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Dreams About Snakes: Positive and Negative Meanings

Karen Frazier
Boy holding a snakes

Many people have dreams about snakes. In fact, snakes in dreams is one of the more common symbols, and it can have various meanings. Explore the different meanings of snake dreams.

Symbolism of Dreams About Snakes

Snakes can have various meanings in dreams. When you dream about snakes, it can be symbolic or literal. Likewise, the symbolism can be related to individual, familial, and cultural meanings, or it may come from the universal symbolism of collective consciousness.

Look First to Personal Symbolism

Personal symbolism may come from your own individual associations with snakes, or they may be related to cultural or family associations. For example, if you have a snake phobia and dream of snakes, then chances are a snake dream is your subconscious mind attempting to work through your anxieties while you sleep. Likewise, if you have a pet snake, then dreaming of snakes may simply be you replaying the events of your day. Therefore, your first step in interpreting a snake dream is to ask yourself, what do I think my snake dream means? If you think you know what your dream means, you're probably right. If you still can't make heads or tails of your snake dream, then you can look to more classical symbolic interpretations.

You're Feeling Betrayed

Perhaps one of the most common meanings of dreams about snake is betrayal. This interpretation comes from the biblical symbolism from the Book of Genesis in which the serpent in the Garden of Eden told Eve to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

You Can't Trust Someone or Something

A snake in a dream may also be your subconscious showing you that you shouldn't trust someone or something. Look to other dream symbols and context clues to tell you more about what you feel you can't or shouldn't trust. To remember this meaning, think of the idiom "snake in the grass," which describes someone untrustworthy.

You're Feeling Anxious or Fearful

Snakes in dreams can also represent your anxieties or fears, particularly if you are afraid of snakes in your waking life. You may be feeling threatened or unsafe, and dreaming of a snake is your subconscious pointing out these anxieties to you. To remember this possible snake dream meaning, simply remember what a common phobia snakes are for many people.

Something Is Tempting You

Another Biblical interpretation of snakes in dreams is temptation. If the snake in your dream is beguiling or intriguing in some way, then this may indicate something in your waking life is tempting you and you're mulling over whether you should give in to that temptation. This is another interpretation from the Book of Genesis, where the serpent tempts Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden.

You Need to Be More Flexible

Snakes are mighty bendy, and dreaming of one may show you that either you need to be more flexible in a certain situation, or that you are being quite flexible about something.

You're in the Process of Transformation

Snakes shed their skins and transform, and this can be a clue to the meaning of a snake in a dream. If the dream feels positive or uplifting, then the snake may represent a positive transformation that you're going through or that you've come through. In this case, the dream is encouragement to keep going.

Wisdom

If the snake in the dream is dropping some wise words, or if you awake from the dream with a new understanding of a situation, then the snake may represent wisdom, and its presence in your dream may indicate your subconscious is pointing you to wisdom you already had but weren't aware of.

What Freud Said About Snakes in Dreams

Sigmund Freud believed dreams were about wish fulfillment and often had a sexual component to them. Therefore, it may not be surprising to learn that Freud felt snakes in dreams were phallic symbols that represented sexual energy or desire.

How Jung Interpreted Snakes in Dreams

Many common dream symbol meanings come from Carl Jung's work in dream interpretation. Jung had less of a focus on sex in his interpretation of dreams than Freud. He commonly interpreted snakes in dreams as symbols of healing or wisdom. To remember this possible interpretation, visualize the medical symbol the caduceus, which shows two serpents entwined around a wand.

Physician Wearing Stethoscope

Understanding Dreams About Snakes

Snake dreams can have different meanings for different people. Therefore, it's helpful to look to other dream symbols and the overall feeling of the dream to give you a better idea of whether the snake in your dream has a positive interpretation or one that is more challenging.

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Dreams About Snakes: Positive and Negative Meanings