image by Leo Reynolds
A huge, thick snake is wrapped around my throat. It is choking me. I can't breathe.
Recently, a relative shared this dream with me at a family gathering and loudly asked me what the snake symbolized. As the room grew quiet, I nervously hemmed and hawwed because the only interpretation I could think of about snakes is the one that they are a phallic symbol. I thought this would be awkward to share in a multi-generational situation!
However, upon further research, I see that the snake symbol can be representative of many things in dreams. To start with the obvious, yes the snake can be a phallic symbol (thank you Freud!) where you dream of a snake overtaking your body in someway. It could mean wish fulfillment (i.e. you want sex) or you could be repulsed by it. This could show your true feelings about the relationship you are in at the moment.
Snakes in dreams can have positive or negative correlations. The snake can be a symbol of modern medicine (healing) and is also the alchemical symbol Ouroboros which means transformation and spiritual growth. "Shedding one's skin" is something snakes do which also refers to change and transformation.
Snakes can also represent negative feelings of fear. Many people are afraid of snakes. They have been represented as Satan or a figure of evil. We refer to people who betray us a "snakes". Dreaming of a snake could mean you are feeling anxious or fearful about something (usually relationship related) or someone.
So, my relative's dream might mean she feels suffocated by a relationship she has. As it was, at the time, I murmured vaguely about the snake symbol having many meanings and it depends on the point of view of the dreamer. But next time I see her, I'll refer her to this post!
Note: In my post Dreaming of Frogs you can see in the comments that lots of people have dreamt about the frog and snake symbol together. As the frog is also a symbol of transformation, that would suggest that the snake would be also. Kind of a double-whammy of symbolism to make you really pay attention!