples seem to have perceived serpents as symbols of rebirth, fertility, wisdom, and transformation; This is not surprising considering a snake's habitual way of shedding and revealing itself anew. We can also observe, as they did, that the snake lives in close contact with the earth, belly-to-belly with the great all-giving mother. As such, snakes were seen to represent fertility and abundance.

In ancient Egyptian iconography, the image of a rearing Cobra appeared on the tombs and mummies of some very prominent pharaohs such as Tutankhamun. In the Egyptian context, the snake represented sovereignty, royalty, divine authority, and power.  

Snakes Equal Potent Dreams- Whether Dark or Light

The image of the snake equates with potency. Whether the power of snakes translates to a sinister or uplifting meaning in your dream is a very personal issue. However, if you are dreaming of snakes in any context, you can be assured that your inner consciousness is gifting you with an important message to consider.

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