Snake - Dream meaning and symbolism
Main symbolic meaning
- Healing and regeneration – snakes can shed their skin.
- Sexuality, fertility and creativity – snakes resemble an umbilical cord or penis.
- Temptation and evil – the snake is seducer of Eve in the Bible.
- Eternity, rebirth and continual renewal of life – biting its own tale as Ouroboros.
- Creativity – you can get an original and visionary idea as a “positive bite” from the snake.
Basic snake characteristics
If you want to understand the true meaning of a snake in a dream, you have to concentrate on its basic characteristics. So, what are the most typical features?
- The snake is cold-blooded (poikilothermic). It is opposite to our human warm and hearty nature. They have to regulate the body temperature by sunning or hiding in cool and shaded areas.
- Snakes do not posses hands or legs. They may look handicapped or crippled in comparison with us. The snake is always low, because it lives directly on the ground (we are noble in a certain sense). You can perceive this animal also as the complete opposite to the high sky – it is often mentioned the fight between the snake and the eagle or dragon in mythology.
- Snakes arouse respect and suspicion rather than love. They are considered to be venomous and therefore dangerous, despite the fact that only less than 20% of these species are really venomous.
- Typical is the ability of skin shedding. It refers to regeneration, rebirth and growth (Jung individuation). It is also one from the reasons why you can find this animal depicted on Caduceus and Rod of Asclepius.
- Snakes have phallic (penis resembling) shape. This is symbolic for sexuality, masculinity and fertility.
- Snakes, unlike us, eat the prey whole without chewing. They have to digest it for longer time and they are more vulnerable at this time.
- Snakes have special forked tongue to sensing the smell.
- Most snake species lay eggs.
What does a dream about snakes mean? The meaning always depends on the context. The snake itself is neither positive nor negative. Take a closer look on the situation:
- Is the snake friendly or aggressive in your dream?
- Where is the snake?(Grass, tree, sand, hole, box, water …)
- Responds the snake to you? (Is the situation confrontational or you ignore each other?)
- How the whole situation evolves in your dream? (Is the tension gradually disappearing or growing? Do you have everything under control or you are just watching what is happening around?)
Snake in a hole
A hole often refers to the sexual undertone. Simply because the snake resembles penis and the hole can be seen as vagina. But do not forget that a hole can always be nothing more thana common hole – a place where animals hide, where they are inaccessible and protected. Such dream about snake in a hole can be for example the metaphor for a person which is unpleasant or dangerous to you but sheltered by the social status at the same time.
A biting snake is symbolic for some threat that you perceive in real life. You can find people which have “sharp tongue” (they are very critical) or planning pitfalls for you (market competition, rivals in love etc.). The dream can remind you that someone made an inappropriate remark or that you feel a resentment, bitterness or irritation around. Never forget that the snake can have also the “inner” meaning – in dream it can manifest your own attitude towards others which you are not fully aware yet.
Snake chasing you
A snake chasing you can express your inner deep feeling to be seroiusly threatened. There are many possible causes – from the fear of materinity to the worry about your succes in work. The dream is a mirror of reality, therefore you can take it as a challenge to understand everything that is still unconcious to you. If you do not immediately recognize the snake which is chasing you as a particular person, start to think about what you fear and what worries you in general.
Snake in bed
Your bed is the very intimate space. You can expect to encounter snakes in the nature, but in your bed, this is something else – it is symbolic for the violation of privacy. You are unconscious and unable to defend yourself while sleeping. When you find snakes in your bed, it means that somebody crossed the very important line in your life. It can be a real person, but you can also accept snakes in your bed as a symbol of your own subtle thoughts or feelings towards others.
Snake in Art
Snake is a common mythological symbol and you will find it on various paintings and artefacts. To take a look on them can be very helpful for finding the inspiration when exploring and interpreting your dream.
Paintings and sculptures
- Ancient Greek, Laocoön and His Sons
One of the most famous ancient sculptures ever since! The Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents.
- Evelyn de Morgan, The Angel with the Serpent, 1870-1875
- William Blake, Eve Tempted by the Serpent, 1799-1800
- Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with a man killed by a snake, 1648
Subtle but very interesting painting which at the first sight seems to be an idyllic scene. But by taking a closer look you see a man fleeing the scene. He wants to alarm the washerwoman in the distance. Than on the left you discover a man killed by a giant snake. The figures are strikingly small in comparison to the large landscape.
More about this painting on artble.com
- Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve, 1507
Snake in movies
- Top 10 Snake Scenes in Movies
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Harry Talks to the Snake
- Disney's 'The Jungle Book' (2016) Mowgli Meets Kaa
- Jesse James - Snake scene
Other inspiring resources about snakes
- Caduceus – a short winged staff entwined by two serpents, the traditional symbol of the god Hermes.
- Rod of Asclepius – a serpent-entwined rod possessed by the Greek god Asclepius, the god of healing and medicine.
- Ouroboros– an ancient mythological symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.
- Basic facts about snakes – short and well-arranged summary
- Encyclopædia Britannica: Snake (suborder Serpentes) – thorough overview of facts