Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dreaming of A Snake

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!


  1. Hi Lisa
    I had a dream about these two green with orange pattern on its back snakes slithering around. They were chasing me but I wasn't scared really. One bit my right hand and my hand went all numb and tingly. Then I went to the doctor who said they'd have to amputate my whole arm and that didn't phase me.

  2. Hi Carine
    It's interesting that you have some of the same symbols in this dream as in your frog dream. I think your unconscious is really trying to tell you something? The image of two snakes suggests duality, yin and yang. The colour orange can represent positive change. The right side of the body deals with logic and reason while hands can represent creativity. To be bitten usually suggests agression.
    I can't help but think of your frog dream in trying to interpret this one. I'm wondering what dream came first? Any ideas as to what you think it means and how both dreams might go together?

  3. Hi Lisa
    I just posted on your blog on frog dreams also. A week before the frog dream I had another with snake in it. I don't remember it as well now but here is whT I remember. I walking by and saw a snake looking/staring at me. It didn't attack me but as I was moving on it fell on me ( I can't remember properly but do remember it was on me) and them back on ground...not sure if I removed it or it fell down. Again like in frog dream I wasn't very scared but dealing with it matter of fairly recognizing there was danger but not paralysed or overly feArful . Though I normal like I am sure I will be really scRed of one.
    I see the link to transformation and change based on your other interpretations - I am planning on a job change actually so is this linked

    1. Hi Gunjan
      Yes, the two symbols (frog and snake) seem to represent change in life when they are together. The snake seems like a more aggressive symbol. Maybe a warning of danger also? Or just to be watchful for things "dropping" on you?

  4. Dear Lisa,

    I have just posted in your Dreams about frogs. But earlier I also had distinct dream about snakes.
    I dreamt that I was at my maternal grandmas house. I am looking at a suitcase on the table and asking what is in there? I open the suitcase a wee bit to peer inside and I can see dozens of small tiny snakes wriggling inside. I feel scared and just then my cousin opens the suitcase letting all the snakes out. They start crawling out of the bag. I am petrified but I see my grandma (deceased) sitting on a chair nearby unperturbed with a calm look on her face. I start to worry that the snakes might bite my grandmother as she sleeps on the floor. I walk around the house in fear and then as I am about to enter the kitchen, I see a huge blue cobra staring at me from the entrance. I panic and start running away from it, but it seems to be following me. Then I am in the middle of the living room and it's slightly dark, I am fearful the snake might be around. That is when I have a feeling of the snake slithering up my back, then I feel it bite my lower back and I wake up instantly from my sleep.

    Funnily the snake bite didn't hurt at all, it was more like a nibble. It wasn't painful in fact it was sort of pleasurable. When the snake bit me I felt a rather strong tickle up my spine and that woke me up.

    1. There are a few interesting symbols in your dream. Grandma could be a mother/wisdom figure, suitcase could represent travel. The little snakes are like babies represents new growth. The blue cobra is almost like a totem or helper animal (see my post on dreaming of bears). The snake is a symbol of transformation and you seem to feel scared about what is to come. But when the snake bites you in the spine (a symbol of strength) you actually feel it. I think this is a really cool spiritual dream that suggests that you are going to be alright. You could look further into the symbolism of blue cobras and maybe think about that more as being a totem/helper animal symbol for you in the future. Tell me what you think.

    2. Thanks so much Lisa! I believe I am now beginning to make sense of what my dream is trying to tell me. I have recently been speculating about a major step towards transformation in my life and often wondered if the outcome would be good. I did look up the 'Dreaming of bears' post. I couldn't find out much about the blue cobra though.

  5. I just commented in your frog post but about 8 months ago i dreamed of snakes, as well.
    the setting was old...imagine pre-biblical times. my home resembled a temple or chamber that one can find in ancient Egypt, with long tunnels, high ceilings and pillars made of massive stone. i remember walking to my dressing room and standing before a tall rock that was so shiny, it was used as a mirror. i tilted my head back, closed my eyes, out stretched my arms and then 2 or three people started dressing me. before the clothes were put on, they took their time washing me and dressing my body in fragrant oils. once they finished putting my garments on, i looked in the mirror and praised them to the high heavens! an intricately detailed yellow and white skirt and blouse was put on me (i loved the style!) but the most surprising part is that snakes were put around both of my wrists and my's as if the snakes were my jewelry. they were of a vivid yellow color with white, diamond specks on their backs. in real life, i don't care for snakes or reptiles in the least bit. you'd have to pay me to touch one. but in this dream i was totally enamored with these "jewelry" snakes. i could not stop talking about how gorgeous the snakes were and how they completed the outfit! these snakes were living, breathing and moving yet they weren't threatening, and they stayed in their designated bracelet and necklace locations. once i got over how awesome the snakes were and repeatedly thanked the people that had dressed me, i was led out of my dressing room and then i woke up.
    apologies for the long post but...any thoughts? please & thank you!

    1. This is a very cool dream! It almost sounds like a past life memory (if you believe in that kind of thing -I dont know if I do!) But I would encourage you to read about the Ancient Egyptian's views of snakes. There was a snake goddess who served as a protector and wisdom symbol. If this were my dream I would see it as a powerful affirmation of my own royal and goddesslike attributes. What do you think?