Recently I was working with a shaman who occasionally shares his dreams with me. He shared a dream that included a snake, a very popular image in dreams (along with spiders, but that’s a topic for another day).
Though a snake or multiple snakes in a dream can represent positive transformational, healing (especially if the snake bites and causes an elimination of bodily toxins), perceptivity, patience, wisdom, or rebirth energy, I thought that I would spend a moment looking at the negative energy associated with the snake image in dreams.
In the book Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting it is suggested that a snake “can represent one’s ego and be a constant voice in one’s head that’s judging and criticizing anything and everything.”
Snakes in dreams can suggest deceit especially of someone in your immediate environment, though it could also suggest your own deceit especially if the snake is biting someone or devouring them. There can be fearful or chaotic people in your life that are affecting you negatively. This may be even truer if a Medusa image shows up and you experience feeling trapped or imprisoned. This can represent someone who is highly critical of you or of others, or someone who just has negative thoughts about you and directs them your way passive aggressively, someone who literally steals your energy when around them.
In general snakes suggest that you may be experiencing some negativity that needs to be dealt with and cleared. Also snakes in dreams can represent unresolved issues that you have with others or people you’ve managed to annoy somehow. Consider also that they may be warning you of something you aren’t paying enough attention to. This symbolism can also be heightened if the snake is red in in color.
To deal with these negative energies you either need to confront them by standing up for yourself (this probably shouldn’t include any attacking strategy) if they are presenting as bullies or avoid being around them completely. You might also consider removing any other negative influences like negative movies or negative video games, or loud, gossipy people– basically anything and/or anyone that doesn’t serve you spiritually.
Shaman sometimes see snakes in their dreams when they are encountering or about to encounter some really negative energy. Interestingly seeing live snakes in your waking life can sometimes be symbolic of the same negative energy. This can be especially true if live snakes in your environment aren’t a common experience.
In the Australian Aborigine “Snake Dreaming” a snake is the protector of the land, the source of all life but also a destructive force if not treated respectfully.
I mentioned earlier that snakes can represent transformation, or change, this can be positive of course but change can also be negatively charged and regardless of what the snakes are doing in the dream you might want to compare their behaviors with your own waking world behavior or those behaviors of others e.g. are they just lying around, being sluggish, stealthily slithering, biting– snapping at you or others, poisoning the water with their presence, filling a pond or lake making it too scary to climb in, or crushing and trapping in their suffocating grip?
Note that snakes in dreams also present the dreamer with interesting dualities such as healing/poison, death/rebirth, charm/deceit, and life/death so that when they visit a dream they can represent both blessing and curse and therefor suggest that the dreamer apply both to their waking life.
In general animals in our dreams represent our instinctual feelings or behaviors. Some dream therapists think that animals come to us in our dreams almost as spirit guides, each bringing their own voice, symbolic energies, and usefulness to the dreamer.