Dreams About Snakes: Symbols of Darkness and Light, Warning and Wisdom

In Snake Dreams by Jesamine Mello39 Comments

Dreams About Snakes: Symbols of Darkness and Light, Warning and Wisdom

C.G. Jung once said that dreams about snakes happen when life gets serious, meaning that certain situations in our lives constellate a reactive power in us that is far greater than our will power.  In fact, sometimes that greater power is directly opposed to our will power.  Do the snakes in your dream stand in your way or do they push you through a seemingly insurmountable obstacle?  Everything depends on your conscious attitude, not only in your current life situation, but also your attitude toward the dream.

The Healing of Archinus, ex-voto tablet, c. 370 BCE, National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Dreams about snakes, even when they appear aggressive, can indicate the potential for psychological transformation.

Transformation, however, is not guaranteed.  In order to realize the potential power of the snake dream, you first have to understand the message and meaning of the dream.

In ancient times, the serpent or snake aroused not only fear and danger, but also healing and wisdom.  Many times, all of these – fear, danger, healing, and wisdom – are contained in the same life experience.

Dreams About Snakes: Introduction

Dreams about snakes are one of the most common,  and as I just said, snakes as symbols are rich in meaning.  Far too many dream sites say that dreams about snakes are categorically negative, saying things such as, “Snakes in dreams are symbols of fear guilt, or treachery”.  This is not real dream interpretation.

The serpent is not only the god of healing; it also has the quality of wisdom and prophecy.C.G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation

Such statements are reductive – not to mention, these so-called interpretations have been copied and pasted on virtually every dream site.  They offer you nothing in terms of dream meaning and even less in terms of tapping the innate wisdom of your dreams.

Dream symbols are not like words that you can look up in a dictionary.  A real dream analysis and interpretation changes you by offering you new insight into your life and a palpable connection to a deeper well of wisdom within yourself.

There are some good symbol books out there, such as The Book of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images, which you can see in my recommended reading links in the sidebars (only without ad-blocker).

Dreams About Snakes: Symbols of Darkness and Light, Warning and WisdomIn the post on Serpent and Snake Symbolism, we took a deep dive into the the history of the snake and its rich symbolism.

In addition to that, I have covered specifics about particular snake dreams, in the posts on Dead Snakes in Dreams and Snake Bite Dreams.

Now, we’ll look at some other dreams about snakes. Using dream imagery from real people, we can see how we might translate everything that we have learned about snakes into psychological language.

Dreams About Snakes: Understanding the Message

 

The snake is the representative of the world of instinct, especially of those vital processes which are psychologically the least accessible of all.C.G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation

Translating our dream imagery into psychological language means finding a way to connect the dream to our conscious lives, always with the intention of learning something about ourselves in order to change how we see ourselves.

As you read each of these interpretations of dreams about snakes, pay attention to the process of unpacking their meaning.  When we are doing dream interpretation on snake dreams, we can’t look only at the image of the snake.  We must also look at all of the surrounding imagery of the snake dream, as well as the dreamer’s associations to the dream images.

Dreams About Snakes: A Response to Your Conscious Attitude

In addition, dreams about snakes are almost always a response to your conscious attitude.  (The exception to this is archetypal snake dreams.)  So, you also have to consider everything that is happening in your life at the time of dream.  Here are some example questions to ask yourself whenever you have dreams about snakes:

Treat every dream as though it were an unknown object. Look at it from all sides, take it in your hand, carry it about with you, let your imagination play round it …C.G. Jung, The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man
  • Are you in conflict?
  • Is something in your life taking a dramatic shift?
  • Are you experiencing a rebirth or transformation?
  • Are you paying attention to your life purpose?
  • Do you follow your instinct or your ego’s will to power?

Establishing your dream meaning takes time and conscious effort on your part.  If you really want to understand your dreams about snakes, or any other dream, then you have to work with it, carry it around with you, as Jung says.

Dreams About Snakes:  General Snake Symbolism

Before we get into the actual dreams about snakes, let’s recap what I said in the introduction to the post on Snake Symbolism, starting with the more sanguine of the snake’s symbolism:

The symbolism of the snake or serpent is one of the most widespread across mythology, folklore, and religion. And, not surprisingly, snake dreams are some of the most common dreams.

The snake has many names and attributes: Master of the mystery of rebirth. Bringer of light and healing. Bearer of the fruit of immortality. Its celestial sign is the Moon, which shares similar characteristics, something we’ll cover later in the article.

The image of two snakes intertwined or copulating is associated with fertility and regeneration. A serpent coiled around a staff or tree is a symbol of healing, an image which carries on to this day as an icon for the field of Medicine.

Mythologically speaking, the snake represents the primal life energy which rises out of the primordial waters of being – that earth-bound, spiritual energy which is incarnate in us all.  In a human being that energy has the potential to become the highest spiritual principle.  We see this aspect of serpent symbolism in the images of Kundalini yoga.

If you want to read more about symbolism from the Jungian perspective, here are some recommended books (turn off ad blocker to see them):

Dreams about Snakes:  The paradoxical meaning of snake dreams

Dreams About Snakes: Symbols of Darkness and Light, Warning and WisdomAs I have said before, snake symbolism is not so always light and optimistic, as I depicted above.  Snakes certainly have their darker aspects, most especially when we are disconnected from our more cold-blooded nature.

However, darker doesn’t necessarily mean evil or bad.  Darker just means unconscious, as in, “in the dark”, meaning something we cannot see.

A snake in one case may mean something favorable, “the wisdom of the depths,” in another something unfavorable.C.G. Jung, Dream Analysis Seminars
Whatever we cannot see, we cannot consciously relate to.  And whatever we can’t consciously relate to has power over us.  Translated psychologically, this means that all of us have forces within us that can control us.

These unconscious forces manifest themselves in the form of powerful emotions, such as uncontrolled anger or rage.  They can also take over us in the form of mood disorders, such as generalized anxiety or depression.

Unconscious forces are also behind the obsessive thoughts or fears that keep us awake at night. And finally, unconscious forces are behind those dreadful moments of forgetfulness, where something we know suddenly becomes unavailable to our conscious mind.

Sometimes snakes in dreams  can symbolize something which we have forgotten, rejected, or denied.  Other times, dreams about snakes symbolize some part of ourselves we have repressed, as I spoke about in the post on Snake Bite Dreams.

Snake dreams will often lend insight int your problem. For example, Jung tells of a man who had finally realized the truth of his debilitating mother complex, dreaming that a snake shot out of a cave and bit him in the genitals. This is an image for a castrating mother complex fighting against a necessary development of consciousness. Old habits die hard, even in the  unconscious.

Sometimes dreams about snakes point toward the future, as in the dream of a woman who had just finished an intensive training program: “I dreamed that my teacher and mentor handed me a pregnant snake. It felt like she passed something over to me.”

The woman had been anxious about whether or not she was ready to step into her new career.  This dream gave her the affirmation she needed to start her new life.

In all of the cases I just mentioned, dreams about snakes would symbolize an undeveloped or unrealized aspect of the personality, which can be either something positive or negative.

As you can see, snakes in dreams can symbolize any number of things. This is why it is imperative that you take note of every image in your dreams about snakes.  The snakes are only one part of the dream image.  Everything else in the dream gives you clues about what the snake in your particular dream means.  And always consider what is happening in your life at the time of snake dreams.

Snake Dreams:  Our Instinctual Nature

We are about to look at some specific dreams about snakes so that you can get a feel for their myriad expressions.  In his Dream Analysis seminars (recently back in print!), Jung calls snakes “cold-blooded relics … uncanny powers because they symbolize the fundamental factors of our instinctual life”.

Before we talk about the first of these snake dreams, I want to say something about our instinctual nature because the example dreams are directly related to it.

In my post on the Symbolism of the Snake, I talked about how the serpent was once a god in his own right, something to be revered and respected.

Ever since Judeo-Christianity split the soul from matter and cast the body, along with Nature and women into the category of evil, we humans have drifted further and further away from our instinctual nature.

But what exactly is our instinctual nature?  It isn’t so easy to define in humans because our basic instincts have been modified through the evolution of consciousness.

In the post on Snake Bite Dreams, I spoke about our instinctual nature in terms of the natural expression of our bodies, for example as in sexuality or hunger.  At the most fundamental level, when we talk about instinctual nature in this way, we mean our animal nature.

We forget that we too are animals, having emerged out of the life force of this planet in the same way as every other animal and plant.  This idea that humans are separate from animals, or separate from nature, is absurd, not to mention supremely arrogant.  It is a Judeo-Christian perversion and this perversion is at the root of the spiritual crisis of modern man.

Jung writes about this spiritual crisis throughout his Collected Works.  You can read a lot about it in Psychology and Religion and The Undiscovered Self, as well as in Civilization in Transition.

Carl Jung often used the image of a tree as a metaphor for the natural expression of one’s true nature

Snake Dreams:  Our Individual Instinctual Energy

Whenever we talk about individual instinctual energy, we mean your capacity to do what you absolutely must do in order to be yourself.  It is not as simple as it sounds. Many people don’t know how to listen to and act from their own depths. We censor ourselves when we should speak our Truth or talk ourselves out of what we really want to do.

Our actions are often governed by our injured ego’s distorted sense of the “right thing to do,” instead of our soul’s urge to do what we must in order to live authentically.  In these cases, snake dreams would be a signal from your depths to stop and take notice of what you are doing.

Joseph Campbell would call living authentically, following your bliss, which, despite how pleasant-sounding it is, often causes us undue suffering.  (I highly recommend this book for an introduction to the symbolism of myth and dreams, as well as symbolic living in general.  Click the image of the book to see it.)

Look at that image of the tree above. Think about how a tree simply grows out of its own nature to become the magnificent expression of life that it is.

All of us have this capacity to become what we are meant to be; however, we let our sticky melodramas get in the way of that life process.  The sticky melodrama comes from aberrations of consciousness (false ways of thinking) and the limitations, insistences, and resistances of the ego.

In order to get in touch with our true nature we need to get in touch with something deeper and older than consciousness and its problem child, the ego,  and snake dreams usually come when the time has come for us to do so.

Dreams About Snakes:  Aggressive Snakes in Dreams

As Jung has said many times, snakes in dreams often appear in their threatening aspect.  But when have such dreams, we have to ask, “What does this threatening snake in my dream symbolize?” 

Again, we have to look at this dream as an instinctual response to your current life situation.  The dream symbolically says, you are in a life threatening situation! 

Snake dreams always indicate a discrepancy between the attitude of the conscious mind and instinct, the snake being a personification of the threatening aspect of that conflict.C.G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation
However, the dream is not a warning about your physical health per se, it is a reference to a threat in your psychic life.

I realize that saying psychic may sound new-agey, but I mean it in the way C.G. Jung spoke about it – your psychological state.  Threats to your psychic life include, anxiety, depression, obsessional thinking, paranoia, fear, and many other debilitating states of mind.

If you think those states of mind have nothing to do with your health and well-being, then you are sadly mistaken.  I have written about this in my article on the effects of meditation, in particular the section on stress response and chronic stress.

Dreams About Snakes: A Real Life Example

In the first case, we are going to explore two snake dreams of one of my clients (who, of course, has given me permission to use them on my site).

My client was suffering from debilitating states of anxiety, depression, and feelings of abject worthlessness, all of which affected her ability to be herself in the world.  She lived in a state of constant fear.

After about six months, we had uncovered how her relationship with her mother (and later, her father) had affected her self-worth.  But to simply say, “You suffer from anxiety and worthlessness because your mother was emotionally unavailable” does nothing to alleviate suffering.

We have to ask, “In what way does this relationship affect your self-worth?” and “What do the dreams say is the remedy for your suffering?”

As we started unpacking her fear and sense of worthlessness, things began to stir in her psyche. She had two dreams about snakes in the same week.  As you will see, these two snake dreams showed us – in symbolic form – exactly how this relationship with her mother manifested in her life and what she had to do in order to heal from that relationship.

Dreams About Snakes:  Example Dream

Dreams About Snakes: Dead Worms and the Biting Cobra

A woman I know has a performance show with a group of worms and a snake.  I was put in charge of them. The worms hung from a peace of wood, which looked something like a cross.

The snake was in a muslin bag.  Everything was calm until it was time to go on stage.  Something set off this snake and it became aggressive.  It was striking at me and I was trying to hit it with something.  In this commotion, somehow the worms were killed.

The snake continued to strike at me and I knew that if I did not kill it, it would kill me.  I knew that my friend whose show it was would understand.

Even though I am beating the snake, it would not die. Its head came off, but even that was still trying to bite me. I don’t remember killing it, but I must have.

My friend was not angry with me, but I could see that she was disappointed that the worms did not make it. She went onstage without any of her props.

Dreams About Snakes:  Worms and the Biting Cobra Analysis and Interpretation

In terms of my client’s situation, there are several significant symbolic associations of the snake in this dream:

  • A symbolic reference to the death mother
    • We make this connection because of the dreamer’s relationship with her mother, something which has caused a disturbance in the feminine aspect of her psyche.
    • The woman on the stage in is an image for my client’s potential to be in the world, without being profoundly disturbed by its changing tides, symbolized by the death of the worms and snake.
    • This woman is a positive shadow figure for my client.
  • The snake as an image for an aggressive aspect of our instinctual nature
    • As Jung said, when we become too far separated from our instinctual nature, it revolts and becomes aggressive. To change that energy, we have to discover how we are doing something which goes against our true nature
    • We can also say this snake could symbolize my client’s need for healthy aggression. She must learn to fight back when she’s confronted, not only with aggression from the external world, but also against the aggression coming from her inner world (i.e., debilitating mindstates).
  • The Snake as a symbol for transformation
  • Poisonous venom
    • At this point in our analytical work, my client was able to hear her mother’s voice, constantly degrading her and making her feel worthless, i.e. injecting poison.
    • Also a reference to her debilitating mindstates

As I said, we can look at this stage performer as an aspect of the dreamer’s personality, and in particular, an aspect of her ability to take her place on the stage and be in the world.  My client was an extraordinarily deep woman.  She was intelligent and capable, but for some reason had trouble establishing herself in the world.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely playersShakespeare

In this first dream, the dreamer is in charge of taking care something essential to the performance of the woman on the stage.  This image is a reference to something disrupting my client’s ability to act in the world.

We know that she has done something which causes the death of the worms and the snake to attack.  What exactly did she do?  The answer to this question will lend insight to her snake dream.  We are going to piece all of that together after I share the next dream.

But first, what about these strange worms?  How are they connected to snakes?

Snake Dreams and Their Connection to Worms

Now, here’s how you amplify a symbol in order to get deeper into the  dream meaning.  My client had no associations to worms, so we had to dig deeper in order to discover their possible meaning.

These worms actually have much significance for my client in terms of the possibility of psychological rebirth and revitalization.

In particular, as chthonic, earth-dwelling creatures worms are a feminine symbol.  They aerate soil by creating tunnels, allowing for moisture to flow, revitalizing what was once dried out. You can even visualize parched earth becoming rich and black or withered plants and grasses, moist and green again, coming back to life after a good rain.

Think about this as an image for the possibility of psychological revitalization and rebirth.

In my client’s dream the worms die.  Translated psychologically, now she does not have the ability to aerate her inner ground, so the water of life cannot penetrate and nothing is able to grow.  We have to find out why this is so. What is she doing to cause this?

The Darker Side of Worm Symbolism

Now let’s look at the negative aspect of the worms.  There are many associations between worms and death, rotting flesh, insignificance, and corruption. We say people “worm their way into our lives” meaning they have invaded our lives.

There are many German expressions about worms. Es wormt mich means “it rankles me.” Any of these can represent the nagging qualities of the inner problem.

Würmer aus der Nase ziehen translates into “to pull worms out of the nose,” meaning to get at hidden content through repeated, clever questioning – or in the case of Jungian analysis, through repeated dealings with insecurity and fear.

Worms and Transformation

And finally, worms are also alchemical. Through the composting process (a transforming arcanum), worms (whose bodies are about 90% water) transform dead matter through the process of digestion (secret fire) into nutrient rich, fertile soil.

Translated psychologically, worms could be symbolic for an inner process of digesting old wounds (dead matter) and transforming them into usable energy.

In the dream above, the worms die because of the chaos with snake.  We have to get to what provokes the snake energy in my client.  Aggressive snakes in dreams often appear when the conscious mind is afraid of or resistant to taking action in life.  Action in this sense is an open-ended definition. It could mean anything from standing up for yourself to making decisions about your life.

This next dream about snakes will give us insight into what provokes the aggressive snake dreams in my client.

Dreams About Snakes: Revelations of Meaning

Snake Dreams and Slippers

​I lived in an artist studio. I had a few pairs of maroon slippers there, which “John’s” girlfriend “Jane” had knitted for me.  Even though I knew they were all too big for me, I said I would take them and try them anyway.

One pair came with a maroon snake wrapped around them. They’ve been sitting there for days when I decided to try them on, even though I knew they wouldn’t fit! Then the snake unwrapped itself from the shoes while I was trying them on.

The snake was thick and slow-moving not threatening but while wearing these two long slippers I wasn’t agile.

The floor of my studio was now sand in the snake was trying to get outside. I couldn’t let it Escape but now it was moving around not really threatening.  It wasn’t moving naturally, like a normal snake, it was moving more like an inch worm or something.

Now the floor, which was once concrete, has turned to sand and there are pine cones everywhere.  Everything looks like a snake and my panic is tangible.

Snake Dreams and Symbols of Transformation

Here are the dreamer’s most-relevant associations to this dream:

  • Slippers
    • They are very personal to me.
    • I love slippers.
    • Every pair that I have is like a part me.
    • For me, they are a form of self-expression.
  • Jane, the girlfriend of her friend
    • She’s a hypnotherapist
  • The Artist Studio
    • Home
    • A sacred place where I can express myself and be myself.

In this second of my client’s dreams about snakes, we see the answer to our earlier question:

What does the dreamer do in her life that provokes the appearance of snakes in her dreams?

In essence, by taking the slippers of the hypnotherapist, my client sacrificed herself (remember her associations with slippers).  She did want to take them.  Not to take them was her instinctual response, a response which she denied out of fear of offending the woman.

She knew the slippers wouldn’t fit her.  In addition to that, she said the slippers weren’t something she’d ever wear. Is is as if she was hypnotized to take these slippers.

Now we have to translate these slippers into a psychological meaning.

How does her action in the dream manifest in her life?  The clue is in the second dream:  any time she goes against her own nature.

All of us act against our true nature.  For example, anytime we do something out of a sense obligation or duty; not speaking our minds when we should; standing down when we should be standing up; saying yes when we want to say no.  These are just a few of the ways it happens.

When she submitted and took those slippers into her sacred space – a symbol for herself – she allowed another person’s energy into her home, and thus into herself, and this other person’s energy is symbolized by an aggressive snake that does not belong, i.e., moves in an unnatural way.

This is what it means to go against your instinctual nature. Your instinctual nature takes this as a threat to your existence, and so produces the image of a threatening animal.

And once that snake is in her home, the ground on which the home stood becomes like sand.  Sand is not a stable ground for a home.  This snake is not her own instinctual energy, therefore it moves unnaturally.

 

Dreams About Snakes: Healing and Transformation

It is important to realize that in classical antiquity, as in other civilizations, the serpent not only was an animal that aroused fear and represented danger, but also signified healing.C.G. Jung, Symbolic Life, Tavistock Lectures
As I said in the post on the symbolism of the snake and serpent, the history of the snake as a symbol of transformation and healing goes back at least 25,000 years.

We can only assume that the association between snakes and healing and transformation has something to do with the snake’s ability to shed its skin and be reborn anew.

Obviously, this is a gross simplification of the symbolic process.  Why and how psyche chooses symbols is a profound mystery. I don’t want to make the symbolic process sound like an analogical process because it’s not at all that.

Symbols and images are the original language of human beings; they are preverbal and pre-rational.

So, when you have snake dreams, you have to remember this preverbal/pre-rational quality when it comes to deciphering the meaning.  It is as if you have to put yourself in the space of seeing a snake as a primitive person would have seen it.

Snakes in the House:  Snake Dreams as Symbols of Protection

Snakes, often accompanying the Lares, are also symbols of good fortune and guardian deities that protect the home

As I have repeated many times, always keep in mind your current life situation when you are analyzing your snake dreams.

For example, the dreamer below had just reached a crucial point in her life:  she had finally surrendered herself to a life calling.  Pursuing this life calling demanded that she sacrifice which she thought gave her a sense of security: her home, her things and her life savings.

Naturally, she was both terrified and excited.

Dreams About Snakes: Snakes in the House

I am standing outside on the road in front of our house. Someone hands me a bag, which I open.  A throng of snakes comes out it whatever it is.  Huge ones, small ones, poisonous and non-poisonous and in all varieties of colors.

It is as though they have been freed from captivity. Some slither into the woods and others go right into the house.  At first, I think to myself, “That’s not good,” yet I am not frightened.  I know this is a very significant occurrence.

I step into the house and there is no sign of them anywhere, yet I know they are in there.  A part of me thinks I should be concerned, but a deeper part of me knows the presence of these snakes in my house is healing.  I walk inside and look around – they are all settled within the house somewhere.  Somehow, I know they will not hurt me, but are there to protect and guide me.

Snakes in Dreams: as symbols of protection

Perfectly preserved house shrine in Pompei

It may sound strange to feel that having a snake in your home is somehow protective, yet there is a history behind that. My client had no idea about the history of snakes or the living mythology behind them, but the dream spoke its own truth: the snakes in her dream were there to protect and guide her.

Snake figurines and paintings were prominent in early European house shrines, meaning that people held snakes in the home as something sacred.  In Lithuania, some people kept a live snake in the corner of their home both for protection and in honor of the earth goddess Zemyna, and according to the late Marija Gimbutas in her book The Language of the Goddess, this practice endured even into modern times.

In this dream above, we two symbolic events: the release of her instinctual energy into her home and the feeling of protection and wisdom that comes with having the snakes in her home.

The house is a symbol for our whole system of adaptation to life.  Everything about this woman’s system of adaptation was about to change, and as the future would behold for her, this extraordinary life change was all for the better.

Snake Dreams:  Symbols of Healing and Regeneration

Dreams About Snakes: Snakes in the Pool

I’m in my old home (in a different state).  There’s a multitude of rat snakes in the pool.  They are all shapes and sizes. I’m trying to scoop them out because the pool has a lot of chemicals in it.

When I enter the water they start crawling all over me and wrapping themselves around my arms. I love the feel of them, their skin on my body. An unknown woman expresses fear. I tell her that is okay and that they are seeking warmth from my body.  My (deceased) stepfather is also there, but not active.  A woman needs him to do some carpentry work.

This was the dream of the same woman as above. At the time of this dream, she had slipped back into an old state of fear, a state in which her stepfather had played a significant role in shaping (as you will see below).

The dream says, “you are in an old complex”, symbolized by her former home, the  stepfather, and the personal swimming pool.  Notice that the stepfather stands outside of the situation.

Her instinctual life is in danger, but she jumps into the water in order to rescue the snakes. The snakes wrap themselves around her, seeking warmth, i.e., seeking the light of consciousness.
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Statue of the Greek Goddess Hygeia with her healing snakes

The dream language states:  the stepfather plays no significant role, meaning the unconscious says, “he is no longer a factor to fear.”  And while she no longer feared the man himself, he’d left his imprint on her life.  Fear had dominated her life.  As long as fear ruled her life, her instinctual life was in danger of those deadly chemicals.

Living in fear is no joke. Constant fear and stress poisons us with dangerous chemicals, such as cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

This woman often fell into states of fear whenever anything good about to happen for her.  It was as if she couldn’t believe that anything good could happen.  We see here how snakes dreams come as a response to her fear.

Snakes in Dreams:  Snakes as Protectors and Healers

Snake Dreams: Snakes as symbols of protection

Buddha and Mucalinda

Here again in this dream, we can see that the snakes are in their archetypal mode of protection (wrapping themselves around the woman) and rebirth and renewal (rising out of the waters).

In terms of renewal snakes shed their old skin, leaving it behind like an empty shell.  Symbolically speaking, snakes leave an old life behind, and thus, are born again to start a new life.

We too have this capacity to shed our old skin – to become new. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t as simple as just saying it. The work of shedding skin is difficult, but if you can do it, you will transform yourself.

In response to this dream about snakes the woman said,

As a symbol of protection, I think about the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree. The snake wrapped itself around him and then opens its hood like an umbrella to shield him from the storms. It is funny that the rat snakes have been showing themselves lately all around the house.  I even picked one up and held it. Now, I believe this dream is telling me that I am protected and that something will arise from the Unknown to shield and protect me from this old fear.  I just have to accept it.

The dreamer had been working with dreams long enough to know that she could trust the message of the dream, but that still doesn’t negate the profound work it takes to shed one’s skin, so to speak.  The idea behind integrating the message of snake dreams is to remember the message whenever you catch yourself in an old pattern.

You have to return to your dreams about snakes and remind yourself: the snakes protected me in the dream; it is going to be okay. This is not naivete; it is a profound trust in a divine messenger.

Snake Dreams:  Regression and Old Patterns of Behavior

The following dream is from the same woman, only several years later.  I wanted to use the dream material from the same client so you can see how many different meanings snake dreams can have.

As with many people, her dreams about snakes typically came during times of crisis.  I define crisis as a confrontation with “what is”.

Sometimes, confrontations bring us to a dead stop on our forward-moving path.

Whenever we psychologically resist confrontation – whether it’s through stubbornness or inaction –  that once forward-moving energy is forced to flow backward, along the gradient of our old patterns of habit, as you can see in the dream below:

Snake dreams: Regression

I am in a home that seems to belong to my mother and stepfather, though it is not a home they ever had.  It is in the country (similar to something they had).

I am with an unknown woman.  I see a giant snake, something which looks like a mega python.  It is moving freely throughout the house.  I am concerned that my mother and stepfather will kill it.

Later, my mother says that stepfather is going to kill it.  Now I want to try and catch it and set free in the forest.

I see him coiled up in a pot that is on the stove.  There is hot water in the pot and I can see the steam rising from it.  I think he must be there for the warmth. He raises his head out of the pot and lowers it again.  I tell the unknown woman to help me get the lid on the pot so I can take him to safety.  I am a bit afraid to carry him in the pot, fearing he might jump out.

Snake Dreams Interpretation:  Something is Killing Your Instinctual Life

Splendor Solis: The king in the bath

The dreamer, a 45 year-old woman, is in the dream-home of her mother and stepfather.  This is not a house they had ever lived in, giving us our first clue that the dream image is that of her own psychic atmosphere, and not a place and time in her biographical history.

However, her biography lends meaning to the psychic situation in her current life.  The dream says, “something in you is just like this old situation“.  The work is to determine how this similar psychic situation affects her life right now.

The dreamer’s stepfather was a sadistic and deeply perverted man. He had psychologically tortured her throughout her entire childhood and even into early adulthood.

In addition to that, her mother had been abjectly neglectful and emotionally unavailable, catering only to the needs and demands of her husband – no matter how tormenting this man was to her daughter.

This woman essentially had no childhood innocence or freedom to explore herself.  Whenever she tried to express her feelings, her stepfather relentlessly mocked her.

Furthermore, she had never been allowed to explore herself in any capacity whatsoever.  Anything she had ever wanted to do or try, such as playing the piano or flute, dance class or gymnastics, or acting school plays, her mother and stepfather denied.

This kind of creative deprivation in a child can completely warp the instinctual life of an adult.  Remember, your instinctual life is defined by doing that thing which you must do in order to be yourself.  It takes a hell of a lot of work to deconstruct and reconstruct that kind of damage to one’s soul.

I say this to offer comfort to anyone doing this work.  Whenever you find yourself back in old pattern, keep this in mind and continue shedding your old skin.  You’ll get there.

Snake Dreams:  Integration and Taking Action

Francisco de Goya, Saturno devorando a su hijo (1819-1823)

Saturn eating his child, an image for a devouring father complex

The stepfather here is an image for the father-complex.  He’s going to kill this snake, which the woman knows she should protect.   The dream says, “this father-complex in you wants to kill your instinctive life.”

And the mother-complex in her does nothing; she is complacent. In this situation, our dreamer has to see the ways in which she herself is not only complacent, but also how she is killing her instinctual life when she is consumed by the complex.

The snake in the dream crawls into a pot on the stove – again seeking warmth, as in the dream above.

In his seminars on Dream Analysis, Jung says that the idea of the pot on the stove is an archetypal image of a sacrificial vessel – a spiritual womb in which a new being is formed.

So if you want to do anything for that bundle of instincts which are, you must hunt down your instincts, get them together and transform them…collect all those rare things…cook them together in the pot.  Instincts are the food to be held and transformed over the fire.

We see a similar idea in the alchemical image above from the Splendor Solis.  This is an image, not only of sacrificing our old ways of limited thinking, but also for gathering the dissociated elements of our personality (the mother and father complex) and bringing them together (in the pot) in order to produce something new, in this case, a new woman.

The unknown woman in this dream is an image for the woman’s potential. Who will she become?

Dreams About Snakes:  Conclusion

Did you really make it to end of this article about snake dreams?  I know this was a really long article.  Sometimes I worry that it’s too much, but everything I have said can help you with deciphering the meaning of your own dreams about snakes.

I really want to combat all of the misinformation that is out there about dream interpretation and they only way that I can do that effectively is to say as much as possible.

Just remember to look at your snake dreams symbolically.  Dreams about snakes are truly messages from a divine source within.

 

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Dani_V

I had a very vivid dream that I was repotting a plant because half of it was rotted, while the other half was still alive. As I plucked out the rotted part of the plant, a half-lizard/half-rattlesnake popped out of the pot trying to run away. When I looked back at the pot, I noticed there was a full-grown Indigo snake coiled up inside, underneath the part of the plant that was still living. For some odd reason, my mom decided to feed the indigo snake some bread and it transformed into a beautiful black bobcat. I live in South… Read more »

samyukta

i had a dream of green snake, who sacrificed his heart to protect me from evil. I took out his heart and mixed it to the water. That water does not let evil take me. what does this dream mean?

Last edited 3 months ago by samyukta
carey isaac

I lose interest vary easily but I’ve been dreaming about snakes throughout my life
and reading this article of interpretation was by far the best article i have ever read thank you

Jesamine

happy to hear it!

Rachel M Farley

Absolutely loved all of this. Read the whole thing

Jesamine

Rachel, thanks for your comment…

Rani Chehade

Hello, in my dream I saw a black snake that transforms into a fairy tale and tells me don’t be affraid of her.

Beverly

My dream was very vivid….I’m in a house , I’m actin bed with my bf we are naked but covered, sleeping, then we are awake talking in the kitchen having coffee, I’m sitting on the counter and I suddenly notice there are holes in the floor and we’re talking about repairing the floor….then I’m laying on the floor and many rats come up from the holes and cover me…..I’m not afraid or concerned…my bf is gone, just not there….then a snake comes up and over me and the rats no violence, no aggressive behavior, all very calm, then I sit… Read more »

Samantha Horton

I had a dream of a pregnant woman and a snake snake is reoccurring I don’t really know if it’s violent not it’s really big the song is just there positioned not like ready to strike or anything then the dreamlike restarts and there’s the pregnant woman the snake and it’s above her bigger and then it restarts and it’s just the snake

Samantha Horton

Sorry let me correct my last comment I had a dream of a pregnant woman and a snake the snake is sat beside her just positions they’re not violent not ready to to strike then do dream like restarts and it’s the pregnant woman and the snake this time the snake is above her moving and it’s bigger then the dream restarts again and this time it is just the snake

Anna Winnicki

I did a breathing the other day where I turned into a snake… I did 2-3 shedding before turning into the heart of the snake. The next night I had a dream where I had a pet snake. I was holding it by the tail and someone had just gotten a box of baby boa constrictor snakes… they weren’t that small… they were larger than mine but my pet hadn’t eaten in days and lashed out and bit one of the snakes to kill and eat it. Then the next night I was outside at my childhood home back by… Read more »

Jeamina

I recently had a dream in which I lived in an unfamiliar appartment, and there were several beautiful snakes living freely in my appartment. They were under the bed, chair, and in the heat register. I was happy to find them in my appartment, and to my surprise, they could talk. I don’t remember much of what they said, but it was simply a conversation. I did squeel ‘you can talk!’ And they replied with a dumbfounded ‘yeeeeesssssss?’ They were friendly, and didn’t want to cause me harm. They only wanted a safe place to stay and raise their young.… Read more »

Valentina

I had a dream about walking on a curvy dirt road with snow. I’m walking with either my mother or daughter. We hear machine like noises coming near but afraid of getting close to see what it is. We find a cave and hide inside. At first cave seemed spacious but as we go deeper it becomes tighter. As we try to get out of cave, snakes covered in dirt start coming out of the cave as well. I’m scared to get bitten so I try to get out of cave without making drastict moves. I see snakes of different… Read more »

JKM

Jesamine, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. Here is a dream I had last night. I would really love to get your feedback. I was in a hotel room with my husband. The morning we were supposed to leave he was going to the gym to do some boxing. This upset me terribly because he was going to leave without telling me. It was winter time, snowing, cold and grey outside. I told him we had a long drive to get back to my parents home (we were apparently living with them) and I didn’t want to get there in… Read more »

Jesamine

Hi there, thank you for sharing your dream. The key to understanding any dream is to try to understand it in terms of your current conscious situation. I can’t really get a feel for that. What is happening right now in your life – not your parents’ lives, but yours. If the snake was there for protection, it would have wrapped itself around you or actually protected you from something. Stay with the imagery: it was aggressive and it looked like a penis (! that is meaningful in and of itself) To be in a hotel room is to be… Read more »

JKM

Thank you.
Boxing was a childhood dream of my husband’s.
I took up boxing to release my anger after I got divorced 18 years ago.
I looked up “parental” but only found dreams about fathers. Is that what I should read?
Maybe “returning home” is related to my wish to see my parents during the important moments I mentioned. I live far away and have not been able to travel due to Covid.
Yes, the inner masculine sounds right! How can I go about getting the information that you are unable to write in the comments?

Jesamine

Hi again. This is what I get when I search my site for “parental” You should see several posts.

To get more information, we’d need to set up a session for you. ? You can contact me via email or the contact page.

Niki

*Snake Protection Dream* I had a dream last night that I was at a fancy restaurant amongst the “elite”. The restaurant was decorated white and black, mostly white…but everyone was wearing black attire including myself. In the middle of all the tables in the restaurant, were single yellow and red colored snakes with glowing yellow eyes. The snakes were in clear vases. When I first sat down at my table I saw the snake lunge toward me (mouth open), but it struck someone else whom I perceive to be its intended target. I was very apprehensive of the snake at… Read more »

Mrs Bezos

I dreamt that a man ( acquaintance) carried me on his back running through a dark pathway where snakes were either falling from trees and slithering across the pathway.
There was no fear in the dream, guess I felt protected or even safe maybe.

Sade

Hey

I had a dream of a huge white snake slithering pass me to climb in a tree. I know it may sound weird but it said to me I already eat so I won’t have you. I called a family member to come and get the huge snake. A crowd gather around watching the snake. I am not sure what this means but I hoping you can give me so insight.

Fozia

I had a dream about snakes falling out of trees. Every where I looked there were snakes. I was going back and forward between two houses (the houses were not modern and there was no garden only gigantic trees). In one of the houses were 2 women who were so afraid for me cause I’d gone out and dropped my phone in the sand near the snakes. I could see them looking at me through the window. I wasn’t afraid and just reach for my phone. The snakes seemed harmless. The other thing I remember about the dream was talking… Read more »

Hope B.

I was in my old childhood house and there was this plastic container with a purple top, like something you would put fish or a lizard in when you take it home from the pet store. There were about 20 tiny black snakes that looked like medusas hair, I thought they were worms at first but then I realized they had little snake mouths. They were stuck in the container but one got out and fell on the back of my foot, I must have been kneeling, it felt slimy and jarring. I think my mom was holding the container?… Read more »

Daisy

I’ve had this dream in the begining of February this year. I’m currently finishing college and I’m kind of under a lot of pressure about it, but as long as I remember that period was quite peaceful and “normal”. My boyfriend is appearing in this dream, we’ve been together for years now and we have quite good and healthy relationship. Just to say, I became obsessed with Jung about three years ago and since then I’ve been reading him whenever I have time, so I’ve been informed about symbols and his general scheme of the psyche, so that could influence… Read more »

Jesamine

Hi Daisy, thanks for sharing your dreams. This dream is far too long for me to make any comments in the comment section. If you’d like to dig into its meaning, contact me for a session. ?

Agnes

I dreamt I discovered an unusually short yellow python hiding behind a toppled table against a wall in a house that is not mine but I seem to live there. On closer inspection the python has had swallowed/eaten what I think is a small mammal. Other people in the house not related to me are in a panic to try to capture the python but it just slithers away and hides again behind the toppled table. I am not especially scared of the python as it seems oblivious about me even though I am naturally terrified of snakes. I am… Read more »

Nivedita

So glad I came across your site as I was trying to find interpretation of my dream. I think it was a mix of things happening which is why I was questioning what it means. I saw myself in an unknown place with unknown people, a women as the main character, it was like I am part of a movie but these were real people in a remote forest location. She lives in a tiny wooden house and surrounded by all sorts of snakes, even a python. I live with her and snakes are all around outside her house. None… Read more »

Jesamine

WOW! Great dream. This woman, living in the remote forest in a tiny house, she is an archetypal figure – a sort of divine feminine being. She appears often in fairy tales as Baba Yaga, Mother Hulda or Frau Holle. She is in your own depths and a sort of wise woman guide. Any time a heroine comes across, she is supposed to some kind of work for her, which translates into doing some work on herself. If you read these stories, you’ll get an idea of what I mean. I really can’t say too much in the comments because… Read more »

Meme

I recently had a dream that i was standing far back watching a black snake move confidently towards a tree. The snake wrapped itself around a tree bc it had saw a cat. I never saw if the snake killed the cat bc I didn’t want to see that in my dream. I had that much control over seeing something that I knew would disgust me. That’s when my dream ended.

Jesamine

Well, you may think that you have control over what you see, but you do not have control over your dream. Whatever was going to happen in that dream, happened – whether you saw it or not. The dream continues beneath the threshold of your conscious mind, even when you are awake. That snake is you and that cat is you. The tree is symbolic of your personality. Given your somewhat audacious statement about having “that much control”, my guess would be that you avert your eyes from truth of “what is”. Aversion only damages your soul and keeps you… Read more »

Kundan

Good analysis. I see a dream in which snake is devouring my ear,nither licking nor biting, so it can’t catogrize is snake biting dream. But my ear is safe I feel this snake poisoning my ear. But this is not clear in dream perhaps this is my subjecting feeling in my dream. I am a middle aged, bachelor, unemployed man. sometime before this dream I see death dream in regular basis including my father death dream.